Dissecting The New MAN OF STEEL Trailer

Posted on 17 April 2013 by William Gatevackes

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When the first teaser for The Man of Steel trailer hit, it caused many a fan to squeal in delight, and almost as many, if not more, to sneer in disgust over what the film appears to have gotten wrong. Are the squealers cheering before they have a right too? Are the sneerers jumping the gun with their negativity before getting a full picture? The answer to both is yes.

But now we have the first full trailer for the film to give fans more to squeal and sneer about. We have a clearer picture of what the movie entails. Which side do we fall into? Let’s dissect the trailer and find out.

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It appears that if Krypton is to be destroyed, it won’t be due to its core exploding, but rather through a global conflict on an epic scale. Of course, due to the sheer amount of Kryptonians that we know are going to be in the film,  I get the feeling that Krypton does not get destroyed.

This hearkens back to a controversial J.J. Abrams script that was making the rounds before Superman Returns where Kal-El was sent to Earth by Jor-El to keep him safe from Kryptonian warlords so he could come back to save Krypton( brought to mind by the “our hopes and dreams travel with you ” line from the trailer). Not only did Superman have to face off against a number of Kryptonian enemies, even Lex Luthor was revealed to be a Kryptonian.

Now, having a living, breathing Krypton does have some advantages. It gives Supes a load of villains just as powerful as he is to go up against. But it also strips away the “Last Son of Krypton” part of the character’s mythos. And since there appears to be a lot of the mythos stripped away, you wonder at what point this will stop being a Superman film and become just a generic superhero story.

Not saying this is true, just speculation on this part of the trailer. But having the studio hand down the maxim to use the elements of a script from the guy who successfully rebooted the Star Trek franchise and was tapped to reboot the Star Wars franchise is all too plausible.

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I call this screen cap, “what hath Avatar wrought.”

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So this is how the exile from Krypton will be portrayed in this version. I hope there is a reason other than “it looks cool” why baby Kal-El had to be levitated into the rocket ship. Because if it isn’t, then it might come down to a matter of style over substance in the filmmaking. And that seldom ever results in a good movie.

The “He’ll be an outcast. They’ll kill him. /No he’ll be a god to them” reminds me of the John Byrne reboot of the origin in the comics. Byrne’s Krypton was a highly advanced, yet cold and sterile world. When the comic book Lara is showed a representation of Earth (in the form of a shirtless farmhand toiling in the soil) she is repulsed. Jor-El comforts her by saying Kal-El will be strong enough to rule them. Not a word for word copy, but close enough for my first sqee moment of the trailer.

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We’ve seen these images before. But the two scenes now are used to establish what will be Superman’s internal conflict. Will he try to hide what he is to pass off as normal, or will he live up to his potential to save people?

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Another big part of the Superman mythos is the reveal of his true origins to him by his adoptive parents, the Kents. This is how it is portrayed in this film.

And for as wrong as Jonathan Kent suggesting that Clark let the bus full of school kids die was in the teaser, this scene here is a 180 in the opposite direction. “Can I go back to pretending to be your son?/ You are my son.” Absolutely perfect. Great delivery by Costner too. I can’t begin to tell you how much I love this scene.

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Superman in what appears to be the Fortress of Solitude. Glad to see that the voice over shows that the Kents will still play a positive role in turning Clark into the man he is.

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And here is our first introduction to Lois Lane, who appears to be following a trail of super deeds done by Clark. It’s an interesting take on the Lois and Clark/Superman dynamic, but raises two red flags with me. One, is the urban legend of an indestructible strongman the story a major metropolitan newspaper like the Daily Planet should be pursuing? Isn’t that more the milieu of the National Enquirer and the Weekly World News? And two, if this film is supposed to be open to the idea that other super humans exist, would this be a news story at all? “Oh, there’s a guy in Alaska who saved some fishermen from a fire with out getting burned? Well, there’s a guy in California who has a ring that allows him to make green race cars with his mind. Big deal.”

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I don’t know what context this scene is in, but I think it could quite possibly be the most inventive use of Superman’s powers on screen to date.

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The Christ metaphor from the Donner films is still in effect, I see. The narration in scene the above screen caps are taken is almost word for word from the original films.

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And we have some action. I’ve seen online where some people think this is a version of DC Comics’ Starro. I say no for a variety of reasons, most notably, it would take a lot of screen time to introduce the character into the narrative in a way that matches up with the tone of the film. Probably just a producer who has a Octopus fixation to match Jon Peters spider fixation.

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More action!

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Another clue that Krypton hasn’t been destroyed, Zod and a battalion of Kryptonians arrive in a big honkin’ spaceship. First order of business: threaten Jonathan Kent (Which also leads us to believe that they were tracking Kal-El/Clark’s ship to where it landed on Earth).

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The Kryptonian invasion does explain why Superman is at odds with the military.

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Gee, Zod certainly likes to threaten Superman’s father figures, doesn’t he (assuming he is speaking to Jor-El in the screencap above)? And Michael Shannon does like to chew scenery, doesn’t he?

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Another of Superman’s powers on display?

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Are these meteors hitting the Earth, or Kryptonians engaging in an orgy of destruction?

Also note the LexCorp building in the background. It seems, like in The Amazing Spider-Man, the hero’s main nemesis will make his presence felt only through corporate signage.

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Again, I have to say that I am impressed by the way the Kryptonian power set is portrayed in the film. As above, where a missile hits a Kryptonian soldier and he barely flinches. And also…

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…Superman’s super-speed! It is only a brief snippet, but it one of Supes’ powers that hasn’t really been portrayed well on screen.

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I might have said this on the site before, but Superman willingly handing himself over to the military is great characterization. It establishes that while Superman could establish his will over the human race, but chooses not to. Love it.

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Well, that certainly looks ominous.

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Some Kryptonian armor.

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This scene is both good and bad to me. I love “It stands for hope.” But the “How about Super— SQWARK!/Excuse me” just comes off as a clumsy attempt at humor. I’m glad to see that the film will not be as relentlessly bleak as its color palette makes it out to be, but still…

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The trailer does end on a high note, however. Punch, fly after the punchee, and punch them again? That’s just cool. Again, the way they portray Superman’s powers in the trailer give me hope that at least part of the film will rock.

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It stands for hope. Which is what the trailer stands for too. It’s stands for the hope that things Nolan, Snyder and company got right make up for what appears to obvious missteps that appear in the movie.

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Rich Drees Says:

    My theory on the “Superman vs the military” thing is that Zod and his goons have come down to Earth and threaten to level the place if Kal-El doesn’t surrender to them. The military go to nicely ask him to comply.

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