Two official teaser trailers for Man of Steel – a reboot of the Superman franchise, from director Zack Snyder and producer/co-writer Christopher Nolan – are attached to prints of Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, and can now be viewed online.
Man of Steel stars Henry Cavill (Immortals) as Clark Kent, a young journalist who was born Kal-El: a survivor of the fallen alien planet Krypton, transported to Earth by his parents Jor-El (Russell Crowe) and Lara Lor-Van (Ayelet Zurer). Small-town farmers Jonathan (Kevin Costner) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane) raise Kal-El as their son, imbuing him with a strong sense of integrity and compassion so that he learn to use his extraordinary powers responsibly – even in a troubled world that views him as a threat, rather than a potential savior.
Warner Bros. premiered a sizzle reel from Snyder’s film at the Comic-Con 2012 Man of Steel panel, and there are chunks of that footage in the official theatrical trailers. The latter are shorter and more structured than their Con counterpart, but manages to leave a similar impression – namely, that Man of Steel aims to offer a nuanced and serious take on the Superman mythos, befitting the contemporary age of superhero movies (and influenced by DC Comics’ “New 52″ reboot).
That approach includes: an altered version of the Superman costume, meant to make the character look more like an armored warrior (than a guy in a skin-tight unitard) – and a stripped-down visual style that lacks the digital polish found in Snyder’s previous comic book adaptations (300 and Watchmen), in favor of the muted colors and realistic texture featured in Nolan’s Batman trilogy.
Nolan’s influence is readily apparent in Man of Steel footage shown to date, what with the continued emphasis on the philosophical aspects of the Superman story – as reflected in scenes where a disheveled Clark travels the world as an ordinary man, and listens to teachings about how we shape our destiny, as passed down by both his biological and adopted father in the two separate trailers (Pa Kent – above/Jor-El – below). Those elements are woven together with Americana imagery (shots of wagons and clotheslines around the Kent farm) that harken back to Superman’s origins as an All-American hero.
Overall, the mix of old and new Superman mythology should go over well with certain fans, while others will be left grumbling about how their favorite superhero has been “Nolan-ized.” It will be arguably be more interesting to see how Man of Steel is received by the moviegoing masses as a whole. If the film is a success, it could set a precedent for the DC Movie Universe; if it flops, that could inspire Warner Bros./DC to drastically change their (as yet, unannounced) game plan.
Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.