Written by Timothy Monforton
If you went to see The Dark Knight Rises – and considering that it’s already made over $530 million worldwide, many of you probably have – you probably got a look at the next DC Comics movie coming our way. It’s the one superhero who sports a bigger name than Batman. The Man of Tomorrow, the Last Son of Krypton, the Big Blue Boy Scout: Superman! And we’ve got not one, but two versions of the teaser trailer for his new film, Man of Steel.
Premise: Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) is a young journalist who was adopted as an infant by a couple in rural Kansas after he was transported to Earth from the dying planet Krypton. Raised with the values of his adoptive parents, he feels alienated because of his unique superhuman abilities and struggles to find his place in life. But when the world is attacked, he must become the hero Superman to protect its people.
My take: Superman hasn’t had much luck in becoming a part of the 21st Century superhero movie renaissance. While Superman Returns (2006) was a pretty solid film, it wasn’t what we needed to bring the character into the modern era, and the film’s less-than-stellar box office take bore that out. Now Warner Bros. and DC are trying again, with Man of Steel, a reboot of the Superman franchise brought to us by Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan.
I quite like what they did in making the two different versions of the teaser. The footage is exactly the same in both, but they have different voice-over narration: one by Kevin Costner as Jonathan “Pa” Kent, Superman’s adoptive human father, and one by Russell Crowe as Jor-El, Superman’s Kryptonian birth father. Pa Kent’s narration is about choice, while Jor-El’s is about destiny. The two versions really complement each other, and I think that together they really get to the core of what Superman is all about.
Obviously, the featured player in the teaser is Henry Cavill as Clark Kent. I think that he has the kind of look and presence that’s needed for Superman. While I liked Brandon Routh in Superman Returns, he had a little too much of a boyish look to him, which is definitely not the case with Cavill. Besides Cavill, the only other member of the cast we actually get to see here is a photograph of Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent. There are a lot of really talented people in the cast – including Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Michael Shannon as General Zod, and Laurence Fishburne as Perry White – but it looks like we’ll have to wait awhile to get our first look at them.
The imagery and cinematography we see here is just breathtaking. Of course, most of Zack Snyder’s past films have featured beautiful images, but the landscapes from 300 (2007) and Sucker Punch (2011) were very stylized and unreal. By contrast, as many others have noted, the outdoors shots here look like something from a Terrence Malick film. It looks like Snyder and company have nailed that look of Americana that is such a key part of Superman’s origin. There isn’t much for me to say about that last shot of Superman flying, aside from the fact that I think it looks kickass. I love the sonic boom sound and the contrails he leaves in his wake.
For anyone who watched this teaser and thought the music sounded familiar, you’re not imagining things. The track used here is “The Bridge of Khazad-dum” by Howard Shore, from his score for The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001). The use of this music kind of took me out of the trailer the first time I saw it, but now I think it actually fits well with the feeling of this teaser.
While I really like the teaser for the most part, there is one thing that gives me some pause. Based on this teaser, part of me is wondering if the final film might be a bit over-serious and dour, which is not what I want in a Superman film. I want the film to have a good story and characters, but I also want the inspiring, triumphant elements that Superman represents. I guess we’ll just have to wait to see more. And according to things Snyder said at San Diego Comic-Con a few weeks ago, the film will not use the classic John Williams Superman theme from the earlier films. While I totally understand that the filmmakers want to make a clean break from the past, I think the Williams theme is the greatest piece of music ever made for a superhero film, and while I’m sure Hans Zimmer will do good work here, I do not in the least bit envy the position he’s in, having to create a new musical identity for Superman.
But my qualms aside, I’m really looking forward to this movie. DC Comics has a ton of great characters, and as much as I love Batman, the other members of the Justice League deserve awesome films too. With a great cast and some really talented filmmakers behind it, I’m optimistic about how this will turn out. Come next summer, you can bet I’ll be checking out Man of Steel at my local theater.
ANTICIPATION: It’s a bird…It’s a plane…It’s a movie I’m definitely interested in seeing!
Release Date: June 14th, 2013
Starring: Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Laurence Fishburne, Kevin Costner, Diane Lane, Russell Crowe, Ayelet Zurer, Harry Lennix, Antje Traue, Christopher Meloni, and Richard Schiff
Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: David S. Goyer and Christopher Nolan
P.S. So, Peter Jackson and Warner Bros. have decided to make The Hobbit into a trilogy. Not sure how I feel about this….