The second trailer hit for Superman: Man of Steel and this one has a lot more meat to it and may give us more confidence in it going in. Watch it below.
The initial set of teasers were cryptic, starting with iconic imagery of Henry Cavill who is playing Superman/Kal-El/Clark. Making it even more mysterious were scenes of laundry hung, drying in the wind, a bearded Clark Kent working on a fishing boat, and later hitchhiking. Initial reactions were spread across the board ranging from confusion to guarded excitement. One of the teasers featured a voice over from Russell Crowe (as Jor-El) inspired from Grant Morrisson’s award-winning story, All-Star Superman (a 12-part stand-alone story that covered all of the wonderful eras and aspects of Superman perfectly–every Superman fan should read it). Despite mixed reviews, the teaser created mystery surrounding the reboot, especially with the imagery. If there was a hopeful impression to take away from that first trailer, it was that All-Star Superman reminded readers how great Superman could still be in the proper treatment.
Many fans view this as Zack Snyder’s (300, Watchmen) version of Superman, but I choose to see this being more about a script by David S. Goyer, who co-wrote the entire Dark Knight trilogy with filmmaker Christopher Nolan (Inception, Memento). The two of them have teamed up once again for Man of Steel and it is their screenplay from which Snyder is working from. And regardless of what you think about Snyder, Nolan has never put his name on a subpar film.
When the second trailer hit this morning, there was much more to gather about what the film will be about. We see a contrast of his birthparents from the planet Krypton sending their child to Earth, knowing he would be something extraordinary. While the farmers who take Kal-El in, Ma and Pa Kent (Diane Lane and Kevin Costner) want him to keep his powers a secret because of how poorly our world treats things it doesn’t know.
Toddler Clark Kent: The world’s too big, mom.
Ma Kent: Then make it small. Focus on my voice and pretend it’s an island. Can you see it?
Toddler Clark Kent: I see it.
Clark Kent in therapy? A farmer raising an alien has to come up with some coping devices. Next a clip shows an older Clark saving a bus crashing into a lake. The ramifications of using his powers are endangering because the parents of the children on the bus come forward to the Kents that their children were witnesses to this superhuman act.
Pa Kent: You have to keep this side of yourself a secret.
Teenage Clark Kent: What was I supposed to do? Let them die?
Pa Kent: Maybe.
That’s a pretty grim response by Pa and here’s where we get that grounding in the real world that Goyer and Nolan did with Batman. They found that the heart of Batman Begins was connecting a young Bruce Wayne with his father, falling down a well, and living in the shadow of his father’s work and philanthropy. Wayne is crushed, trying to live up to these expectations and instead wastes his opportunity until he is saved by the League of Shadows. Goyer and Nolan used several comic stories as inspiration for Batman Begins, including The Man Who Falls by Denny O’Neil and Dick Giordano, Batman: The Long Halloween and its sequel, Batman: Dark Victory by Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale, and Batman: Year One by Frank Miller and David Mazzuchelli.
Nolan once stated that his approach for Batman Begins was to construct an origin story no one had seen before while Goyer said that they wanted the audience to care for the duality of Wayne and Batman. There was some serious apprehension at this approach early on by audiences, but once viewers saw this new take, the majority embraced it and quickly put any older Batman film safely out of their mind. This writing due looks to be doing the exact same thing with Superman: Man of Steel.
Man of Steel looks to root Superman in being internally tormented with what Jor-El wanted for him and the Kents trying to protect him and raise him with their values. They aim for us to care about Superman and Clark Kent, and the reasons which drive him to the point at which he becomes public is where Nolan and Goyer has taken the biggest liberty to construct. Like Jesus in the bible, there is a large gap of time unaccounted for in the comics, where Clark leaves Smallville and we see him become an adult in Metropolis and has taken on the Superman mantle, slowly revealing himself. Man of Steel looks to investigate that much interpreted Superboy period that’s been done in a variety of ways and find a definitive way in the films where he becomes Superman. That decision to come forth as Superman appears to be a great burden. The structure of Man of Steel could be set up a similarly to Batman Begins where it may take a good two-thirds of the movie passing before we finally see Superman don the new (and controversial) threads and take that momentous leap, hurtling into space.
Smallville fans are familiar with Pa Kent being suppressive of Clark’s birthright to agonizing levels, never fully learning how to fly until the end of the final season of the CW TV drama. That type of parenting we see a glimpse of in the new trailer at least explains why Clark would isolate himself in what looks like scenes from the Deadliest Catch. If he is in the Arctic waters, that puts him geographically closer to where the Fortress of Solitude has been known to be located where we presume he’s at when he goes for that high jump record into outer space.
So it looks like we get an identity crisis of a man wrestling with wanting to be truthful to what he is versus the fear of his Earth guardians telling him to restrain himself. Maybe we’ll see Pa Kent tell Clark he can’t date until he’s 21 too. In all seriousness, the trailer winds down with a handful of scenes including the destruction of Krypton, the first scene with Zod (Michael Shannon), Lois Lane (Amy Adams), Superman arrested and then him saving people.
Superman: My father believed if the world found out who I really was, they’d reject me. He was convinced that the world wasn’t ready. What do you think?
Is this to make Superman’s introduction to the world as more of a vigilante? The arrest of Superman implies that. It may be short-lived scene and all the buzz about that theatrical poster of Superman handcuffed is more of a red herring. If Nolan and Goyer cared enough to reference comics for their take on Batman, I don’t doubt they will do the same for Superman. And perhaps this is where we get some of the greater Zod or Lois Lane stories from the comics to be used as inspiration. Maybe even Kingdom Come, by Mark Waid and Alex Ross, where Superman questions coming out into the world again. I would imagine that Zod’s reason for being on Earth and seeking out Superman would be at least half the film too, so even though we don’t see him much in these trailers, he will a grand entrance.
If you’re still wondering about where the new Superman is going, I would look to how Nolan and Goyer approached Batman Begins and believe that they’d use that as a blueprint to ground Superman: Man of Steel in our world. Whatever it is they’re doing, it’s working–so far.
What did you think?