Man of Steel… the teaser trailer. Superman has been my very favorite superhero for as long as I can remember. I love the movies (Superman III and IV not so much) and I love the comics. Admittedly, I haven’t been able to keep up with the Superman comics since the mid 90’s, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that he’s my favorite superhero. People will argue that Superman isn’t that great (boring, full of plotholes, and bland), and I will argue that Superman is great (supremely powerful, virtuous, and awesome badguys). I personally thought that Superman Returns was a decent movie. Sure, it had plenty of flaws, but it is still so much better than crap like Green Lantern.
I have a few complaints about this trailer for Man of Steel. So far, the only good thing I’ve found about this trailer is that Christopher Nolan has a hand in this movie. However, as great as Nolan is, I don’t really want to see the Batman Begins version of Superman. Honestly, Superman isn’t the type of character to be dark and brooding, but I’ll be damned if that isn’t exactly how they portray him in this trailer! It’s almost an exact duplicate of the Batman Begins teaser trailer. I also have a gripe with them posting Zack Snyder’s high points as a director (300 and Watchmen) without mentioning the turdfests (Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole and Sucker Punch).
Anyways, let’s break down this trailer. It immediately starts off like a pretentious art film. I mean, Superman should be pretentious, he’s pretty much the greatest and most powerful superhero imaginable. Whenever he runs into trouble, he can pretty much invent a new superpower to get him out of whatever situation he faces. He even came back from the dead, for crying out loud!! That aside, the opening is pretty ridiculous, even if you’re going for making “arthouse” Superman.
The next scene shows Clark Kent becoming a member of Deadliest Catch, and I’m kind of confused by this, but I can roll with it. Everyone needs to relax, and since he’s super powerful, maybe he views it as a nice peaceful day on the lake. Next, it shows a kid running around with a cape. I assume it’s supposed to be Clark Kent as a child… but, didn’t Superman kind of invent the whole children wearing capes to imitate Superman thing?! Why is Clark Kent running around as a kid with a cape years before Superman technically exists?? Next scene, Clark Kent becomes an Ice Road Trucker, because, y’know, why the hell not?
Of course, up next there’s still more arthouse style bullcrap with swings and butterflies and kids with capes and raspy talking going on. Finally… finally, we get to see the one freaking thing I was waiting for… Superman… apparently flying away from trouble. I mean, yeah, he was definitely flying into outer space and away from the city he’s supposed to be protecting! I can only imagine Superman thinking, “Screw you, Metropolis, I’m outta here!!”
The trailer finally finishes with a giant, stylized S that only slightly resembles the S that has been on Superman’s crest for generations. It’s a lame attempt of a facsimile of Superman’s normal S pattern, and fails miserably because it’s not Superman’s S. I didn’t mind the whole raised S for Superman Returns, because it was modern, but still retro, and not a slap in the face of tradition. I sincerely hope this… this thing they’re passing off as Superman’s S is not what he’s going to be wearing on his costume. I will seriously walk out of the fucking theater if it happens. I’ve never walked out of a movie before (except for that time the theater was set on fire during Underworld: Evolution), but I will make an exception for my favorite superhero. I refuse to sit through this film if it degenerates into an embarrassment of everything Superman stands for. From watching the teaser trailer a few times, it looks like it’ll be an absolute humiliation of Superman’s character. I can see the fat executives at Warner Bros. now, “Truth, justice, and the American way? You better get ready for gloomy, despondency, and long emotional walks in deep thought. That’s what all the kids like these days, right?”
The thing that makes Superman great is that he’s not conflicted. He’s not a character that walks on the edge of the moral compass like many other superheroes. He will never sacrifice 1 person to save a dozen… he’ll save them all. Even if he fails, he just goes back in time and does it right! That’s what makes Superman great… there’s no gray area with him. Some people say that he was morally conflicted in Superman Returns, but I think he wasn’t really conflicted as much as he was longing for the life and family he could never have. Superman isn’t allowed to live a normal life precisely because he’s Superman. Superman is the greatest good guy… and that’s all he needs to be.
This trailer doesn’t get me excited for a new Superman movie at all. It doesn’t feature the iconic greatness of John Williams’ Superman Main Title March (and it’ll be a travesty and a tragedy if it isn’t featured during the opening credits of the final movie). This trailer doesn’t feature anything great about Superman… nothing. It has some footage of Clark Kent gone fishin’ and hitchhiking… but nothing significant that makes me feel, “Okay, this is Superman!” It makes me feel like I just watched the most “meh” superhero movie trailer of all time. For contrast, the original Batman Begins trailer got me excited for a reinvention of Batman. It featured all the important plot points of Batman without giving away a whole lot. The Batman Begins trailer did what the Man of Steel trailer did not, and that is present the character in a way that is interesting and exciting.
The one thing I ask for from the Man of Steel movie more than any other thing that I’ve listed above, is that General Zod must yell, “Kneel before Zod!” at least once. If this movie does not feature that line, then it’ll be as good as Spider-Man 3 was without “We are Venom!!” As in, it won’t be good at all.