I’ll be the first to admit that Man of Steel did not look interesting to me.
From what little Warner Bros. shared from the beginning, it looked to be a plodding mess of a film where Clark Kent would spend most of the film afraid of his powers and and coming to grips with the fact that he’s Superman. The kind of rehashed story we’ve seen a lot of already where everyone, even the audience is shouting at Clark “USE YOUR POWERS AND BE A SUPERHERO!” while Clark whines “But I’ve always been told that my powers were bAAAAAAAAAAAAAD.”
I didn’t want to see another Superman Returns, where Superman as a character is a muddled confused brooding mess that eventually flies around and does some stuff.
That was until I saw this trailer.
Everyone is going crazy over the action and the special effects, but that’s not what hooked me.
What hooked me was the simple and personal scene where Lois Lane interviews Superman.
Cavill and Adams sit there nearly naked, no special effects or plot devices to hide behind just the two actors sitting in this intimate scene. The chemistry they share is electric.
But more importantly this heartbeat of a scene they linger on toward the end of the trailer showcases so much more.
- This film will not be an exercise in pure spectacle. Modern Blockbuster films (with a few exceptions) have been mostly EPIC for EPIC’s sake. Devoid of heart, storytelling, or characterization and merely a string of larger explosions until it’s finished. This simple scene between Lois and Superman at the end of the trailer – a point where theoretically you would showcase and tease the film’s grandest action sequences – is instead reserved for this tender moment where the spectacle is nothing more than the connection and performance from these two skilled actors.
- This trailer mirrors the goal of that scene in reality. In Superman films of the past, the audience and the general population of the world the film exists in are both introduced to the titular character in a splashy rescue sequence. I’m sure that there will be some grand debut of Supes in costume for the first time saving the day – but this sequence, where he allows himself to be captured by the government, be locked in a room, and be interviewed personally by the press, is a necessary move. He’s needs to show the world that he’s a good guy. He needs to show everyone that he’s real person and not a scary monster. That he’s nothing to be afraid of. It evokes the campy rooftop date/interview of the first Reeve Superman film, but unlike that film – this interview is not for the sake of only Lois Lane. This is an interview for the world. A moment where the grand theatrics are tossed aside and the man in the cape is placed under flat unflattering lights and examined. What’s so amazing about this, is that the trailer uses this scene to show the world – one who remembers and dislikes the camp of Reeve and the brooding reverence of Routh, and shows them that Cavill is the real deal. It shows them that he’s more than just a handsome face, a costume, or a special effect… and it shows them that he’s willing to be totally exposed and truthful.
- It deflates the stigma of being an idealistic Boy Scout. Writers of Superman seem to wrestle with the core concept that Superman is a confident good guy. One who believes in himself as much as he does for humanity. Either they doubt it in themselves or they can’t make the leap such a person could exist in reality – so they try to make Superman a mess of morality or questioning his actions or always fighting with some crisis of conscience. This sequence shows us that clean cut Superman can be invulnerable and vulnerable. That he believes in the hope for humanity that he literally wears on his chest. What’s best is that he does so without a wink to the camera or a waiver of confidence. He makes being a hero believable, honest, and sexy.
- It shows the film’s true colors. One of the main things I disliked about the early shots of the film was that it seemed devoid of color. Every frame was muddled and washed with a steel blue at the cost of the vivid primary colors you think of in superhero films. But I was wrong. Superficial and wrong. The film’s true colors are underneath the downplayed visuals. The film won’t need distracting colors to carry it’s message and please it’s audience. This is a film that will strive to inspire and color your soul without ham fisted visuals.
- It makes me believe that other DC style superheroes could coexist in that world now. In Man of Steel, Superman is going to show the world that costumed humans with extraordinary powers can exist, and that the majority of the population shouldn’t freak out. Sure it won’t be universal. Pendants like Jack Ryder will tear them down, and the Lex Luthors of the world will envy them – but average Joes will see that streak of red or that flash of gold and know that they’re a little safer. That the good guys are there to tip the balance in their favor.
This third trailer for Man of Steel is a nigh work of art. Smartly done, and hopefully the film follows suit – because I want a Superman I can believe in. A Superman I can cheer for. A Superman that’s as at home punching robots and flying around as he is saving a kitten from a tree and calming the little girl that lost it. A Superman that can jump over tall buildings in a single bound and still be a real person.
And after watching this trailer, it looks like my hopes may be true.