Welcome to our Man of Steel Countdown column, a biweekly look at the upcoming Superman movie along with an exploration of the character's past, present and future. In this edition we break down some of the most recent news items.
This holiday season, you will receive the gift of news about the new Superman movie, including a new poster, a FULL TRAILER, and a ton of interviews. Let’s get to unwrapping!
Part of the DVD/Blu-ray release of The Dark Knight Rises included a Man of Steel online campaign claiming that every time someone shared their link, it would raise an unspecified percentage rate on their site until it hit 100 and a new tidbit about Man of Steel would be shared. The new material turned out to be a poster, which has created even more fan backlash than when the first image of Henry Cavill as Superman was released in August, 2011.
The image here shows Henry Cavill as Superman being escorted in handcuffs by the military. Some fans are upset that Superman could be bound by simple steel chains and led my military. Others question why authorities would ever attempt to arrest someone like Superman.
This new poster is another in a long line of reasons that a handful of fans have become vocal about their intention to never see the film. Past reasons included the lack of red briefs, the lack of a spitcurl, and Henry Cavill being British. There are a number of valid possibilities for Superman to appear this way in the film. Perhaps the military fears an alien in its midst, maybe because of natural human fear or they’ve already met Zod and know not to trust Kryptonians. Alternatively, most incarnations of Superman set him up as a character who believes in the legal system. Perhaps he allows himself to be cuffed and jailed because he believes in that system. Regardless, it appears that humanity’s distrust of him will play a major part in the plot.
Studio Cine Live Magazine in France did a cover with Henry Cavill as Superman. Although it doesn’t showcase any story moments, some fans have said that it would have made a better poster than the one released.
The trailer will be in front of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which hits theaters this Friday, December 14. However, it has already been released online. Enjoy!
The trailer begins with Clark in the water with the full beard he was sporting during filming in the Pacific Northwest. Presumably, some disaster had hit by that point and he found himself in the water with flames passing by overhead. Interspersed are moments of his childhood where he hid in a closet at school until his mother came to talk to him. When he says “The world is too big,” perhaps he’s referring to burgeoning super-senses. What if his hearing and vision powers were already cropping up and even the scraping of chalk on a board sounds like standing next to a huge speaker at a rock concert? When his mother says “Then make it small,” she is trying to help him get a handle on controlling them.
Fast forward to Clark Kent at age 13 saving a bus full of school children. A mother exclaims, “My son was on the bus. He saw what Clark did.” A common theme of young Superman (at least one that doesn’t include Superboy) is that he’s constantly trying to hide that he’s different, but often has to risk exposure anyway. But then the most controversial moment in the trailer happens. In a conversation with his adopted father, Jonathan, he asks if he should have just let the children die instead of exposing himself, to which the reply is, “Maybe.” Fans all over the Internet have been vocally upset by this because traditionally, Clark learns the value of human life from his parents. However it occurs to me that it’s an emotional response from a loving father who worries about his son first and others second. There’s no telling for sure based on this piece of a moment, but we’ll have to wait to judge that until the film comes out and the context and character are clear.
Cut from there to what could be the Fortress of Solitude in the ice of either the Arctic or Antarctic, although it could also be a ship. It appears that Clark won’t have much information about Krypton until his adulthood. Jonathan’s voice says to Clark that “You’re going to have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be, Clark.” This could mean anything, but also suggests that Jonathan did not specifically plan to have his son grow up to be a superhero.
And then, TAKEOFF. The odds are that many of Superman’s powers will have sort of scientific explanation. In this case, it can now be established that he will literally be able to create thrust around his body in order to fly. That’s why the rocks and snow seem to move around him as he prepares to fly straight up, and even launches already at a high speed.
After that, there are a series of quick shots that require a pause button to see clearly. A laser from above hits Metropolis, taking out a city block and sending cars and buses flying into the air. Jor-El and Lara kiss their baby good-bye. Bearded Clark walks through flames without being burned. The next shot is hard to see clearly, but may be part of the destruction of Krypton or a battle there, followed by at least two alien ships floating outside the Kent Farm and our first official look at Michael Shannon as General Zod. Superman falls to his knees and spits up blood, followed by Perry White running away from an explosion in Metropolis with an unknown woman. The next quick shot with a hooded person may be part of the destruction of Krypton.
There are several more shots of Clark with the beard interspersed, but again there’s controversy as the shot from the poster appears here with Superman being walked down a hallway with handcuffs on by military forces, led by Chris Meloni’s character. The fast and blurry look at Superman flying down the side of a building while another character attacks by flying straight up, certainly appears to be our first look at the full costume of General Zod.
Following that are more disaster and reaction shots including a look at Chris Meloni’s character next to the scientist Emil Hamilton, and then adult Clark during a storm, holding onto a helpless child, which could be another time that he has to risk revealing himself before putting on the costume. Plus there is a quick look at Superman being thrown into the bank vault, the aftermath of which was used for the first promotional picture released back in the summer of 2011.
The Superman suit is showcased further, first by him wearing it and hugging his mother on the threshold of the Kent house and a close-up look at the symbol. Once again, the light scatters off the suit so that it appears much darker in low light and brighter in direct light.
Finally Superman stands with the army and holds Lois Lane’s hand in preparation for… something. But this appears to be a Lois Lane that means a lot to Superman, even early on.
One of the big themes to expect from this film comes from Henry Cavill saying the lines through the end of the montage, “My father believed that 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?” That last sentence is cut with Superman standing in front of military forces with guns trained against him. This is most likely the human reaction to making first contact with an alien race, especially one that looks like them, and has perhaps already appeared to be hostile. But at the same time, the question “What do you think?” in the context of the trailer, feels as though it’s asking the audience watching it to answer the same question.
So what else did we learn from this? We can now affirm that the entire film was shot in handheld. In fact the only part of the trailer that isn’t was the moment that Clark walked out into the frozen wasteland before flying. We know that Clark’s adventures in the Pacific Northwest will most likely be a major part of the film. Henry Cavill seems to be doing just fine with his American accent, and actually even sounds similar to Russell Crowe. As expected, Hans Zimmer’s score is probably not yet complete. Instead we’re treated to fitting music from Inception.
The fact that this is Superman means that there’s already an audience waiting to see the movie. This trailer teased a lot, but told us very little, which is a good thing. It means we won’t be going into the theater knowing the whole story. But like many, I’m looking forward to June 14, 2013 even more now.
The official novelization for Man of Steel is already available for preorder for a low price of $7.99. It will be written by Greg Cox and is scheduled to arrive on June 14, 2013, which is the same day the film will hit theaters.
Several prototypes for the Mattel line of Man of Steel Toys have already been completed and sold on eBay for $100. Here are some examples of what to expect from the line this summer. No word yet on final images or pricing.
Tamoh Penikett has admitted via Twitter that he is indeed in Man of Steel, but won’t say anything more. He has already appeared in several episodes of the proto-Superman TV series Smallville, as well as a recent episode of Arrow, the new series about another DC Comics hero: Green Arrow. He could play a small role like a military member under Chris Meloni, but he also looks (to me) like the perfect choice for Metallo. There is still no further word on the rumor of that villain’s inclusion.
Snyder talks “briefs” [via the NY Post]
"The costume was a big deal for me, and we played around for a long time," Snyder says. "I tried like crazy to keep the red briefs on him. Everyone else said, 'You can't have the briefs on him.' I looked at probably 1,500 versions of the costumes with the briefs on."
The final version is a brief-free, all-blue unitard with red boots and a red cape.
"If you look at the costume, it's very modern, but the relationship to the original costume is strong," Snyder says.
"You come onto a project like this, and you hear about modernization and you hear about bringing things forward to today, and all you can do is hope that it's going to look cool and different from anything you've seen before."
Nolan talks difference of Superman and Batman [via The Playlist]
As for Man of Steel, which looks like it's very much part of the Nolan-verse -- i.e. a reinterpretation of the iconic Superman story only grounded in a more realistic and plausible world -- the director said they won't be as similar as you think. "Well, somewhat," he said when asked if Superman fits into the brand of standalone superhero universe we've come to know from him. "But I wouldn't want people to think we're doing for Superman what we did for Batman."
"It's very much Zack's film and I think people are going to love what he's done," he continued. "I think it's really remarkable to take on that character. Superman is a completely different character than Batman. So you can't in anyway use the same template. But David Goyer had this, I thought, brilliant way to make Superman relatable and relevant for his audience. Zack has built on that and I think it's incredible what he's putting together. He's got a lot of finishing to do on that. Superman is the biggest comic book character of them all and he needs the biggest possible movie version which is what Zack's doing. It's really something."
Joe Letteri talks about Man of Steel’s visual effects
Russell Crowe teases Jor-El tidbits:
Michael Shannon on the costume [via the Chicago Tribune]
"One of the wildest things for me about doing 'Man of Steel' was shooting at Union Station," Shannon said. "I've been to Union Station a lot, mostly when I'm taking the train somewhere. We were in the same room where they shot that amazing sequence in 'The Untouchables.' I would look over at the staircase and see the baby carriage coming down the stairs."
Because of the secrecy surrounding "Man of Steel," some of the film's stars were asked to cover up their costumes when walking to and from the set so that no photos would leak online. Shannon said the extra measures were successful - for the most part.
"They had us wear these big plastic parkas to cover up our uniforms," Shannon said. "It's interesting because I've run into people who have pictures they want me to sign from 'Man of Steel.' And they have images that look nothing like what I'm going to look like in the movie. I don't even know where they came from. I guess we were pretty successful, but I did see one picture of me wearing the costume leak on the Internet."
That wraps up another edition of the Man of Steel Countdown. It’s been a big couple of weeks leading to the end of the year. What was your favorite part of the trailer?