'Man of Steel' Countdown: Dissecting the Teaser Trailers and the Comic-Con Presentation

'Man of Steel' Countdown: Dissecting the Teaser Trailers and the Comic-Con Presentation

Jul 24, 2012

At long last we have some real concrete information on Man of Steel, including some footage to discuss. We originally promised part two of the Superman theme music discussion today, but this simply couldn’t wait. With The Dark Knight Rises out in theaters, it’s time to start focusing on Warner Bros.’ next big DC Comics project: Man of Steel.


Man of Steel Debuts Two Teaser Trailers

It has been a common assumption that the first teaser for Man of Steel would appear in front of Dark Knight Rises, but it was only officially confirmed a week beforehand. There are two versions: One is voiced-over by Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent for the U.S. version and Russell Crowe as Jor-El for the international.

“You’re not just anyone. One day you’re going to have to make a choice. You have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be. Whoever that man is, good character or bad, he’s going to change the world.”


“You will give the people an ideal to strive towards. They will race behind you. They will stumble and will fall. In time, they will join you in the Sun. In time you will help them accomplish Wonders.”

The purpose of a teaser is of course to give us a taste of what is to come. Very little information is actually given here, which has been frustrating for many of the Superman fans who have been anxiously waiting to see it. Try thinking of it as a casual moviegoer who doesn't know what he or she is seeing until a certain point. However, it still works on many levels, and those with sharp eyes may have been able to figure out some details.

Every shot appears to be handheld, which means there’s a good chance the entire movie was filmed the same way. Several weeks ago, the IMAX website announced that it would release Man of Steel in IMAX 3D, but that information was taken down within a day. Given the weight of 3D and IMAX cameras, it may have been impractical to shoot it that way in a handheld style, so the only chance audiences might have for that experience would have to come from the dreaded conversion process that rarely works completely.

AintItCool.com said that an e-mail from Warner Bros. revealed that there are no plans to convert to 3D, but we’ll just have to keep guessing about the IMAX. Chances are it will happen.


Dissecting Man of Steel's Comic-Con Appearance

On the Saturday of Comic-Con, Warner Bros. hosted an event panel featuring their upcoming film slate, which included Man of Steel and a visit from director Zack Snyder and Superman himself, Henry Cavill.  There was an extended version of the trailer that was exclusive for that audience only. Although a few people with camera phones managed to get low quality video and post it on YouTube, Warner Bros. has found them and taken them down.  Here’s a description of it as well as the music it used, which was much different from the theatrical teaser. You can also listen to Movies.com Managing Editor Erik Davis' reaction to the footage in this podcast from Hall H.

 It opens with a wheat field on a farm.

We then see a toy wagon flipped over in the grass.

A butterfly on the chain of a swing, it flutters its wings.

Cut to a shot of a man, walking alone on a snow-covered road. We see him from the back, walking towards the hills.

We see a young boy, running through a field of grass from the farm we saw earlier. He wears a red cape, tucked into the back of his white T-shirt.

Cut to a scene with a bearded Clark Kent sitting on the steps of a house on a cloudy day. A dog runs up to him, and he scratches the back of its head.

We are then back at the farm. We see the boy with the cape, we don't see his head. What we see is his torso, with his two fists firmly planted on his waist, in a signature pose that we are ALL very familiar with.

In the background, we hear what sounds like a combination of Jor-El and Johnathan Kent: "What if a child dreams of becoming something other than what society had intended? What if a child aspired to something greater?"

The scene changes to Clark being brought to a barn. A dusty sheet is pulled to reveal an intergalactic vessel that had been hidden there for years.

Clark holds a metal "S" shield, in the new design from the movie, in his hand.

Next we go to a completely different setting. We are no longer in a farm, but in a city.

We hear a woman's voice in the background: "My son was in the bus." It cuts to a teenage Clark, saving children from a school bus that had fallen off a bridge and crashed in the water. Clark is swimming to the bus, and he rips the door off. "He saw what Clark did."

Jonathan Kent's voice is then heard saying: "People are afraid of what they don't understand."

Jor-El is now seen standing before Clark. "It's not from this world Clark." Jor-El pulls opens his cloak to reveal the Superman suit's "S" Shield. "Take you're freedom. It's my conscience. Where I come from."

We now see Superman in his suit, long red cape flapping in the wind behind him. The first shot of him in the suit is from a distance, the second shows him walking across a snowy plain.

We hear Jonathan Kent's voice: "You have to decide what kind of man you want to grow up to be Clark. Whoever that man is, he's going to change the world."

When then see a series of brief glimpses:

We see a glimpse of Superman flying.

A glimpse of him catching someone falling off a building.

A quick glimpse of Amy Adams as Lois Lane.

A glimpse of Superman being led down a hallway by police, with his hands behind his back, while in his Superman suit.

We catch a glimpse of Clark inside an elevator. The doors are closing, and right before we can no longer see his face, he removes his glasses from his face.

He hears Clark's voice: "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." We see Lois approaching Superman as if they are about to kiss. "What do you think?"

There's a glimpse of a shirtless Clark, with his whole body on fire.

And finally, we see Superman being thrown into a giant bank vault. The same vault from his first promotional image. It looks like he's been thrown.

It finishes with a giant "S" shield, rotating on an axis, until you see the new "S" shield in all its glory. Followed by: "SUMMER 2013".

Here’s the video of the Comic-Con panel (minus the extended trailer)

Here are some tidbits from the Q&A:

Snyder began by saying “Superman needed to be reintroduced to a new generation.” So any doubts about this being a true origin story are gone.

He went on to assure people that Superman would indeed “punch something” in this film, which was a major complaint fans had made about Superman Returns in 2006. Snyder explained that “It’s all about making him work and making him cool.” Which goes to show that this film will be an attempt to make Superman relevant to a modern audience.

Many of the audience questions were great and at least one made the mistake of trying to insult them. One person asked if the film would be based on an existing Superman story, but Snyder said that it’s a merging of several stories. Henry Cavill was asked what he intends to bring to this new Superman and he humbly (as always) responded that this is going to be a Superman that fans will recognize and that new audiences will enjoy.

An emotional fan asked if Zack would tell the audience who the villain is, but Snyder decided to show the teaser a second time instead, which all but confirms my own suspicions that General Zod is not the primary villain in Man of Steel. The best question came from a fan asking “Between Nolan’s Batman and your Superman, who would win?” Zack was struck by this and responded, “I love Batman and he’s really awesome, but like … really?”

When asked if the new film would use the traditional music from the Christopher Reeve films, Snyder responded, “We had to act as though no films have been made. Even though we love the films. Don’t get me wrong, when we approached it we had to say, 'This is a Superman movie for the first time.’ If you start with that logic, you can’t just go and steal the music.”

When asked about the possibility of a Justice League movie, Snyder replied, “Superman is the jewel in the DC crown and what we’re trying to do is get his house in order. And then, who knows what’s possible.”


Justice League Movie

Warner Bros. film group president Jeff Robinov told the Los Angeles Times that it would be at least three years before audiences saw another DC Comics film other than Man of Steel.  There are currently no writers or directors attached to any of their planned projects, but there is a chance that they will continue with their original plan to do the opposite of what Marvel has done with The Avengers and possibly put out a Justice League movie first, which would spin out solo films with those characters. “My hope is that over the next month or so we’ll be ready to lay out the plan for the next DC movies.”

Next time we'll have the continuation of the Superman theme-music discussion, but until then what were your thoughts on the trailer?

Jeffrey Taylor is a staff writer/moderator at The Superman Homepage, cohost of From Crisis to Crisis: A Superman Podcast available at the Superman Homepage, iTunes and The Superman Podcast Network. You can find his new Man of Steel Countdown column here at Movies.com every other Tuesday.

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