Deconstructing the New 'Man of Steel' Trailer: Comic Ties, Zimmer's Score and a Lex Luthor Cameo

Deconstructing the New 'Man of Steel' Trailer: Comic Ties, Zimmer's Score and a Lex Luthor Cameo

Apr 17, 2013

Before we even get into discussion, the reason you’re here is to see the trailer (again).

Although parts of this trailer mirror the past three (we’re counting both versions of the initial teaser as two), there is a ton of new information here.

Right off the bat, we get our first real view of what Krypton looked like from a height. Previously we had a snapshot moment that barely told us anything. The planet appears to be at war, in what we can only assume is the lead-up to its destruction.

Jor-El holds the baby Kal-El immediately after his birth, but soon discusses with his wife Lara how their son's life will unfold differently on Earth where he may be revered as a god.

The next progression shows us the young life of Clark on Earth as he chooses to save lives over the safety and security of his secret, which was also prevalent in previous trailers.

The moment in the barn is what really draws us in. We get that first real image of the ship that brought Kal-El to Earth, but then Jonathan Kent points out the film's second theme: that Kal-El is the answer to one of life's great questions, “Are we alone in the universe?” This is followed by Clark’s fear of only pretending to be human, as well as a member of the Kent family, but Jonathan’s response makes it all better, exclaiming through teary eyes, “You are my son.”

Many fans worried about Jonathan’s characterization from the second trailer when Clark asked if he was supposed to just let people die in order to hide his powers. Jonathan said, “Maybe.” He taught Clark his values and one of them has always been to save lives first. If there’s a moment to assuage those fears, it’s this section of the new trailer.

The next 30 seconds suggests that young Clark struck out on his own and tried his best to hide himself by living “off the grid” and traveling the world. We’ve already seen him lose his shirt in a fire from the last trailer, but this time we get a moment of him saving the people on some kind of floating rig before finding new clothes and petting a dog, which has been in all of the trailers.

Lois Lane has clearly been hunting this legendary savior for some time and knows where he’s been, but keeps arriving at the scene too late to meet him.

After the scene of Clark taking off from the ice, there are several quick shots that appear to use Kryptonian technology. There is some sort of machine with tentacles, and then a blinding, forceful light that one might assume is the “Black Zone” or perhaps another weapon in General Zod’s arsenal.

Speaking of Zod, there is clearly a reason he wanted to follow Kal-El to Earth. Perhaps the rumors were true that Jor-El committed a crime by genetically altering his son. We soon see Zod surrounded by what appears to be a translucent body shield similar to one Faora had in one of the Entertainment Weekly photos. We’ll have to wait and see on that one.

The final series of action moments doesn’t give us much beyond eye candy, but look closely at the debris falling over Metropolis and one of the buildings is marked “Lexcorp.” I’m not even going to interpret that one. You figure it out.

(Click image below to enlarge)

For the finale in the interrogation room, there are two key moments.

First, in other incarnations, Lois Lane is almost always the one to title him “Superman.” He can’t do it himself because that would be incredibly vain, but the fact that she doesn’t finish giving him the title may have meaning. Perhaps he doesn’t earn it until the end of the film. That may even explain the title Man of Steel.

Second, the fact that the symbol merely resembles an “S” comes from earlier stories. Marlon Brando’s Jor-El had it on his chest in the 1978 film. The idea that it symbolizes “hope” comes from Mark Waid’s "Superman Birthright" comic book maxi-series from 2003-2004. In that story, Clark explained, “At first, I thought it (the emblem) was a family crest of some sort - but if it was, it certainly came to mean more than that to these people. Wars were fought over it. Entire cities were built on it. Over the course of time, it became a... a promise. A sign of people fighting to make a better world. A symbol of hope."


This is the first time we get a taste of what Hans Zimmer has done for the film’s score. It’s heavy on the percussion, but not in the same way as the Batman soundtracks. The opening with the piano is somber and emotional, and the progression of most of the rest of the piece builds on top of itself to the point that it becomes a theme. One thing that I’ve always said is that Superman themes should (and usually do) have a rhythm where the name “Superman” can be heard. And it’s almost there. I can nearly hear it. But I might just be fooling myself.

I have to wonder if, given that this is the origin story, that like Batman Begins, Superman has not yet earned his full theme. Batman’s theme was fullest in The Dark Knight because by then, he had earned it. Perhaps Superman’s score will have a similar progression. So let’s hope this installment warrants a sequel.

Variety interviewed Hans Zimmer before the trailer’s release, but put this piece out soon after the trailer hit the Web.

'The risk is to do the same thing again,' says Hans Zimmer, composer of 'Man of Steel,' one of three superhero movies in the pipeline for spring and summer. 'You take far less risk by trying something new. You still stay in the confines of certain storytelling: Yes, heroic things happen. Yes, you have to find a human element and a sense of awe. Yes, you're gonna have a bad guy. In that respect, you know what to write.'

'If Batman is the way the world sees America, Superman is the way America sees itself,' Zimmer says. The score, he thought, should 'celebrate everything that is good about America,' and he began to focus on the heartland where Clark Kent grew up, searching for a sound palette that might be the basis for a fresh approach.

For a full spread of photos from the trailer, go to The Superman Homepage.

And be sure to check back every Tuesday for my continuing series, 'Man of Steel' Countdown.

What are your thoughts on the new trailer?

Categories: Trailers and Clips, News, Geek
Tags: Man of Steel
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