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The second (or third, depending how you look at it) Man of Steel trailer will make you believe a man can mope!

December 11, 2012

Outside of this past year’s Avengers, there’s no comic book movie I’ve had higher hopes or deeper fears about than Man of Steel. Superman’s big comeback after Superman Returns (and Stalks) is eagerly anticipated in these quarters, even if there’s more than a few questions around here about Zack Snyder’s directorial sensibilities being up to the challenge. And all we’ve had to go on up to now were cell phone videos of Comic-Con footage and the two artsy-fartsy teasers from the summer, which were very much lacking any Superman. No more.

I’ll say this: The trailer looks sharp, with big cosmic stuff galore (which we’ve never truly seen in a Superman film), Henry Cavill looks the part (though the lack of red around the waist is sure to be distracting, and will make the unbroken blue of the Superman suit look even more like feety pajamas), and I remain intrigued about the heavyweight talent (Costner and Crowe) playing Clark Kent’s two fathers. Costner’s delivery of the trailer’s best line — “You have to keep this side of yourself a secret.” “What was I supposed to do? Just let them die?” “Maybe.” — has me encouraged.

But the Superman that I know, the Superman that we all know, is a straight-ahead champion. Truth, justice, all that. He’s the light. Batman is the dark. Kal-El shouldn’t spend most of his time moping around, his brow constantly furrowed like he has the worst case of Kryptonian indigestion ever. I worry that in trying to gin up drama, Snyder and Christopher Nolan have stepped too far away from the foundations of the character. I worry, but I don’t know. The Donner/Reeve Superman knew how to smile. I hope this one does.

In scanning early reaction to this newest imagery, the word “pretentious” kept cropping up. Maybe. As always, though, judgment is reserved for the final product. I think most people reading this will be there in the theater no matter what. I will.

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