If there has been one trend that has defined cinema over the last fifteen years, it is superheroes, from the individual heroics of Spiderman and Batman to the all conquering teams of The Avengers and The X Men, and the somewhat less than Fantastic Four. Independents have been represented by Hellboy, but the two giants Marvel and DC have been the dominant forces, and next year DC return with arguably the most recognised superhero of all, an orphaned alien who fell to Earth over seventy years ago and embraced the values of the country he adopted as his home, defending both it and the planet. The first full trailer for Man of Steel was revealed this week, and the Geek Chocolate team all have their opinions of it.
Kevin Gilmartin – Before I go on I should say that I actually rather enjoyed Superman Returns. I thought Brandon Routh nailed Christopher Reeve’s interpretation of Clark/Kal-El in what was a very true and fitting tribute to an icon of our generation, and the writers of the inevitable comparisons when Man of Steel comes out would do well to remember that.
As for this trailer, it has definitely won me over. Maybe I’m too cynical but I hate to get excited about trailers, expecting to be disappointed, but in this they just seem to have done it right.
Something I’ve always loved about Superman is the dichotomy of the character – his public faces of Clark Kent and Superman, all-American farmboy making it in the big city/world-saving superhero, hide a childhood and youth borne of fire, tragedy and struggle both on Earth and on his first days as an infant on Krypton.
The trailer captures that. The first visuals of Clark floating in water surrounded burning debris, and then what I assume to be young Clark’s voice in conversation with (again I assume) Martha Kent, struggling with the weight of the world at such a young age, to the teenage boy talking with his father about the difficult choices he’ll have to make, portending what his life will become, “What was I supposed to do? Let them die?”
Cynical old me can’t help but be excited about this film because, basing things purely on this trailer, it feels like a writer and director who actually get Superman as a character – and when movies are converted from other media that is a rare and precious thing.
Michael Flett – An origin story? Again? I suppose I may have been peripherally aware of it, but not consciously. Surely Superman is sufficiently present in the world consciousness that we don’t need to be told his origin, but apparently the studio feel otherwise. Surely if they were to do that it would have been better in 2006 with Superman Returns, but that chose to follow on from Superman II which was 26 years previous, but now with a break of only seven years we reboot. Hollywood doesn’t know if it’s coming or going.
It seems a change of pace for Zack Snyder – his zombies were fast in Dawn of the Dead, everything was brash in Sucker Punch, but he knows and loves his comics, as evidenced by 300 and Watchmen, regardless of what you felt about them as adaptations or as films. But this looks pensive, ponderous, pompous even.
A big strike against it for me is Henry Cavill – I’ve seen him in Immortals and he was terrible, but I understand he has been much better in other productions, The Tudors, for example, so maybe that was just a bad role for him. Michael Shannon will be a very different Zod, but he always gives a fantastic, fearless performance. Amy Adams should be a more feisty Lois than the drippy mess that Kate Bosworth gave us, though nobody can replace Margot Kidder. Hopefully Kevin Costner won’t be in it for too long – unless they’ve radically changed the story and Pa Kent doesn’t pop his clogs.
Despite this being billed as the full trailer, it still feels like a teaser – it tells you nothing about the plot, only the mood, which is apparently that America is still deeply xenophobic. If it’s anything other than what you’re used to, throw it out of the town or shoot it.
Thing is, there’s still a great thrill in seeing someone in the costume, and it has to be better than Smallville, right?
Les Anderson – Can’t wait. Henry certainly looked the part in that silly wee thriller he did with Sigourney so am hoping it’ll live up to expectations. Snyder’s films always look amazing. Am hoping there might be a story of sorts. And Henry does take his shirt off.
Adam Dworak – It looks awful, it looks boring. Why are we seeing the same story again? Hollywood gorged itself on remakes, now they’re onto reboots, and we want something new. Superman is a legend, a huge piece of the history of pop culture, our history – how can they let the legend grow when every couple of years they’re rebooting it, throwing away what they’ve done before?
Henry Cavill is the wrong choice – for me, Superman represents innocence and purity. Christopher Reeve had it in his face and his acting, as did Brandon Routh, an almost angelic face. This guy is more like Wolverine with his beard and hairy chest.
If it’s a reboot, why jump to Zod – where is Lex Luthor? Spaceships? Aliens? I don’t want to Kryptonians fighting each other. It would be more interesting to see a conflict between a powerful being like Superman who has physical powers facing a human who is no match physically but is mentally superior, better than seeing two superhumans punching each other for two hours.
Brian Robinson – Wow. It looks like they’re trying to do something with some thematic resonance and not just carting out Superman for just another adventure. While I still strongly dislike the costume, this has a lot of promise. It seems like Man Of Steel is a movie very much dictated thematically by current thoughts, hopes and fears which (god help me for actually admitting this) might make it a better, stronger movie than Donner’s – I know, I know the likely reaction to that from the geek populace, but as much as I love Donner’s film and it’s iconic elements, some of which can never be replaced for me, the movie is essentially light not just in tone (which is inconsistent in the film anyway) and substance.
The new movie looks to do something with the arrival of Superman that the original did not – what if this actually happened? If that thought had been applied to the original, it would have been a very different thing. As much as people tend to forget, the world was just as an incredibly divided and suspicious place in the late 70s, especially when it came to things like a new weapon, which is how he would have been seen. We were at the height of the Cold War (Brezhnev was in office) and an event like that could likely have sparked a world war.
And watching a young boy dealing with new abilities that frighten and confuse him is something far closer to recent comics than movie-goers would know. Some lines from Costner’s Jonathan Kent also introduce some grey area morality to a character many dismiss as one note and simplistic. I’m rather excited about this new take on the Blue Boy Scout. John Williams’ theme will still be playing in my head, though.