Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What Does the "S" Stand For?

The third - and likely "final" - theatrical trailer for Man of Steel has hit the net, and it looks great.

How great?


I still think that the single smartest move that the film-makers made so far was using "Is there a place for Superman in today's world?" as the central narrative hook of the movie.

As if this image didn't make that abundantly clear...

But the (apparent) decision to go completely all-out visually NUTS with Superman's abilities ranks as a close second. You don't get audiences excited about a man who can do anything by downplaying his abilities - you do it by showing exactly what he can do, and then giving him a challenge that tests even THAT. This is one of the (many, many, MANY) reasons that The Avengers worked so well.

There's a few points of interest here, aside from the LEXCORP logo on one of the buildings at the 2:19 mark. One is the fact that Man of Steel seems to take the "go big or go home" approach to the sci-fi trappings of Superman, and that's a very good thing - this is after all a story about a guy from another planet who literally tussles with gods from time to time. Another is that the more I see of this, the more parallels I see between Snyder's new movie and the graphic novel Superman: Birthright which also imagines Clark as a globe-trotting soul-searcher who takes up the "S" shield as a way of carrying the flag that gave his birth world hope in order to bring the same to his adoptive planet.

And that's possibly the most encouraging thing about this project, doing a great deal to allay worries that some have had since WB announced their intention to bring a bit of Nolan's Batman to their other properties. Muted colors and mild angsty streak aside, the unstoppable optimism that has always been the cornerstone of the character of Superman appears alive and well in this, from Jor-El's speech about wonders to the music, to way the marketing is steadfastly focused on Clark/Kal-El and his goal of inspiration. Even though Man of Steel apparently has a marvelous bad guy in Michael Shannon's General Zod, the spotlight has been on the hero, not his dark counterpart.

Here's hoping the actual movie turns out this good.

"It stands for courage. It stands for hope. It stands for SUPERMAN."
- Superman: Birthright, 2004

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