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There are few things as reliable in this world as a great trailer for a Zack Snyder film. The movie itself might ultimately be a disappointment, but the trailers always rank among the year’s best, perhaps pushing expectations further than Snyder can actually accomplish. Watchmen, Sucker Punch … even the trailer for Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole had me thinking it might be an LOTR-worthy epic (it wasn’t).
The new full-length trailer for Snyder’s upcoming Superman reboot Man of Steel fits right into that tradition. Gorgeous music, iconic imagery and a pulse-pounding flurry of action near the end is sure to have fanboys and lay-viewers alike in a lather. There’s still not a lot of clues as to the film’s main plot, but this moody extended look promises a melancholy, realist exploration of Superman’s origins.
In fact, you can see the fingerprints of producer/story advisor Christopher Nolan all over this trailer. This version of Superman (played by Henry Cavill) doesn’t seem to be the single-minded all-American hero we’re used to: he’s more sorrowful, more conflicted about his role as a god amongst men. His adopted father (Kevin Costner) encourages young Clark to keep his powers hidden, no matter what the cost. His mother (Diane Lane) tries to assuage his overwhelming isolation. Heroism is not going to come easily to this version of Clark Kent; it’s going to be a choice he has to make, and I think Nolan’s Bruce Wayne would find something in common with that conundrum.
Psychological complexity has never been a strong suit of the Superman films. That promise of the Nolan touch would be enough to get most people excited for Man of Steel, but there’s plenty more here: Amy Adams and Michael Shannon look great as Lois Lane and General Zod, respectively, even though they both only have brief glimpses in this trailer. And Cavill promises a new, rougher take on Superman himself, unlike poor Brandon Routh, who got stuck doing his best Christopher Reeve impression.
And of course, this is Zack Snyder, so he’s clearly not going to skimp on the action. The Man of Steel appears to be fighting off a two-pronged attack, coming into conflict with both the American army and a presumably extraterrestrial force. When it comes to defending his adopted home planet, Superman’s got his work cut out for him.
It was going to take a lot to get excited for Superman again after the total dud of Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, but this trailer delivers. We might be getting way ahead of ourselves, but there’s a tonal consistency here with The Dark Knight Trilogy that Warner Bros. might even be able to use to springboard into a Justice League film. Before this trailer, I never would’ve imagined that a super-powered alien could exist in the same world as Nolan’s Batman. Now? I’m almost there.
In response to Clark Kent’s query at the end of the teaser: we are very much ready for you, Man of Steel.