We’ve got ourselves a new Man of Steel trailer, and it’s full of first looks at lots of characters, as well as our first action scenes. Check out these high-res screengrabs, as well as my theory on the plot of the movie.
So, based on what we’ve seen from these trailers so far — not to mention what we know about Christopher Nolan’s viewpoint on superhero movies in general — I think I can sum up what most of the story is about. Potential spoilers ahead. Skip to the pics if you want to avoid spoilers.
Director Zack Snyder is on record saying that the way they chose to approach Man of Steel is as if no other movie (or TV series) had ever been made about Superman. So it’s an origin story that’s made for modern audiences, and with Nolan being a stickler for finding the emotional core of the story and keeping it as realistic as possible, here’s what I think happens in the movie.
The Superman of Man of Steel is the least comic-book-y version of the character ever seen. As we watch him grow up in the earliest scenes, we see how isolated and different he feels, and this has left very deep scars on his psyche. This is perfectly illustrated in the clip of him crying as a little boy as his super-hearing suddenly develops, surrounding him with a world full of noisy people he can’t block out. Martha Kent tries to help her son cope as best she can, but of course she has no experience with this sort of thing. No one does. Jonathan Kent, on the other hand, is deeply concerned about keeping his son’s secret in order to keep him safe. This is perhaps a more alarmist and extreme version of Jonathan than we’ve seen before, who doesn’t only want to keep his son’s secret, but who warns him that the world may never be ready to accept him. This is dramatically shown to us when someone at Clark’s school witnesses him saving a school bus full of kids.
Clark grows up and doesn’t immediately jump into the journalism-slash-superhero business. In his early twenties, he roams the world, trying to find himself and his place in it. This includes a stint working on a fishing boat. But no matter what he does or where he goes, he can’t escape the truth about himself: he’s different, and he’s meant to be a superhero. When he puts on the cape and the tights and makes himself known, he comes into direct conflict with the military, who see him as a threat to our world. As proof of his heroic intentions, he allows himself to be arrested by the military and questioned about his origins. But his struggles with loneliness and his conflict with the military both come to a head when a conquering alien force arrives on our world, lead by General Zod of Krypton. Suddenly, Clark is no longer alone in the universe — but this is no dream come true. It’s a nightmare. The U.S. is forced to work with Superman to fight off the alien invasion.
From there, I think we can all imagine where things go. All in all, I’m encouraged by what I see in this trailer. Examining the psychological effects of growing up as an alien is a fascinating choice for Nolan, Snyder, and screenwriter David Goyer. Now it all comes down to the execution. Personally, I just hope we’re going to see a truly epic-scale throwdown between Supes and Zod.
Oh, and I also kind of like that this is the first Superman movie ever to have no Lex Luthor at all. I know that’s sacrilegious for hardcore fans, but Superman needs a foe of equal strength to establish himself as the greatest hero of all, for a new generation. Besides, this leaves Man of Steel 2 to introduce a new, completely reimagined Lex Luthor, much like The Dark Knight upped the ante on that series by introducing Heath Ledger’s Joker.