80 Man of Steel Trailer Screengrabs

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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.

I’m guessing this is Clark after the boat fire you see later in the trailer.
So that boat fire doesn’t end too well, eh?
Not sure what this big bundle of pencils is about, but you can certainly see director Zack Snyder is showing off his artsy side.
Coming after those pencils, this appears to be someone writing on a wall. Strangely, it’s not pencil-writing. It’s chalk on a chalkboard. Is this a glimpse of Clark at school?
Most likely this is Clark, but why is he running through the empty hallways of his school?
Looks like Clark has locked himself in a bathroom or a barn to try and block out the sounds of an entire planet.
Diane Lane as Martha Kent, offering some help to her troubled son.
Clark is not having a happy childhood.
Again, with the post-boat destruction.
More artsy shots from Snyder, this time of water washing over rocks.
Now the water motif carries us into this scene of a school bus nose-diving into a lake or a river.
A student or teacher, trapped on the bus.
A student trapped inside the bus, about to drown.
Clark saves the day! But he’s seen in the process.
Uh-oh. Busted. So who saw him? My money’s on Lana Lang.
Clark gets a talking-to about using his powers publicly from his dad.
Kevin Costner as Jonathan Kent.
Now here’s a Clark Kent you’ve never seen before: he’s got a beard. Now grown up, Clark finds his way to what looks like a fishing town in Maine or maybe Canada.
He’s still deeply troubled by his status as an outsider living among humanity.
Pa Kent gets to the point: What kind of man does Clark want to be?
This is Clark exploring something of an alien nature. So it’s either the ship that brought him to Earth, or the Fortress.
Close-up on Clark as he explores this new environment.
Clark looks like he’s ready to make his choice. Will he be a hero?
What Kryptonian piece of technology do we have here? A key? The crystal that grows into the Fortress of Solitude?
Cape time!
Clark in Antarctica, perhaps having exited the Fortress.
Clark stares into the distance, where Mordor awaits. Oh wait, wrong franchise.
Methinks this is the moment when Clark finally becomes Superman, body and soul. The moment he makes his choice.
This is the start of a cool sequence where Clark builds up to leaping into the air to take flight.
I’m not exactly sure what’s going on, in terms of physics. But it looks wicked cool.
Snow and rocks are vibrating, starting to spin in a circle beneath him…
These pictures don’t really do justice to this sequence.
Now the ground is quaking beneath him as he builds up power to fly…
And up he goes!
The ground beneath him actually cracked, in a radial pattern. Nice touch.
It’s the Red-Blue Blur! (Sorry. I still miss Smallville.)
Superman soars straight up into the sky like a rocket. Interesting choice from Snyder to show this from so far away.
Zooming in a bit, we see that the clouds are disturbed by his flying through them.
Up, up and away…
Still ascending… I’m digging the “grainy” feel of the cinematography. Makes it more realistic somehow.
Almost there.
Finally, he emerges from the atmosphere into space.
Zoom! And with this, the trailer kicks into high gear with lots of quick jump-cuts between scenes of action and peril.
A huge energy beam blasts down from space, destroying a significant part of a major city. Is it Metropolis?
Your first look at Russell Crowe as Jor-El.
There’s that boat fire I mentioned at the beginning. Clark, of course, is fireproof. And also rather hairy.
A little hard to tell what exactly is happening here. Thanks for the crappy video quality, YouTube.
A sky or space battle of some kind.
Looks like a Kryptonian ship comes to Smallville. Maybe they’re looking for Kal-El?
Your first look at Michael Shannon as Zod. (Rumor has it he’s incredible in the role.)
Military figures of some kind (human? Kryptonian?) have Superman on the ropes. Is that blood he’s spitting out?
Our first look at Laurence Fishburne as Perry White. He and another pedestrian are fleeing from a crumbling building — which looks pretty cool. I hope it’s not the Daily Planet building.
This is either Zod surveying the destruction he’s causing on Earth, or Jor-El watching Krypton destroy itself.
A fisherman throws his net in the lower right corner, while something bright and yellow flies overhead, likely crashing down from space.
Superman appears to have been arrested by human authorities.
Back on that burning ship, I’m guessing, Clark does something heroic but difficult.
In Metropolis, Superman flies straight down the side of a building, on a collision course with another flying individual. Zod, most likely. Also note the building with smoke pouring out of it in the background.
Superman and Zod(?)
A Kryptonian space vessel
A pair of government officials, I’m thinking.
A tender father/son moment.
Clark rescues a little girl from a massive tornado.
Is this Smallville? Probably.
Clark looks at his school yearbook.
Superman hugs either his mom or Lois Lane, in the ruins of a destroyed building.
Superman flies into a big ball of energy. Or something.
The suit.
Superman is hit by something, flinging him…
…into that bank vault we saw in the first official promo pic for the movie.
Not sure what’s happening here, but I love the symmetry.
Superman looks into the eyes of his true love, at a dire moment.
Your first look at Amy Adams as Lois Lane. (What do you think? Does she learn his secret in this movie, or are they saving that for the next one?)
Superman and Clark hold hands.
Soldiers engage an enemy with deadly force…
….An enemy that turns out to be Superman!
The title treatment.
The new S shield.
Credits
Credits
Credits

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