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comic-con 2012

Comic-Con: Zack Snyder Shows Off His Slow-Mo Superman

Henry Cavill in 'Man of Steel.'

The first trailer for Zack Snyder's Superman reboot Man of Steel will play before The Dark Knight Rises next weekend, and that's no accident: Beyond the fact that Christopher Nolan produced Man of Steel, the studio is eager to draw every comparison it can to its most prestigious, lucrative superhero franchise. At Comic-Con today, before sneak-previewing that trailer, Legendary Pictures head Thomas Tull even asked if the audience was ready to "see what happens if Chris Nolan and Zack Snyder had a baby and named it Kal-El."

So what did it look like? Pretty terrific, as expected: Snyder's movies in particular make for great trailers. Notably, not too much of it had new Superman Henry Cavill in costume; instead, it starts with his Clark Kent working in a boatyard, bearded and slightly anonymous (as much as someone can be with that super physique). He flashes back to his childhood in Smallville, where he saved a school bus that plummeted into the water and learned of his extra-terrestrial origin from surrogate dad Kevin Costner, who was fearful that Clark would be in trouble if people learned who he is: "People are afraid of what they don't understand."

That's one perspective; another comes from his real dad Kal-El, played by Russell Crowe, who provides much of the plummy voice-over in the trailer and encourages Clark to "aspire to something greater." Eventually, we see a cleaned-up Clark don both his Superman costume and his Daily Planet drag, and then there's a whole lot of action, a whole lot of flying, and only the briefest look at Michael Shannon as the villainous Zod and Amy Adams at Lois Lane (though we do see her in a romantic clinch with Supes). And yes, there's plenty of Snyder's trademark slow-mo, but it makes for a kicky juxtaposition with Superman's super-fast flying.

So is this the equivalent of Batman Begins for Superman, rebooting the comic-book character in a more realistic, grounded way? A serene Snyder said his guiding question while making the movie was, "How would you feel if you were Superman?" though one of the fans during the Q&A had a much more dramatic question in mind. "Between Nolan's Batman and your Superman, who would win?" Snyder hemmed and hawed for a bit, but then broke it down: "Look, I love Batman, right? He's awesome. But, like, really?"