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?”