We are just three weeks out from the premiere of Man of Steel, and, more importantly, the moment that Superman will launch himself into the upper reaches of the atmosphere, close his eyes, and listen to the millions of voices crying out from Earth's besieged multiplexes in either delighted rapture or unbridled outrage, then decide whether to return to his adopted home to bask in the glory of the triumphant box office hero or fly himself right into the center of the sun, an unloved martyr accepting with fatal resignation that his time has passed. The threshold for the decision will probably be about 75 million opening-weekend American dollars. Below that, the chatter will be of disappointment, of underperformance, of unmet expectations. Above that, the cheers will drown out the sighs, and Krypton's favorite son will justify putting off his nuclear self-immolation through at least the debut of the sequel.
Either this trailer will speak to you on an inner-child level, bypassing your reflexive cynicism about summer blockbusters, or it won't, because either you did the blanket-cape thing as a kid or you didn't. After the trailer hit the web, my Twitter timeline filled up with posts from (presumably) grown men proudly announcing that it had made them cry; this means it worked. (Blockbuster + tearjerker = tearbuster?) People latch on to different superheroes for different reasons, but the reasons people attach to Superman are almost always sentimental ones. His whole mythos is bound up in cultural bygones — family farms, daily newspapers, phone booths — and a yearning for innocence and safety and moral clarity. Batman is about murk, and murk is always updatable; Superman is about innocence, and innocence is tougher to modernize. Hiring a bleeding-edge director like Zack Snyder for the relaunch (and involving The Dark Knight's Christopher Nolan as a creative godfather) seemed like Warner Bros.'s way of hedging a bet on the character, and to some degree like a vote of no confidence in his potential appeal to 21st-century moviegoers; what's surprising about the movie the trailers appear to be selling is how blanket-capey it seems.
Note: This will be our last Trailers of the Week of 2012. We thank you for tuning in for more than 50 trailer roundups with us this year, and can't wait to get back to overanalyzing (Dan) and always being afraid of everything (Rembert) in 2013. — Dan and Rem
Pacific Rim (July 12)
Silver: If I ever had to be placed into a medically induced coma because my cine-geek meter went into overdrive, I truly believe that Pacific Rim would be what I’d dream about. And this got me thinking, Rem: We’ve been buddies for a while now, but how well do you really know me? Let’s find out.
I’m most excited about this movie because
A. It contains giant fracking monsters fighting giant fracking robots
B. It’s the first Guillermo del Toro move since 2008
C. By casting Idris Elba, Charlie Hunnam, Ron Perlman, and Charlie Day, it's clear that Guillermo and I like and watch the same TV shows
D. All of the above
My favorite part of this trailer
A. Glimpses at all of the original del Toro creature/robot designs
B. Giant frackin' robot-rocket-propelled punch
C. Idris Elba’s reboot of Bill Pullman’s “Today is our Independence Day” speech
D. All of the above
Upon release of this trailer my wife
A. Was annoyed with me because I couldn’t stop exuding random guttural pleasure sounds or screaming “Yes!” and “Oh, hell yeah!”
B. Was annoyed with me because I watched the trailer eight times in 30 minuntes — on my iPhone, my iPad, my MacBook, and in ginormous and glorious HD via my Apple TV
C. Told me I was nuts for looking to see if tickets were already available for pre-sale
D. None of the above. She was doing all of the above right alongside me because she’s as big of a geek as I am.
"Let's all reconvene here several months hence, after they've revealed the first official trailer, and decide whether or not to strip Snyder to his burgundy galoshes and lock him away in the Phantom Zone," we wrote back in late July after viewing some inconclusive teaser footage, skeptical that 300 slow-motion fetishist Zack Snyder would be able to translate his CGI ab-fabricating magic to the rebooted Superman franchise. Well, the full-length trailer for Man of Steel has finally been unleashed on the public, and here we are, keeping our promise to consider the new evidence in the case of Nerds v. The Guy Who Inflicted Gerard Butler on the World, How's That Working Out for Everybody?
Faster than you could think, I wonder what they're going to do with Batman next as you waited for The Dark Knight Rises to begin this weekend, lo and behold, Warner Bros. beamed a teaser trailer for Man of Steel, the first installment of what the studio hopes to be a rejuvenated Superman franchise, directly into untold millions of reboot-susceptible eye sockets. In case you've forgotten, there's a helpful reminder that MoS is directed by 300's Zack Snyder, whose last two non-Gahoolian cinematic efforts were superboning-to-Leonard Cohen-inside-a-hovering-armored-owl's-head misfire Watchmen, and Sucker Punch, in which Snyder somehow botched the foolproof premise — emotionally disturbed, jailbait she-ninjas fighting giant robots — he burgled from the priapic fanboy collective unconscious. If you want to question this director's ability to resurrect the prematurely mothballed hero based on his recent résumé, we're not going to put on our tattered Superman Underoos, run backwards around the laptop at the speed of light, and make you watch a clip of a roaring Gerard Butler kicking a dude into a bottomless pit to change your mind.
Man of Steel, Warner Brothers’ latest attempt at rebooting their Superman franchise, exists for one reason and one reason alone, and it isn’t because fauxteur par excellence Zack Snyder needed more money to buy soldier outfits for his doll collection. The truth is Warners stood to lose a large share of the rights to the last son of Krypton come 2013, so getting Henry Cavill in spandex became a greater priority than, oh, say, having a compelling story to tell. Luckily, broody genius Christopher Nolan was brought in as executive producer to sprinkle some of his critic-proof, money-minting angst dust on the proceedings. And judging from the just-released first photo of Cavill in those iconic blue (and now scaly?) pajamas, Nolan is certainly earning his gigantic paycheck. Step one in Nolanizing a movie? Lean on the dimmer! Judging from the photo this small step alone has definitely succeeded in making things darker — just probably not in the way anyone had intended. Still, what’s the point of waiting for white-balances when you have a legal obligation to duck? We look forward to squinting — in 3D! — when Man of Steel releases the summer after next.
Deposed CSI starLaurence Fishburne will play Daily Planet editor-in-chief Perry White in Zack Snyder's Superman: Man of Steel. Nice to see fictional newspapers hiring again. Grade: B+ [EW]
Speaking of Man of Steel, as soon as he's finished directing it, Zack Snyder will make The Last Photograph, an uncharacteristically prestigious-ish-sounding film about a pair of Americans who attempt to rescue a kidnapping victim in war-torn Afghanistan. Niels Arden Oplev (Girl With the Dragon Tattoo) was previously attached to direct, with Christian Bale and Sean Penn in the lead roles. No word on whether they'll stay with the project or Snyder will look for stars with more experience acting in slow motion. Grade: B [Twitch via Variety]