There’s something strange about the two trailers for “Man of Steel,” especially the one that premiered online Tuesday and, by several accounts, moved grown men to tears. Aside from the fact that both previews from Zack Snyder’s reboot are visually stunning and don’t spoil the entire movie, the trailers have been largely left untouched by the Internet snark machine. In the age of instant and innumerable Twitter reactions, how is that possible? To understand why these trailers have been as indestructible as Superman, we’ve broken it down for you.
A Change in Tone
When Warner Bros. got Christopher Nolan to act as executive producer in hopes to extend the success of “The Dark Knight Trilogy,” many assumed that his treatment of the last son of Krypton would be identical to the “Batman Begins” reboot plan: ground it in reality, make it gritty. Well, Nolan, Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer made it grittier — but not in the way everyone was expecting. Superman isn’t Batman, and he never should be treated the same way thematically.
Understanding the Character
Look around any commenter thread or blog post and you’ll find a handful of moments from the trailer that really landed with fans — Russell Crowe’s “How?” response, “in the sun” speech. Kevin Costner’s Pa Kent is making everyone ask why he isn’t in more movies. The conversation about the “S” near the end is both clever and thematically important. But what is it about these scenes that everyone is picking up on and citing when calling this “the Superman movie they’ve always wanted”? There’s an understanding of the character on display here that people haven’t seen in a long time. “Man of Steel” understands that you can change the specifics, but you have to keep ideas.
Making a Superhero More Human
How do you take a nearly indestructible alien and make his problems relatable to an audience of lowly human moviegoers? This is the challenge of any Superman story. There have been several successful attempts to make us care about Superman — like putting him in a room with Batman. And while 2006′s “Superman Returns” played too much fans’ old-movie nostalgia, “Man of Steel” makes our hero more relatable to modern audiences.
Music to Another Hero’s Ears
Can we pause for a moment to give a hand to Mr. Hans Zimmer? The triumphant score you heard in the second trailer comes from the film’s actual soundtrack and matches perfectly with the imagery that we’ve seen thus far. The first preview effectively used the haunting chants of Lisa Gerrard, but the Zimmer score synchs up with the filmmaker’s vision and sounds nothing like his “The Dark Knight” work. You can already hear film score nerds chomping at the bit for that soundtrack.
Visuals for Today’s Man of Steel
Regardless of where you fall on the Zack Snyder spectrum, you have to admit that the man can put together a good looking movie. But what matters most about Snyder’s take on the visuals is that they are new for the character. “Superman Returns” lived and died by Bryan Singer’s vision of his childhood hero from years ago. Snyder’s aesthetic, on the other hand, lines up with the hopefulness of the script and already appears much more cohesive.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Man of Steel,” out June 14.