Superman is well on his way back to the big screen, if the two "Man of Steel" teasers released alongside "The Dark Knight Rises" are any indication. By all accounts, director Zack Snyder's interpretation of DC Comics' most powerful superhero looks legendary, epic and ... well, not much like a Snyder film, to put it bluntly.
Best known for blood-spewing, slow-motion slug-fests, Snyder's "Man of Steel" teasers conjure up more somber, contemplative emotions than the adrenaline-heavy antics he's typically associated with. Snyder looks to be drawing from the masters in approaching his first flight with the Last Son of Krypton and this, for me, is a very good thing indeed.
Here are five of the most obvious sources of inspiration behind the director's two-part "Man of Steel" trailer.
Terrence Malick I never would have thought to connect the guy behind "300" to the guy behind "The Thin Red Line," but here we are. There's no doubt that Snyder's "Man of Steel" teasers evoke Malick imagery, most obviously seen as young Clark Kent plays whimsically in a field; indeed, fans could be forgiven for confusing the upcoming Superman reboot with a "Tree of Life" sequel, based on those visuals alone. Is the idea of a Malick-inspired superhero tale more powerful than a locomotive? Your tastes may vary on that one.
Christopher Nolan This influence is a bit of a no-brainer, isn't it? After all, the visionary "Dark Knight" trilogy filmmaker is a producer on "Man of Steel," with some reports going so far as to call him the "godfather" of the project. The "Man of Steel" teasers have more in common with Nolan's epic, legend-building work on Batman than they do with, say, "Superman Returns," apart from the figure at the center of the story. And I'm sure I'm not alone in being completely OK with that.
"All-Star Superman" Someone's been doing their homework! Jor-El's narration over his "Man of Steel" teaser is taken nearly word-for-word from Grant Morrison's must-read "All-Star Superman," as first pointed out by Bleeding Cool. In that comic, Morrison writes: "You have given them an ideal to aspire to, embodied their highest aspirations. They will race, and stumble, and fall and crawl and curse, and finally, they will join you in the sun, Kal-El." Compare that to what Russell Crowe utters in the teaser, and the motivation is impossible to deny.
"Deadliest Catch" Full credit to MTV Movies teammate Brian Phares for this one; I wanted to go with "The Perfect Storm," personally. Either way, we're being a little mean. But come on, the first teaser for "Man of Steel," and it's dominated by shots of a full-bearded Clark Kent working on a fishing rig? That's the first impression you want to make? Here's hoping that Clark's time at sea plays an important but relatively minor part in "Man of Steel." If Snyder trades in Brandon Routh's mopey Kryptonian for a Superman who kicks ass at catching bass, I'm going to want my money back.
Zack Snyder Love him or hate him, there are things Snyder can do that nobody else can. And if anyone had doubts that he was the right man to bring Superman back to the big screen, at least where it concerns an understanding of how the Big Blue Boy Scout's powers work in motion, then the final shot of a fully costumed Clark sonic-booming off into the distance should shut those doubters up pretty quickly. Snyder might be looking at all kinds of inspirations for his work on "Man of Steel," but when it comes to high-flying action, he shouldn't need to look much further than a mirror.
Tell us which inspirations you found in the "Man of Steel" teasers in the comments section below or hit me up on Twitter @roundhoward!