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Comic-Con 2012: ‘Man of Steel’ Reinvents Superman

Comic-Con 2012 'Man of Steel' panel
Kevin Winter, Getty Images

Many of us come to Comic-Con ready to talk nerdy about obscure characters that have only appeared in an out-of-continuity one-shot. There is, however, an understood love we have for the most basic, universal characters. To some, Superman, is comic books. And it’s time to bring him back to comic book movies.

“Superman’s pretty awesome,” says Zack Snyder. It was one of thirteen uses of the A-word that I caught. It’s okay. The man speaks with his images.

His main goal with ‘Man of Steel‘ is to make being Superman more relatable. “How would YOU feel if you were Superman?” With that, we saw a teaser that lasted roughly two-and-a-half minutes. It is different from what will be attached to ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ next week.

There’s a man hitchhiking in the snowy woods. Intercut with this are handheld images of a boy in a bucolic back yard.  He’s got a red cape. Over more handheld images from his childhood (model trains and the like) we hear a woman say “my son saw what Clark did on that bus.” We see a bus crash into a body of water, then a young man emerging and lifting it.

There’s a dog with his tongue hanging out (Krypto?) then Kevin Costner’s Pa Kent saying “you are not of this world.”

In the Kent’s Smallville barn is a weird, grey floating…thing. I know a lot about Superman, but I didn’t know what it was. The remnants of his Kryptonian escape craft?

Then: Russell Crowe’s Jor-El handing young Clark a blocky, silver ring with the “S” insignia.

Next: Superman in flight with an arc of wind against him. He’s zooming through the sky, then bashing around Metropolis (Hey! The Daily Planet! Yay!) and there’s one close-up of Michael Shannon, who may or may not be playing General Zod.

I can tell you it did not have the look of a usual Zack Snyder picture. The music used was what was in the ‘Star Trek’ trailer (temporary, but great) and it had much more of a Chris Nolan vibe.

Snyder equivocated about whether or not this film was taken from a specific comics arcs.

Henry Cavill pointed to a giant Superman logo and said, “I get to wear that on my chest. I hope that I’ve done enough to please you.”

When asked if this is the run-up to an eventual Justice League movie, Snyder said, “Superman is the jewel in DC’s crown.” He said they’ll get his house in order, then see what can happen.

He also said that Hans Zimmer will not have any cues taken from John Williams’ score (as was in ‘Superman Returns.’) “We’re treating this as if none of the other Superman movies existed.”

Most importantly, a fan asked if Superman uses his heat vision to shave his beard. Snyder’s only response, “That would be a spoiler!”

Superman is out next summer, so there’ll be plenty of time to analyze every frame the studio releases. Based on today, I’m pretty stoked. I gotta be frank, I think ‘Godzilla’ and ‘Pacific Rim’ had the edge in the WB panel, but those were monsters screaming in our face. I trust in Snydernolan, and want to see more.

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