While Marvel are having uproarious fun with their multi-character, cross-pollinating franchises, you have to remember rivals DC still own unarguably the two greatest comic-book characters ever: Batman and Superman. There's still talk of them doing a Justice League ensemble movie in direct response to The Avengers' $1bn global box-office, but I personally think that's a huge mistake. They should be taking a different approach and offering audience's an alternative to Marvel's bright eye-candy. Christopher Nolan's The Dark Knight trilogy is a great example of an alternate approach (although the ball was set in motion three years before Iron Man, so it's Marvel who are responding to Batman's realism), and now DC's looking to "Nolanize" the granddaddy of superheroes: Superman.
The first full-length trailer for Watchmen director Zack Snyder's Man of Steel was released yesterday, and it looks good. A little too washed out in terms of colour, but otherwise I'm happy and suitably intrigued. The emphasis is less on spectacle than you might have expected, but more on tone and the Clark Kent's feelings of isolation as a farm boy growing up. We have glimpses of villainous General Zod (Michael Shannon) and reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams), but this trailer isn't promoting a Superman movie in the usual way. I'm sure some fans will dislike the feeling it's less colourful and amusing than the previous movies—from the Christopher Reeves-starring ones in the '80s, to 2006's quasi-sequel Superman Returns. The Dark Knight has clearly had a direct influence on The Man of Steel's approach—as evidenced by the fact the project got started thanks to Batman Begins' screenwriter David Goyer persuading Christopher Nolan to get this reboot made with his support and guidance.
You can tell a lot from a trailer, but not everything. I still really love the casting here, though. Henry Cavill as Supes looks fantastic, Amy Adams as Lois is great (although I'd have preferred the shortlisted Rachel McAdams), Shannon as Zod is absolute genius, Russell Crowe as Jor-El almost equally so, Kevin Costner as Pa Kent is brilliantly unexpected (although he's playing the character as cynical?!), and ditto Diane Lane as Ma Kent (see also: hubb-hubba). I'm sure the special effects will be excellent, although we only get a quick taste of things here. I was more excited by the prospect of Returns when it comes to visuals, seeing as the character hadn't been seen on the big screen in the digital era.
As intended, this trailer is primarily showcasing the tone of the movie as akin to Batman Begins—while still allowing for the fundamentally "unrealistic" concept of an alien émigré flying around the world in red underpants rescuing people. I hope the finished movie has more comedy than this footage presents us with, but otherwise I look forward to future trailers placing more emphasis on other aspects of the movie. As a pallet cleanser, these two-minutes do their job well. I'm excited to see Superman back on the big screen. I just hope he isn't joined by Aquaman, Wonder Woman and The-bloody-Flash in a few years...