Here’s the latest trailer for “Man of Steel.” The Superman reboot, due next summer, is directed by Zack Snyder (“300,” “Watchmen” and “Sucker Punch”) and produced by Christopher Nolan (duh). The Nolan involvement, in particular, gives us hope that the latest attempt at forcing a Superman movie will finally prove worthwhile.
Remember, the last decent Superman film (“Superman II”) came out in 1980. Since that movie came out, we have seen two crappy sequels, one so-so sequel/reboot (“Superman Returns”), 14 seasons of live-action television (“Lois and Clark” and “Smallville”) and at least two aborted cinematic nightmares (the Kevin Smith/Tim Burton version and the J.J. Abrams version, both of which would have been SO BAD in SO MANY WAYS, if the scripts are to be believed) (and that doesn’t even account for all of the other Superman film ideas/projects that went nowhere, by the way). That is a long, long, long time without what can be accurately described as a high-quality caliber of live-action Superman.
Superman is an unusually hard nut to crack, at least in terms of superheroes. The character is inherently disinteresting, or at least less interesting than Batman, Spider-Man, Wolverine and the other top-tier comic book heroes. The first “Superman” movie, released in 1978, worked at the time (and still operates as the inspiration for every single superhero origin movie released since), but we have entered an era where that doesn’t cut it. Making a decent comic book movie (see: “The Amazing Spider-Man”) doesn’t rev anyone’s engines or rake in jaw-dropping numbers; you need to deliver something different, something special (“The Dark Knight,” “Iron Man,” “The Avengers”).
Superman, the godlike guy with so many powers it becomes dull and the vanilla main story, is not that intriguing of a central character. But as “Iron Man” proved, the comic book character doesn’t need to be tremendous for the movie to work. All it takes is an interesting take. Nolan seems to have brought his trademark seriousness and realism to this project, and he and Snyder have assembled a stellar cast around Henry Cavill (Amy Adams plays Lois Lane, Michael Shannon is the bad guy, Russell Crowe is his birth father and Kevin Costner and Diane Lane play his adopted human parents). I’m still not convinced Superman is an essential big-screen character, but this trailer shows a lot of potential. It looks like it could finally make the strained efforts at rebooting the franchise worthwhile.