10 Things We Know About MAN OF STEEL, So Far

<i>by <a href=http://www.twitter.com/Newsarama/>Newsarama Staff</a></i> <p>The long-awaited Superman reboot film <b>Man of Steel</b> is now less than three months away, with a release date of June 14. Yet, there's still not a lot that's definitively known about the plot of the film, and that's by design. <p>"I'm genuinely pleased with how much secrecy we've been able to maintain," screenwriter David S. Goyer told <a href=http://www.totalfilm.com/news/david-s-goyer-talks-man-of-steel-s-secrecy>Total Film</a>. "There's so much of the movie that people don't know, that hasn't been touched upon. The trailer's just the tiniest, tiniest tip of the iceberg." <p>While there's plenty of rumor and speculation out there like how the movie <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/film/justice-league-movie-rumors.html>may or may not connect to the planned <i>Justice League</i> film</a> thanks to the most recent trailer and a few other tidbits, here's what we <i>do</i> know about <b>Man of Steel</b>, along with a couple of fairly educated guesses. <p><i>Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's <a href=http://www.facebook.com/Newsarama><b>FACEBOOK</b></a> and <a href=http://twitter.com/newsarama><b>TWITTER</b></a>!</i> <p>

HE'S A HERO FROM THE START

Whether it's the adventures of Superboy or a young Clark Kent referred to as "The Blur," part of the fabric of Superman's being is that he's simply <i>always</i> been a hero. <p>In the most recent trailer, with a few lines of dialogue and the scene of young Clark saving children from a sinking bus, we see that he's a hero long before he dons the S shield and the cape. In fact, with all of Henry Cavill's wondrous poses, the long walk on the snow with cape waving, the flight, and the action, there's one single look that makes Clark Kent look like Superman more than any other in the trailer, and it's given by young actor Dylan Sprayberry that look from outside the emergency exit of the bus looking in: that is Superman coming to life. <p>The cape is just what makes him identifiable the hero is there all along, and it looks like <b>Man of Steel</b> will make that apparent. (<i>Lucas Siegel</i>.)

THE LOOK

<b>Man of Steel</b>'s Superman costume is unconventional, to say the least. Eschewing many classic elements of Superman's costume for an alien look that is, at once, both simpler and more complex, this suit looks to have more in common with the current New 52 comic book look than the traditional design that most recognize. <p>Fortunately, seeing it in action in the footage released thus far all but allays concerns that it won't be recognizable, as scenes of flight, super speed, and combat all look equally as powerful as the quiet moments, such as when Superman and Lois clutch each other's hands. It just goes to show that all you really need to make Superman look like, well, Superman, is that iconic shield emblem, and a flashing red cape. <p>Just as important as the suit itself, though, are the environments in which the suit is placed, and its dynamic in the film. <b>Man of Steel</b>'s Clark Kent looks almost disheveled, wearing every bit of the pressure he feels not just as Earth's protector, but as Krypton's only son on his character. By showcasing Superman against fiery, chaotic backgrounds, and sparse, arctic tundra, the idea that Superman is a symbol of hope, to be seen by everyone and instantly recognized really comes through, cutting what some would call the brooding, realist tone with a red and blue knife. (<i>George Marston</i>.)

SUPERMAN DEBUTS AFTER ZOD?

Movie trailers are, of course, edited in ways that can be completely in conflict with the finished movie, but there's something about <b>Man of Steel</b>'s trailer that makes one wonder whether Superman appears <em>after</em> Zod visits Earth. Perhaps it's the appearance of a spacecraft next to what may be the Kent farm, or the fact that Superman in chains makes a <em>lot</em> more sense if you imagine that the army thinks that he's working with Zod to try and take over the world or, maybe, the sight of Henry Cavill asking someone off-camera if they could explain where he came from. <p>There may be more of a reason to re-tell Superman's origin story than just "It's been 35 years since <em>Superman The Movie</em>" when <b>Man of Steel</b> is released; what if the new movie changes the origin as we know it to create a situation where Zod reveals Superman's true Kryptonian heritage to him, in an attempt to gain an ally only for Superman to turn around and reject that heritage and stand up for humanity? It would bring Zod more fully into the Superman mythos, and also give Superman a chance to embrace his human upbringing instead of long for his Kryptonian past... but is it something that the fan base could accept? (<i>Graeme McMillan</i>.)

AN ARMY OF KRYPTONIANS?

You know, there's an awful lot of explosions in the second half of the <b>Man of Steel</b> trailer. Sure, at least one of them seems to be the destruction of Krypton, but the other ones...? Or the debris that includes buses? Or the multiple shots of spacecraft...? We see Zod, but it's possible he didn't necessarily come alone or, for that matter, necessarily come from the Phantom Zone this time around, either. <p>Is Zod leading an invasion force made up of the last of the Kryptonian race this time around? That might explain why the military are so concerned about Superman, after all... <p>Worth noting, perhaps: A leaked Lego product name <a href=http://www.bleedingcool.com/2012/09/21/is-black-zero-in-man-of-steel/>revealed that something called "Black Zero" may be in the movie</a> - "Black Zero" was the name of Zod's military outfit in the "New Krypton" storyline that ran through the <em>Superman</em> titles in 2008 and 2009. Here's hoping that this means that Zod will be accompanied by more than just Ursa and Non this time around. (<i>Graeme McMillan</i>.)

LOIS WILL GROUND HIM (IN A GOOD WAY)

There hasn't been much revealed so far of Amy Adams as Lois Lane, but she provides a power image in the trailer comforting Superman with a supporting glance and held hand before he's, it appears, apprehended by military forces. (As seen in an early poster, the <a href=http://www.newsarama.com/film/superman-man-of-steel-poster-handcuffs.html>poor dude gets led away in cuffs at some point</a>.) <p>The suggestion from the trailer is that in the same way Ma and Pa Kent ground and humanize Clark Kent in his early years, Lois will likely do the same for him in adulthood. It's worth noting that the characters' iconic romance isn't blatantly shown in this brief glimpse, but rather a more subtle display of Lois as an understanding partner in Superman's quest. <p>With a multiple Oscar nominee like Amy Adams in the role, odds are strong that Lois won't merely be a love interest or damsel in distress, but rather an important part of the film (and Superman)'s narrative journey. As Adams told <a href=http://www.totalfilm.com/news/amy-adams-talks-lois-lane>Total Film</a> magazine, "I wanted her to be a woman other women could relate to. And not be sort of a pest. Lois can be kind of omnipresent, turning up at very inconvenient times which she does! ? but you understand her reasons." (<i>Albert Ching</i>.)

JIMMY OR JENNY?

Much of the traditional Superman supporting cast is accounted for so far in <b>Man of Steel</b>: Ma and Pa Kent, Lois Lane, Perry White, plus Kal-El's birth parents Jor-El and Lara. <p>Conspicuous by his absence is Superman's pal Jimmy Olsen, and it looks like there might be a very good reason for that: <a href=http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0770828/fullcredits?ref_=tt_cl_sm#cast>IMDb</a> lists Rebecca Buller as the "rumored" Jenny Olsen, which presumably means a gender-flipped version of the classic sidekick. <p>It would certainly be another way to show that <b>Man of Steel</b> is breaking from Superman tradition in some significant ways, and the trailer appears to show Buller whose role has yet to be officially confirmed running side-by-side with Daily Planet "chief" Perry White, as played by Laurence Fishburne. (<I>Albert Ching</i>.)

'THE WORLD IS TOO BIG.'

In a simple sequence, juxtaposing a young Clark Kent suffering from the onset of his super-senses against an adult Clark immersing himself in the ocean to escape the noise and sensory input that plagues a man who can hear every voice on Earth, the <b>Man of Steel</b> trailer showcases just one of the ways in which Clark must struggle with his gifts, attempting to embrace humanity and live a normal life. Further, by using Ma Kent as a tool to help young Clark learn to control his powers, Zack Snyder cleverly gives each of Clark's parents a formative role in his upbringing as a superhero. <p>Beyond simply humanizing Superman, or at least showing some of the internal conflicts he's dealt with, this sequence provides a credible glimpse at the extent of Superman's abilities, and provides more than enough motivation and need for Superman's famous Fortress of Solitude. With this scene, <b>Man of Steel</b> establishes the need for a place to which Superman can retreat not just to learn his culture, but to find true peace from the pressures of heroism. (<i>George Marston</i>.)

YES, SUPERMAN WILL PUNCH SOMEONE

Two minutes into the <b>Man of Steel</b> trailer, your fears of another movie (like <i>Superman Returns</i>) that has the most powerful man on Earth not actually using his abilities offensively at all will be put to rest. <p>In the brief glimpse, we see exactly why having someone like Zod around is great for Superman: the villain represents someone the Man of Steel can hit as hard as he can. The two fly toward each other and, thanks to the solid editing job, the clash results in no less than a firy explosion. <p>And that may be what Zack Snyder brings to this project from the start, his mind for big action. Remember, Superman stars in <i>Action Comics</i>, so his adventures should show what he can do in a big way. It looks, from this short glimpse, that <b>Man of Steel</b> won't disappoint there. (<i>Lucas Siegel</i>.)

PA KENT'S IMPORTANT ROLE

Many fans are already latching on to a pivotal moment in the <b>Man of Steel</b> trailer, in which a young Clark Kent poses a moral question to his father, and receives a less-than-expected answer. <p>With one simple word, "maybe," Zack Snyder says more about his vision for Superman, and the world in which he lives, than in much of the rest of the trailer as a whole. While many fans are uncomfortable at best with the grey area that Snyder's Pa Kent looks to embody, citing the character's history as Clark/Superman's moral guide, there are others who see the scene as being indicative of a deeper relationship between Clark and his father. <p>In fact, that idea, of a world in which Superman must choose his own path, and learn not only from his successes, but from his possible mistakes, speaks to a theme of consequence for <b>Man of Steel</b>, where Superman must consider the ramifications of every decision he makes, from something as simple, yet powerful, as saving a life, to something as momentous as revealing his existence to the world. For a being with such immense power, every step may have unintended results, and that idea of power and awareness seems central to <b>Man of Steel</b>'s take on Superman. (<i>George Marston</i>.)

NOT THE COMIC FAN'S SUPERMAN MOVIE

As lifelong comic book fans in the middle of it everyday ourselves, we think we're allowed to say this as a group we <i>sometimes</i> judge new works adapted from our favorite comics based less on pure artistic or creative merit, and more through the prism of how the interpretation reflects our ideas of what Superman, or Batman, or Spider-Man story <i>should</i> be how it adheres to and "respects" what we identity as the true "spirit" of the character or concept. <p>We hold certain "truths" as self-evident, and expect any adaptations to reflect them. <p><i>Some</i> of the early comic books fans reaction to Pa Kent's "maybe" line that this isn't something Pa Kent would ever think or say out loud to his adopted adolescent son is perhaps the trailer's best indicator that Snyder's vision might not try to be the Superman movie hardcore fans have unspooled in their heads since the Donner films... that the characters and the mythology won't be directly transplanted from stories we've read over the decades and given a new coat of paint. That his could very well be a genuinely new take on Superman. <p>Now whether you regard that as a positive or a negative is a discussion for another day... (<i>Michael Doran</i>.)

10 Things We Know About MAN OF STEEL, So Far

Date: 11 December 2012 Time: 09:08 PM ET