Man of Steel Trailer Review – Looks Like Crap, Here’s Why…
- February 4, 2013
- Posted by: Ryan Keyworth
- Category: Uncategorized
Listen up, folks. We need to have a talk. We need to have a very serious talk. We need to have a very serious talk about Warner Bros. upcoming Superman movie titled, Man of Steel. Many have already seen the trailer for Man of Steel, heck, we’ve probably seen it multiple times by now. While I have seen many a fan buzzing with excitement and mirth over how incredibly awesome the movie looks, I do not share in the unbridled glee many are expressing. No, I think that the new Superman movie looks like crap. Pure, utter, stinky, stinky crap. And I will tell you why.
It’s All In The Trailer
First, let’s talk about the teaser trailer. If you recall, the teaser was a few random shots of well filmed randomness, featuring voice overs from both Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe. It was extremely “art-filmy” and featured a song from Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. A song that was poignant, tragic, and moving within the context of the scene. In the trailer for Man of Steel, the song was taken out of its intended context, and made everything feel shamelessly pretentious. Now, I was hoping that this was merely a way of captivating the hearts and spirits of movie goers and nostalgic fans. Sure it was overbearing, but it worked for many, as it seemed not to just be introducing the new Superman movie, but almost write an affectionate poem for fans of Superman across the globe. An effective way of teasing at the next big comic book movie, one might say (others might say eye-roll inducing). The real juicy stuff will be in the full length trailer, right? Wrong!
As it would turn out, the full length trailer was every bit as pompous and self-righteous as the teaser trailer. It had the random art-film shots, the hauntingly serene, yet tragic music, and of course, that pensive dialog. It is not bad, per se. It is troubling, however. It is troubling because everything about this trailer seems so… serious. Like, excessively serious. Almost like it is not a Superman trailer we are watching, but a trailer for Saving Private Ryan, or Braveheart. You know, the Oscar Fodder. Not that Saving Private Ryan or Braveheart are bad movies. They are great. Fantastic even! But they are most certainly not super hero movies.
Now, I know what you might be thinking. You’re thinking, “Hang on there, Ryan. Just because the trailer is all serious on pretentious, doesn’t mean the actual movie will be. It’s a comic book movie for crying out loud!” True, but keep in mind that the whole point of a movie trailer is to establish a tone and vibe befitting of the film. A trailer, at its core, is designed to introduce filmgoers to not just the movie, but the movie’s mood as well. It’s designed to entice a demographic. From the looks of the trailer, I would say that comic book geeks and fans of super heroes are not exactly included in that demographic.
Why So Serious?
I think the big question is simply this: is being a serious a bad thing? For a super hero film, the answer is yes. It is very bad for a super hero movie to be serious. Think about it. We’re watching dudes in brightly colored tight spandex and perfectly sculpted muscles kick otherworldly ass with fantastic, over the top abilities. How serious can it possibly be? We would obviously like all super hero flicks to be mostly serious, and they should definitely be taken seriously, but going too far results in something that is unintentionally funny. It’s almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy in a way. A director will strive as hard as he can to create a serious movie, only to make it so weighty and melodramatic that the one thing it cannot be is taken seriously. This is especially worse in super hero movies. I point you to none other than 2003’s Hulk directed by Ang Lee. No better example exists. By the looks of Man of Steel, it may very well stumble into that very puddle.
The truth is, comic books are an exaggeration of reality. Super heroes are a metaphor for championing our greatest fears, surmounting our inner demons, and achieving the impossible. They speak to the depths of our hearts and the center of our souls, acting as a flashlight in the dark, defending us against the creatures hiding behind the shadows. The problem is with portraying super heroes too seriously, or too realistically, is that the exaggeration is reduced. Our fears become less frightening, and the flashlight becomes unnecessary, because there is nothing hiding within the shadows. Super heroes are entities of fantasy, and the enemy of fantasy, is realism.
Superman is even more so affected by the crippling effect of realism. Much like what Captain America is for Marvel Comics, Superman represents the spirit of the American dream. He is more than a hero, he is a symbol. There is a certain cheese factor that comes along with that good natured sentimentality. Captain America embraced this campiness in his film, creating a vivid and colorful world of adventure and wonder. Man of Steel, on the other hand, seems to be approaching Superman from a more realistic, almost gritty angle, much like how Batman was handled in Batman Begins. Not surprising considering Christopher Nolan is producing the film. Where Batman has thrived in a gritty comic book realm, Superman does not. In fact, Superman represents the exact opposite of everything Batman is. Is it smart approaching Superman in the same way as one would approach Batman?
What Does It All Mean?
Adding all of this up, Man of Steel may not only be an unintentionally silly movie, it may actually spit in the face of not only Superman, but the comic book art form as a whole. Some have argued that Nolan’s Batman films did the very same thing, but the Dark Knight at least lends himself to a more realistic portrayal far better than Superman does. Lest we also not forget that Nolan’s Bat films had its fair share of camp and cheese. That is not to say that Superman can’t be serious, but there is a limit to how serious a Superman movie can be.
Now, I may be yet again doom saying, but the truth of the matter is, DC really needs to hit this one out of the park. As of right now, the only super hero they have successfully adapted to the big screen in the past 20 some years is Batman. Green Lantern was a flop, and every other character they’ve tried to hook up with Hollywood has ended up trapped in development hell, if not worse. Every comic book movie balances on a tight rope. Lean too far to one side, and your movie is Ang Lee’s Hulk. Lean too far to the other, and you got Joel Schumacher’s Batman and Robin. The Man of Steel looks like it’s dangling way too close to the former for my taste. Not that I want it to be like Batman and Robin. Because… who would?
Of course, none of this actually means Man of Steel will be bad. It may just be weirdy trailers for all I know. All I can say right now is that I am not fond of what I am seeing. I just hope that when I write my Man of Steel review in a few months, the closing statement doesn’t include words like “pretentious,” “vainglorious,” and “bloviating.” At this point though, I wouldn’t be surprised if it does.