SDCC 2012: Superman Flies on a 'Man of Steel' Panel and Poster

Saturday, 14 July 2012 16:30 Written by  iamrogue
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SDCC 2012: Superman Flies on a 'Man of Steel' Panel and Poster

When most people hear the word "superhero," they immediately think of Superman, and when most people hear the word "Superman," in addition to many of his expressions in other media, they think of comic books.  Fitting, then, that the new cinematic Superman reboot Man of Steel should be one of the biggest events at San Diego Comic-Con this year.  During a packed panel, director Zack Snyder introduced the first footage from this new take on the hero's origin story, as well as a Comic-Con exclusive teaser poster.  He and star Henry Cavill also shed some new light on the movie and the in-development Justice League film.

The Man of Steel panel was one part of the two hour, thirty minute presentation, which included new looks at Pacific Rim, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, a new Godzilla, and this summer's comedy The Campaign.

With 300, Watchmen, and Dawn of the Dead director Zack Snyder at the helm, the reboot boasts a story by Batman trilogy director Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer, with whom he wrote Batman Begins.  Nolan executive produces the film, along with his wife, Emma Thomas, and Snyder's producing partner/wife Deborah Snyder.

The Man of Steel panel was situated between Pacific Rim and The Hobbit, kicking off with Snyder's onstage in Hall H.  After saying that this take on the character won't be an untouchable "big blue boy scout on a throne," but instead a hero who slaps his opponents around in big, physical dust-ups, Snyder announced that the first teaser trailer for the film would be attached to next week's release of The Dark Knight Rises.  He then went on to present the first footage from the film in the form of a modified iteration of that trailer.

Snyder knows full well the value of impressing at Comic-Con, having brought 300 and Watchmen in the past, and the footage from Man of Steel is every shade of confident and impressive.

The trailer looked and felt very much like Nolan's Batman films, specifically Batman Begins.  Visually, the style is far more grounded and straightfoward than Snyder's typically exaggerated, hyper-detailed sensibility.  not a single seed-ramp was seen in the trailer.  It jumps around chronologically, showing a lot of handheld Smallville scenes, including a much younger Clark Kent wearing a red cape, a less-young-but-still-younger Clark saving a school bus full of students after it careens into a body of water, and the Kansas farmboy discovering the ship that brought him from Krypton.  There are looks at bearded Clark trudging through an Arctic wasteland that are very reminiscent of Batman Begins.  We first see Cavill in costume at a distance, but there's plenty of peeks at the costume, including shots of Supes being escorted down a corridor by a security force of some sort, flying to the rescue as someone plummets from a skyscraper to the ground below, and getting tossed through the door to a bank vault, as in the first official image of this new Superman. 

Lois Lane, played by Amy Adams, and Michael Shannon as the villainous General Zod are glimpsed exceedingly briefly, both showing up in really fast single shots of their faces.  Russell Crowe and Kevin Costner seem to split narration duties as Jonathan Kent and Jor-El, while Superman's Kryptonian pop actually shows up face-to-face with Clark in what could be a Marlon Brando-style hologram situation.  In voiceover, Jor-El talks of children being inspired to greatness, while Jonathan frets over the idea that Earth will fear and reject Superman on account of his nigh-unlimited power.

The trailer was shown again in the midst of the Q&A session, and Warner Bros. also took the opportunity to reveal the Comic-Con exclusive teaser poster, which arrived online shortly thereafter.

After the trailer showed for the first time, Snyder introduced Henry Cavill to the audience, and the two answered many a fan question.  During the Q&A session included Snyder saying that the film isn't based on any one specific comic book story, drawing instead on elements from the long history of the character.  Cavill said that he took inspiration from the Death and Return of Superman stories, along with Mark Millar's Red Son, which imagines Supes as a Soviet hero.  He also discussed how his goal was to modernize Superman and make him resonate with contemporary audiences.  Snyder, who long ago explicitly denied that General Zod would be the bad guy only to be contradicted by Warner Bros. and everything we've heard about the film, notably never admitted that Shannon is portraying the Kryptonian.  Curious.

highlights of the Q&A included all-star moderator Chris Hardwick hugging a fan who was crying during his question and Snyder responding to the query of who would win a fight between Batman and Superman with an affronted, "Really?"

With The Avengers proving the viability of crossover superhero ensembles, Warner Bros. has hired Will Beall to write the screenplay for a Justice League movie, and Snyder answered a question as to whether or not Cavill's Superman would play a part, saying, "We know Superman is the jewel in the DC crown. We want to get his house in order and then? Who knows what’s possible."

So there you have it.  See the Man of Steel teaser in less than a week when you check out The Dark Knight Rises, then wait for Superman to return on June 14, 2013.

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