"What was I supposed to do, just let him die?"
Is Zack Snyder trying to bum us out? That's the impression we're getting from the newest, longest-ever Man of Steel trailer, our clearest look yet at what the director of The Watchmen has in store for Clark Kent in post-Dark Knight era. The trailer, now on YouTube, presents Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) with a personal conflict: keep his powers secret, and avoid the unwanted scrutiny of a paranoid world, or use his abilities when humanity needs him most, and risk destroying his own life.
It's a solid entry point into the Superman mythos, but the pounding dramatic score, solemn dialogue and oppressive visuals – which feature a lot of stuff blowing up, a very brief shot of Superman fighting General Zod (did you catch it?) and Lois Lane, played by Amy Adams, looking fearful – has us worried that they're taking Superman a little "too" seriously. If Warner Bros.' marketing department was trying to make sure the audience was aware that Man of Steel wasn't going to be as campy as Superman Returns, then mission accomplished. If they were trying to convince us that Man of Steel was going to be a fun movie, we're not so sure they're on the right wavelength.
We're not saying that these ethical conundrums, genuine consequences and serious moments have no place in a Superman movie – far from it, they make sense and look very interesting – but surely they could be balanced with a sense of wonder. We've gone from "You will believe a man can fly" to "You will believe a man who can fly isn't happy about it." Is there no joy in Superman's life? No sense of awe in his awesome powers? No hope for romance with the woman in his life? All these elements may very well be in Man of Steel, the problem is that none of the materials we've seen so far – including the previous teaser – seem eager to let the audience know about it.
But enough of our thoughts. Is this the Superman you want to see? Does this look like the summer blockbuster of the year? Or does it seem unnecessarily somber to you too?