As the world continues to obsess over Batman, it’s worth remembering that there is another superhero out there, one whose costume is somewhat more primary-colored. Sure, Batman is grim and dark, so, so grim and dark. But there is another superhero with a cape whose antics we have always enjoyed. And so, hark to the new teaser trailer displaying the adventures of said superhero:
Yes, it’s Superman! Whom some of us have always preferred to Batman. But most people aren’t as into Superman as I am. …Over time, Superman has sort of become the Mickey Mouse to Batman’s Donald Duck, if that makes sense. Superman is the iconic main character, but he’s more bland — or people feel that he’s bland — and so he’s been upstaged by his own supporting character.
Superman is an icon the way that Mickey is an icon — in the same way that a circle with two smaller circles signifies “Mickey Mouse,” all you have to do is see the “S” in a triangle to think “Superman.” But it remains to be seen if an icon can be made into an exciting character for the new millennium; though I’m one of the few people willing to defend Superman Returns as being an okay-ish movie, so, whatever. End of cultural analysis.
End of cultural analysis, and now back to a discussion of the teaser trailer! So this latest installment of the Superman saga — since “saga” is a word that just gets thrown around these days — this latest installment of the saga is produced by Christopher Nolan. And Nolan is the man responsible for those new Batman movies, which are gritty, so gritty. And grim and dark, so grim and dark, because that is what millennials like in their superheros — grimdarkgrittyness is what they like.
Lest you get too excited about the Christopher Nolan connection, we would remind you that “producer” merely means “person who has invested money in the movie,” which is a little less exciting. But as producer, Nolan did have a say in choosing the director: and as director, he chose Zack Snyder, who was responsible for the underwhelming Watchmen movie, though to be fair, it’s almost impossible to make a good movie out of Watchmen.
Snyder is also responsible for 300, which I haven’t seen, but which I hear tell is highly homoerotic, so that’s nice. Anyway, there’s not much we can tell about Man of Steel from the trailer, since the trailer takes the term “teaser” very literally, giving us a 2.8 second-long glimpse of the actual Superman.
Other things to take away from the trailer:
- Superman exists in a world that is reminiscent of The Perfect Storm, except with the music from The Lord of the Rings playing over everything. Lord of the Perfect Storm?
- We’ve got Russell Crowe as the voice of Superman’s father, Jor-El — he’s filling in for the deceased Marlon Brando. Apparently only pudgy method actors can play Superman’s father. I just attacked Russell Crowe and Marlon Brando for no reason whatsoever. I feel bad now. They are/were both very talented.
- When Superman flies, he now makes a sonic boom and shoots a jet trail (?) out of his feet, because apparently people saw Iron Man and decided to reuse that for some reason.
- How about that S at the end? That’s one nifty looking S! Good use of negative space, nice raised embossing, nice typeface anatomy, and the kerning! Oh, the kerning. Actually, there is no kerning. I just wanted to use the word “kerning” in a sentence there.
“So why a ‘rebooted’ Superman film now, of all times?” you might possibly hypothetically be asking. “Is it because the Batman trilogy is coming to an end?” you might also be hypothetically be asking. The answer is: well, that’s sort of the reason, hypothetical you. But there’s also another reason:
August 2009 saw a court ruling in which Jerry Siegel‘s family recaptured the rights to Superman’s origins and Siegel’s copyright in Action Comics #1. In addition, a judge ruled that Warner Bros. did not owe the families additional royalties from previous films. However, if they did not begin production on a Superman film by 2011, then the Shuster and Siegel estates would have been able to sue for lost revenue on an unproduced film.
Ah, copyright law! So exciting. So basically, DC Comics is making another Superman movie right now, because if they didn’t, they’d have to give money to the family of the guy who co-created Superman: a man who had his rights taken away by DC Comics for $130, back in the 1940s, and who had to fight for years to get any money from his creation. So they’re trying to keep from having to give money to that dead guy’s family. …How inspiring. “Why do you always have be a downer and ruin stuff like this?” you might now be asking. The answer is: I don’t know.
Anyway, this makes the Superman reboot sort of similar to the current Spider-Man reboot, which was created because if Sony Entertainment hadn’t made a Spider-Man movie, the rights would have reverted to Marvel Comics, and Sony Entertainment and its subsidiaries would have lost money. Isn’t that nifty? …Ah, superheroes. Such innocent, childlike fun.
But hey, the machinations of huge, evil corporations aside, we are still getting a new Superman movie out of the deal, and there’s nothing wrong with that; plus the creator’s family will get money from the subsequent movies (and there will be more movies), so that’s good. So: up, up, and away.
And now, for no reason, here’s a random clip from the pretty terrible Superman III. Why is Superman messing with the Leaning Tower of Pisa like that? And what is the Italian guy singing about? It’s probably better not to ask such questions. Anyway, enjoy.