Even with The Avengers raking in the dough around the globe – and titles like The Amazing Spider-Man and Dark Knight Rises readying to hit the scene over the impending months – some comic book fans are already looking ahead to the future slate of superhero movies on the horizon.
Certain cast members for Snyder’s reboot of the Superman franchise (specifically, Michael Shannon and Dylan Sprayberry) have talked about the film being an edgier spin on the hero’s mythos – without going into any greater detail. Currently making the rounds are early impressions from someone who claims to have seen actual footage from Man of Steel, as was featured in a sizzle reel screened at a recent gathering for visual effects artists.
Here is the aforementioned Man of Steel footage description (as posted on the IMDb discussion boards):
Last night at a VFX conference there was a sizzle reel shown by Weta. In this sizzle reel there were two beta level (most likely from a trailer) clips shown. One only about 6 seconds long, the other much longer.
The former was Clark Kent grabbing a truck with a crying man inside of it while flying through the middle of a tornado. It looked incredible. Henry Cavill can fly, and he can hold a truck in one arm. Zack Snyder brings his usual visual flair, but somehow is still unlike anything he has made before. It felt like a Superman comic. Real heroism.
The longer clip was even more stunning, but the more I think about it, slightly concerning. The clip consisted of Superman in full costume in a verbal argument with Zod in the center of Smallville with Christopher Meloni yells at them through a megaphone next to a tank. Meloni warns them he will fire if they do not surrender. While he says this Zod [played by Michael Shannon] sizes Superman up. Shannon looks evil as he can be. Bone chilling even. And is DEFINITELY sporting enhanced muscle. Cavill’s Superman is a wonderful sight to behold in motion. Cavill’s pure size makes him the most believable Superman to date. Zod speaks in Kryptonian “Do you know your native tongue, Kal-el?” Superman looks stunned, and responds in English, “Who are you?” (there isn’t enough Superman dialogue to judge Cavill’s performance fairly, but I’d say he did well. Nothing spectacular from this clip.) Meloni curses, then into a walkie talkie orders the tank to fire. Superman hears this and turns to the tank. Zod takes this opportunity to sucker punch Superman (in Zack Snyder slow-then-fast-mo) then when the tank fires Superman rushes in front of Zod, despite the punch and catches the exploding missile near his stomach. The flames ripple around him, hit his face, his cape, his eyes. The shrapnel hits him and bounces off. The same happens to Zod to a lesser extent. Meloni’s shocked expression when they remain standing, silhouettes in a cloud of smoke, ends the clip.
It was incredible, it really was. And absolutely visually stunning, but my qualm is its typical Zack Snyder. It doesn’t look glossy like his films do. It instead has a more clean cut, colorful look. Like Thor, or Iron Man. But it is the same slow-mo styling that people expect from him. Maybe it just happens in this one scene, but it happens twice. Makes me a bit hesitant, despite the fact it looks phenomenal.
The commenter eventually posted the following additional tidbit:
I have been given the clear, this information isn’t secret, I can disclose what I please. It wasn’t a conference, perhaps I was a tad misleading in that regard. It was a gathering, banquet of sorts, of VFX artists on WB payroll. For the poster with ties into the business, ask around, it was a limited invitation event, but someone else out there has got to be able to verify the event took place. It was at the Langham Huntington in Pasadena. We were served a Caesar salad followed by smoked salmon. I can assure you this event took place. WETA presented a long sizzle reel, the Man of Steel clips were just part of it. And finally, the proof you’ve all be waiting for. My name is Jonathan Rothbart. I’ve been working in effects my whole life. My first major film was part of a massive team on Empire Strikes Back. I still have my shirt from the film, one that ONLY those involved with the production would have. I did freelance work with ILM for a while early in my career then settled into a great job at an effects house called The Orphanage. I have a great relationship with WB, and I was honored to be invited to the event.
I [understand] skepticism, I do. But you’ll see the exact shots I spoke of, to a tee, in the finished film. And I’ll come back to these boards and prove it. I guarantee someone else will speak about this footage at some point today, just wait for the news to break.
It should probably go without saying: all this ought to be taken with a grain of salt. While there is indeed a person named Jonathan Rothbart, who has been working as an effects supervisor/consultant around Hollywood for some three decades now – not to mention, this footage description gels with numerous images and reports leaked from the Man of Steel set – that does not guarantee this all wasn’t written up by someone who’s been actively following the film’s production process (and has way too much time on their hands).
Still, for the sake of discussion: from what’s described here, does it sound like Man of Steel could indeed be a fitting new spin on the Superman franchise, for the post-Dark Knight age of superhero movies – with the added touch of Snyder’s trademark visual panache to set it apart from its peers? Sound off in the comments section.
Man of Steel is scheduled to hit theaters around the U.S. on June 14th, 2013.