Burning, Bearded Superman
There's no questioning that Kal-El could survive long underwater, and the first Man of Steel teaser trailers showed he'd be spending some time seaward, bearded, and stinking of crab before becoming the hero we know him to be. The trailer's footage of Clark bathed in fire, sporting Hulk-pants, and flying off into the sunset (alight?) confirms that a catastrophe in his wandering life will force him to accept his gifts - not hide them. The passing school bus in the maritime setting is also a nice callback to what looks to be Clark's first heroic rescue. For those fans who were a little turned off by the idea of Superman wasting some time aboard a fishing vessel before becoming a full-blown Man of Steel, it seems there is at least a sizable action sequence to look forward to. And for hardcore fans, the look of actual effort and pain on Cavill's face promises a Superman who actually has to put his back into his super-strength.
A Gift and a Curse
It's the downside of Superman's superpowers that rarely get explored with a truly dark, or serious approach. Smallville built a story around Clark Kent slowly realizing his powers throughout adolescence, but for Man of Steel, it seems Snyder is starting earlier, and not pulling any punches. A panicked Clark - granted the ability to hear (depending on who you ask) some or all human voices on the planet at once - portrays a darker direction. The gifts can be a curse, but it's Clark's mother, Martha Kent (Diane Lane), who acts as his anchor. The dynamic between the Kents and Kal-El has changed dramatically over the years, depending largely on their age. By casting Lane and Kevin Costner, the assumption was that they would adopt more traditional parenting roles. This scene alone implies a more meaningful and relatable connection between mother and son, which evidences writer David S. Goyer being influenced by Geoff Johns' seminal storyline, Superman: Secret Origin.
The Fortress of Solitude?
When Clark finally gets around to realizing that his gifts should be shared with humanity, a trip to the Fortress of Solitude gets things moving. Traditionally it is here that Kal-El speaks with the memories of his father, Jor-El (Russell Crowe), about his destiny, Krypton's fate, and the suit he will wear in his new persona. The alien architecture hints strongly that this is such a place, and the new Superman suit rotating into view seems to imply that it has been prepared for him ahead of time. Clark's statement that he "has so many questions" seems directed at someone in particular; whether this means that a projection of Jor-El is present in the Fortress (or not) isn't clear. However, the new incarnation of Jor-El certainly has a flare for fashion, so it wouldn't surprise us if he's there to unveil the new uniform. It would also greatly reinforce the claim that the new Kal-El isn't just a survivor, but a prince of Krypton.
Preparing For Lift-off
The shots of Superman walking through the arctic landscape in his new suit and fluttering cape (due to its thinner construction) certainly backs up the Fortress of Solitude assumption. Especially if Kal-El's education about Krypton, his first walk into the sunlight wearing his destined uniform, and first flight occur in sequence. But it's those pebbles we're interested in. A close look shows that as Superman prepares to take flight, a stirring of snow, rocks, and even small boulders behind him rise off the ground in anticipation of his takeoff. The effect in itself isn't a game-changer, and some might claim it's just an artistic flourish, but it's clear Snyder's Superman has some element to his powers that fans haven't seen before. We doubt this means Superman will go the 'Neo' or 'Phoenix' route and use telekinesis, but it lays the groundwork for some new effects, and potentially striking ways of Kal-El interacting with Earth's environment.
Zod's Got a Beam
The shot of an urban center being decimated by a blue energy beam is a strong turning point in the Man of Steel trailer, and Superman's inability to protect the city (presumably Metropolis) from such an attack has serious ramification for the plot. But those who've been keeping up on Man of Steel news and rumors know exactly what we're looking at. Previously released tie-in toy commercials were suspected of spoiling General Zod's military force and weaponry ahead of the film, and these action scenes reflect those same powers possibly at work. The impact and surrounding cars being not incinerated, but lifted upward certainly provide what we'd expect from a 'Gravity Beam,' although Zod's greater goal is still a mystery. Whatever the case, Superman pulling an Independence Day and flying directly up into the beam itself later in the trailer implies the weapon has a limited lifespan.