A tie-in book for Man of Steel recently revealed what many fans may have already suspected: that Superman's suit and cape in the film won't simply exist to help him cut a dashing figure, but are actually examples of Kryptonian technology that are designed to serve particular functions, such as the ability to navigate their ships. This opens up a very interesting array of questions about just what Kryptonian armor is capable of, and how much of the aliens' powers stem from what they wear.
Costumes are one of the few things in Man of Steel that haven't been subject to stringent levels of secrecy, and so we've already been given close looks at not only Superman's new "debriefed" outfit, but also at general Kryptonian fashion and the armors of Jor-El, Zod, Faora and other Kryptonian warriors. A new clip from one of the battle scenes of Man of Steel, however, gives a very tangible look at one of the functions of Zod's armor, and how Superman is able to use it against him.
First, check out the eleventh TV spot for Man of Steel (unless you want to save a little something for the actual movie):
In comic book lore, Superman's incredible powers have been built up by his exposure to the yellow rays of the sun, but superhuman abilities don't necessarily come without their complications. One of the potential downsides, for example, of having extraordinary hearing is the challenge of having to focus on the person you're talking to when you can also hear every other conversation happening in a two-mile radius. However, as Superman first arrived on Earth as a baby, he has had over thirty years in which to hone his focus and only pay attention to the sensory input that matters.
The above clip - and Superman's words in it - seem to suggest that Zod's armor is designed to block out the sun's rays, preventing him from exposure to them. It's hard to tell why he would want to turn down the chance for an extra edge in the fight against Superman, but it's possible that his armor gives him extra strength and speed without the potentially compromising effects of superhuman hearing and sight. As Superman succeeds in breaking Zod's helmet piece (which seems to be made out of some kind of fluid, organic material), it seems that exposure to the sun's rays gives him an immediate and highly disorienting boost to his senses. There's a certain suggestion that Zod never intended to get into hand-to-hand combat with Superman, considering how thoroughly Superman is able to pummel him through several buildings and an exploding gas station.
As a side note with regards to that particular aspect of the clip, it is a little worrying to see Superman losing his control like this. There have already been indications that he will be tempted to use his powers for destruction, and director Zack Snyder has warned that Smallville will take a beating during Zod and Superman's battle, so a certain level of collateral damage is expected. In this clip, however, it looks like there's a good chance that Superman just inadvertently vaporized some innocent civilians. Unless, of course, everyone in the gas station (including the people whose cars were parked at the pumps) just conveniently stepped out for coffee.
What do you think of this first extended look at the action in Man of Steel? Have you worked out your own theories about Snyder's vision of Kryptonian armor? Share your observations with us in the comments.
Man of Steel opens in regular and select 3D/IMAX theaters in the U.S. on June 14th, 2013.