[WARNING: Possible Spoilers Ahead!]
[UPDATE: The reason behind Superman's "specialness" - even on Krypton - has leaked. Scroll for details.]
Though Man of Steel will be the first standalone Superman film since 1978 - Bryan Singer's Superman Returns was more or less a sequel to Superman 2 - the anticipation for the film isn't exactly through the roof at this point. According to Fandango's Most Anticipated 2013 Summer Movies poll, MOS didn't event break into the top five. Of course, that's partly because the film's marketing campaign has yet to be fully unleashed.
Speaking of marketing, the cast and crew - including director Zack Snyder, producer Charles Roven, star Henry Cavill (Superman/Clark Kent), and co-star Amy Adams (Lois Lane) - recently talked in some depth about what we can expect from this new take on the Man of Tomorrow.
The interview - courtesy of Entertainment Weekly - covered everything from plot details to action scenes to character development to superpowers to whether or not Superman's greatest weakness, Kryptonite (that green rock that renders him weak and sometimes deathly ill), will make an appearance in the film.
But first, check out the June cover of EW, featuring Cavill as Superman in a fairly iconic-looking pose:
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According to EW, the focus of this new Superman film is, in many ways, to humanize the character. A common argument as to why Superman's star hasn't shone as brightly as it once did - both in the comic book world and in the movie world - is that he's become too perfect, too much like a boyscout, too ridiculous, too much like a god, and therefore totally unrelatable. (It's debatable how true this is - Grant Morrison's All-Star Superman (2008) created a Man of Steel that was all of the above and yet simultaneously relatable, successful, and hailed as a masterpiece far and wide.)
So the question is, how does Man of Steel intend to depict a flawed and "human" Superman? Well, not with Kryptonite, that's for sure. Says Zack Snyder:
"I’ll be honest with you, there’s no Kryptonite in the movie."
While Kryptonite has been successfully utilized in many Superman stories, it's also true that it has often functioned as a crutch for creating convenient conflict. Apparently, Zack Snyder and company wanted to avoid using that crutch at all costs. (Which isn't to say it couldn't pop up in a sequel.) Instead, this Superman will be vulnerable emotionally. From EW:
Once on Earth, his adoptive parents, Ma and Pa Kent (Kevin Costner and Diane Lane), urge him not to use his immense strength – even in dire emergencies — warning that not every human would be as accepting of him as they are. So Clark Kent grows up feeling isolated, longing for a connection to others, and constantly hiding who he is. As a result, Man of Steel presents the frustrated Superman, the angry Superman, the lost Superman. "Although he is not susceptible to the frailties of mankind, he is definitely susceptible to the emotional frailties," Cavill says.
The "frustrated, angry, lost" Superman certainly brings to mind the one recently introduced by Grant Morrison in The New 52 Action Comics. That Superman - who more closely resembled the rough and tumble version that first appeared in 1938 - was angrier, more violent, and more likely to use outright intimidation tactics to stop criminals from committing dastardly deeds. In the comic, a portion of that anger came from the deaths of his parents. Will something similar happen in Man of Steel?
The EW article also reveals that, even on Krypton, Superman - or Kal-El - is considered to be "special." So special that his birth "caused alarm" the world over. Uhh, say what?
So what does this mean exactly? Could Superman's powers in Man of Steel be unrelated to his Kryptonian heritage? Might he have been endowed with said powers from birth by his scientist father, Jor-El (Russell Crowe)?
It would explain why Superman could plausibly defend the Earth from not only General Zod (Michael Shannon), but numerous Kryptonian enemies (possibly even an army). Perhaps Zod has no "superpowers" at all. Perhaps his strength comes from his Kryptonian armor and advanced alien technology. Of course, this is all speculation at this point, but it's interesting to consider. If true, it would likely be a really controversial change for comic book fans.
What about Lois Lane? What can we expect from her relationship with Superman? According to Amy Adams:
"I think she’s very transient. She’s ready to pick up and go at a moment’s notice. I think that definitely could be part of what she sees in Superman — not really laying down roots, not developing trust."
Lois Lane will end up being one of the main reasons Superman steps forward to defend Earth from Zod. While he's grown into adulthood feeling alienated (see what I did there?) from the Earthlings around him, Lane will turn out to be someone he genuinely cares for and wants to protect.
Lastly, producer Charles Roven talked about the "building-smashing, train-slinging, heat-vision-blasting" action scenes we'll see in the film - something Superman fans have been waiting for since the dawn of modern special effects technology:
“You want to give the audience great spectacle. You want them to go to the movie, be eating their popcorn and be like, ‘Wow!’ But it’s just not good enough to give them the ‘Wow.’ You want them to be emotionally engaged. Because if you just have the ‘wow,’ ultimately you get bludgeoned by that and you stop caring.”
Sounds good to me. Even if Man of Steel doesn't end up "wowing" both in terms of action spectacle and emotional engagement, it's encouraging to know that the filmmakers are determined to do just that. Only time will tell if they can pull it off.
What do you think, Screen Ranters? Are you okay with Kryptonite not being in the film? Are you interested in seeing an action spectacle that also happens to be emotionally engaging? Let us know in the comments.
If you want more details on why Kal-El might be extra-special (beyond just being the last of his alien species), you'll have to read the June issue of Entertainment Weekly.
UPDATE: Thanks to 'Brian MakeDaMovie' in the comments, we now know that the reason Superman/Kal-El is special even on Krypton is because he was naturally conceived. Why does this make him special? Because by the time Man of Steel begins, Kryptonians have turned to "scientific engineering" for reproduction. Natural reproduction is, apparently, illegal.
This vaguely recalls John Byrne's post-Crisis origin reboot (incidentally titled The Man of Steel) from the 1980s, wherein Krypton was depicted as an emotionally cold and sterile planet and babies were regularly created in test tubes. Superman's father and mother, Jor-El and Lara, were unique in that they actually loved one another.
Ultimately, Kal-El was sent on a ship to Earth not as an infant, but rather as a fetus inside of a "birthing matrix."
Man of Steel hits theaters June 14th, 2013.
Follow me on Twitter @benandrewmoore.
Source: Entertainment Weekly