The pendulum is swinging in Man of Steel's direction of late; with a jaw-dropping trailer that didn't just prove director Zack Snyder was saving the best for last, but rocketed the film to the rank of 'most anticipated' by our readers, expectations couldn't get much higher. Especially with a leading man who has seemingly become Superman.
Nothing and nobody can quell doubts at this point - whether Snyder was the right person for the job, or the 'realistic' approach to Superman is brilliant or blasphemy - but one of the movie's stars isn't keeping his excitement under wraps. In a recent interview, General Zod (Michael Shannon) explained why his biggest fears have been put to rest after seeing the film - and knows Man of Steel will be the blockbuster everyone wants it to be.
Echoing the positive feedback from early showings of Man of Steel, Shannon isn't holding back his optimism. It's not exactly a risk to say that a movie starring Superman will please audiences, but with the task of rebooting the most famous superhero for a modern world - not to mention launching a DC movie universe - Man of Steel has to deliver more than just special effects and a super-suit.
Those expectations are only building as time passes, and more action-packed trailers are released, but Shannon isn't superstitious; as he tells HuffingtonPost, he knows a crowd-pleaser when he sees it:
"It's a big buildup. I'll tell you, I saw it last Monday -- it's worth it...It's going to blow everybody's socks off. And I know they're probably pissed off, like I'm jinxing it or something and I shouldn't say that. I'll knock on wood just out of deference to the gods, but the movie is solid. It's gonna get the job done."
Again, at this point we wouldn't expect one of the film's stars to come out and tell the world to not get their hopes up, but Shannon is no newcomer to the industry. With the current film festival hit The Iceman just the latest non-blockbuster role in his career, he's not the type to hype a film for a pat on the head from the studio. If nothing else, Shannon's comments reiterate what we've already known: he's more than impressed with Henry Cavill, and compares director Zack Snyder's visual composition to that of Martin Scorsese.
Given that he spent most of his scenes in a skintight mo-cap outfit, trusting Snyder to make him menacing, not foolish in post-production, we're inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. And as the footage so far has shown, Zod is anything but a joke:
"It's exhilarating. It's what Zack promised would happen, you know? Because I remember the first couple of days I was on set, I thought This is ridiculous. I look like an idiot. I don't look anything like General Zod. I'm a total failure. I went over to the screen for playback and it was ridiculous. All of us were wearing pajamas, basically. And there was this neon green set of stairs that was supposed to be our spaceship. So you see us all marching down these neon green stairs in our pajamas and I'm like, "This looks like a Monty Python skit." And he's like, "I know right now it looks pretty silly, but, two years from now, it's going to look like the most badass thing you've ever seen in your life." And he's right."
Now that the world had its first look at General Zod's armor - and his mechanized leviathan - anyone who doubted that Shannon was right to follow in Terrence Stamp's footsteps has reason to be optimistic. The actor has made it clear from day one that his Zod would not be a retread of his predecessor's. Instead of a corrupt general out for domination, Man of Steel's Zod has been called a man audiences will empathize with, and no more a villain than any soldier fighting for his own people.
We're taking all that with a grain of salt, since making an antagonist apparently willing to kill innocent people seem like 'not that bad a guy' is easier said than done. But Shannon has claimed his character's neutrality from the start, so if he's happy after seeing the film, Snyder and screenwriter David S. Goyer may have just pulled it off.
Cavill could be hitting a home run in Shannon's eyes, but the star has spoken in the past about just how much pressure comes with such an iconic role. Shannon also feels the weight of the comic book world's expectations pressing on his shoulders, even if he can't claim to be one of their own:
"No. I mean, it is their thing. It's not my thing. I'm not in that club. So, I have a respect for it. To people, it's like a religious experience and I don't discount that. I understand it. We're very sheltered from all that on set. I mean, yeah, if people want to know if it was a high pressure job -- it was very high pressure. And everybody felt a lot of anxiety about getting it right. But, Zack's strategy -- which is very intelligent -- is to keep everything very calm and fun and playful and not get tied up about it. Because if you get overly anxious about pleasing people, you can't make anything. You have to be relaxed and have a good time."
As even more evidence that the Superman story speaks to comic fans and the uninitiated alike, the approach taken by Snyder - just focus on the story, not the fans - seems to be paying off. Whether the 'just relax and have a good time' mentality will even be possible if he's asked to helm the Justice League movie remains to be seen, though.
First things first: how well Superman is rebooted will set the stage for WB and DC Comics to hit the ground running. It sounds like Man of Steel already has one fan in Michael Shannon; how many more it can find is the real question.
Man of Steel will be in theaters on June 14th, 2013.
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Source: Huffington Post Images: Empire