Film Film Trailers

Watch This: General Zod & A Mountain of Skulls in New Man of Steel Trailer

As if to flip a Kryptonian-sized middle finger to 20th Century Fox who just released a new trailer for Wolverine (which some like; we did not), Warner Bros. has released the final trailer for Man of Steel.

This particular trailer aims to accomplish 3 things:

1. Remind us that Michael Shannon is in the film playing General Zod, the role made famous by Terence Stamp in Superman II.

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Unlike Stamp’s version of the character, there appears to be no imminent threat of Shannon’s Zod mistaking Earth to be named “Planet Houston.”

2. Quell any fears that this movie is to be light on the action.

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Lens flares aplenty there. J.J. Abrams – is that you?

3. Remind us that Zack Snyder is the director by giving Superman a 300-style mountain of skulls to sink into.

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Does this look familiar?
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This shot from 300 might be why. Both films are directed by Zack Snyder.

Mission accomplished on all three accounts.

In many ways, this is not so much the final trailer for Man of Steel as it is the first full General Zod trailer.  Until this point, the prior trailers had mostly featured occasional glimpses of Michael Shannon yelling, and everyone knows yelling is what Michael Shannon does best.

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Geeze, Zod. Use your indoor voice. You’re going to pop a vein if you keep yelling like that.

However, the trailers had been mostly focused upon establishing how the film would treat the Superman mythos and establishing their version of Superman as a loner/outsider with a father who mostly exists to say, “You might have noticed that I’m Kevin Costner, and I’m going to hand out some questionable father-son advice if you don’t mind.”  Now, we get the trailer which not only flat out tells us who the villain is – General Zod – but also what his basic plan is

According to the trailer, Zod and his army of Kryptonian survivors intend to reclaim Kal-El from Earth and destroy the planet and its inhabitants if he resists.  The fact that Zod appears to have a small army here as opposed to the General Zod trio (I know, that sounds like the name of a jazz group, but it is not) of Superman II is quite a significant departure.  Moreover, they are attempting to right one of Superman II’s wrongs by correctly naming Zod’s right-hand woman Faora, played here by Antje Traue but played by Sarah Douglas in Superman II where the character was re-named Ursa for no apparent reason.  Faora even gets a nice chilling moment in the trailer.

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Faora threatens to kill a million humans for every one human Superman saves.  Got to be honest – I don’t like those odds.

Not to be the guy to give into a terrorist’s demands, but will it kind of seem like Superman is just a big ole jerk for not going with Zod and his army? Is Superman the Doctor from Doctor Who in this scenario in that he will seem the hero until you remember how almost nothing bad would have happened had he simply not showed up to begin with?  At one point in the trailer, Superman yells defiantly that he will not betray the humans on Earth.  So, Zod probably has malicious designs for Earth regardless of Kal-El’s involvement.  However, what if Superman thinks so highly of himself that he views robbing humans of the grace of being in his presence as a betrayal.  Could Superman have his own Superman complex?

Also, there is a new and slightly annoying action movie cliché of the villain being caught on purpose as part of their dastardly plan [see: The Dark Knight, Skyfall, Marvel’s The Avengers, Star Trek Into Darkness, Mission Impossible III].  This is the “you’re right, that did seem a little too easy” moment for the heroes.  Well, is there also an emerging post-9/11 cliché whereby we know someone is evil if they are able to interrupt our TV viewing with terrorist-like videos. First the Joker in The Dark Knight and then “The Mandarin” in Iron Man 3 and now General Zod in Man of Steel.   Audiences catch on.  Take note Hollywood screenwriters, to paraphrase “The Mandarin,” eventually “we’ll definitely see it coming.”

All snarkiness aside, this is a film whose each new trailer has added to my excitement and anticipation level.  Superman is an incredibly tricky character to make work on film, due to perhaps seeming like an antiquated relic attempting to curry favor in the age of Batman, Iron Man, and Arrow.  Plus, his is a tale with notorious hurdles in establishing any real sense of suspense, especially if you don’t simply resort to using kryptonite. Well, there is to be no kryptonite in this film, according to all involved.  There is, instead, General Zod and a mountain of skulls, and it looks as if it might totally work.

Man of Steel is scheduled to be released in the US, UK, Canada and other territories on June 14.  Most areas of the world other than Japan are scheduled to get the film by the end of June.

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