Comic-Con ’12: An Alternate Take On The ‘Man of Steel’ Footage & Other Highlights From Superman’s Hall H Appearance

Comic-Con '12: An Alternate Take On The ‘Man of Steel’ Footage & Other Highlights From Superman’s Hall H Appearance

Seven years after the release of Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns,” Warner Bros. and DC Comics are taking another crack at reviving the onscreen presence of the most recognized name in the comic kingdom. “Man of Steel,” directed by Zack Snyder and starring Henry Cavill in the red and blue tights, pretends Singer’s movie never happened. The stakes for the reboot are high for many reasons, and there is a lot on the line including a big budget and the reputation of Snyder who, since 2006’s “300,” has endured various slings and arrows thanks to "The Watchmen" and "Sucker Punch." However, with Christopher Nolan’s name is attached as a producer, hopes are high that his involvement can yield some of that "The Dark Knight" magic. Finally, there’s little-known Henry Cavill stepping into a role that many consider cursed. Suffice to say, there’s a lot more riding on Superman’s shoulders than the fate of Metropolis.

Expectations were high for the film’s Hall H presentation at Comic-Con this weekend. One would expect that Snyder, no stranger to the Super Bowl of geekdom, would have every intention of presenting something big enough to pacify fans and doubters alike until the film’s June 2013 release. “Superman is a big responsibility. But Superman needed to be introduced to a new generation. We finished shooting, so we're just working on the movie now. The big challenge was if you can make people feel, what would you do if you were Superman. How would you feel?” Snyder said to the Hall H crowd, adding:  “There's a little movie that comes out next weekend and we have a teaser in front of that. So I thought maybe you should see that but then I thought maybe I'd show something else too.”

The footage opens on establishing shots of rural Kansas at the Kent house, featuring temp music from Hans Zimmer’s score for “The Thin Red Line” (Zimmer will also be composing the score for “Man of Steel”). Various scenes of Clark Kent as a child, including a key origin moment in which Pa Kent (Kevin Costner) tells Clark he’s not from this world while pulling the sheet off the space pod that brought him to Earth. There’s a brief shot of a bearded adult Clark (Cavill). Other imagery includes teenage Clark saving kids in a sinking school bus; meeting up with his real father Jor-El (Russell Crowe) who reveals he also wears the “S” across his chest; Superman flying up through the clouds; Superman flying down and smashing into a bank vault.

While the overall reaction to the footage in Hall H and across the net was positive, for this viewer it left many questions unanswered. Clearly helped along by the music, the footage contains very little acting per se, but is rather a sort of fan film collage of disjointed moments. Those with some memory might recall the gushing reactions to early bits from Bryan Singer’s “Superman Returns.” I guess the point is, compared to (for example) Jon Favreau’s classic footage debut from the first “Iron Man” film in Hall H, which dropped jaws and had everyone talking, Snyder’s “Man of Steel” footage is commendable primarily in the fact that it certainly doesn’t look awful and leaves the door open for the possibility that it might even come somewhere close to meeting the ridiculously high expectations. But the truth is, we don’t know a lot more than we did before seeing the footage.

We would have expected more from Snyder, who seemed almost cocky about the project as he evaded questions about who the baddie would be and appeared almost indifferent to his attendance at Comic-Con, which would actually seem like the perfect place to reveal the villain. What a great one-two punch that would have been with the footage (note the reaction to Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin reveal at the “Iron Man 3” presentation a few hours later). Instead, Snyder and Cavill’s post-footage chat was dreadfully dull. When one Superman fan was so overwhelmed to talk to the two men that he broke into tears, Snyder and Cavill just stared at the man blankly. Thankfully, moderator Chris Hardwick seized the moment and raced down to give the man a hug and coach him into coherence so he could ask his question. It’s a rare day in Hall H when the moderator is the best part of a panel.

Here are a few other highlights from the post-footage discussion:

1. The Basis For "Man Of Steel"
During the audience Q&A section, Snyder was asked whether the film draws basics from specific comic story lines. “I would say it is a mashing of stories and ideas,” says Snyder. “I just wanted to bring the modern Superman into the world. It's for you guys who've been through thick and thin and for everyone else out there. I hope to bring a version that everyone can identify with.”

2. No John Williams
As to whether the iconic John Williams score will make an appearance, Snyder said it would not. Zimmer is certainly a great choice for the film, but he’s got some big shoes to fill stacked against Williams’ classic theme. “When we started working on the movie, the thing we decided was the comic character existed. The movies are their own thing. We had to act as if no movies had been made. Hans is going to do something different and it's going to be awesome,” Snyder promised.

3. Who Would Win In A Fight Between Nolan’s Batman & Snyder’s Superman?
When one fan asked the age-old Superman vs. Batman question in regards to Nolan’s take on the Dark Knight and Snyder’s on Superman, the crowd let out a collective “Oooooh” like a group of kids egging on a potential schoolyard fight. After a pause, Snyder grinned widely. “I love Batman. He's really awesome. But, come on, really?”

"Man of Steel" opens June 14, 2013.

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You see the thing is this. Movies ain't made for comic fans, because comic fans have what? The comics, duh! Movies are made for everyone else, people who don't or have never read the comics. Snyder directed 300 & Watchmen, so quite bashing on him with the Sucker Punch BS. Nolan is producing, and we all know what Nolan is famous for. Judging by Watchmen & 300 (not Sucker Punch) we know Snyder's got a knack for providing amazing action, and we know Nolans talents. So i never once had doubt about this project. You kind of let everyone know your a Marvel fanboy when you compared the Man Of Steel to Iron Man 3's bs twice. Iron Man 3 is being directed by Shane Black, because the original would rather direct the Disney film Magic Kingdom (LOL). Usually directors drop out because of the script being so poor, and lets face it Iron Man 2 was pretty rubbish. Reason i brang up Iron Man, because you, Jeff, brang up Iron Man. PS. Every Marvel Fanboy prayes that the Justice League film never gets made.


I couldn't agree with you more regarding this panel. I have been in hall H over the years & witnessed whitty banter, exclusives and just been engaged when a panelist discusses their project. I was there for both Iron Man 1 & 2, The Amazing Spiderman & after attending this panel it was clear…this panel was not up to par or prepared for Hall H. The reason the other panels like, Django, Pacific Rim, Iron man 3, and The Hobbit worked was because their was some passion behind the project. This was apperant when we heard the cast and directors soeak. Even the Godzilla was a nice little unexpected bonus..
The most frutrating part for me was that Mr. Snyder was unable to complete senteces when answering questions from both Chris H. and the fans. He appeared to not care and I wish he would have prepared, acted like he wanted to be there & that the studio would have allowed at least a morsel of information for the fans.


gonna have to disagree i saw bootleg footage and i had goosebumps the footage did'nt need tons of explosions and what not what got me and the crowd was the drama and emotion

the footage had subtlety and gravitas and lots of emotional drama and promises a character study of self discovery even the dialouge and delivery was quite good for costner,cavill,and crowe

all this is more intriguing and important than superman punching things

and the cinematography is beautiful it looked like a malick film in visual imagery

Alex Kent

I hate to see a grown man cry.Really I do, when it deals with a fictional character (Even one as iconic as Superman).It's truly sad and very uncomfortable.


Er…wouldn't a blank stare be anyone's natural reaction to seeing a grown man start crying over a movie?


"Clearly helped along by the music, the footage contains very little acting per se, but is rather a sort of fan film collage of disjointed moments."

Change this to a student film collage and you have a pretty good sum up of Tree of Life.


Thank you so much for writing this arrogant an uninformed report. Yes, it would have been so great for Snyder to reveal that General Zod is the villain in the film, which has been well-known for months. And yes, Snyder and Cavill were so smug during the panel. I can't believe they didn't run down there and hug that sobbing fan (was that you?) like Chris Hardwick did.


The thing is.. why would anyone get excited about a new Supes movie? I mean, "really" excited. To make things worse, the 'director' is Snyder so.. there's not much real hope around this.


Good to read an honest, thoughtful take on the footage. You know a non fan boy shiny report. I'm looking forward to seeing anything from this movie, because it has taken an awful lot of time to get out there and everything I've seen (set pics etc.) so far have thoroughly underwhelmed.

This sizzle reel was a smart move from the producers as it's way too early for them to reveal Henry Cavill's probable 'Man of Wood' performance. Everything I've seen him so far he's been kinda awful, he's a TV soap actor with Hollywood looks. Handsome bastard.

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