Man of Steel
It was a weak week for trailers, so I wanted to make sure I saw the week’s only signature trailer in theatres for Man Of Steel. It’s suitably aloof for a teaser trailer, and its dark tone seems to give a sense of what the movie will be like. In those large ways, it is effective. Christopher Nolan is the producer (hence the attachment to DKR), and that connection reveals itself with the very first shot in which water is flowing over rocks. He loves water. The specifics of the trailer are not without fault though. Between the voiceover and the background music, there is a heavy implication that Superman has in fact just killed Gandalf. I’m not ready for that. Then, the first third of the trailer presents as Deadliest Catch: The Movie. This is the only time we see anyone else in the trailer, but it’s only for a second. Right after, a logging truck elects not to stop when Clark Kent is hitchhiking, which makes me wonder if he has a contract with the Discovery networks. Does he go work on Ax Men next? He probably doesn’t, because the next shot is of him flying into space, which is totally awesome. It is an exhilarating ending to the trailer. It also serves to drive home just how isolated and alone he really is. If the movie is going to focus on the emotional impact of his otherness, as opposed to how he can help the world, it could be amazing. I’m excited.
This film has earned more buzz from (probably) being about Scientology than from anything that has happened in any of the trailers. It’s hard to see it as a standalone film. Because Scientology is so obviously terrible, I can’t separate my feelings about it from my feelings about this trailer. It depicts what seems to be a cult based on nonsense (aren’t they all?). Philip Seymour Hoffman stars as the L. Ron Hubbard figure, preying on returning war veterans. They almost certainly have PTSD, and he successfully appeals to the alienation they feel as a result. This alone would cast “Scientology” in a dark enough light for me, but it’s only the beginning. The cult is presented as a collective based on nonsense. As Jesse Plemons’ character puts it, “He’s making all this up as he goes along — you don’t see that?” He’s playing Hoffman’s son, and his disbelief speaks to the nonsense that surrounds this trailer. What kind of crazy person is so far out there that they can’t brainwash their own son? Amy Adams also shows up, as Hoffman’s probably-wife, who expresses her own uncertainty. She seems to be a believer, but she has questions. The movie revolves around Joaquin Phoenix’s Freddie, a possibly-insane man the rest of the cult is striving to save. This trailer does a poor job contrasting his craziness with the rest of the craziness. It all seems to come from the same place. Still, it paints “Scientology” as the manic machinations of a lunatic, and that’s the biggest takeaway. Also, as you can tell, I don’t have a definitive answer for most of what’s going on in this trailer. I guess that means … it’ll keep me on my seat? I’m guardedly optimistic.