“MAN OF STEEL” (June 14)
Zack Snyder is hoping his Superman reboot “Man of Steel” turns out to be not just a blockbuster, but a movie with a capital “M.”
There are panoramic aerial battles on Krypton, there are touching moments between young Clark Kent and both his biological and adoptive fathers, there are close-ups of a fist pounding into ice, and there is lots and lots of big-budget flying.
“I wanted the movie to be a big movie-going experience, full of action, full of emotion and full of the biggest super hero in the world,” Snyder said Tuesday before giving the Las Vegas movie theater convention CinemaCon a brief glimpse. “I wanted to give to the cinemas of the world a big, giant ‘movie’ movie.”
The film follows in the modern tradition of the naturalistic superhero movies. It takes place in a gritty-looking, color-drained world of grays, brown and icy blues. All the better to set off that red cape, perhaps.
The scenes of Clark Kent’s Kansas childhood are drenched in Americana, complete with freshly laundered flannels flapping on the clothes line.
Snyder, who also directed the superhero film “Watchmen,” said he wanted to find a poignancy to add to the familiar story.
We get some hints of that tenderness in conversations between Kent and his farmer father, played by Kevin Costner, as they struggle to keep the young superhero’s powers hidden.
But then we see Kent grow up, learn to fly and begin to take on an assortment of foes. It’s this part of the legend – not the troubled childhood – that seems to most animate Snyder.
“I’ve been a big fan of the character my whole life,” he said. “He is the greatest super hero. There’s no competition between super heroes, but if there was, he’d win.”
The new franchise is anchored by Henry Cavill, a British actor who starred on the Showtime series “The Tudors” before taking on the mantle of the man of steel. His is the only chiseled face in the trailer not instantly recognizable as a mega-star.
Snyder and Warner Bros. appear to be enjoying teasing fans with snippets of the film, which hits theaters at the height of blockbuster season on June 14.
This week, fans were treated to their first snatch of dialogue between Superman and his Lois Lane, Amy Adams.
“What’s the S stand for,” Adams asks at the end of the teaser trailer.
“It’s not an S. On my world it means ‘hope,’ ” a caped Superman responds.
“Well, here it’s an S,” says Adams, “How about, ‘Sup-”
But before she can finish, a burst of feedback cuts her off.
“THE LONE RANGER” (July 3)
To watch a snippet of “The Lone Ranger” is to empathize with the stoic looks of concern its star, Johnny Depp, deadpans throughout the action film.
An apparently white man playing Tonto, one of the most famous American Indian stereotypes of all time, might work. Then again, trouble might be coming.
In director Gore Verbinski’s remake of the popular 1950s western television series, Depp speaks in broken English, chants prayers, and wears feathers, face paint and – for some reason – a stuffed crow headdress.
But he also loses the subservience that helped make the original Tonto, played by a Canadian Mohawk, such a problematic sidekick to the masked hero.
The Disney remake has Tonto in the role of coach to John Reid, the idealistic law school graduate who finds himself out of his depth when he returns to his hometown by the film’s end becomes the Lone Ranger.
Verbinski framed the film as a buddy picture with a zany Western edge Wednesday during a teaser screening at the movie theater convention CinemaCon in Las Vegas.
“The movie is an origin story,” he said before showing about 20 minutes of material. “You’ll get a sense about the delicate partnership that’s arranged between these two guys, and their wildly diverse sense of justice.”
Armie Hammer, who plays the square-jawed ranger, made a brief appearance with Depp, who was in full movie-star mode, sporting a cowboy hat, four gold necklaces, expensively ripped jeans and a bandanna hanging to his knees.
“Armie is very tall. Which means that we’re not short,” Depp told the industry crowd.
“Anything to add to that?” Verbinski asked.
“No,” Depp responded, hoisting his microphone to the ceiling like a rock star and then strutting back off stage.
He might have been saving his voice for a fan question-and-answer session scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at a nearby Las Vegas theater.
Verbinski also directed “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, and in “The Lone Ranger,” Depp appears to be reprising some elements of his flamboyant Jack Sparrow character, including what could be the same head scarf.
Depp is not quite donning “red face,” as he wears a mask of white and black paint through the film. That heavy eye makeup sets off the whites of his eyes, which he widens to comic effect when confronted with handcuffs, rifles and hurtling trains.
The film, set for release July 3, is Hollywood’s first attempt to modernize the Lone Ranger franchise, which has gathered dust for several generations.
Today’s viewers might not feel a shiver of recognition when John Reid’s brother tosses him a Texas Ranger pin, or when Tonto first calls him “kemosabe.”
And that might be a good thing.