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Film Studies 101
A Brief History Of Superman Movie Trailers
From The Movie to Man Of Steel…

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Despite how it feels given all the excitement right now, Zack Snyder’s upcoming Man Of Steel is not the first Superman movie to ever hit our cinema screens. Here are the trailers for the previous four movies – don’t worry, there’s no Supergirl in the mix – to help guide you down teaser memory lane. If you were wondering whether you felt the same away about Superman Returns before you went to see it as you do about Man Of Steel now, look no further…

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Superman (1978)




The first thing to note is that this trailer, like many others of its time, is a lot longer than we’re now used to in our fast-paced world of five-second YouTube trailers-for-trailers and brief, flashy TV spots. Two minutes-plus was normal for a blockbuster trailer in the ‘70s, and at the time you wouldn’t be surprised to have most of the film’s plot laid out for you in advance of actually seeing the whole shebang – like a modern rom-com promo.

It’s a blessing, then, that the trailer for the first Superman movie only covers the early part of the film, serving almost as a preface for anyone who walks into the feature 30 minutes in. Note the early discordant music and the delayed drop of John Williams’ theme, as well as the confident use of Movie Trailer Voiceover guy. Oddly, you don’t get to hear Reeve’s voice at all and have to wait a whole 106 seconds to see ol’ Supes in his party pajamas. Even then, what he’s doing is pretty dull: staring at some crystals, looking bored.

Then… flight! You’re suddenly hit with the genuinely still impressive, knock-your-socks-off special effects as His Superness soars through the Fortress Of Solitude and over the earth. Voiceover guy is chuffed too: “Superman brings you the gift of flight!” That said, was anyone able to fly after watching Superman for the first time? Lies, lies, lies…

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Your Comments

I know it's a teaser trailer, but you should have included this as it's the best one: the film being shit (how on Earth did they go with that script?), I still think this is one of the all time greatest trailers. More

Posted by My name is Legion on Monday June 10, 2013, 15:38

2 Ratings
I read a post which jogged my memory. Superman returns got 5-stars, I could swear I heard in a recent podcast that it was a disappointment. I know Attack of the Clones got something like 4-stars first time out, but reading a recent review is has 2-stars. Taken got 2-stars but was talked about recently (in another pod-cast) as being highly enjoyable. How does the rating system work? Is Empire allowed to change its mind? Does a film get re-reviewed going from big-screen to small-screen? It must be a nightmare trying to be as objective as possible, do tell. Oh and by the way, if Empire could re-rate Superman Returns, what would the rating be? (Be honest now.) More

Posted by Temoor on Sunday June 9, 2013, 16:59

3 Goddamn...
levitating finger rays...urgh. More

Posted by partybee on Friday June 7, 2013, 16:13

4 Does it matter? - reply to oldstuff
"It doesn't matter how good the people who follow him are, they are fighting a losing battle...." Bollocks mate. Read some new DC comics and see just how outdated your perceptions of old blue really are. More

Posted by danielthompson99 on Thursday June 6, 2013, 14:17

5 Supes' teasers have often been stronger...
The Brando-narrated teaser for Superman Returns remains one of the most exciting moments I've experienced at the cinema, with the Krypton theme playing and some cool imagery from what turned out to be a relatively damp film. And the two Dad-speech teasers for Man of Steel are superb. Really. Really. Superb. I just wish we'd seen it like this: you're at the cinema, suffering through car and mobile adverts, then the trailers start. First thing you get is the Costner-narrated one (with no branding or Supes flying shot at the end). Then, a heap of other trailers for other things. Finally, the Crowe-narrated teaser, complete with flying shot and S-shield. Chills. More

Posted by IamtheGoblin on Wednesday June 5, 2013, 15:44

Empire gave Superman Returns 5 stars upon release if I remember correctly. "Superman doesn't fly, he soars." More

Posted by mmvm on Wednesday June 5, 2013, 12:52

For superman the movie, it's the glacial pace of the end credits that seems amazing - the cost of that in the price they paid to run the trailer in cinemas must have been astronomical. Superman 2: think they'd got the idea for that one. Superman 3: makes the movie look a lot worse than it is. Superman 4: apart from the polystyrene volcano top, actually makes the movie look a lot better than it is. Superman Returns: Say what you like, as a homage to the Donner movies it was fabulous. More

Posted by gurnblenston on Tuesday June 4, 2013, 21:42

8 Does it matter?
Christopher Reeve will forever be Superman. It doesn't matter how good the people who follow him are, they are fighting a losing battle as Reeve displayed all the possible nuances of the character you would want and he looked like a super-hero in stature. Whilst Reeve's last few years displayed a strength of character that his most famous persona would have envied, his cinematic legacy will just keep going on. More

Posted by oldstuff on Tuesday June 4, 2013, 20:01

9 Say what you want, but III has some fantastic moments....
..The Junkyard fight is a classic and Annette O'toole's Lana Lang is ridiculously hot. Well worth a re-watch. More

Posted by Cameron1975Williams on Tuesday June 4, 2013, 18:25

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