Batman V Superman Trailer: Hey Look! Turns Out, I Don’t Like Everything!

I’ve been pretty positive on this blog, and I bet you were beginning to wonder if it was possible for me to dislike things. Well wonder no more! A new trailer dropped for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice a couple days ago, and there’s been a lot of response to this trailer already. A lot of the controversy surrounding it has been “does this trailer spoil the movie?” I feel that question is just impossible to answer. We can’t know that, because we haven’t SEEN the movie. I mean, in the strictest sense, I suppose ALL trailers spoil their movie, because they give you information that you wouldn’t have otherwise. But does this one cross the line? Maybe. We can’t know. Maybe what is revealed in the trailer is only a small part of the twists and reveals in the film. What we CAN talk about is what the trailer does reveal to us about Batman V Superman, and what we can extrapolate from that information.

So first of all, let’s talk about the good things in this trailer. Ben Affleck impresses me as Bruce Wayne and as Batman. He has a dark, cynical attitude that I feel like really fits with Warner Bros current film direction without committing to the dark and gritty in the same way that the Nolan films did. I also like the way that his Batman suit looks. I mean the actual classic black and gray Batsuit that he is wearing at the end of the trailer, not the desert suit or the power armor. The classic suit looks more in-line with a comic book costume than anything we have seen in a Batman movie… basically ever, so that’s encouraging. In fact, most of what the trailer shows of the Batman/Gotham side of the film makes me happy. Which kind of indirectly brings me to my next point.

This trailer makes me way more excited for OTHER movies in the DC Cinematic Universe than it does Batman V Superman. Bruce tells Clark, “Maybe it’s the Gotham City in me we just have a bad history with freaks dressed like clowns.” That’s a great line for showing the personality behind Affleck’s Batman. He’s cynical and not afraid to call you out. Great! But it is also accompanied by a shot of a Robin suit that has been spray painted with “HAHAHA Joke’s on you Batman.” That doesn’t make me excited for this movie at all, but it gets me super excited for Suicide Squad (which is already the DC film I am most excited about). There has been speculation about this shot since it came up in the earlier trailer that it is almost certainly the costume for Jason Todd: the robin that was killed by Joker, which is cool for a few reasons. Primarily, it makes me happy that DC/WB is apparently not afraid of Robin anymore (though we still haven’t seen him in a movie). The fact that he exists in this universe at all suggests to me that we may be seeing a Robin in the solo Batman film, which these scenes also get me hyped for.

What the Batman scenes in this trailer don’t do is do anything for my desire to see THIS movie. None of these things matter for this movie. We aren’t going to see the Joker, we aren’t going to see Robin. It’s cool that they are hinted at, but it almost feels like DC is using this film as a Universe trailer. Like, “Look at all the cool stuff we are going to be doing! Aren’t you excited for all the other movies we’re going to be releasing?” This is also the result of the Wonder Woman entrance at the end. I like how Gal Gadot looks in the Wonder Woman costume. I like that she steps in and saves the two boys, but we already know (because the trailer has shown us) that she’s not going to be coming in until the battle with Doomsday, so really this just works to tease her solo movie. Right now, it looks like this film is just a big advertisement for future films, except for one notable exception: Doomsday.

Okay, so I am not the first person to make the connection between the existence of Doomsday in this movie and the Death of Superman arc in 1992, and I won’t be the last, but I think it’s important to point out here that Doomsday only really exists in comics to kill Superman. He was created, because they needed someone who could challenge Superman in a physical fight. So they created a villain that was predisposed towards hating Kryptonians and was just as strong as Superman was. There was supposedly a whole other level of bullshit going on between DC Comics and Warner Bros at the time that allegedly may have pissed off some Superman writers and made them want to kill Superman. But the bottom line is Doomsday is a boring villain, and he was only created to kill Superman. So why put him in this movie? To kill Superman! That’s basically the only reason I can see… Unless they want us to THINK they are going to kill Superman, and the whole trailer is a fake out (which I would totally be down for, but I don’t think that’s what is going on).

I’m not saying Superman is definitely going to die, and he’s already listed in the cast for the Justice League Part 1 movie, so he would certainly not STAY dead for long, but maybe Doomsday is going to be WB’s way of dealing with all of the fallout from Man of Steel, while giving an in-universe reason for the other heroes to work together and trust each other. Like, if they all work together to take out Doomsday, and then Supes sacrifices himself to win, Batman will have to recognize that Superman is a good guy and maybe decide that there are villains too big to handle alone. Regardless of whether or not Supes dies, I think using Doomsday to show the necessity of forming a team is the general idea. Here’s a big bad that NO ONE, not even SUPERMAN can handle alone, so we are all going to need to work together from here on out, because there will be more.

All-in-all, this trailer has done nothing to make me excited to see this movie. I’ll see it. I kind of feel like I have to, and it DOES look better than Man of Steel, but that is not saying much, and it looks better almost exclusively because the Batman stuff fits in more neatly with the current thematic tone that WB wants. Aside from that, we seem to have a clash between two heroes who disagree with the other’s methods, which is a played out idea that is generally used in comics to generate cheap sales by creating a big, overblown event (OMG! Batman is going to FIGHT Superman!), but then never amounts to anything: a tactic that was used so much in the ‘90s comics that Warner Bros seems to be getting inspiration from. So… I’m not enthusiastic about this movie, but it does make me excited about OTHER movies… so that’s something? I think?


EDIT:
I feel like I should talk briefly about why the idea of Batman V Superman bothers me, but Civil War doesn’t. I feel like there is a distinct difference between a one-off fight that really exists to give us, as Lex puts it “The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world” and a larger ideological conflict that results in superheroes choosing sides long-term. I feel like the latter has a better chance of turning into something interesting and thought provoking.

This entry was posted in Trailer Reaction and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Batman V Superman Trailer: Hey Look! Turns Out, I Don’t Like Everything!

  1. Yeah this trailer made me cringe, haha 🙂

    Like

  2. gsanders says:

    I’m probably not going to catch this one, but I’m less down on the trailer than you are if only because my expectations were already super low.

    What did you think of the Lex Luthor? Jesse Eisenberg was fairly fun in the initial party, if perhaps leaning heavily on dramatic irony that may or may not be based on his knowledge at that point. I also liked his line about the the oldest lie in America.

    I rather liked Superman Returns, but I thought Luthor was the weak point there.

    Like

    • I feel like Lex’s lines in the latter half of the trailer felt more convincing than in the beginning. I agree that the “greatest lie” line was good, and his interaction with Lois Lane also seems good. He just felt almost clownish in that first scene to me. As you said, maybe a little too heavy on the dramatic irony.. Like, I almost feel like he would have made a great Joker, but he makes a weird Lex.

      Also, I’m still not really sold on him having long hair (which I am sure will go away at some point). Comic books rely heavily on iconography. At this point, Lex being bald and powerful in appearance (not always in stature, but certainly in the way he presents himself and stands) is iconic, and I feel like that is lost here in what we have seen (In part because they have decided to bulk up Clark and Bruce way more than normal, so by comparison Lex looks tiny).

      The one exception being the scene where he is standing in a lab coat while they bring him Zod’s corpse. There, at least, he looks confident and calculating, which is how Lex SHOULD look. I’m still not convinced that Eisenberg was the right casting choice here, but I do think that he selling whatever it is the directing/writing team wants. So I think it’s more on them than anything.

      Like

      • gsanders says:

        Hm.. I can’t find an article I remember fondly about Lex’s history, but here’s one that comes close and talks up the JLU Luthor of which I’m a fan.
        http://www.toddalcott.com/the-joy-of-lex.html

        Basically, Luthor has shifted substantially over time, scientist, businessman, politician, but genius in the better incarnations. I just see this as another shift. This is a younger Luthor, I’d say he’s playing probably a bit younger than Batman or Superman. I’d say he’s both playing a bit self-effacing but at the same time making good use of his institutional power. He hosted the event that’s bringing the two of them together and its presumably his scheming that sets a good amount of this going. I’d say he’s earning his menace this film rather than starting with it. Ultimately, for me it fixes the problem that the article raises with some past Lex’s.

        “For some reason, for the live-action movies, Superman, Superman II, Superman IV and Superman Returns, Warner Bros neglected every possible valid aspect of Lex Luthor. In these movies, Lex is not a scientist, a businessman or a politician. He’s a fop, an opportunist and a jerk. Far from being a genius, he’s not even bright. His plans are ridiculous, obtuse and fatally short-sighted. He is, in fact, the opposite of a genius — he is a man who keeps saying he is a genius. He’s a blowhard and a poser, vain and obvious, surrounding himself with morons and sycophants to make himself feel smarter. The Lex of the animated show doesn’t have a two-bit hussy and a slobbering idiot in a straw boater for a staff, he seeks out and hires the best and the brightest people in the world (a strategy that sometimes backfires for him when they get wise to his plans for universal domination).”

        I think he’s actually playing fairly Iago here, he’s telling you what he’s doing through the dramatic irony and then doing it. That seems fairly appropriate to our particular moment. Ultimately, I want an opponent to feel like he has the wits to take the two of them on.

        I similarly don’t think that the film is that great an idea (I’ll link the Ostrander article that we discussed earlier here as it seems appropriate http://www.comicmix.com/2015/12/06/john-ostrander-not-your-fathers-superman/), but if you’re going to do it, having Lex be the one to orchestrate it makes a lot of sense.

        Like

        • That’s a fair point about this being just another character evolution. Lex does seem to change to fit the times more than other villains do. I, too, am a big fan of the JLU Luther and have typically not been a big fan of the live action Luthers we have had so far. It may be that this is still proto-Lex that we are seeing, and he will evolve into something more overtly confident and powerful later. We see the seeds of that in this trailer already, and he certainly demonstrates that he has power and influence (how else could he have gotten a hold of Zod’s body).

          I still feel like some of how Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex interacts with the other characters feels a bit too comical and loose for how I typically picture Lex, but we also only really see him in three scenes in this trailer. Maybe it all fits together better when we get to see the whole film.

          I do think, on a slightly different point, that it is very strange to be taking a young Superman and a young Lex and pairing them with what is, essentially, The Dark Knight Returns older Batman. In fact, how they are going to handle that is one of the only things I AM interested to see when this movie comes out.

          Like

          • gsanders says:

            Right, that’s a more fleshed and better realized version of what I’d like Lex to be. Is it what he is? Who knows. But after weird quotes from Ma Kent in the last trailer it was nice to see a character acting in a way that *could* be consistent with the way that they’re written in interesting incarnations.

            Similarly, interesting point on the youth, young Superman, young Lex, older Bruce. It does reflect where each of the franchises is at the moment and could be cool if handled well. I’ll be interested to read your take when the time comes (or see it myself if it turns out to be better than people fear).

            I guess my one final point is that Wonder Woman actually breaking out the lasso of truth against Lex could be rather cool and iconic in a way that really upends the sometime self-seriousness of the rest. Probably won’t happen, although if it was they shouldn’t show it in the trailer so that’s fine.

            Anyhow, I’ve been wanting to discuss the trailer some since it came out, thanks for indulging me!

            Like

            • No problem! I enjoyed the discussion. Unfortunately, I, too, doubt we will see WW’s Lasso in this film, at least. That doesn’t quite seem grounded enough for where WB wants this franchise to be at the moment. I could be wrong, though! And they will have to break away from their gritty and grounded theme eventually, since they plan to have the likes of Aquaman and the Flash in their movies.

              Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s