'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' Trailer

Well, it's looking like the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer is every bit as polarizing as Man of Steel. Some people loved the footage and think it'll be an amazing movie; others hate it and hope it's not an accurate picture of the entire movie. Me? I'm someone who loves Man of Steel (we can still be friends if you hated it, you know) and I've been very, very, veeeeeery excited for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. So, did I love the debut trailer and it now has me exclaiming, "ZOMG BEST MOVIE EVER"? No, unfortunately I can't say that I loved it, and honestly, I was left feeling incredibly down the middle in the moments immediately after my first viewing. However, I do like it and if you'll give me a minute or two (because you're nice like that, right?), I'll explain why.
When Warner Bros announced the movie's first trailer was on the way, I immediately began to think about what it would include. You probably did, too. I envisioned a video that's full of cameos, some basic ways to spell out the plot, and a whole lot of spectacle. That isn't what we received. Not at all. The first trailer is purely story-driven and drenched in darkness. While Marvel Studios aims to win over a wide variety of moviegoers by making sure its films always have some amount of fun and comedy, it's clear Warner Bros is making the DC Cinematic Universe the opposite of that -- at least for now. The studio's going for grittiness and realism. While Marvel Studios embraces a trigger-happy, talking "raccoon," DC is establishing a dark atmosphere. When I say "realism," I don't mean anything involving how these characters act in combat -- it's clear Batman is going to be well-above what an ordinary human is capable of. I mean how the world is crafted and how it responds to this unreal situation.

Man of Steel ended with aliens attempting to destroy the planet. They unleashed a devastating amount of damage in a major city and even though Superman was able to stop them, his fight with Zod brought about additional destruction and it resulted in Kal-El snapping the neck of his opponent. I know it's ridiculous, but imagine this really happened. How would you feel about Superman? You don't know anything about him aside from the fact he's absurdly powerful and no government on the planet could hope to stop him. To top it off, you know he saved the planet by killing his enemy. Some of you will think he's just trying to do the right thing. Some will think he's a God. Many will fear him and think he can't be trusted.
"I lift things up and put them down."
What happened in Man of Steel is a ginormous deal for Earth and it's great to see it isn't simply being glossed over. There's huge ramifications and those are obviously being used to justify why the Dark Knight comes to blows with the Kryptonian. Just look at how the news industry tends to cover events. Something huge like this? Yeah, you can bet they'd have a lot of talking heads saying why the Man of Steel is worse than mega ebola and you can bet a lot of people would let that fear and hatred bleed into their impression of Big Blue. Obviously it won't affect everyone -- some view him as the next messiah and want him to fix just about everything -- but with Lex Luthor in the picture, you know he's going to do some manipulating and make even more people view Superman as a super villain. This trailer isn't showing us how Superman's reacting to this reception (something I'm VERY anxious to find out), just how the world is responding to his presence. It's a simple yet efficient way to give us some understanding of the bigger picture. I'm surprised we didn't see Lex or any especially huge moments from the film, but I'd much rather have them reserve the really good stuff for when we're sitting in a movie theater. Here's hoping Warner Brothers doesn't release a silly amount of clips as the release date gets closer and closer. I just don't have the willpower to resist watching those. I'm no Hal Jordan.

Sweet mother of all that is holy, Batman looks like a beast in this movie. The costume looks great in motion, the armor appears to stay very true to Frank Miller's classic comic, and Affleck's voice is so intimidating. We've yet to see a lot of the Caped Crusader and how his character is handled, but at least we know he looks and sounds all kinds of formidable. That said, one part did have me concerned. There's a bit with two vehicles (looks like the Batmobile and Batwing) and they unleash some attacks that blow up several gunmen. It seems like Bruce is the one who did this. I'm really hoping that's not the case and there's some context we're not getting. It immediately reminded me of Tim Burton's version who has no issue murdering anyone in his way. This version of Batman may be darker and more brutal, but the fact he can topple obstacles without killing makes him even more impressive and admirable. Otherwise, he's pretty much just Punisher but in a different costume. (That's not a jab at Punisher; I love the character.)
Everyone -- even Superman -- must bow down to Batman at some point.
The trailer provides a loose reason why Batman goes after Superman. The world isn't sure it should trust this ridiculously powerful being, so why should Batman? And wouldn't this be a bit of a blow to Bruce's ego? After all he's put his body through, there's now some flying dude who can go above and beyond what he's capable of. (Well, not unless Wayne has prep, but let's not get into that, okay?) We of course don't get all of the details, but seeing as the emergence of a seemingly surreal hero is a huge deal, it's only natural that a hero/brilliant detective/seeker of justice/ninja would want to find out what the deal really is with this guy.

Random thoughts:

  • Batman is definitely holding a rifle and it looks just like the one from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns.
  • I'm guessing the Superman statue/park is built on ground zero in Metropolis.
  • Seeing as we know Snyder's directing two Justice League movies in the future, I'm assuming this conflict will more than likely end with them gaining each other's respect. It may be called "Batman v Superman" and they may beat the living hell out of each other, but it'll more than likely end as them becoming great friends and admiring the others' strengths. So yeah, while the studio's cashing in on the pure fan service of seeing these two fight, at least the conflict will be the thing that produces their friendship. Plus, I'd be a total liar if I said I didn't want to see these two fight on the big screen.

This may not be the trailer I expected and it didn't totally blow me away, but it sure gives us a lot to chew on. There's one very important thing I'm left wondering about, though: What is Superman's response to all of this worship, fear and hatred? I understand why this trailer doesn't get into that (it's informing us how the world is reacting to him and what he's done), but it's a pretty important question, especially since this version of the character left fans divided. In this trailer, he seems kind of distant, cold, and even confused. These shots are all out of context and I'm sure there's more to them, but I can only form an opinion based on what we've seen, right? To me, Man of Steel ends with Clark Kent becoming the Superman many of us know. Before the conflict escalated, he's someone who spent his whole life holding back and hiding who he really is. He avoided conflict and aside from the Kents, he's clearly never had any meaningful relationships. When the credits begin to roll, he's finally used his powers to save the planet from an insanely dangerous threat -- one which impacted him emotionally -- and told the U.S. government he's here to help. No longer can he remain quiet, expressing himself mostly through body language. Now that he is Superman, we need to see him acting more like it. If the world is unclear about who he is and what he stands for, he should give a public speech in an attempt to clear things up. He should do everything he can to help but make it clear he's not a God; he can't be everywhere at once and save everyone from everything. If this movie has two brilliant humans -- Lex Luthor and Bruce Wayne -- setting their sights on him, he's going to look like a fool if he doesn't exude more confidence, intelligence and warmth when interacting with others.

Given the themes this movie is handling and the source material it's inspired by, it should be a dark story. However, Superman's iconic personality and optimism should still be on display and receive more attention this time around. When the credits begin to roll, we should have a brighter future on the horizon and the start of a powerful friendship. If you watched the trailer and hated it, so be it. I understand why some may not be a fan of the tone and the direction the story's taking. To each their own and hopefully you'll be pleasantly surprised by the final product. At least you know there's plenty of other comic book movies that may appeal to you and there's certainly plenty of superb comics and animated shows/movies that feature Batman and Superman. But me? Yeah, I'm looking forward to this and hopefully after reading this post, you don't think that makes me absolutely crazy.