Cut and Print: The Red Capes Are Coming – BvS trailer
Okay, so this weekend marks the weekend that Warner Brothers was supposed to give us Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, one of the most anticipated comic book films of all time.
Yes: Warner Brothers won San Diego Comic Con back in 2013 with a very simple announcement, made by Man of Steel actor Henry Lennox. He literally made the crowd gasp for air as he read a small passage from the graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns, the scene in which Batman has his hands around Superman’s throat, and he reminds him that he, a mere human, that had defeated him. The message form this demonstration was clear: Warners was going to do it: they were going to make a movie in which Batman actually faces off against Superman. The two most iconic superheroes had never been on the silver screen together, but such an event was anticipated long before this moment at comic con.
Warners’ mistake: at that same event, they announced a release date: July 17, 2015.
As it turned out, they jumped the gun just a bit. The film would be an ambitious one, and it would have the additional task of doing a whole lot (more than Man of Steel did) to build the DCEU (DC expanded universe) for the big screen. They pushed the release date back to summer of 2016 (naturally disappointing the fans). When Marvel refused to budge – they had a film set to be released on the date Warners had chosen – Warners changed the date again.The new date would be March 2016.
All of these dates would have the fans wondering if Warners’ really had their act together or not, or even if they had confidence in what they were doing. At the following year’s SDCC, the presence of BvS was so important, and yet many felt underwhelmed. A short, exclusive teaser trailer was shown, and the film’s three stars waved at the crowd, but was that enough to win back the faith of the fans.
They had to “make it happen” this year, especially since Marvel had decided to bail form this convention (after all, they had announced their entire slate of upcoming films the previous fall and had nothing new to announce that would warrant them renting Hall H for a demonstration), so Warner’s had a chance to dominate the con, to leave a big impression, to restore the faith of the fans, and to show that their biggest film was, indeed, on track. The convention took place shortly before the original release date of the film; no doubt that was another reason that WB decided to release a meat, three-and-a-half-minute trailer for the film.
The did it. The trailer was arguably the most memorable trailer out of nearly a half a dozen other memorable trailers. Shortly after presenting it in Hall H, Warner’s put it up on YouTube in all it’s HD glory. It was a good move. Let’s break down what we saw.
The trailer opens with what, in some ways, is a tip of the hat to a moment from Superman 4: The Quest for Peace (perhaps that dreadful film’s most sincere moment) where Superman addresses the senate and tells the people of the United States that he thinks of himself as a citizen of the United States, and is no better or worse than anyone else. Here, despite having god-like powers, he answers to the authority of the United States government. They do hold him responsible. Later, we learn that Holly Hunter’s senator meets with Lex Luthor. There is no doubt that hos meetings with her will ensure that Superman will be on a very short leash, constantly under the supervision of the government. Superman, being a man of honor, would no doubt agree to these terms, perhaps not realize that Luther has ulterior motives for all of this. The soldiers that have S-patches on their shoulders and seem to be standing by him, might be the the governments attache to Superman, monitoring his activities here, while keeping those that hate Superman from getting close to him. Superman might not need any protection, but if he were to even defend himself, that might mean hurting someone in the process. If this theory holds, it will be interesting to see how Lex might use these soldiers for his own purposes. Bottom line: Superman is being controlled.
Things will certainly become untenable for him when Batman appears. Bruce Wayne’s building was destroyed in Man of Steel when Superman was fighting Zod, and now Wayne must feel that this alien is much too powerful, and, after all the destruction in Metropolis, cannot be trusted. During the SDCC panel, director Zach Snyder revealed that Metropolis and Gotham were close, – across the bay from each other (much like San Fransisco and Oakland) Wayne Enterprises has – or had – a significant presence in Metropolis. Despite Alfred’s belief that Superman is not the enemy, Wayne has dedicated himself to taking him on, and even his soldiers. Left only up to speculation is how Wayne really intends to take on Superman. Does he work a deal with Lex, who clearly has obtained both Kryptonite (is that what the diver found on the ocean floor in that one quick shot?) and has Luthor also obtained Zod’s corpse? Could Lex be using the corpse to create Doomsday? It’s all speculation.
What isn’t speculation is that Warner Brother’s has put together one hell of a trailer here. Zach Snyder is not the greatest film-maker, and his approach often has no subtly but there are few directors who can visually match what he does when it comes to bringing something form the pages of a comic book to the big screen (Just look at 300, Watchmen, and Man of Steel, as well as the dreadful Sucker Punch, which, tho9ugh an original story, has the look of a comic book). More than the films themselves, the trailers that have been made to promote his films have been spectacular. Batman v. Superman certainly measures amongst the greatest trailers for his or another films. It’s clear that Snyder has embraced the comic book roots of this story, but to do that, he’s had to largely eschew the more grounded approach Christopher Nolan had taken with the Batman character. For better or worse, this is the comic boom version of Batman.
He might also be the most threatening version of the character we’d ever seen. The Nolan version of the character was a very skilled fighter who used fear to his advantage and was trained in ninjitsu. He could easily take on multiple opponents before vanishing into the shadow. Yet, he never quite became the “one man reign of terror” that Ben Affleck’s Batman seems to be, where brandishes criminals with his mark, and might not be above killing (did he kill a soldier in that desert fight? Hard to tell.) This Batman might be so feared by not just the criminal underworld but by the authorities as well.
There’s a lot more that fans will want to examine in this trailer. most notably the shot of Robin’s armor in the Bat-cave, marked up with the words “The Jokes on You, Batman” just as it was in the graphic novel after the Joker killed the Jason Todd version of Robin. Although, with only a few shots, Gal Gadot makes quite an impression as Wonder Woman. They might have muted her normally bright outfit for this movie, but Gadot manages to be splitting image of this iconic character, who, before this film, has never been in a live-action movie before.
With this trailer, Warner Brothers have put there est foot forward by allowing the most iconic comic book characters of all time to share the screen together at last. Batman v Superman will be an event film; Warner’s has decided at last to put their hand o the table, believing that this is the comic movie people want to see above all others. They might be right.
Watch the trailer (again) here: