This weekend at Comic Con Warner Brothers released a trailer for the upcoming movie Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Not only did they release it to the fans at the convention center in San Diego, they released it to the general public as well. Taking advantage of this opportunity to watch the trailer as soon as I possibly could, my expectations for the trailer were relatively low. Before I give my reaction to the trailer, I will explain how I felt about the movie before watching the trailer. After the teaser that was released some time ago, my worries for this movie grew slightly. The decisions that the studio had at that point did not seem like the best ones to make. Simply put, casting has been unfavorable for the most part and there are fears with Zack Snyder leading this cinematic universe. Hence why my expectations were lower than most for this trailer (especially after the tease trailer). Snyder has demonstrated that his style of movie is extremely dark and gritty, with little room for a color lighter than gray. Although superhero movies have turned darker, Disney-Marvel proves that comedy (or even a smile) can crack into these movies. While my expectations were low, I had hopes that a full length trailer would display a side to Snyder’s movies that have rarely been seen and that the casting decisions would excel in the short parts that I would see.
To me, a trailer is supposed to one main thing for me when I watch it: excite me. This trailer did not do that for me. The trailer simply displayed the worries that I have about this movie and then did not sell me on why this movie would be good. My major problem with the trailer is that it made it seem like this is simply the sequel to Man of Steel with Batman thrown in there because everybody loves Batman. Yes, technically this movie is the sequel to Man of Steel, however, its purpose is to set up the Justice League movie. It has to be more than a sequel; it has to start a cinematic universe. This trailer does not scream (nor even softly speak) big picture other than seeing Batman and Wonder Woman featured in the trailer. Honestly, this movie could drop those two, simply focus on the tension between Superman and the government in addition to Lex Luthor, and use a post credit scene to start the universe. With that idea, Lawrence Fishbourne (one of the only bright spots of the entire trailer was his two sentence yell at Clark) could have a larger role than what he appears to have in this movie. Man of Steel was heavily an origin story where Superman’s life had not happened yet. Perhaps this movie could have been an intriguing sequel where Snyder could really grasp the character of Superman and introduce Luthor fully. Instead, it appears we will get two and a half hours of rushing around to develop returning characters, introduce completely new characters, reintroducing familiar characters who are different from previous movies, all while trying to slap together a plot line that actually is understandable. Has no one learned from the two times that Sony has ruined a Spiderman movie because they crammed too much stuff into one single movie?
Now time for the finer details of the trailer. I did not hate every single moment of the trailer; there were some highlights for me. However, the bulk of it simply reminded me of how this movie will be the standard Snyder film where it appears that he is doing everything that he did in Man of Steel that everybody complains about (who are ironically praising this trailer). Superhero movies should be darker and grittier than the campy films of the 90s and before, but Marvel is demonstrating to us that there is room for slight comedy. Sprinkle it here or there for Christ’s sake; I do not need a movie where the only line of humor is deliver in the very last scene of the movie. Maybe Disney-Marvel goes too far with it, which can be argued depending on the movie. But, Nolan’s take on the Batman had elements of comedy in it. The bulk of the movie was dark and serious, but there were comic relief moments where the audience could relax for a second. Snyder did not include that in Man of Steel, and in the little bit that we see in the trailer, there does not seem room for that comedy in there. I acknowledge that I could be wrong about this, however, if the past is any indication, then we are screwed as movie goers.
Further delving into the trailer, another flashback of Man of Steel that people complain (and joke) about was the senseless destruction of everything holy. What was displayed in the last half of the trailer? To quote from Bill & Ted’s Halloween show at Halloween Horror Nights, “Senseless destruction. Must destroy everything!” Did Snyder go to the school of Michael Bay nonsensical action? Does Gotham become victim to the ruthless city destroyer otherwise known as Superman? Is there no one raising their hand during the board meeting about this movie asking why everything must die? Those are a few questions that I have about the amount of chaos and devastation that I saw in the trailer. I understand that Batman is going to fight Superman, but why does it have to lay waste to a city?
The casting choices that were made for Dawn of Justice have been argumentative at best (I believe there was a petition against Ben Affleck being Batman). I mean, the man has said that he was essentially talked into the role, but details. Then Jessie Eisenberg was casted as Lex, which was also questionable (especially since Bryan Cranston auditioned for that role in five seasons of Breaking Bad, but details). This trailer did not help those decision at all in my mind. Both men reminded me of the people I want to play their roles. With Eisenberg, it’s not that he is not acting well. I think he delivers his lines with great talent, but he is not Lex. Not by appearance nor voice is he reminding me of someone portraying Lex Luthor. Maybe in the whole film he will grow on me; I will leave that open to chance because I honestly want to like this movie. But in the trailer, it does not work for me. These casting decisions still have a lot to prove, even if the trailer was good. In addition to that, why is Alfred dressed similar to a middle aged hipster? It is an interesting take on the character to say the very least. He comes off less as a butler and mentor, rather more as a friend who Wayne might go clubbing with. Maybe that is only me as well though.
Other pieces of the trailer that deserve mention will be in bulleted points below because that is my style (I guess):
• Stop showing Bruce Wayne’s parents dying! I have seen it numerous times already, I do not need a recap that they got shot. Since we are on the subject, Sony/Disney-Marvel, if I see Uncle Ben get shot in the remake of Spiderman, I might scream in the theater.
• Random horses running on a mountain side? What?
• Affleck’s stern face comes off more as comical then serious.
• I hope the “previously on Man of Steel” section of the movie is short lived.
• The speech that Clark’s mother gives him is almost identical of the one that Costner gives him in Man of Steel.
• It will be hard not to picture Scar in my head every time Jeremy Irons says something
Could this movie surprise me and turn out to be a good movie? Of course. That is what I honestly hope because this movie sets the tone for the entire cinematic universe. But this movie has a lot to prove to me. The bar is being set low. If it exceeds it, then I will proclaim it and write a great review about it. I let the movie do the talking though, but this trailer is not a good start.