It's been three weeks since the release of the Batman vs Superman Comic-Con trailer, and since then it's been analyzed and overanalyzed (Oh, who are we kidding? No such thing.). But there's a line at the end of the trailer that no one is really talking about, and I think there's a lot more meaning to it than most have realized.
I refer, of course, to Lex Luthor's snarky exclamation: "The red capes are coming! The red capes are coming!"
I don't think that this is simply an attempt to inject levity into a trailer that is otherwise grim, as some have speculated. There's more to it than that:
In the world of Batman v Superman, Lex is obviously manipulating public opinion of Superman to some degree. He's meeting with the senator, he's talking about the upcoming Batman/Superman battle, and so on. Lex has power because of his wealth, intellect, and influence -- but he wants more. Presumably, he wants to (a) control Superman, or (b) failing that, get rid of him. And to get rid of Superman, he has to convince the people of Earth -- especially Batman -- that Superman represents a danger to the human race.
After all, the best way to manipulate people is through fear.
Superman made a mistake when he didn't think to move the Zod battle out of Metropolis. Fair enough. But hey, he did save the Earth -- and since then, he's obviously been helping people, saving them from natural disasters, fires, and more. Public opinion is divided. For Lex's plan to work, it would not be enough for people to fear Superman alone. Lex needs people to fear the possibility that Superman is lying -- that he's not here to help, that he's actually here as an advance scout, and that perhaps Krypton never blew up at all!
But then why did Superman fight Zod and his warriors, in this scenario? That's easy enough to answer: Earth people go to war with each other all the time -- why wouldn't Kryptonians? Perhaps, Lex might say, Zod represented one Kryptonian faction that wanted to rule Earth, and Kal-El represents another.
After all, Superman was dressed very differently than Zod and his warriors. Superman was the only "red cape".
And there, I feel, is where "the red capes are coming" fits in. Lex Luthor wants the people of Earth to believe that more "red-caped" Kryptonians are on their way! And more to the point -- he wants Batman to believe it. He wants Batman to believe that the only way to stop this possible invasion is to destroy Superman.
If you watch Jesse Eisenberg's face when he speaks those lines, it seems apparent that Lex doesn't believe what he's saying. He's talking privately with someone (the senator?), and he's being sarcastic. To me, his expression reads something like: "This is what I'm manipulating the idiotic public to believe."
I'll be honest -- I wasn't on board with Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor at first. Too young, I thought; Luthor is typically portrayed as being older than Superman. But Eisenberg is a good actor, and this isn't the Lex from Superman: The Movie. This isn't a career criminal hiding in an underground lair, setting a trap for Superman so that he can hang a Kryptonite chain around his neck. No, this is a Luthor who manipulates things from behind the scenes. And he certainly appears to be doing that here.
So in my opinion, there's more than one reason that Batman decides to fight Superman. It's not only that Bruce Wayne is angry about the lives lost in Metropolis. He's also wary of the possibility that Superman is the advance scout for red-caped Kryptonians... and he's not about to let that happen.
What do you think?