The [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice](tag:711870) promo train is going full speed now as we head towards the release date, and it's not showing an intention of slowing down until the DC centerpiece blockbuster releases a couple of months from now.
And now we have a bunch of new promo images from the upcoming movie, courtesy of Comic Book Movie.com, and they give us the best look yet at the man behind the bat shaped cowl, Bruce Wayne as portrayed by Ben Affleck.
When Affleck was officially announced as the next actor to don Batman's legendary cowl the reaction was... mixed, to say the least. The Daredevil stain is a tough one to wash off, and the ever-so slightly derogatory term "Batfleck" was coined to describe the hero, but the recent trailers and images show that he's ready to prove the naysayers wrong when he suits up as Batman.
It's Gonna Be A Dark Knight
It's no secret that Affleck's Batman - with the thick body, fat bat-symbol and smaller ears - was inspired by Frank Miller's critically acclaimed The Dark Knight Returns. Batman v Superman director Zack Synder has previously professed his love for the graphic novel and confirmed that, whilst the film is not a direct adaptation, the graphic novel was a core influence upon Dawn of Justice.
"[The] comic book will influence the history of Batman v. Superman, on which the writer David S. Goyer and myself will work."
Even from the very first trailer it was easy to see how Miller's comic had influenced the tone of Batman v Superman. Set in a near-future dystopian version of Gotham where crime runs rampant; The Dark Knight Returns Batman is ten years retired and 55-year old Bruce Wayne struggles with the reemergence of the Bat persona from within himself.
At the beginning of the novel Bruce is at his lowest point, hating himself for his weakness against the ongoing tide of crime taking over the city. Eventually, following a mental breakdown/breakthrough into clarity, he realises that he can't fight the Batman persona and that Gotham needs him, so returns to fighting crime.
Civil war is on the streets; the Mutant gang wage war against the city and old enemies come crawling back into the spotlight as Batman remerges. Meanwhile the world holds it's breath as the threat of nuclear war looms in the background, interlaced throughout the narrative of the graphic novel.
Batman v Superman Takes A Similar Approach
As we've seen from the trailers and promo clips Batman v Superman charts a world in chaos as heroes and regular folk alike try to deal with the fallout from Superman's battle with Zod (Michael Shannon) in Man of Steel, and the fear and awe that comes with the knowledge that such a powerful being exists upon Earth.
Batman and Superman (Henry Cavill) end up fighting towards the conclusion of The Dark Knight Returns too. Superman goes after Batman, intending to stop him on orders from the President, who fears the impact Batman may have. Similarly we know that Superman disagrees with the Batman's particular brand of vigilante justice, whilst Batman doesn't think someone as powerful as Superman should be allowed to live on Earth.
Batfleck Is Here To Stay
Initially finding fame as somewhat of a cult actor working closely with Kevin Smith in the 90's, Ben Affleck spent the last decade crawling his way back up as a respected actor after career killing roles in such badly received films as Gigli and Daredevil, and he's really peaking right now following the success of Argo (which he directed as well as starred in) and Gone Girl.
In the latter film he portrayed a dual-natured character exuding a captivatingly tense darkness, a trait that no doubt went a way towards his casting here.
Zack Synder: “[Affleck] has the experience necessary to paint the picture of an older and more advised man... who bears the scars of a seasoned vigilante while retaining the charm that Bruce Wayne deploys when present in the world."
During an interview with Entertainment Weekly last year Batfleck - sorry, Ben Affleck - spoke a little about his incarnation of the caped crusader, promising an interesting look into the mind of a complex and somewhat damaged Bruce Wayne:
"[Batman]'s on the verge of being swallowed up by the anger and the rage that we see haunt this character in the other manifestations of it. But this guy is further down the line and has become more embittered and cynical."
Who hurt you Bruce? Who hurt you?
Affleck's words certainly fit with what we've seen in the trailers so far, as well as Alfred (Jeremy Iron)'s chilling line of dialogue: "That's how it starts. The fever, the rage, the feeling of powerlessness that turns good men... cruel."
And from the looks of things Batman will be our good man turned cruel, going after Superman with the single-mindedness that only a man on a mission can possess. But Superman isn't going to go down without a fight, and what a fight it's going to be.
We're anticipating one hell of a showdown come March 26, 2016 when Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice releases in the US.