Unfortunately not everyone on earth is writing about the new Batman v Superman trailer that just aired, so I am doing my part to oversaturate the interwebs with the topic. You're welcome!
Before I get going, I should be clear about my stance on all of the live action Batman movies that have come before. I love them... ok, most of them. The Dark Knight trilogy is a phenomenal achievement of cinematic history and a great chapter in the story of comic book-to-film adaptations. Any comparisons that I make to these films are not criticizing the obvious quality of those films, the brilliant story telling of Christopher Nolan, or the praise worthy acting of Christian Bale beneath the cape and cowl. Rather my thoughts are about the process of transferring the pages of the comic book to the reel of the cinema and how much of the original story, tone, and subtle details remain once the crowd leaves the theatre. Also, I have always been a fan of Ben Affleck being cast to play Batman. So here we go...
In case you haven't seen the new trailer, here it is...
Like anyone who is a fan of a good book or a cartoon that gets turned into a feature length film, I enjoy explaining the back story and other details to people who are new to the comic book universe. But it can become tedious or even obnoxiously redundant. Think of the Hunger Games. I have never read the books, and when the first HG movie started discussing the sponsors I took note. But the movie never told me why they were important to the tributes. It was an unanswered question that stuck with me. So, it might have been in the studio's best interest to not mention the sponsor thing altogether.
Well, comic book fans often find themselves in similar scenarios. A studio makes an adaptation of a comic book, and the fans who possess the knowledge of the back story have to fill in some of the blanks for the general moviegoers. As of late there have been two questions coming from the movie audience with increased frequency.
1) Why are Batman and Superman fighting?
2) How can Batman possibly fight Superman?
I am not going to attempt to answer the first question in depth. If I could sum it up I would say that Batman and Superman are like a republican and a democrat. They both want the same thing, but they want it their own way. And eventually they have to butt heads about the matter. (No, I am not comparing them politically to any particular party; it is just a metaphor. Stop reading into it.)
I am however going to attempt to answer the second question at great length. I think today's BvS trailer did a lot of the foot work for me, but it stands to reason that a little more clarity might be helpful. In answering the question I am also going to explain why this new trailer is something that is exciting a lot of comic book fans.
It is a relevant question coming off the back of so many Batman movies: How could he fight Superman and hope to survive for even a second? And by Hollywood's depiction of the character of Batman the conclusion is obvious: He couldn't. The question is based on the concept that Batman is just an ordinary man who took some martial arts classes and has a fortune to buy gadgets with. In the Dark Knight and the Dark Knight Rises he looses almost every fight he gets into, and those fights are against people with no powers. Bane supposedly couldn't feel pain, but that doesn't mean he could fight forever. So how could Batman, who is just a man, hope to stand a chance against a demigod.
There is an interesting argument that goes like this: One side says, "Batman is not a superhero, because he has no superpowers." The other side replies, "Batman is the greatest superhero of all, because he has no superpowers." I tend to prefer the third argument: "Batman indeed has a superpower; he has inexplicable, inhuman will power." But we have never seen it fully realized on the big screen. Some have been closer than others, but none have honed it to perfection... until now. So what should we expect from a new iteration of Batman that more closely resembles the comics?
For starters: He isn't just a genius. He has superseded the human capacity to solve problems, prepare for emergencies, and see every possible outcome in a scenario. And even beyond seeing all of the possible outcomes, he can predict with certainty what the most likely outcome will be. And he is almost never wrong. In the comics it appears as though he might possess psychic foresight. In truth he doesn't. He almost never gets led into traps (like the Dark Knight Rises). And when he does get led into a trap he knows it is a trap and sets an even bigger trap for his enemy. This is why he is known as the "World's Greatest Detective." Because he actually is. It is extremely rare that someone might get the better of him. This is a large part of what makes the Joker such a formidable opponent for Batman. The Joker is so insane that it is quite literally impossible to predict his next move. Hopefully that aspect of the Joker will be explored in this universe. *fingers crossed*
Second: He didn't just study martial arts, and he didn't just graduate from your local Ninja Assassin Academy. No, he has set his mind to becoming the most physically capable human ever to walk the planet. He spends countless hours mastering in every martial arts form that can be learned. He uses heavy weights, light weights, no weights, resistance bands, you name it. Ok, I don't know if he uses resistance bands or not. But he trains for everything. And the result is inhuman. He is just about on the same physical level as Captain America (depending on who you ask).
And Third: He doesn't just have a giant garage full of the Applied Sciences Division's leftover tools, vehicles, and weapons at his disposal. No. He builds them himself. That's right, did I mention he is more than a genius? He designs the Batmobile, Batwing, and numerous other accoutrements that randomly fling out from his tool belt (he also built that himself). He is the swiss army knife of accessories. One might even say, "He's got gadgets and gizmos a plenty."
Yup. I totally went there.
So when the fully realized Batman puts all of his wit and will power to work it seems a bit more likely that he might stand a chance against the Man of Steel. Am I right? And then when he builds the Iron Batman suit and gets his hands on Kryptonite it will definitely appear that he has the upper hand.
And that is the point. He can do all of those things, and so far as I can tell it looks like all of them will be a part of the new DCEU. It appears as though the Batman of the comics and cartoons is stepping into the cinema, and WB isn't pulling any punches. This is the moment I have been waiting for!
Many months ago David (a good friend of mine) and I were discussing the new DCEU and what we expect from this version of Batman. We both arrived at the same conclusion. He needs to be the detective, and he needs to be unstoppable. Our exact words were, "He needs to walk into a room full of thugs and obliterate them. He needs to sweep through like a tidal wave and make even the most well trained foes look like amateurs." Well, we got it. The first 40 seconds of this trailer is exactly what we had envisioned... a gold mine of Batman glory. He is fierce and ferocious. He is a living weapon of vengeance.
There are several clips in that scene that set it apart from every other live action Batman that has come before. Watch it carefully.
1) He jumps off the front of the Batwing, and Alfred takes the controls. This is a signature Batman type of maneuver. It was subtle, but Alfred even popped up the nose of the Batwing to help him jump through the window. This is further emphasizing the teamwork that is happening between the two of them and the capability of this new iteration of Batman.
2) As he is blasting his way through the floor he throws some small devices on the guns of the thugs. They have little red lights on them. Later in the trailer (about 1:44) we see a clip that was taken out of that scene. Batman is on a beam above the thugs and all of their guns are exploding. Yup. He blew them up in their hands!
3) He clearly possesses unmatched speed, agility, and power. They greatly outnumber him, but their massive disadvantage is obvious. He zips around the enemies with ease, but then is able to throw one of them across the room and punch another crashing his face through the floor. He is unstoppable.
4) It should also be noted that there was a lot of careful attention put into the cape in this scene. When he is leaping off of the nose of the Batwing his cape curls up around him like it would look on the page of a comic book. Then watch as he throws the guy through the stack of pallets. The cape moves perfectly. It follows his arm as he hurls the guy, and then it falls to the ground completing the menacing silhouette that comic fans have come to know and love.
The only discrepancy in this scene is covered in dialogue right afterwards. One thug actually makes contact with Batman. His knife scrapes across Batman's shoulders/neck. It looks as though it was completely repelled by Batman's superior body armor. Fittingly, Bruce comments later, "I'm getting slow in my old age, Alfred." And, of course, Alfred's reply tells everyone that their snarky and entertaining banter is alive and well.
I should also address the recent statement about him being his own "judge, jury, and executioner." I do not take this statement, or any statements about him being more brutal, to mean that he is killing. I do not believe that at all. I interpret "executioner" to mean that he is executing the sentence of his choosing rather than literally executing criminals. I do not hold that Zack Snyder and Ben Affleck could so accurately capture the many other aspects of Batman and at the same time completely omit one of the core principles of his personality, namely, his complete disdain for killing. He is a vigilante not a murderer.
In summary, I think what we are going to see on March 25th is going to be the most accurately realization of the Dark Knight. As Kevin Smith said before, it's time for Batgod. There is still a chance that the movie could be a stinker, though I doubt it. But at any rate, this is the Batman I have read about for most of my life. I am super pumped for this movie and the next ten years of WB and DC movies.
So, how do you feel about the new action scenes with Batman and Superman in this trailer? Do you like Ben Affleck as Bruce/Batman? Do you like candy? Comment below and share your thoughts... if you want to.