Disclaimer: This is an opinion derived from fact. I do not intend for this to be hatred of films before they are released nor is this meant to be influenced by the reviews released (in the case of [Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice](tag:711870)). This is simply an opinion that I have not had a chance to express due to time constraints.
Now with that out of the way, I will say this much:
[Spoiler Warning: The following contains spoilers for Civil War and potentially Batman v. Superman.]
As a comic fan and movie buff, I was indescribably excited when I first heard about the movies discussed in this article. The idea of Civil War and the Dark Knight Returns (or something resembling it for obvious reasons) was astounding to me. My excitement only built as I continued to research the films and dig into each new detail that was released especially the first Batman v. Superman SDCC trailer. However, my interest slowly depleted somewhat as more trailers started to be released. My one criticism of these two films, which as of writing this I have not seen nor read any reviews in the case of the former (fan or otherwise), is one simple word:
I understand that marketing can be complicated and there aren't laws prohibiting false advertising. However, there is also an extremely fine line that should be walked such that major plot points are not exploited for preservation of story whilst maintaining a transparency with the audience.
With the Deadpool ad campaign, most people knew what they were getting into with the movie because it's not hard to search Deadpool and find a plethora of panels to explain to you just what you would be getting into should you see an R rated movie involving such a character. This excludes the parents that took their children to see an R movie thinking it'd be okay because Marvel put their name on it and they had the Disney/Marvel mentality going in . . . that is another matter entirely. The Deadpool marketing strategy was to not take the marketing seriously and just do as Deadpool himself would do: Troll people for fun.
The difference between Deadpool and the other two films is that the plot was simplistic and short enough that there wasn't much need to release tons of trailers or cover up tons of content. Again, people knew what they were getting into and the hype was generated on its own long before the movie itself was even made (way back when that test footage leaked). This leads me into the glaring issue I have with the marketing:
Where is the Act III Coverage?
As I said before, there is an extremely fine line between protecting spoilers of major plot points and misleading the audience. To me, it seems that both companies, more so Disney/Marvel, have crossed over this line. Both films advertise as a major conflict between leading protagonists and to some degree, this is true. But, this isn't entirely true and that's when it becomes false advertising - the point where the audience expects it to be a certain way and ends up with a fraction of the truth.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice
This image alone speaks volumes to what I'm about to say: This movie is not 150 minutes of these two punching each other. From this image, and the title of the film it represents, it clearly implies that that is the point of the movie. Now, obviously the trailers do not convey the same message, but this is how the film has been promoted sans-trailers.
Keep in mind, this film was originally announced and presumed to be an adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns; however, few details were ultimately released until the SDCC teaser in 2014 followed by the full trailer some months later. And even then, it still looked like a movie about Batman and Superman punching each other for at least an hour a la the Man of Steel fight between Superman and Zod. Then, Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman gets revealed and suddenly the film is no longer an adaptation of The Dark Knight Returns. Yes, transparency has been maintained to some extent, but unless you are actively following the development of the DCEU, there's not a huge likelihood you understand the significance of Wonder Woman.
I am in no way attempting to insult the intelligence of the average moviegoer. I am simply stating that I, and presumably many others who are more "in the know" than the average moviegoer, have been broached with questions such as "Why is Wonder Woman in the movie?" and "How does she end up joining them?" While I obviously cannot properly answer those questions without seeing the film, it detracts from the original image that was projected into the minds of fans: Batman vs Superman.
Now, some would probably argue that the subtitle "Dawn of Justice" is meant to be a hint at the fact that the Justice League is being set up. Sure, I can understand that, but the audience may not pick up on that immediately and thus still be led to believe this is the "be all end all" battle between Batman and Superman.
In a word: this film is Batman and Superman having 2+ Man of Steel like fight scenes with an ultimate evil causing them to unite and tentatively form what will later be the Justice League.
I'm going to sound like a broken record, but please stay with me: This film is not 120 minutes of Team Iron Man fighting Team Cap.
While this film has had a lot more groundwork to set it up, it too has been set up to be a film about Iron Man going to war with Captain America over some sort of registration act. This much is similar to the comics; however, we deviate from this initial position with the same conclusion as the prior film - there is more to be done than just the fight.
[The Avengers: Infinity War](tag:738027) has been on the Disney/Marvel slate for at least 2 years now. The directors have been confirmed, the script is being drafted, and we know the groundwork is being laid for what will be the most expansive film in the MCU (in both story scope and cast size). But to do that, there has to be a lead-in to it and that starts with Civil War.
As great as it would be to see these people fight for 2 hours, fans that have been following the film more closely than the average moviegoer will take note of Baron Zemo being cast in the film. Obviously, I can only speculate at this point, but it's very unlikely that Zemo intends to help either side of the war let alone the U.S. government deal with their superhuman issues. So, similar to Batman v. Superman, it is extremely likely that the two sides will come to some agreement, begrudgingly or otherwise, to face a greater threat and ultimately stand up to Thanos.
Why does this matter?
You're probably wondering that right now and, honestly, I've been asking myself that over the past month as I've built up this argument and waited to see a new trailer prove me wrong.
My conclusion: It depends on how much you value honesty from advertising. You're not being harmed by falsely advertised films, but you could be losing money and time by getting your hopes set on an idea that isn't entirely true. I am still extremely interested in seeing both films, yet it's a bit disheartening to see an idea get twisted into something far different than how it was advertised.
That's just me, though. If you agree that transparency has been lost for the sake of "preserving plot" or you have a different perspective on this mild "controversy," let me know in the comments!