Not to be outdone in the comic book movie coming attractions department (see Marvel’s recent release of the first Captain America: Civil War trailer), DC debuted its latest trailer for next year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice on Wednesday night.
So, what do you think?
Here are some of my initial reactions and impressions:
- Clark Kent sure seems smug. Perhaps Henry Cavill is shooting for some of the moral earnestness Christopher Reeve brought to the Clark Kent persona. Perhaps his Clark will, in the film overall, seem every bit the nice guy that Brandon Routh’s Clark did a decade ago in Superman Returns. But in his brief interrogation of Bruce Wayne at this trailer’s beginning, Clark sounds every bit the sanctimonious, self-righteous Boy Scout the character’s critics say he is. No wonder Bruce Wayne doesn’t like him.
- Bruce Wayne is cool. I enjoyed watching Ben Affleck play Bruce Wayne in this trailer. I thought his response to Clark was on target and infused with just the right amount of dry wit (and some biting, bitter gallows humor, too—“bad history with freaks dressed like clowns,” ouch!) I don’t know how good Affleck will be as Batman proper—his grim ‘n’ gritty “swear to me” voice is not as impressive as Christian Bale’s—but I think I’m going to like his Bruce a lot.
- Lex Luthor could be insufferable. What little I’ve seen of Jesse Eisenberg’s work, I’ve liked, so I am holding out hope he proves me wrong—but two hours of this nerdy, nasal Lex is likely more than I’ll be able to stand. Perhaps this trailer is only showing us Lex’s public persona, a mask he wears to hide his more serious and sinister aspects. Nice to see, though, that Lex is still threatening Lois Lane. Some Superman tropes are tropes for a reason.
- The Oldest Lie. My hesitations aside, I do think Lex gets the trailer’s best line: “Do you know what the oldest lie in America is, senator? That power can be innocent.” That’s a line worth thinking about, particularly as our nation is already in the throes of election season. Lex is (I presume) the movie’s villain, but the most interesting villains see themselves as heroes, even prophets. These words have a prophetic ring, even if they’re from “the bad guy.” I’m eager to hear them in context, and to see how Batman v Superman explores the premise.
- Wonder Woman deserves a better introduction. I really hope the big-screen debut of the world’s first, most iconic, and arguably greatest female superhero won’t be played for laughs in the finished film as it is in this trailer. Not only is the “joke” lame, it raises the question, Why must Wonder Woman be “with” either Superman or Batman? Why do they, presumably on first seeing her, assume the amazing Amazon has no independent agency? Here’s hoping Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman shows the boys what’s what in short order.
- The Greatest Gladiator Match. Once again, Lex calls it. The fight scenes look spectacular. (They’d better be, since they’re the reason this movie exists at all.) I’d still rather have a straightforward sequel to Man of Steel, but my fanboy core can’t help but get excited about this big-budget game of “who would win in a fight?” And, I admit, it does seem the fight both stems from and may help resolve Man of Steel’s unresolved conflicts about Superman and his significance—even if a whole lot more property gets destroyed in the process.
- Is Doomsday a Frankenstein Version of General Zod? The trailer makes the monster look like it just may be. If so, that’s a potentially fascinating direction for the plot to take. Spoiler alert for a 23-year-old storyline, but Superman died fighting Doomsday in the comics. If the creature near the trailer’s end is Doomsday, and if Superman dies fighting him, then Batman v Superman’s ending could invert Man of Steel’s: Superman would die at the revivified, reanimated, and wildly transformed hands of the very man he killed.