The latest Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer was released on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night and I have a lot to say, as I always do with anything involving Batman. When I first watched this trailer, I absolutely hated it. Then I had a glass of fruit punch Gatorade and calmed down. I watched it again, and the result was definitely more favorable. This isn’t a bad trailer, but coming off that monumental comic-con drop, it was certainly a let down. I actually don’t have anything negative to say until the last forty seconds where I came away with two BIG complaints. One involves the movie itself, and the other is more of a commentary on how trailers are cut in today’s movie marketing world. We’ll get into all the nitty-gritty, but I’m starting on the soap box, so bat buckle in.
YOU’RE SHOWING TOO DAMN MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
That’s it. I’ve had it. This trailer was the last straw. The next time somebody complains about a J.J. Abrams or Christopher Nolan trailer not showing enough, I’m going to break every window in my home. Thank Moses for J.J. Abrams and the Star Wars marketing team. He cut three extraordinary trailers, and I still feel like I know nothing. That BvS trailer though? What the hell!
I don’t blame Warner Brothers. I don’t blame Zack Snyder. I blame the internet. I blame this generation of movie fans that need everything, and they need it NOW!!! If you don’t show your entire movie in a trailer, the movie blog community freaks out that there’s something wrong with the film. When the first Terminator: Genisys trailer hit, it got lukewarm reactions. So what happened? Paramount flipped out and revealed a MASSIVE spoiler in the next trailer to get people talking. While I enjoyed Terminator: Genisys, it would have been that much better if I learned the OMFG moment through the natural course of the film.
Not only does BvS reveal a major villain who was only speculated on, but they spoil what’s probably the biggest story arc of the whole movie – Batman and Superman as allies. Was it easy to predict they would be buddies by the end of the film? Of course! That’s not the point. The point is you want to see that story play out on film. Seeing it in the trailer ruins the purity of filmmaking. The purity of storytelling. But in this age of franchise filmmaking, that’s not what you people care about. You just need to know what comes next, and can’t appreciate the story as it happens.
I have no doubt we’ll get another full trailer for this movie because that’s what you have to do now. I will absolutely not watch it, and this whole experience has made me consider only watching teasers for these big budget films. If I can have the will power, it’s something I need to consider.
The Marvelization of it All
The first two trailers did such a phenomenal job of setting up the serious and high stakes tone that Man of Steel had. When I watch this trailer, I get the feeling Warner Brothers finally broke down from the complaints of “it’s too dark.” The first half of the trailer was solid, and par for the course on what we’ve seen so far. I think the reason this trailer disgusted me so much on first viewing was the jarring nature of Doomsday.
I understand Man of Steel is about an alien who comes to earth and has super powers, but what makes that movie so special is because they went as real as they could with it. That’s what separates the mediocre superhero films from the great ones. Even though X-Men: Days of Future Past incorporates time travel, the characters and environment felt real. When that CGI invested monster jumps onto the screen, BvS lost that sense of realism forever. Now it looks like just another comic book movie.
The bigger worry though was the Marvel feel you get at the end. Batman about to say “Oh sh–” as Doomsday blasts him had me shiver, as did the whole banter between Superman and Batman. What made the climactic fight between Superman and General Zod so spectacular was the intensity and emotion behind it. While the Wonder Woman reveal was cool, the three of them standing together about to fight Doomsday didn’t feel like an emotional climax. It felt like a comic book movie climax. I’ve defended this production team and Warner Brothers for sticking to their guns, and not bowing down to make it more fun and kid friendly. This trailer has me concerned.
Now with the negative out of the way, here’s some of the elements I actually do like. I’m sure everybody is having panic attacks over Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, but I like it. Eisenberg is fully committed to this character, playing him as a snarky little pissant with a big touch of psychotic. He’s not half-assing this. This is an actual villain with personality who feels complex, but if you want Malekith, Ronan or the sloppy mess that was Ultron, you know where to find them.
Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne is superb, and the first scene between him and Clark Kent is by far the best scene in the trailer. Great dialogue. While I like Affleck in the suit, I’m not sold on his Batman voice yet. While people love to dog pile on Christian Bale, he fully committed to that voice. This seems like one foot in pool, one in the jacuzzi. We’ll see.
I loved Henry Cavill in Man of Steel, and have no doubt he’ll deliver once again. I have no issue with the serious Superman, but all I ask is that Cavill not be so rigid. Seriously, is the dude allowed to move his shoulders, or un-crunch his face? I’m sure it will be fine, but he was too static in this trailer.
Please be Great
One thing’s for certain after watching this trailer: my expectations won’t be too high. That last forty seconds hindered my excitement a lot for this movie. When I watched the first two trailers, it felt like I was getting something special. When I watch this trailer, it feels like I’m getting a run of the mill summer popcorn flick. These characters deserve better. Despite what we saw here, I hope there are more surprises to come with this film. I still have confidence in this team, but I’m feeling a little bat queasy after that one.
Daniel Cohen is the Film Editor for Pop-Break. Aside from reviews, Daniel does a weekly box office predictions column, and also contributes monthly Top Tens and Op-Ed’s on all things film. Daniel is a graduate of Bates College with a degree in English, and also studied Screenwriting at UCLA. He can also be read on www.movieshenanigans.com. His movie crush is Jessica Rabbit. Follow him on Twitter @dcohenwriter.