Watch the Trailer Breakdown Video:
Doomsday, and actual reasons for why Batman and Superman don’t like each other – the new Batman v Superman trailer has answered a lot of lingering questions.
Bruce Wayne v Clark Kent
The trailer opens with Bruce Wayne arriving at some sort of debutante art show or fundraiser. It’s unclear if Clark Kent is playing dumb when he asks, “Who is that?” as a graying Ben Affleck drives up, or if he is a far worse journalist than I though all these decades. Either way, it’s kind of a funny kick off, and sets up what’s a surprisingly lighthearted trailer as a whole.
In an adorably on the nose tete-a-tete, Clark asks Bruce his thoughts on the “Bat-vigilante” in Gotham (the dramatic irony is delectable) and criticizes the hero’s neglect of civil liberties. Wayne fires back by saying the Daily Planet spins every Superman action into a glamorous puff piece, implying this is to disguise the alien’s true (read: highly dangerous) power. That seems to sum up the fight between the two heroes: Superman doesn’t agree with Batman’s disregard for human rights and Batman thinks Superman is scary.
The real verbal punch, though, comes right after a recycled the shot of the spray-painted robin suit. Bruce says, “We have a bad history with freaks dressed like clowns.” This really suggests again that the Batman v Superman backstory will be heavily influenced by the “Death in the Family” comics storyline in which the Joker beat one of the Robins to death with a crowbar.
It’s also the first real acknowledgement that Batman may have been operating for quite a while in Gotham prior to the start of the movie, since Clark isn’t talking about the sudden appearance of a “bat vigilante” and Bruce seems to have seen his share of powerful crazies, enough to make him, er, super paranoid about Superman.
The pissing contest is interrupted by a diminutive Lex Luthor (Jr.) who plays further into the dramatic irony by speaking openly about “bringing Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent together” and (after shaking hands with the reporter) saying “That is a good grip… You should not pick a fight with this person.” Get it? Because the entire premise of the film is about Bruce picking a fight with this person.
I will try to leave my opinions on the welcome mat here and simply say this version of Lex is unique. From the high-pitched, cartoonish speak pattern to the frantic Woody Allen inspired gesticulation, it’s clear Batman V Superman’s is not your childhood Lex Luthor.
One thing that is interesting is that Lex seems to know Clark Kent, at least by reputation. That implies that Clark’s tenure at the Daily Planet has been going pretty well, and possibly that notoriety could figure into the plot somehow.
The titan of industry is then shown dragging Superman’s name in the mud, claiming that (and I’m paraphrasing because Lex is rather verbose), “Power cannot be innocent.” At this point, I hope Batman is listening, because when one agrees with Lex Luthor they should soon start changing their opinions.
The Fight of the Century
There is more recycled footage including battle from Man of Steel, to which Bruce comments that Superman “brought the war to us.” It’s clear that Bruce has an issue with Superman being a danger to society, but it’s still unclear why he is reacting to that with punching (though I suppose it can be said that reacting with punching first has always been Batman’s problem).
We see two separate stand-offs between the Man of Steel and Batman in his bulky Mech armor. As the two heroes square off, Alfred’s voice over insists that Batman can’t possibly win the fight. While Alfred is not wrong (he never has been in DC canon), Batman usually reacts to “can’t” as a personal challenge.
We catch a nice glimpse of the Batplane, which, impressively, actually kind of looks like a real bat in many ways. While there is footage of Batman and Superman leaping and hurling toward each other, there is actually little to prove they are truly battling. Most of the violence Superman seems to endure is at the hands of off-screen agents and Batman is mostly just driving quickly looking ready for battle. I think there is reason to believe (nay hope) that the battle of Batman v Superman will quickly resolve and the two will realize they are batting (I think technically pun intended) for the same team.
In fact, some of the shots of Batman in his Batplane over a burning section of city look like they’re edited together to suggest Superman causes that destruction, but there’s reason to believe it’s someone else. Because later in the trailer we see what’s probably the reason several square city blocks are burning rubble.
Lex Made F-in’ Doomsday!
We get a quick glimpse at Mercy (Lex’s right hand woman) and Lex gesturing “bring it on” in a mad scientist lab coat before the lighting strikes. Literally, there is a completely overt Frankenstein reference as lighting dances across the lab. And of course the corpse being reanimated in this case is General Zod’s.
Lex shouts, “Now we’ll do it” as the lightning brings life to (seemingly) the tentacles of an Eldritch horror. Interestingly, Superman can be seen standing close behind as Lex dives into madness, but this probably comes from a much earlier scene, since Lex is dressed completely differently here.
There is plenty of DC canon in which Superman trusts (or at least gives the benefit of the doubt to) Lex Luthor, so it’s possible Lex has sweet-talked the Kryponian into participation. Though it seems odd that this Superman would trust this Lex with that particular corpse, I can write it off to simply not knowing enough about this version of Lex Luthor, nor the relationship he might have with Superman so far in the film.
The Eldritch horror roars over a black screen and then, in the biggest surprise of the trailer, Doomsday tramples his way on screen. The implication seems to be that Doomsday is the augmented form of General Zod brought back to life using Mary Shelley as a guidebook. We see Doomsday use a bastardized version of Zod’s former heat vision to explode an entire (hopefully abandoned) neighborhood – the cause of the burning destruction.
Presumably Lex Luthor has “upgraded” the creature to be more powerful (and therefore more unconquerable) than the deceased Kryptonian, though exactly what powers the creature has is unclear. In his comic book origin, Doomsday is bred to be literally invincible through a series of scientifically controlled deaths and rebirths so that it is all-powerful and unstoppable.
Wonder Woman is a wonder.
As Doomsday’s blast (which was apparently intended to kill Batman) dissipates, we see molten embers glowing off of a (rather handsome) shield. With a flair for the dramatic fitting for a Greco-Amazon demi goddess, Wonder Woman slowly peers from behind the shield (like the badass she is). Superman posits, “She with you?” To which the Caped Crusader replies, “I thought she was with you.” Again, it’s a weirdly lighthearted moment. Everything we’ve heard and seen about the DCEU up to this point has suggested it’s leaning hard into the dark and gritty space instead of trying to match Marvel for brightness and humor.
Anyways, since this is Wonder Woman she is “with” no one and is already a better hero than the boys by not having a petulant “I’m the better Superhero,” “No I am,” fight. I’m just now realizing this whole film is just one big, pro-Wonder Woman metaphor for DC fans’ bickering internally.
Dawn of Justice indeed.
It is refreshing to have this trailer go beyond the battle between the two heroes and introduce us to the film’s real antagonist. With Doomsday bringing about… well, a veritable doomsday, the three heroes will put aside their differences and become the Trinity they were canonically destined to become. The trailer’s final shot is truly electrifying to see the three heroes side-by-side, looking into the face of a big bad, prepared to fight together.
But what the heck is up with Batman looking like a Navy SEAL? Batman doesn’t use guns! (Or at least he hasn’t since his very earliest days in the comics.) But here he is with something that looks like a police submachine gun. Could it be a tranquilizer gun with Kryptonite-tipped darts? It’s unlike Batman to resort to firearms of any kind, but it sort of worked in The Dark Knight when Batman needed to set some timed explosives. So maybe Batman v Superman figured it could get away with it, too. Feels like it cheapens the character a little, but I guess we’ll see.
There is still no sign of Aquaman or Cyborg, but they probably won’t have much more than cameos in the movie, so not exactly surprising.
A Stray Thought
In another glimpse from the desert sequence (seen on Monday), we actually see something rather strange. As Batman wrestles with the Superman guards, there is some form of bug-like humanoid creature carrying people off. There is little to clue us into what this might be. Possibly it’s another of Lex Luthor-Frankenstein’s experiments, but they also look an awful lot like Darkseid’s minions.
This actually fits really well with a lot of what we’ve seen from these Desert Batman/Evil Superman sequences. There’s a storyline in Superman: The Animated Series (and some related comics material) where Darkseid has brainwashed Superman, and Superman leads the campaign to conquer Earth. It’s hard to say how any of this fits into Batman v Superman (it’s generally assumed this is a dream sequence, but if Darkseid’s showing up it’d have to be some sort of weird vision at a minimum), but giant flying bug men are at least consistent with some of the other things we’ve seen of the movie.
Overall this was a pretty great trailer
Based on this trailer and the sneak peak from Monday, I am personally already very impressed with Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman. There is a certain “I’m done with this S*%$” air to the way he talks and moves that is actually integral to the character in most adaptations. The premise of the film is that Bruce Wayne has been Batman for quite a while, so it is great to see that clearly affecting the way the hero behaves.
Similarly, Henry Cavill is doing superbly well at portraying Superman’s disapproval of Batman. The trailer has given Metropolis’s hero a rather valid reason (the deprivation of Civil liberties) to enter into the conflict (which I personally didn’t think existed until now). Superman’s entire character is based on protecting and serving the people of Metropolis and the world, so it makes perfect sense that he would abhor Batman’s disregard for personal rights. Likewise, Batman’s entire persona revolves around uncovering hidden darkness and insidious evil, so it’s only logical he is suspicious of a super powerful alien.
Overall, this might just keep fans sated enough to make it until the film pops into the theaters in March. Now that we know more details of the film beyond “Batman and Superman punch each other,” Batman v Superman actually looks like a very well rounded movie. I’d say it’s about time to start counting down the days until the film is released… we’re at – oh, over 100 days. Never mind, let’s not countdown quite yet!