I really liked Man of Steel. It was an entertaining special effects heavy summer movie with story issues that hurt, but did not ruin, the experience. I was excited and concerned when Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was announced. The most recent trailer for Batman V Superman shown at San Diego Comic Con not only relaxed my concerns about the movie, but also leads me to believe that it could be the best super hero movie since The Dark Knight. What I liked about the trailer, what it suggested about specific characters’ role in the movie and universe, and speculation by me that could result in spoilers, will be part of this evaluation of the Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer.
With many people complaining about the destruction of Metropolis in Man of Steel, I was not surprised that it is the focal point of the trailer. But I was surprised to see Bruce Wayne in Metropolis during Superman and Zodd’s fight. Based on rumors and knowing Batman needed a reason to fight Superman I assumed he would not trust Superman after the destruction of Metropolis. I thought the movie would begin with a scene of Bruce in the Batcave sitting in front of a giant screen watching Superman and Zodd fighting. (In the Man of Steel a Wayne Industries satellite is shown when the Superman and Zodd’s fight goes into outer space, and is the only example I saw that Batman existed in this universe.) Having Bruce watch one of his company’s building with people he knows be killed in Superman and Zodd’s fight, and being powerless to stop it, is an event that could encourage a likely retired Batman to come out of retirement.
This version of Batman is heavily influenced by Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns graphic novel. In The Dark Knight Returns Batman retired after the death of Robin and came out of retirement at 55 years old. While this version of Batman is at least ten years younger, his costume looks similar and the trailer suggested Robin’s death might have lead to Batman hanging up his cape. There is a scene of Bruce looking at Robin’s costume with yellow spray paint that reads, “HA HA HA Joke’s on you BATMAN?”. This is mostly likely written by Joker, who thought killing Robin was a funny joke he can share with Batman. The robotic Batman armor wears to fight Superman in the trailer, is similar to the one Batman wears to fight Superman in The Dark Knight Returns.
Influences and motivations aside, this Batman has the potential to be the best Batman shown in a live-action movie. While I loved all three movies in Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight franchise, I can understand why Warner Brothers decided to use a different Batman. Nolan’s Batman was not much of a detective, throwing punches was his main fighting skill, and he was a horrible strategist. In The Dark Knight Rises, Batman completely underestimated Bane and had to accept his beating, after realizing he walked into a trap and couldn’t beat him in a fistfight. In the trailer, Batman is wearing his special armor to likely enhance his strength and survive Superman’s punches, based on Batman using the batsymbol to call Superman and the dark crummy looking environment suggest the fight is taking place in Gotham giving Batman home field advantage, and there is a good chance Batman has found kryptonite to weaken Superman by this point in the movie. The new Batman seems to have put more thought into fighting Superman than the previous Batman put into any battle. Based on Batman’s movements in the trailer, he appears to be the most agile big screen Batman.
We saw this version of Superman in Man of Steel, but the character seems to have evolved to a version of Superman that is closer to the one critics of Man of Steel wanted to see. There is a scene of Superman coming to save people stuck on their roofs during a flood, a scene of Clark Kent wearing glasses working at the Daily Planet, and Superman taking responsibility for the destruction of Metropolis by going to congress surrounded by angry protesters. What I liked most was Clark investigating Batman and wanting to write a story about what’s wrong with Batman’s version of vigilantism. The idea that Clark can wear glasses to fool people into believing he isn’t Superman, is stupid and a problem the Man of Steel avoided. While the idea of people not knowing Clark Kent is still ridiculous, giving Clark a role in the storyline that Superman cannot do is smart. Superman can investigate Batman, but he would standout too much and struggle to be effective. It wouldn’t be unusual for a reporter to investigate Batman and he could interview victims and people he saved to learn more about him. If Clark goes against Perry’s wishes and publishes his negative Batman article, Lex Lurther could read it and use it as an opening to instigate a fight between Batman and Superman.
Speaking of Lex, he was the biggest question mark of the trailer. His long hair is odd to see on a traditional bald character and his red caps are coming line suggest a more quirky or comedy relief version. Honestly, I have no strong opinion on Lex Luther based on the trailer. Jesse Eisenberg seemed like an odd casting for the character, and this trailer did nothing to make people feel better or worse about his portrayal. While his looks and red cape line was odd, there was things I liked about the character in the trailer. I had to go to imdb.com to check, but his assistant/body guard introduced in Superman: The Animated Series Mercy Graves is in the movie. There is a scene with him looking at a big rock of kryptonite. Superman is angrily bending a knee to Lex, in a scene that suggests Lex found a way to manipulate him, and he likely is using Zodd’s dead body to create some weapon to fight Superman (Doomsday, if the rumors of him being the second villain are true).
The last main character that we got to see in action for the first time is Wonder Woman. I was happy to find out Wonder Woman would be in the movie when the character was officially announced, but was disappointed when Gal Gadot was casted as the character. I was one of the many people that thought she was too skinny for the role and wanted a more established actress. In hindsight, it was an overreaction on my part. I defended Ben Affleck’s casting as Batman, but did not give Gadot the same respect at the time. Chris Evans was a terrible Human Torch, but good Captain America. So it is possible that Affleck could be a terrible Daredevil and good Batman. In Gadot’s case, it seems likely they are going for a Wonder Woman that is similar to the one in Justice League and Justice League: Unlimited cartoons.
Knowing Wonder Woman will have some flirtatious and kind of friend zone but could be a relationship connection with Batman, is something that happened in the Justice League cartoon. It is also the version of Wonder Woman that I really liked. She was a good fighter and strong female character, but one that would occasionally unfairly criticize her teammates views of women and women’s role in American society. This version of Wonder Woman didn’t constantly complain about women’s in the world and would make good points about gender role issues. She came off as a believable character that was more than added diversity and a woman that could fight. This version of Wonder Woman will also be based on the 2011 reboot version of the character. In that version of Wonder Woman, she is the daughter of Zeus and an Amazon warrior. Being Zeus’ daughter could be an explanation for thing she does with her bracelets in the trailer. Maybe her metal wristbands are a gift from her father similar to Thor’s hammer.
As far as Wonder Woman’s role in the storyline, it is likely she has similar motivations as Batman. All life on earth could have been destroyed in the Man of Steel, and the Amazons could have sent Wonder Woman to investigate Superman. Based on the civilian clothing see is wearing in the trailer, it is likely she is working undercover. Maybe she sees Batman as a possible ally against Superman. While I have no clue if Wonder Woman fights Batman or Superman, I think she is fighting the unknown second villain in the trailer. It is odd that they never showed who she was fighting, so I assume that must be a major spoiler.
I don’t know what to think about the Superman army, so that is one storyline the movie will hopefully explain when I watch it. Obviously, there are things in the trailer I didn’t cover, but hopefully you enjoyed my views on the Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer and look forward to my future movie trailer evaluations.