Film and TV

Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice Leaked trailer – An Analysis **UPDATED**

by on 17/04/2015


So once again the best laid plans of a multi-billion dollar studio attempting to maximise the hype and anticipation around the release of a movie trailer, have been ruined by nothing more than a fan-boy with a camera phone.

After Lucasfilm were forced to abandon plans to screen the first teaser trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens exclusively in cinemas after a screener was leaked within hours, the same fate has now befallen Warner Brothers’ eagerly awaited Batman V. Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

A complicated and confusing campaign which involved a 5-second flash-teaser being released late on Thursday night which was meant to whet appetites for a longer trailer being attached to either Marvel’s Avengers: The Age Of Ultron or Mad Max: Fury Road looks to have been scuppered early this morning when the full trailer turned up online (with added shaky hands and Spanish subtitles “FALSO DEUS!!”).

Hopefully this leak forces Warners to relent and release a full HD version ASAP, as it will allow a million DC fanboys (like myself) to analyse every frame, in the same way that the Force Awakens trailer was dissected after the Star Wars Celebration event in California yesterday. (LOOKS LIKE THEY DID!)

But from behind the blurriness of the screener, here’s what has caught my eye:

  • This movie is DARK…very, very DARK. Yes, obviously I know that with Batman involved it was always going to be dark – but this takes it to a whole other level. This movie seems to go well beyond the Gothic grandeur of the Tim Burton original and its sequel Batman Returns (hell, even they had a sense of playfulness running throughout – even though it was unsettling: Nicholson’s Joker cracking puns a-plenty while killing, Devito’s Penguin hacking the Bat-mobile, etc.).It even seems to outdo the bleakness of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, where you knew that Wayne/Batman would spend each movie being tested and suffering, but that there would always been light at the end of the tunnel (Gordon’s incredible “silent guardian” speech at the end of DK, Alfred’s Italian café scene at the end of DKR).But this…this just looks like “Sorrow v. Misery: Dawn Of Grimdark”. I really hope there is a little respite from this: perhaps we’ll have some witty banter between Bruce and Alfred (although I doubt Jeremy Irons, incredible actor as he is, will have the same warmth that Michael Caine brought to the part), or hopefully we’ll see some improvement in the Clark Kent character (less whiny emo Clark, more charming Chris Reeves-esque Clark).
  • Holy protein shakes (and/or steroids), Batman! Ben Affleck is built like a brick shithouse for this part. I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that there is a decent chance that Affleck’s portrayal of Batman could be the definitive movie version so far. It’s certainly going to be the closest to the comic, as the shot of him hulking in the shadows could essentially have been lifted from the panels of seminal graphic novels The Dark Knight Returns, The Long Halloween or Hush.
  • This is less of the Keaton ‘midget yuppie hidden behind a ton of Kevlar and rubber’, and the Bale ‘sleek, spelunking ninja’, and more of the ‘mobile tank on legs’ that Frank Miller made popular in the 1980s. While I’m a little unsure of Afflecks Bat-voice, the brooding that he has brought into his acting in the last few years (since his post ‘Gigli’/Bennifer rebirth) is perfect for a menacing Batman. And the suit is fucking perfect – it looks like a cloth suit that is there to compliment the physique that Bruce Wayne has crafted through years of training and dedication – not a suit to hide his physical inadequacies.
  • As much as I did enjoy Man Of Steel, parts of it did leave me very cold. Henry Cavill was unfortunately quite bland in the main role, not helped by a script that seemed to be written more for fans of the Dark Knight trilogy rather than the actual character of Superman, the comics or the Chris Reeve movies.He was depressed, meandering and conflicted. While there was certainly nothing wrong with having a little of that in the movie (come on – he’s a guy who’s just found out that he’s essentially a god, of course he’s going to feel negatively about that). But it was almost as if that’s all there was to the character – none of the positive acceptance that although he is an outsider, he can and will make a difference to his adopted planet; none of the playful flirting between him and Lois (there was absolutely no chemistry between Cavil and Amy Adams).It was like Morrissey was in the cape, rather than the youthful Cary Grant as he is normally portrayed. From this trailer, it looks like more of the same unfortunately. Only this time, there’s the added emphasis of Supes’ god-like-status and his effect on the world.
  • Of the collage of voices that begin the trailer, the only two that I recognise are Holly Hunter (who certainly speaks about Superman in the negative, but in a dignified tone – for an actress of her standing, I could imagine her playing the president or a senator) and famous physicist and broadcaster Neil DeGrasse Tyson – who better to speak about our place in the cosmos, and how the arrival of an alien superbeing would severely alter humanity’s perception of its importance.
  • And that concept excites me greatly. How would today’s world react if this actually happened? A world currently blighted by religious extremism and violence upon those who worship supposed ‘false gods’. How would an America which faces a threat so powerful that even the ultimate deterrent of nuclear weapons wouldn’t be enough to maintain their superiority, react? It’s obvious from the trailer that this is exactly the course that the writers have taken.It would be interesting to see where Batman and Lex Luthor will fit into this? Will Batman be working as an agent of a government desperate to exert some level of control over the Man Of Steel? Or will he be an independent force attempting to prove to Supes that there are creatures on earth can cannot be pushed around, even by a ‘god’. Will Luthor be the manipulative force in the background?
  • It’s always nice to see the Bat-Plane/Bat-Wing and of course The Bat-mobile – however, am I the only one who feels like this was just a retreading of the militaristic bulk of the Tumbler and ‘Bat’ of the Dark Knight Trilogy. Obviously it makes no sense having Batman bomb around in a souped-up sports car or tiny helicopter like the 60’s series (super-villains have armies rather than henchmen!), but come-on at least try to make them original!
  • Lastly, the face-off between Supes and the armoured Batman looked incredible back when we first saw it (the Comic-Con short teaser from last year) – it’s pure Dark Knight Returns, and the white-eyed Batman/red-eyed Superman image is the perfect way to sell the whole concept of ‘Batman v. Superman’. Please don’t show me anymore! And don’t show anything more of Wonder Woman, Aquaman or Luthor…leave something to be a surprise, Warners!

All in all, it’s a solid but decidedly bleak trailer. I’m still a little on the fence about the project, but more because I think the Superman character is being left behind and not being given the chance to develop into the franchise that fans deserve – same with Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg, etc.. They all should have had their own movies to introduce the characters properly and to make the concept of these individuals coming together to form the ‘Justice League’ entity more important.

Warners are way too desperate to have a Justice League cash-cow to compete with Avengers and are letting their corporate greed have a detrimental effect on these iconic characters. On the other hand, Batman will be fine – the character will always appeal to the mass market, and in Ben Affleck hey may just have the actor to bring the comics-centric version of the character that the fans have always craved.