Huh. Another new trailer for a big comic book movie that I didn’t know we were due for. And again it debuted on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Is that, like, the late night show for nerds? Because I usually watch Conan. Anyway, let’s break down the first full trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Warning! If you haven’t watched the trailer already, be warned that it gives away some key character reveals for the movie. You may actually not want to watch it and read this article. It’s slightly spoilery.
Well oo-la-la, we start at some sort of fancy shmancy gala. Without any clues, I would still guess it’s probably a generic fundraiser for the city of Metropolis held by Lex Luthor for good PR. Right? I mean, it’s the easiest way to put everyone in the same place at the beginning of the movie.
And here’s Bruce Wayne in a really old car. Wish Vincent was doing this breakdown with me ‘cuz he knows cars and I don’t so I can’t tell you what it is. But Vincent didn’t want to get spoiled on anything with this trailer. Fair enough. By the end, it does give away who some characters in the film are. But here’s my biggest question: why no Alfred driving Bruce? That’s weird, right?
So here’s Henry Cavill as Clark Kent (psst, he’s Superman!) covering this red carpet affair. Doesn’t seem like a very important news story. Maybe Perry White hates Clark Kent in this story. Clark obviously hasn’t prepared for the evening at all and isn’t much of a newsman because he does not recognize this super famous billionaire. He asks the camera guy next to him, who unfortunately does not seem to be Jimmy Olsen, “Who’s that?” The camera guy can barely contain his boredom or contempt as he mutters: “You must be new. That… is Bruce Wayne.” Good, the trailer said that it’s Bruce Wayne. So we can all finally ignore the insane, insane, insane theory that this movie features Deathstroke as Batman.
Remember how Clark didn’t know who Bruce Wayne was a second ago? Well now he’s kind of an expert. Amidst many tight closeups of Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill meeting one another’s steely gaze, Clark says to Bruce: “Mr. Wayne! Clark Kent, Daily Planet.” and extends his hand for a handshake. Gotta admit, I’ve never seen a reporter go for the handshake on a red carpet interview. This Bruce Wayne has a hint of grey hair at his temples. A bit older than we’re used to.
Clark asks Bruce: “What’s your position on the Bat vigilante?” See? Clark knows Bruce Wayne is from Gotham, even though he had to ask who it was. That’s kinda weird. Bruce Wayne gives the tiniest hint of a smile. See, it’s ironic because Bruce Wayne actually IS the Bat vigilante. Also knows as Batman. I hear he was around for the dawn of justice.
Clark continues: “Civil liberties are being trampled on in your city. People living in fear. Thinks he’s above the law.” Throughout this we see some shots we saw in the earliest teaser trailer with a batarang embedded in a wall and a skeevy guy tied up in a warehouse with a bat branded to his chest. Man, even after he gets out of prison, that could impact the guy’s future career options. But I’m also pretty interested in the Gotham Free Press article about “AIR”.
Bruce Wayne responds to Clark’s kinda leading question: “The Daily Planet criticizing those who think they’re above the law is a little hypocritical, wouldn’t you say?” Over this we see a shot of a really huge Superman statue in Metropolis. So I guess despite the devastation caused by his battle with Zod in Man of Steel, overall Metropolis is grateful for Superman. See those panels behind the statue? Reminds me of the Vietnam Memorial Wall in D.C. I assume that’s all the people that died in that battle. If I’m right, that’s A LOT. Still, if Metropolis pitched in for the biggest statue ever when they had to rebuild a shit-ton of skyscrapers, I guess they like Superman for the most part. It’s sort of a weird statue pose, though, right? Like, what is Superman doing there? Tending a garden? Tickling an invisible dog’s chin?
Bruce continues: “…Considering every time your hero saves a cat out of a tree you write a puff piece editorial…” Oh snap! That’s a big burn on both Superman and the Daily Planet. But… I’m not sure I follow the logic. Clark accused the “Bat vigilante” of breaking civil liberty laws but Bruce thinks that Superman having a nice article because he saved a cat from a tree is the same thing and therefore hypocritical? And while he says this, Superman saves a Russian rocket that has an accident and explodes. Superman is saving lives.
And Bruce Wayne keeps slamming Superman saying: “…about an alien who could burn the whole place down.” And with this we see Superman not using his heat vision to burn the place down but rather save people from a flood. I do like the “S” symbol the one family there made, because it looks like the original Superman shield. Oh, and they look up to Superman as a savior, as he hangs in the sky with the sun forming a halo around him. The only way the imagery could be more Christ-like is if Superman gave himself stigmata by puncturing his palms with some Kryptonite.
Finally Clark defends himself saying: “Most of the world doesn’t share your opinion, Mr. Wayne” And Bruce snaps back: “Maybe it’s the Gotham City in me. We have a bad history of freaks dressed like clowns.” And in case his dialog hinting at the Joker wasn’t quite on-the-nose enough for you, we see Bruce looking at Robin’s costume in the Batcave and the Joker has very obviously spray painted it. Strong implication that Joker killed Robin in the past. And for the conspiracy-minded in you, take a close look at where the bullet holes are in this (arm on the left, shoulder on the right) and see if that matches up with anything else we’ve seen from DC movies.
And here comes Riddler or Joker I think. Jesse Eisenberg is uber-manic as he walks up to the two men and says: “Boys! Bruce Wayne meets Clark Kent! I love it! I love bringing people together! Hi, how are we? Hello, Lex, it is a plea-OW! That is a good grip, you should not pick a fight with this person!” Oh, I guess he’s Lex Luthor. It’s a VERY different interpretation of Luthor than anyone else has gone for. This guy is bouncing around like a guy on Speed. It’s also got another series of winks at the audience. A meta commentary on how big a deal it is for Bruce and Clark to meet. A comment on how strong Clark is and how it wouldn’t be smart to fight him. I get what they’re going for, and it’s a little amusing but it’s also not really got a punchline because we the audience absolutely know who Bruce and Clark really are so it isn’t really ironic. I mean, it’s ironic that none of them know who each other really are, but we are miles ahead of them and eager for them to catch up.
Here’s a shot of Superman landing in some sort of undeground bunker that he has, that’s staffed with soldiers. Why would Superman ever need soldiers? Well, there’s a small part of me that thinks (hopes) that the soldiers are robots that he got from his Fortress of Solitude. But I don’t know why robots would need helmets or dress almost like Nazis. It’s pretty weird. But weird is interesting.
Superman flies down to the steps of Congress. And now it sure doesn’t look like everyone likes Superman. It looks more like the Westboro Baptist Church showed up. Could this be the result of some Lex Luthor-sponsored public relations. But that’s speculation. Maybe some love him and some hate him. But anytime I see Superman going in front of lawmakers I think about him speaking to the UN in Superman IV: The Quest for Peace. That was not a good movie.
Lex Luthor is speaking in front of the Senate and says: “You know the oldest line in America, Senator? That power can be an incentive.” Uh, ok. And there’s actress Holly Hunter as Senator Finch. I’m guessing there’s a Senate subcommittee tasked with wondering how they police Superman. Kind of the DC version of superhero registration. But it’s just a guess.
Everyone in the room turns to look at Superman when he arrives. He’s kind of a big deal.
Meanwhile, Bruce walks through a very industrial Batcave. You can see the Robin suit on the far right. And water on the bottom. Maybe he’s got a Batboat. He sure has a lot of flourescent lighting. I bet Batman gets very little Vitamin D.
Alfred pops up but this ain’t yo daddy’s Alfred! This Alfred ain’t balding, he sure don’t have no tiny mustache but he definitely sports hip glasses and a neatly trimmed stubble-beard. He chastises Bruce: “You’re going to go to WAR?!”
In my favorite shot we see some more devastation from the end of Man of Steel where a car skids to a stop just before an explosion on Fart Street. Wait, does that really say FART STREET? Okay, while it sure looked like it, apparently this was filmed in Detroit and one of their main roads is Fort Street. That’s nowhere near as entertaining.
Bruce replies to Alfred: “That son of a bitch brought the war to us!” And to really drive that home, we see Zod’s Earth terraformer thing. I still don’t completely understand why Zod and the other Kryptonians had trouble breathing on Earth but Superman didn’t.
Bruce is wicked pissed. He saved some little girl but his really nice Wayne Financial sign got completely owned.
Alfred intones solemnly: “You know you can’t win this…” But Bruce seems to think he can and confronts Superman in fire and rain in an Iron Man-esque suit. It still has a cape. That’s the part that strikes fear into criminals.
I do like Batman’s armor. I wonder what that strap across him is holding? Some sort of anti-Superman weapon? It’s just too bad he didn’t shell out the extra few bucks for a bat symbol on his chest. It’s all about branding, Bruce.
Alfred continues: “It’s suicide.” And here we see the Batwing, which is some sort of sci-fi jet, flying over some burning part of a city. Gotham or Metropolis? I lean towards Gotham by the skyline we glimpse but it’s not much to go on. It’s also kinda sad seeing more city laid to waste.
There’s a voiceover by Lex Luthor: “The greatest gladiator match in the history of the world. Son of Krypton versus Bat of Gotham!” And then the trailer seems to mix shots of Batman flying his batplane, like the one above with him attacking Superman from his Batmobile, shown below.
A hail of bullets bounces off Superman. It does nothing. Superman hovers up and cycles up his heat vision. It’s nice that it takes a moment to turn on. That gives Batman enough time to get out of the way, I bet.
Here’s a shot of Batman using a grappling gun. That’s something he doesn’t do nearly enough in any of the previous live action Batman movies. There’s also a lighting bolt at one moment and the imagery is reminiscent of the classic Dark Knight Returns comics.
Lois Lane pops up to get one small line and also get flicked on the head by Lex Luthor. She says: “You’re psychotic.” and Lex replies: “That’s a three syllable word for any thought too big for little minds.” I’m sure Amy Adams was really psyched to be used as a prop that gets flicked. I wonder what happened to Lex’s hand? He’s got it bandaged up. But not very much. Pretty minor boo-boo. Maybe Jesse Eisenberg hurt it in real life, sitting on his keys or something.
A classic Batman breaks through the skylight shot. I bet Gotham has insurance companies that offer special Batman window insurance.
Look out Batman! You’re about to stomp on a digital Superman!
Batman has a voiceover that’s an affected gravely voice and he says: “It’s time you learned what it means to be a man!” Oh my. That sounds more like Batman’s about to make love to Superman than attack him. And here’s another really weird shot that I cannot figure out what is going on. Batman is fighting Superman’s soldiers (note the Superman shield on the one guy’s shoulder). Batman is also wearing a hat and goggles and a trenchcoat, I guess to be optimally suited up for desert combat. There’s bodies all along the ground. And then some sort of insect creatures! What are they?! It looks like a bunch of Geonosians from Attack of the Clones.
Superman yells: “Stay! Down! If I wanted it, you’d be dead already.” And then, just to be an ultra-dick, he rips off Batman’s mask. Part of me hoped Batman would have another small mask on underneath, but nope. So Superman figures out who Batman is. Has the world’s greatest detective figured out that Clark Kent is Superman?
Who is this? That’s Mercy Graves, Lex’s assistant. She was originally created in 1996 for the Superman: The Animated Series cartoon as Lex’s personal assistant and bodyguard. Since then, she’s been adapted into the comics and sort of Smallville and now the movies. Apparently Luthor got something from the U.S. Army. What is it? Well, you get to see right away. The trailer kinda gives away a lot of surprises.
We hear a Lex Luthor voiceover: “If man won’t kill god… the devil will do it!” And here’s what was in that box Mercy was delivering to Lex – it’s Zod’s corpse. Uh oh.
There’s some weird CG that I can’t understand but it implies Lex Luthor is going Dr. Frankenstein on Zod’s bod. Superman asks: “What have you done?”
What’s he done? He created Bizarro. Oh no, wait. That would make sense. No, somehow he created Doomsday, the character who (briefly) killed Superman in the 90s comics. He’s super strong and bony and he looks like someone I’ve seen before. Who could that be?
Oh, there it is. Doomsday looks nearly identical to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles from last year’s movie.
In the comics, Doomsday has one power – he’s stronger than anything else. But in this, he’s like a messed up Kryptonian clone (you know, like Bizarro) and he has heat vision. Fortunately, it takes a while to power it all the way up.
Here’s Batman, trapped in what may be his Batwing, about to get fried. The day Batman doesn’t have a working ejector seat is the day he should really hang up the cowl. This is the climax of the trailer!
Something causes Doomsday’s heat blast to sort of explode outward. It’s deflected but blows away another ton of buildings. I hope it was evacuated.
Oh, there’s what caused the heat explosion: a shield. Look at Superman cowering back there. Dude, you’re fine.
There’s the shield’s owner. It’s Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. She looks pretty cool, gotta admit.
Time to close out the trailer with a huge joke! Superman asks Batman: “Is she with you?” Batman replies: “I thought she was with you.”
And there’s our money shot of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, all together in live action for the first time. Batman has a gun so Doomsday is probably pooping out some bony protrusions in fear.
The credits. Who cares? Me! Look at that. Bill Finger is FINALLY getting the credit he has always deserved as a co-creator of Batman and many, many, many of the key components around Batman. That makes me happy.