The latest trailer for Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice just hit the internet, and has caused a frenzy already grossing over a dozen of millions of views over Warner Bros’ official channels such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and more. The trailer has caused a mass hysteria of hype around the globe and is one of the most talked about topics recently thanks to Jimmy Kimmel Live debuting the footage with Ben Affleck appearing on the show as well. However, now that all the hype is starting to slow down, it’s time to calm yourselves and inspect the trailer to really appreciate what a piece of beauty of film making it is. This article will present a mixture of PLOT SPECULATION and DIRECTION analysis! This article is also full of OPINIONS and personal art interpretation. If you are easily offended by differing opinions than this isn’t the place for you.
One of my favorite scenes of the trailer happens right at the beginning. Honestly, I believe it speaks volumes to that of the tone of the film and it’s framed and portrayed perfectly. To start off, Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent’s exchange of words are powerful, not only with the dialogue written by Oscar-winning screenwriter Chris Terrio, but also the tension you can sense between the two actors. After Clark brings up Batman, Bruce tends to completely upfront about the conversation and takes shots right away at not only Superman, but journalism as a whole. The way Clark just stares into Bruce’s eyes at the end of it without a proper rebuttal other than using the world’s opinion of Superman — himself — to feel secure again sort of speaks volumes on Bruce’s character and how he psychologically can win.
For example Lex Luthor says, “Bruce Wayne meets Clark Kent…I love it. I love bringing people together” which could be a metaphor for the fanboy in Zack Snyder. People have been waiting extremely long for this pairing, and Lex is just freaking out about it! This conversation also leads me to believe that obviously, Lex Luthor is aware of the secret identities of Batman and Superman, which is why he invited them both to his LexCorp event. Not to mention Lex’s comment on Clark Kent having a tight grip and telling Bruce not to pick a fight with him.
However, my favorite part of what I’ve dubbed, “The Interview”, is the cinematography and framing of the shot. Lex Luthor is clearly incredibly shorter, scrawnier and weaker than both Batman and Superman. Bruce Wayne is a billionaire and one of Gotham’s best bachelors, and Clark Kent is a country handsome tall farmboy. Lex sort of represents the average guy, but he’s far from it. Despite these two gods towering over and looking down on Lex, they’re giving him all the attention. He’s in complete control of the conversation and where it goes.
Additionally, the interview sequence gives us a ton of flashes of footage, some we’ve already seen already including Batman branding a criminal, Superman’s heroics and much, more. Interestingly, we see a new shot of the Superman state erected sometime after the events of Man of Steel. If you look carefully enough, you can see what appears to be Scoot McNairy in a wheelchair staring up at the Superman statue. There has been rampant speculation on who his character could be ever since he was cast, and set photos surfaced of him wearing green screen legs which let to even more discussion. I guess it seems he’s only playing a Superman-Day injury victim. Or is he?
With the story established and the scenes set, the next segment of the trailer is rightfully the action segment full of setpieces that’ll drive your mind crazy. In these constant and neverending flashes of footage, director Zack Snyder and cinematographer Larry Fong decide to show off all of their hard work in the best way possible, and I have a feeling it’s only a taste of what’s coming. But among the shots of footage, we also get a story told.
First off, we get constant flashbacks of Bruce Wayne’s time in Metropolis during the alien invasion portrayed in Man of Steel, which is to give you another perspective on the events and how they drive one man who has nothing to lose to defend everyone who lost something that day. We not only see Superman pummeling Zod into a few buildings but we also get a glimpse of the gorgeous “World Engine” from afar. It’s not clear yet when these flashbacks occur in the film and how long they are on screen for, but I personally hope we get a good chunk of it shown as the different perspective of the events could really drive us to sympathize with Bruce Wayne. However, the best part of these flashbacks isn’t even the footage, it’s the rebuttal to Alfred’s question as to why Bruce wants to start a war in which he says “That son of a bitch brought the war to us” with such anger and pent up rage, you can really get a sense of what the Batman character is standing for. If you think about it, Bruce is nothing but correct about Superman as he did bring the war to Earth by activating the ship in the arctic which summoned Zod in the first place.
This premise brings us to glorious footage of Batman and Superman fighting with not much dialogue except for Lex Luthor’s ring announcer-esque narration, giving us the tale of the tape. This chunk of the trailer is just a great time to sit back and just appreciate the amazing filmmaking put into this piece of cinema. Zack Snyder’s usage of vibrant colors in every one of his shots instead of a generic color filter over the whole canvas really helps make certain elements stand out in the frame such as superman’s heated eyes or even subtle objects like the lightning strike across Wayne Tower when Batman propels off of the building. Each frame is carefully attended to with the utmost detail to provide cinematic porn.
The final act of the trailer brings the big reveal, the hook for people to see it in theatres! It’s edited so smoothly feels like a natural extension to most of the action so far. The “action” segment ends with Superman unmasking Batman which basically is saying “this fight is over” in terms of the trailer’s storytelling, but the music just keeps going as we see Lex Luthor’s brilliant sign language of telling Mercy to bring him Zod’s body. It’s so maniacal and comic book inspired as this film deservedly should be. After that, we’re treated to brilliant dialogue by Lex. “If man won’t kill god, the devil will do it.”
Now in the context of the story the trailer is telling, God is Superman and Man is Batman. That’s when the shocking big reveal appears, in the form of Doomsday, “the devil”. A giant hulking scary death machine bent on killing Batman, Superman and anything in it’s path. However, in the brilliancy of the trailer editing they not only reveal Doomsday as a threat that binds Batman and Superman, but also Wonder Woman. Yes, we already know that Wonder Woman was in the film, but not in the capacity of which brings her into the fold. Additionally, another thing the epilogue introduces is the presence of humor that the film will have. Yes, DC Comics is one of the mature comic companies with wide-scale event books with serious consequences but just like any moment with tension it’s always nice to have a laugh and there are specific characters whose purpose is exactly that. Hopefully there’s much more of this type of humor in the film, like there was in Man of Steel.
And finally, the big money shot showcasing the DC Holy Trinity front and center. The thing I really like about this shot is the fact that the camera lingers on the superheroes as they move slowly, but meticulously in an action hero pose. It’s straight out of a comic book but it also ties back to Zack Snyder’s video game influence as it feels like the kind of shot a game would end with in a cutscene before the camera transitions back to “gameplay mode” to start the boss battle. For more of Zack Snyder’s video game influences on film, check out all of Sucker Punch. However, the one thing in my mind that people fail to be discussing is that Wonder Woman is at the forefront of the trinity, being shown as more important than the two title characters of the film. If this isn’t a clear indication of Zack Snyder’s intentions with the character and her future in the DC Extended Universe than I don’t know what will be.
“The Trailer Has Too Many SPOILERS!!!???”
To respond to this, the answer is, simply “No.”
To start off this section we’re going to quote FilmmakerMagazine’s excellent “The Art of First Impressions: Cutting a Movie Trailer” article which is an excellent study you should all read.
“Put very simply, a trailer is a condensed version of a feature, so it should be a collection of its greatest elements.”
“This is simplistic, but the basic message is this: Use these tools (the sound effects, the editing tricks, etc.) to tell a story. And to sell a story.”[/quote]
The new Dawn of Justice trailer hardly contains spoilers, it has enough footage to showcase what the film is about and give you a hook for seeing it. As I’ve mentioned before previously several times in this article, there is a “trailer story”, which is snippets of footage cut appropriately to tell a tale in the span of two and a half minutes. The “trailer story” is made from footage within it’s own, different context that is obviously not in the same order or context as the “film story”, which we have yet to find out anything about. Proper trailers shouldn’t exist to just show random snippets of footage, they should exist as short films to tell their own story and if you want more to the puzzle, you go see the film.
Additionally, if you feel the trailer showed too much then you probably don’t understand how film marketing works. The trailer collects some of the film’s greatest elements, some we’ve seen before and some we’ve haven’t such as the beautiful cinematography by Larry Fong and some amazing fight sequences between Batman and Superman. It showcases the amazing performance by Jesse Eisenberg, as well as the deep and heavy dialogue by Oscar winning screenwriter Chris Terrio. However, there are plenty of surprises and elements we have yet to see. For example, we know that Aquaman is to appear in the film as well as Ray Fisher as Victor Stone, who will later become Cyborg in the DC Extended Universe. We’ve also been told, through official images released, Clark and Diana have a dance together and Lex Luthor is bald. There’s so many things in the film we have yet to even get a clue about.
[quote]”Trailers are about promise and possibility. They have to tap into irrational and emotional impulses. They have to invoke a sense of want and need. To paraphrase Shakespeare by way of John Huston, they are the stuff that dreams are made of.”
This quote is excruciating correct especially in the context of this trailer and most of Comic Book Movie or blockbuster films to the date. Zack Snyder is presenting not only promise of Batman and Superman fighting, but an intense film with high-octane action. Zack Snyder is, indeed tapping into the irrational and emotional impulses of not only comic book fans around the world, but anyone familiar with the characters of Batman and Superman from the previous films, the animated cartoons or even the video games. He’s known for quite some time what we want to see in a comic book film because, honestly, he is one of us. He’s not making these films just for us or Warner Bros, he’s making them for himself as well because this is the type of material he’s always wanted to see happen on screen.
Does the trailer show so much? No. The argument is only raised because the film has been clouded in secrecy for so many months that fans actually became accustomed to the silence and lack of knowing, something we haven’t seen in a very long time. However, this single trailer contains every necessary piece of the puzzle a trailer requires, and will go down in history as the trailer that generated the mass hysteria over the film. They showed us Doomsday, who probably doesn’t even have that big of a role in the film, just like Transformers 4 showed us Grimlock in every trailer and just like Captain America: Civil War showed us Black Panther. These are elements that add a new layer of need to see the film, and shouldn’t cause any controversy at all.
To summarize, Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice is probably going to be an amazing film and the purpose of this trailer was to enforce that claim. It packed amazing visuals, dialogue, performances and key components to generate interest to attempt to rake in those billions at the box office, and the only people who hate on it are the insecure ones who can’t keep an open mind.