Last week, Jimmy Kimmel Live premiered the trailer for the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s next venture Captain America: Civil War to massive excitement on social media. Of course, it’s pretty easy to build buzz for a massive film within the MCU, but it looks like Warner Bros. is trying to chase that same metaphoric dragon with the new trailer for Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. The trailer premiered on tonight’s show and was posted to Warner’s YouTube channel soon after.
In case you somehow were living under a rock, the film serves as a follow up to the last DC comics adaptation Man of Steel, with Clark Kent dealing with the aftermath of his actions in the battle of Metropolis, including a massive trial and the judgement of billionaire entrepreneur Lex Luthor. However, his biggest enemy will be the oncoming threat of a mysterious vigilante out to take him down: The Batman. Chaos will ensue as the two heroes of different ideologies conflict, culminating in a massive battle between them and eventually Luthor. Oh, and Wonder Woman, Aquaman & perhaps a few other villains will be entangled in there as well. The trailer can be seen below;
There’s a lot to unpack about this rather revealing trailer, but I’ll start with the biggest positive: Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman. The confident back & forth he has with Clark Kent, seeing Affleck in more action oriented sequences that seem to evoke a powerful stance and a voice that fits the middle ground of gravely yet not sounding like a throat cancer ridden hero of the previous Batman franchise. It seems as if Affleck is genuinely carving out his own place for the hero, even managing to make the final humor bit of the trailer work despite its underwhelming nature in context of a tonal inconsistent looking trailer.
Yet, aside from Batman and an admittedly solid reveal of Wonder Woman, everything else here seems to give fire to the flames of the many worries I had about the film going in. Superman looks even more pouty and grating than he did previously, continuing to give Henry Cavill the look of a man looking for the culprit of a wet fart. The look of what apparently is Michael Shannon’s Zod’s corpse being turned into Doomsday looks like a rejected early sketch for Abomination from The Incredible Hulk brought to horribly rendered life. Even the aesthetic has this desaturated look that director Zack Snyder tries to ground the film in a grittier reality, yet has so much muggy soulless hollow nature of a green screen ladened set. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of this was merely due to how poorly edited together the trailer was, with cringeworthy cut aways like Batman’s cut off “Oh shit” moment being high on the list of disappointing bits of humor.
Of course, the crux of everything that’s wrong here is Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, who seems to be recalling a mixture of his character in Now You See Me and Gene Hackman’s version of the character from the Richard Donner films to disastrous results. His version of the character just seems so grating and un-intimidating as a potential villain, something Lex Luthor shouldn’t be due to his cunning nature and expert tech savvy. He’s a super genius that even gives a super powered being like Superman pause, not a nasal creep who delivers lines about as subtle as a brick to the head. All of his lines leave most of his grander moments on a flat line, seeming more like a dorky unfunny Joker than a genuinely interesting Lex Luthor.
I want to be swept up in giddy excitement for Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. After all, it’s Batman and Superman finally coming together in a cinematic context. Yet, I’m really not hold my breath here, given all the signs of Zack Snyder’s hollow disinterested messy style. Regardless, we’ll all bare witness to the fight come March 25. 2016.