Monday, July 13, 2015

Superman vs Batman SDCC Trailer Roundtable

This weekend a new trailer for Superman vs Batman: Dawn of Justice was revealed at San Diego Comic-Con:

While I had my own opinion on the trailer, I thought a consensus might be interesting, so I reached out to fellow Flashback Universe contributors to see what they thought of the trailer. Here's what Caine Dorr, Trey Causey, Scott Simmons, StevieB and I had to say:

I have to say that both the "do you bleed" trailer and now the longer "SDCC" trailer both to me somehow.  They look weird, unlike other trailers, and i think that's because of two reasons.  1.) I think they have a couple of very big plot points that they do not want to spoil and have kept a wrap on for quite some time forcing them to structure the trailer around hiding the plot points rather than really just dazzling us with a great trailer they don't have to worry about.  2.) I'm willing to bet that years from now it will be common knowledge that there were a lot of cooks in the kitchen in this movie and Zack Snyder effectively had to co-direct this movie with Geoff Johns and other Warner Bros executives, almost committee style.

It has been heavily suggested by many that Ben's Batman is the Frank Miller Batman Returns Batman and with the scenes of Batman in a sun bleached sandy (Almost an apocalypse possibly?) desert looking battle scene mixed in with urban scenes of Metropolis it almost leads me to believe that the story takes place over a great many of years, of possibly with an alternate timeline, or in another reality, or even possibly some of the story may take place in Themyscira.

As a life long Batman fan I'll be there at the theater lined up to see this, but as of right now it still somehow.

I agree with Caine to a degree that I suspect there are some plot points they are still trying to keep obscure, though I think this at least suggests the role Luthor might play in setting the two at odds which wasn't in the first one.

They are (somewhat cleverly I think) trying to keep the audience guessing. Note that dialogue that was played over scenes of Superman in the first trailer are played over Batman in this one--muddying the waters as precisely which of the heroes is "out of line" and needs to be reigned in. Batman's to a building going down and the governmental hearing suggest that the big complaint about the first film (the destruction in the battle) is going to be address, at least to an extent.

All in all, I'm looking forward to it. The Goyer/Johns approach to these characters isn't my favorite, but it is one informed by their history, and I don't think we need all superhero movies to have the same tone--as Marvel Studios largely seems to think they do.

I completely agree that a central tone (particularly gritty) is NOT the way to go with these and the Goyer/Johns versions of these characters are not my favorite as well.  Whats funny is that DC rebooted so that they could bring us the MOST ICONIC VERSION of their characters but really, in a lot of ways, the movies don't feel that way at all.  It's strange that they would feel so strongly about that approach in one medium but not in another.

Well, I didn't say this wasn't the way to go. I don't think there is one way. This way is valid; it just isn't the one I would have chosen.


My initial take away is a lot more positive than the I felt from the first trailer.  Like a lot of people I was afraid we were just going to get a blunted version of Miller's Dark Knight Returns. However,  seeing the scenes with Luthor has really got me jazzed. I've never seen Jesse Eisenberg in a movie before but he looks like he's gonna steal the show.

It was also nice to see Wonder Woman in action.

I'm hoping it will convince a lot of the ww naysayers that she will work in the film (in the role - plot wise I'm not sure she won't be a bit lost in the crowd.)

Your absolutely right about WW Jim.  Good call.

I've done an about-face from my younger-fan days of longing for super-hero movies to "get it right" by staying überfaithful to the source material.  Now that I'm outside the 18-35 target demographic, the comics themselves have morphed and changed in what they consider iconic versions of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.  Rather than films that aim to capture the super-heroes of my youth and foist them on a modern movie-going public, I'm more interested in new iterations and interpretations of these characters than I used to be, particularly in the movies, where they're going to be rethought and reinvented by necessity.

With that in mind, I find the new Dawn of Justice trailer compelling, as a fresh alternate take on these characters origins and relationship if nothing else.

Putting aside our fanboy expectations and what we (think we) know about these characters to rely on the trailer itself, Batman's origin is apparently tied intimately to Superman's battle with Zod from the end of Man of Steel.  The trailer makes no reference to Bruce Wayne having a previous history as Batman.  Immediately following the scene of him in the wreckage of Wayne Tower, we have Alfred's voice-over, "That's how it starts — the rage, the fever that turns good men cruel," followed by police discovering a Batarang and the usual newsroom coverage shot (this time with Perry White admonishing Clark Kent not to pursue the story).  There are some hints this is a Batman with a past: the costume presumably spray-painted on by the Joker, Bruce's hints at "20 years in Gotham," the presence of a tarp over the Bat-Signal, and flashback scenes to a mustachioed father gunned down in an alley.  But none of those are definitive or even serve to drive home the point this is a Batman whose crusade predated Superman's appearance.  Likely, this is because everyone on Earth knows the Batman story and the Superman story and doesn't need to be told Batman isn't avenging the murder of his wife and daughter in a 9/11-style building collapse that he initially blamed on Superman.  But dangit, that's the story implied in the trailer — and a movie I'd like to see.

Batman and Superman on screen are going to be different than their templates from the comics, anyway.  Why not change up their origins, streamline them, and give them a relationship to each other that future films can build on.  Heck, why not make Wonder Woman the inhabitant of that other Kryptonian ship seen in Man of Steel?  Other than a slavish devotion to the source material that insists another Kryptonian on Earth must be Supergirl.

To Caine's comment earlier, I don't doubt there will be Dark Knight Returns influence a-plenty in Dawn of Justice.  Since 1989, every incarnation of Batman we've seen on the silver screen has managed, in some way or other, to be a back-door adaptation of that story.  ;)

I'm enamored of the cast, too.  Cavill, Affleck, and Gadot are pretty enough to watch in Imax without any special effects.  Jesse Eisenberg is once again playing a passionate young man with the worldweary cynicism of a much older one.  And I'm assuredly looking forward to Jeremy Irons as Alfred.

Audiences usually have to be shown what sway Alfred has over Bruce, but Irons seems to be wearing his stern paternalism on his sleeve in the trailer.  Given how deeply Man of Steel was concerned with fathers, I'm looking forward to seeing Irons as Bruce Wayne's surrogate father even as Clark copes without (either of) his.

I doubt the movie will plot itself in this direction, but it would be interesting if Bruce Wayne were a father who lost children in the battle of Metropolis.  Maybe these are the kind of plot points the movie is keeping under wraps.  Superman had a son in Superman Returns, remember, and the whole town of Smallville and Lois Lane know his identity in the world of Man of Steel.  Why blanch at the possibility that other long-held traditionalist notions might be different this time out?

Given what we see in the trailer, I suspect its destruction (that of Metropolis in the first film? something new?) that Superman was involved with that brings a retired Batman back into action, DKR-style. The police not seeming familiar with him, may be reference to the fact he's been gone long enough (like in DKR) that a lot of people don't believe in him.

As to Jim points, I feel like this trailer helped move some people that where sitting in the "IIIII Don't Knowwwww" Camp and move to a place that they feel like this movie might actually be good.

Scott, I believe its been said by Zack Snyder and Ben Affleck in interviews that this is a seasoned Batman and been doing the Bat thing in Gotham for some time. Maybe not as aggressively and publicly.

Wonder Woman looks great! I think she is going to be the plot device that stops them from fighting. Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor seems interesting. It's def a way different take on Lex then we've seen but that's not necessarily a bad thing. (Jim, I believe he stars in The Social Network. It's a really good movie and I suggest you check it out.)

The Joker is going to be included in someway shape or form it seems just from the couple of messages that are thrown about. I'm not sure if you guys caught it or not. But this clip:

That, to me, Looks like a Robin Costume. I think he may have  quit because the Joker killed Jason Todd (or any Robin for that matter). I think a perfect transition to a solo Batman movie would be a "Red Hood" story. I believe the Jason Todd death is also going to be the catalyst that splits up Harley and Joker in Suicide Squad. This scene is probably the most exciting for me. A live action adaption of Red Hood would be awesome.

This movie has many things to look forward to; the first movie debut of Wonder Woman ever, more than one DC character on screen at a time, Jeremy Irons, Ben proving everyone wrong lol, ETC. I have many thoughts on where the plot will go and the trailer does hint at some things. I personally think that we may even see some kind of control Lex has over Superman. There's a scene that just seems off when Superman looks like he is kneeling in front of him. It may have something to do with Zod's body and the codex inside Superman. Which brings me to the only thing I really don't understand yet that puts me off a bit. It seems like Superman is the aggressor. Even this version of the character doesn't seem like he would go and openly start a conflict for no reason. I think that stems back to keeping a lot of the plot under wraps. Either way, this trailer got me even more pumped for this movie.

That's what I figure SvB:DoJ* will do as far as Batman's concerned — but it's not emphasized in the trailer the way it has been in the pre-press, and the trailer sparks my imagination as to other ways things could go.

Good eye on the suit in the case.  I'd simply assumed it was another Batman suit.  (There are interesting rumors about Jena Malone's involvement that could certainly relate to.)

I don't want to play into the "Rawhr, rawhr, rawhr, Gal Gadot is too skinny!" complaints of last year, but watching the trailer, I must say:  She is svelte.  I didn't realize that before.  She cuts an interesting Wonder Woman silhouette.

The Hollywood Reporter had a nice blurb about the trailer that points out, "Ma Kent replaces Pa as the moral voice of authority in Superman's life — or immoral voice, considering her somewhat selfish advice."  Which makes it worth noting Pa Kent had a selfish-seeming bit of advice for Clark in the first movie's trailer that turned out to be anything but.

* Just wanted to type that out for the first time and see how it felt.

A bit of wild speculation the trailer made me think of: we see Zod's body being unzipped from the body bag. We see all the scenes of Superman looking at least imperious, if not grim and people bowing or sort of being worshipful toward him. Is there some of Luthor-instigated mind control or possibly a Bizarro-ish clone?

Ah! Good catch Trey. Showing Zod's body and not doing anything with it would be odd, so it probably will be a plot device of some sort. Also what you are proposing would explain Steve's suggestion of a Luthor controlled Superman.

So that's what WE thought. What did YOU think? Let us know in the comments section!

 — Jim


Reno said...

The trailer got me interested again in this franchise. making me re-think my initial stance of not seeing it in the theater and just waiting for it on HBO or whatever. Although I'm still cautious, since Zack Snyder's work (so far) is still all style and lacking substance for me.

I still dislike the portrayal of the Kents, though. Jonathan Kent in the first film seemed very selfish, and Martha in this trailer seems to be echoing that characterization. Not at all the altruistic, guiding hand that they were to Clark in previous iterations.

Jim Shelley said...

Reno, yeah, rewatching the trailer last night I was sort of like, "Ma Kent is sort of a jerk here..." You sort of wonder why Kal-El would even bother being Superman.

Unknown said...

I am going to have to disagree with you on this one gents. Lets look at that situation at hand. He's saved the world, but it is blaming him for the damage done. He's being attacked by the people he was attempting to save. Look at it through Ma Kent's eyes. She's reassuring him that he can get passed this. That he's emotionally strong enough to make it. On the same token he doesn't have to. If he doesn't want this life, he doesn't have to live it. It makes her feel more real to me. I believe that's how a concerned mother would act.

Chad Bowers said...

I think the soldiers kneeling to Superman, and then attacking Desert Assault Batman are parts of the same scene... some kind of nightmare/vision of a world devoted to Superman that Bruce has at some point.

MattComix said...

I'll be honest. I haven't viewed the trailer and I can't decide if I want to or not. Not only am I just really really tired of hero vs. hero but I don't know that I want to slog through Superman's public relations nightmare and gobs of DKR homage to eventually get to something resembling the Worlds Finest team and the Justice League.

I had a more positive response to Man Of Steel than many Superman fans with whose opinions I usually concur but the wind got knocked out of those sails when it came out that not only was Batman going to be in it but that it was a "vs." thing. I hate the idea of them being enemies and I hate that a debate that should have stayed on the playground grew to infect the fiction itself.

Jim Shelley said...

@StevieB - I can totally see that reading of the scene. And in the context of the movie, it will probably play out more like how you suggests than just the small clip in the promo looks like.

@Chad - I think you nailed that. I bet that's exactly what's gonna happen and it sort of gives us a cake we can eat (a dark future without actually committing)

@MattComix - You and I are on the same page. I'm sort of hoping the next Avengers movie will feature a group of real villains instead of the trend of hero vs hero that's sooo prominent in comics now. (Isn't every Secret Wars spin-off that? Convergence was.)


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