Let’s get this right out of the way. Yes, I’m someone who’s been known to criticize, mock, and otherwise complain about DC’s cinematic output post-The Dark Knight. That much is known.
What is unknown, or falsely-assumed, is that I do so out of some sort of anti-DC bias, or because I’m a “Marvel fanboy.” Which couldn’t be further from the truth.
I’m a DC guy.
I’m the biggest Superman fan you’ll ever meet. 90% of my comic collection is comprised of Superman books and Batman books. The other 10%? Marvel and Calvin and Hobbes. I know Marvel. I’m familiar with their characters. I’m okay with them. But my heart belongs to DC.
So when I go after DC, it’s the equivalent of your best friend shouting “What are you doing?! What’s wrong with you?! Stop it! You’re better than this!” as you dangle yourself off of a cliff. I do it with love; With concern; With a vested interest. I want DC to succeed, because little in life would bring me as much joy as a great new Superman movie would.
Now let’s get to the purpose of this piece: That new Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer…
Here’s why it should scare the hell out of you:
I. DOOMSDAY LOOKS LIKE CRAP
Yes, we’ve all known from Day One that this wasn’t really a VERSUS movie. Despite all the rhetoric. Despite the title. Despite fans clamoring for a real showdown between Superman and Batman. I even recall having to venture down into the Comments sections of articles, where people were getting very heated about “Who would win?” just to point out that the two of them will not really be going toe-to-toe, and that they’d start off against each other but then turn their attention towards a threat that would unite them. It’s been obvious.
Not to mention I’ve known that Doomsday was going to be in the film for a year and a half now.
But what is surprising is how poorly-conceived the character’s design is. It’s Apocalypse all over again. When I saw Apocalypse, I thought of Ivan Ooze. When I saw this sad Doomsday, I saw the lovechild of a Lord of The Rings troll and The Incredible Hulk‘s Abomination, if the troll had a drinking problem throughout the pregnancy.
The roar would’ve sufficed, while they continued to work on the design and final product.
II. IT’S ANOTHER GOOFY LEX LUTHOR
One of the intriguing aspects of this movie was the introduction of a new Lex Luthor. Tired of the campy Luthor of previous Superman films, people were looking forward to a more ruthless, sociopathic, fake “man of the people” Luthor who was secretly plotting to take over Metropolis. Then this trailer finally shows us what this new take on the character is, and it’s…another “Funny Lex.” A high, shrill voice. Grating jokes. Wimpy demeanor.
This is not the Lex we were looking for.
III. YOU NOW KNOW THE ENTIRE MOVIE
Yes, we’re all familiar with the state of trailers these days. They give away a lot. But this one, I think, takes the cake. We’ve now glimpsed damn near the entire arc of the story.
- Batman doesn’t trust Superman because of the destruction of Metropolis, and what his mysterious powers could mean to the world if he ever decided to turnagainst it
- Superman doesn’t trust Batman because he’s a vigilante with brutal tactics, who answers to no one, who relies on a message of fear instead of hope
- Lex Luthor helps manipulate them against each other
- They fight. Superman points out that he could kill him if he wanted, rendering the whole fight kind of pointless.
- They get over it.
- Lex Luthor gets upset that they didn’t kill each other.
- He unleashes Doomsday.
- Wonder Woman shows up to help. Others will follow.
- Justice League, Coming In 2017!
Will there be more to it? Sure. But do we have a very clear outline? Absolutely. Most of the fun with films like these, even when you know what’s going to happen, is enjoying the journey. Seeing how they get to these pre-determined circumstances is what makes it all worth it. But by going out of their way to tell audiences that the “v” is really an “&,” they’ve effectively sapped any of the tension between the characters that’s supposed to fuel the drama for the film’s first two-thirds. So they’re asking you to sit through 2+ hours of Jar Jar Luthor, ham-fisted dialogue (“Maybe it’s the Gotham City in me. We just have a bad history with freaks dressed like clowns.” “You should not pick a fight with this person.”), and two guys arguing who should obviously know better.
Much has been said about Marvel’s movies using humor too much in their films. On the flip side, many fans that have been so excited about what DC is cooking up have been praising the studio for its more “serious” approach. They accuse Marvel of throwing in humor at moments that totally under-cut the drama. But look at this trailer. Lex’s entire introduction is comical in nature, on purpose, and then that line at the end about Wonder Woman. Batman and Superman are face-to-face with this unstoppable creature that could conceivably level a city, yet they pause for that “She with you?” banter. This, just after a shot where Doomsday’s roar destroys an entire neighborhood with buildings collapsing in flames and clouds of smoke.
So much for DC taking things more seriously.
Tell me you can’t close your eyes right now and imagine that same exact exchange taking place between Iron Man and Captain America when Captain Marvel shows up.
Fans longing for something wholly different than what Marvel has been putting out should be hella worried about what this trailer means for the film as a whole, just based on its use of humor. All I see with this trailer, tonally, is that DC is just turning theContrast knob all the way to 11. The serious bits are deathly serious, which makes the comic bits stand out way too much- a real problem if those bits don’t land.
I’m genuinely gobsmacked by how bad the trailer is. I’m actually considering skipping the movie entirely now. It was never gonna get my opening weekend money. Now it may just have to settle for whatever pennies it gets from my Netflix subscription. This trailer effectively killed whatever interest I had left as a lifelong Superman fan.