Saturday, July 11, 2015

BATMAN V SUPERMAN Comic-Con Trailer Now Online

This piece supported in part thanks to The MovieBob Patreon. Please consider becoming a Patron today.

2:28 -  Oh, snap! So that's what happened to Batman's parents! Whew. Man, I was worried they were never going to tell us!

As I've said before, at this point I (and anyone else on my "wavelength" about this stuff) needs to suck it up and accept that Warner Bros and DC have consciously decided that 90s COMICS: THE MOVIE (better-than-ever art/visuals, pointlessly dark/grim, thematically-unrecognizable characters) is the way they're going with their Cinematic Universe. You've got to have some way to distinguish these things, and since Marvel/Disney current has the market cornered on no-bullshit fun n' wonder superheroics, they're going hard and heavy for the Frat Rat set: These are Muscle Milk-chuggin' collar-poppin' ballcap-reversin' Ed Hardy-stylin' Nickleback-blastin' sick abs-flashin' Axe Body-Spray smellin' Bro Actioners that happen to feature DC Comics characters; deliberately - and they're going to have to be judged as such.

At the very least, it looks pretty gorgeous on a strictly visual side. Warners' "please write thinkpieces about this" pitch to the non-fanboy press (particularly regarding their wishy-washy approach to continuity) is that they're making Real Cinema(tm) versus Marvel's assembly-line pulp; and if that's your story Snyder is the guy to tell it - at least in trailer form. He looks to be back in his own comfortable style here, rather than the Christopher Nolan emulation from MAN OF STEEL.

We get our basic plot from this, too, which looks to be about what you'd expect: Bruce Wayne is mad about all the 9/11-by-way-of-Akira-Toriyama destruction caused in MAN OF STEEL - "Batman V Superman: We Meant To Do That, Honest!" - so he pulls his Batman gear out of mothballs and picks a fight with Superman, likely with a little egging-on from Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), who has Kryptonite and is up to something nefarious with the corpse of General Zod that I don't think will be the huge surprise* they're betting on it being. Also, Wonder Woman is there, looking... actually, nothing to even snark about there - she looks on-point. Snyder knows women-in-action, and complaints about Gadot not being able to sell the physicality appear fairly unfounded.

See also:

  • I think Superman speaks approximately one line of dialogue in this trailer. If I didn't know better, I'd assume we were introducing this character on the heels of a BATMAN movie, not the other way around.
  • "You don't owe this world a thing, you never did." Well, good to know there's some ideological consistency in the Kents' shitty parenting. Maybe this is more deliberate "modernizing," Clark Kent as a Gen-Xer defying his Me-Generation 'boomer parents? Or just more bad writing.
  • Apparently Gotham City and Metropolis are right next door to eachother. That's dumb.
  • "Retired" Robin-costume in a glass case, reminding us (like we needed it) that this is Frank Miller's aging fascist asshole Batman from TDKR. So is it Jason, Tim or Dick? FWIW, rumors have pegged a Nightwing'd Dick Grayson showing up in one of these movies - possibly this one.
  • #1 reason to not go the trendy "figgity-tech-dweeb-because-Apple-get-it???" route for your super-genius supervillain: Listen to Eisenberg utterly fail to sell "Black and Blue! God versus Man! Day and Night!" or "The Red Capes are coming! The Red Capes are coming!" and imagine it coming out of an actor with gravitas and conviction. Hell, not to go with the obvious, but think about Gene Hackman tearing into prose like that.
  • Bruce Wayne - billionaire with a lifetime of combat experience able to afford any training equipment he could possibly need - preps for his Batman-ing by gettin' swole-up workin' the Big Tire. Totes epic. Pound it, 'bro.
  • All the scenes of Batman in motion look better than the character has ever looked in terms of a physical presence onscreen... and also like cutscenes from the Arkham games.
Kidding aside, though, this looks... alright. Probably enjoyable, though I imagine I'll be rolling my eyes if the Sooooooo Seeeeeeeerious tone of this trailer is what plays out for the whole thing. Superheroes are inherently silly, particularly DC's roster of mostly pre-WWII Depression Era wish-fulfillment avatars. The "awe" or "mythic" aspect of them shines through best when it exists in-tandem with how intrinsically goofy they are (think Captain America instructing the cops in AVENGERS, or any Alex Ross painting ever) - not when it's trying to supplant (or apologize for) it.
We'll find out how this all comes together in March. For now, color me... I dunno, "not dreading it?" I think that's about right.

If I had to guess (based on things known, things assumed and the way WB has managed this franchise for the last 20 years) Zod isn't coming back to life, but they'll use his body/DNA/whatever as a quickie origin story for someone/something big enough to fight/sideline Superman in Act 3, necessitating a Justice League recruitment drive or both. Doomsday? I'd bet on Doomsday - like I said, WB has been operating under the assumption that Death of Superman, Dark Knight Returns and Killing Joke are the only stories they own worth telling since about 1990 or so. Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if they "killed" Superman in this as the inciting-incident for JUSTICE LEAGUE; i.e. the instant-win-god-mode guy is sidelined for most of the first movie, comes in to save the day at the finale, just in time for "Something not even Superman can easily defeat is coming!!!" setup for PART II.