Batman vs. Superman: The Dawn of Justice
By BOP Staff
July 27, 2015
Ben Gruchow: I like that they depict a plausible reason for Batman to go head-to-head with Superman, and that it involves what looks like an implicit acknowledgment of the hour of destruction porn that ended Man of Steel, and the consequences of it. This trailer is an improvement over the teaser from April, and Dawn of Justice is going to be a gigantic hit.
Having said that, it looks powerfully boring. It's just so processed: everything (and I do mean everything) in the trailer has the plasticky sheen of vigorous digital intermediate all over it, and each shot looks arranged and planned and augmented for maximum shininess. There's no shot that isn't color corrected, greenscreened, and CGI'd to within an inch of its life...and it looks like Snyder's picking up where Michael Bay left off as far as making sure that everything is alternating shades of teal and orange. After Christopher Nolan used his considerable influence to push practical effects, film, and IMAX (instead of CGI, digital, and 3D) and in the process creating some of the most exciting and grand passages of any comic-book adaptation, it's disheartening to see the next big iteration of the character discard most of it. I can see some of this not being an issue by the time the movie's done in post and the visuals have been worked on more, but this already resembles Snyder's visual aesthetic on Man of Steel so closely that I don't really see that being the case.
Max Braden: I think I'm still firmly in the Marvel camp. Once again this DC project looks dark, dreary, and depressing. I do think Cavill looks better in this movie than in the Man of Steel, and I might prefer him to Affleck's Batman in the trailer. But either way, if you're going to do a face off, I want to see Iron Man and Hulk smash each other up, not a battle of sour grapes between Batman and Superman.
Edwin Davies: It looks pretty drab and bleak, which is to be expected given what Snyder did with Man of Steel, but there are a couple of things in there that make me a little more interested than I was beforehand. Affleck seems like he's got the anguish down well, the hints at a larger universe are tantalizing, and it seems to be directly engaging with the much criticized destruction at the end of the previous film (though the headline saying "Dozens killed" is hilarious). The thing that sticks out to me is Jesse Eisenberg, who seems to be the only one having any fun, and suggests that they are going back to the tried and true formula of having Luthor be a kind of impish figure who enjoys lobbing grenades into whatever situation Superman finds himself in. If nothing else, it promises that he'll make some part of the film enjoyable.
Ben Gruchow: I totally missed that "Dozens Killed" bit the first time around.
So much teal and orange. Drab and bleak are appropriate terms; "overwrought" might be another. The trailers for The Dark Knight Rises didn't have this volume of choral refrains and slow motion; to me, DC's new universe hasn't come close to earning the "epic" feel this trailer is trying to create.
Felix Quinonez: I can't imagine there ever being a movie that has Superman in it that I wouldn't see on its opening weekend. And this really does seem cool in some ways. It certainly does have a lot of comic book action and the nerd in me will always be interested in a batman versus superman show down.
That being said, it does seem like a lot more of the over the top violence and self seriousness that turned me off of Man of Steel. I don't know what it is, maybe I'm just getting older, but I really think a Superman movie should be at least a little fun. Maybe that's why I loved Ant-Man so much. But It seems like DC is courting the teenage crowd who loves those Batman:Arkham video games. In fact, this movie looks like a video game itself.
Kim Hollis: I disliked this trailer initially, and then as I reflected on it, I flat-out started to hate it. What issues do I have? How about a top 10?
1. I know that comic books start to follow similar paths, but is it possible to come up with an original idea? This story effectively borrows straight from the "die mutie scum" in X-Men and also the very same Watchmen that Zack Snyder himself directed. I'd agree that Superman shouldn't be so grim - he's an upbeat character who deserves better. And I say that as someone who doesn't even like Superman much.
2. Ben Affleck as sad Batman. I just can't.
3. The squat and ugly Batsuit that looks like a repurposed Iron Man costume.
4. WTF Alfred? I had no idea who he was and could only imagine it was British Tony Stark. Instead, Jeremy Irons is reinventing the character in a very weird way.
5. I mentioned the lack of original ideas, and the hands reaching out for Superman is straight out of Spider-Man.
6. Why are we telling this story from Superman's point of view, anyway?
7. Jesse Eisenberg is the worst.
8. People kneeling to Superman represents everything I hate about the character.
9. Do we really need to see Batman's origin story? Surely we've got it by now.
10. The transparent attempt to launch Justice League (without earning it, by the way).
Michael Lynderey: I think they made a mistake bowing to Captain America: Civil War, and moving Batman Vs. Superman from the first weekend of May to late March. Looking at it from almost any perspective, B V. S will be the much bigger film. I think it can easily win the year (yes, in March!) and gross something like $600 million. This looks huge. Epic. An untamed box office behemoth. Who wouldn't want to see it?
Captain America 3, on the other hand, will probably just play as a marked-down version of Avengers 2. That film will finish with roughly $460 million, and so I think Cap 3 will probably do something like $350 million. Clearly, B V. S will reign supreme over that and any other challengers.
David Mumpower: While I have no top ten lists to offer, I concur with one of Kim's points. I want to preface this by saying that I think I was the only critic in North America who named Zombieland the best movie of that year. I also had The Social Network and Adventureland in my top 10 for their years of release. I think it's fair to say that I like Jesse Eisenberg as a rule. This trailer makes me reconsider that opinion. I've never seen someone so actively campaign for a Razzie, and I've watched almost all of Nic Cage's movies.
As for the rest of it, I've made the argument before that the people at Warner Bros. have no idea how to make a Batman movie. And the problem they face is that compared to the other DC Comics adaptations, Batman is Casafreakinblanca. Man of Steel was an unmitigated disaster of a film, a tightly wound ball of cinematic hatred disguised as an action flick. It had no redeeming value other than creating a national anthem for homicidal maniacs too young to enjoy American Psycho. Rather than move away from that downward trajectory, Zack Snyder, someone I've perennially defended in this space, has slammed down the gas pedal to speed up his cinematic collision course with enmity. He's just about ready to pass Mark Millar as the Spite King of Comics. I can't even tell that Batman is in this movie between all the mass murders and random career quotes from Eisenberg. I...respectfully disagree that it'll be the #1 movie of the year. Having Batman in the title doesn't cure enough ills here.
Ben Gruchow: I bought Jared Leto as the Joker, on the strength of his brief appearance at the end of the trailer. He's the most effective element of the whole thing, and he gives it a sense of identity and connection that will, I think, be fairly crucial to the movie's reception. Judging by the crowd's reaction to him, I'm not alone.
David Ayer, as writer and director, has an interesting resume for this type of film, and the presence of a longtime collaborator of his as DP should at the very least give Suicide Squad cohesion.
Max Braden: For me, this trailer is all about Harley Quinn. She's the most expressive of the bunch. I'm also interested to see what Will Smith brings to he group. The trailer has a style reminiscent of Christopher Nolan's Batman movies. But that's a double-edged sword; now that we have Heath's Joker, I forget about Nicholson's Joker and I don't want to see someone else attempt it. The comic book crowd may want to see Leto bring the Joker to life, but he's the point in the trailer I like least.
Edwin Davies: I think the initial response to the trailer online ruined it for me a bit, particular articles which said that it was "crazy" and "insane" when it's nothing of the sort. It just introduces a bunch of glowering actors and two characters who look interesting. Margot Robbie looks like she is going to be a perfect Harley, and what little they showed of Jared Leto suggested that he's going to be a much darker take on the character than even Ledger managed, which is impressive. There wasn't a big moment for me that made it a must see, but it brought it up to a "maybe rent."
Felix Quinonez: I think this movie looks great. It was never that high up on my priorities so my expectations weren't out of this world. But maybe that's a good thing because I was very impressed by the trailer and I'm genuinely excited to see it now.
Reagen Sulewski: When you take it for who it was primarily aimed at - i.e. pre-sold or knowledgeable fanboys (OMG OMG It's Harley), then I can get the idea of people getting excited about it, but if it's meant as a showcase for the general public, this is a quite frankly terrible trailer, as it's a series of disjointed, awkwardly acted scenes with ham-fisted dialogue. I actually sort of buy that they didn't want this particular set of scenes to be their introduction for the masses, because it just doesn't work for the uninitiated. It's a swing and a miss for me, and the only thing that works is letting me know that Leto's probably going to work as the Joker (though he's not a million miles away from Ledger's, at least in terms of tone).
David Mumpower: I agree with Max about the integral aspect of this trailer. I've seen every incarnation of The Joker by now. There's little Leto can do to sell me on the latest portrayal of the character. The only thing that interests me less is the idea of another Spider-Man origin story. Harley Quinn, on the other hand, is a character fans have pleaded to see since, well, Batman Returns. It's criminally stupid that nobody had done this before, but the great news is that Margot Robbie seems perfect. She's the crazy chick you wanna take home before coming to your senses by going to a motel instead. You don't want this person knowing where you live. Quinn appeals to me as a movie fan, and she adds a metric ton to the bottom line of the film, as does the genius inclusion of Will Smith as Deadshot. We live in an anti-hero culture now, and The Suicide Squad presents the best opportunity to sell that concept as a blockbuster. I'm wildly optimistic about the footage shown thus far.
Kim Hollis: While I think this trailer is successful at setting a tone, I agree that it's really something designed for strict fans of the characters. Most people have no idea who the members of the Suicide Squad are (other than the Joker, of course), and this teaser doesn't do much to illuminate a potential audience. I think that this film looks as though it has a similar problem to Batman vs. Superman - it's trying to kickstart a multi-character franchise without earning it.