Just days before the intended premiere of the first Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer, blurry and bootlegged footage leaked onto the internet, basically ruining it for everybody. Warner Bros. lost the opportunity to turn the first live-action team-up between Batman and Superman into a meaningful event, entertainment outlets lost their dignity by heavily promoting pirated content, and fans lost out on their chance to experience the trailer the way the filmmakers intended, in all of its high-definition, morose glory.
After initial attempts to take the Batman v Superman trailer down, Warner Bros. finally caved this afternoon, and released the high-definition version for the fans, days earlier than intended. So now you can watch in glorious detail the new trailer (above), and wonder whether or not the grim imagery and cynical voice-overs will actually translate into an entertaining film, and not just a gritty one.
Those two qualifiers – entertaining and gritty – don’t have to be mutually exclusive, of course, but Zack Snyder’s film has come out swinging with a trailer that promises all of the latter, and none of the former. Religious imagery continues to be a leitmotif, and scowling is most definitely the order of the day. Batman’s first words to Superman, a character designed to inspire the people of the world to better themselves, are not hopeful. They are, “Tell me, do you bleed…? You will.”
The meeting between the two heroes, obviously inspired by Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns (Batman is even wearing the same armor from the mini-series), promises a fight. A war between ideologies. Indeed, the trailer makes it seem like Batman got the idea to fight Superman after watching tons of talking head punditry on 24-hour cable news.
But Frank Miller’s mini-series was a subversion of Superman’s actual persona. It presented the “Man of Steel” as a cynical metaphor for conservative values in 1980s America. One has to wonder: does that approach to the character really apply today? Aren’t audiences, and citizens of the world, overdue for a little inspiration? Was it really necessary to question this vehemently whether the world needs a Superman before even showing us why we might actually want one?
We will find out when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice premieres on March 25, 2016. For now, enjoy the trailer, and decide for yourself if this is really the Batman/Superman movie you’ve wanted all along, or if it appears to you – as it appears to us – that Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder might have jumped the gun a little bit.