Batman vs. Superman trailer: Frank Miller “Returns” to the big screen (Dan Segall)

In what is surely one of the most anticipated films of next year, the trailer for Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice was leaked, and then officially released, this past weekend (the official version is available here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xe1LrMqURuw). There has been much speculation as to how the film will look/feel, and we finally have gotten a glimpse of that with this trailer.

What is most interesting about the visuals in this trailer is the contrast they set up when showing scenes of Superman and Batman, the former being golden and more warm, with the latter being darker and blueish. This speaks to the contrast of the characters themselves, and this dynamic is likely to be the focal point of their interactions in the film. In many senses, the film hinges on this key character relationship, so its effective execution exemplified by their contrast will be essential to the film’s overall success.

What is also noticeable is that, unlike the grounded, realistic tech of Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, the trailer for BvS shows us a batsuit, batmobile, and batplane that is less military-inspired/armor-clad, and far more in line with the original source material (which is something that Director Zak Snyder is known for following). This was likely done on purpose to distance any comparisons of the film to the aforementioned highly-praised trilogy, which is smart because this new series of films is not meant to be anything like its predecessor.

They do not give away much of the plot, but given the little dialogue that they do show (as well as the aforementioned design aesthetic of the costumes/sets/etc.), it appears that the story is going to (at least partially) revolve around the arc in Frank Miller’s famous 1986 graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns (from which The Dark Knight Rises film also took some plot points), where an aged Batman comes out of retirement to fight crime once more, but in the process must do battle with the Man of Steel. The difference, however, is that this upcoming film is supposed to tell of their first encounter (not a much latter one, as the novel does). This poses some other interesting questions, especially when considered in context of 2013’s Man of Steel. In this trailer, as well as in the aforementioned film, Superman is portrayed as a god-like, Messianic figure, sent to earth to deliver us from ourselves. Yet Batman is clearly suspicious of this, worrying that he in fact could be a tyrant (as many do), and presumably challenges him to test whether he is truly good or bad. Yet if the picture of Superman has already been painted as one of holy righteousness, of divinity, what does following the analogy say about those who go against him, even those purporting to be fellow do-gooders such as Batman?

Yet perhaps what is most exciting about this film is its subtitle: Dawn of Justice. Rumors abound about the number of cameos planned (Wonder Woman, Aquaman, etc.) and Easter Eggs planted, all hinting towards the upcoming explosion of DC films,culminating in 2017’s The Justice League: Part 1 and various spin-off films, as a way for the company to answer Marvel’s historic success in the past decade with their Avengers franchise. However you feel about the upcoming slew of releases (personally, I’m cautiously optimistic), it is an exciting time to be a fan of these films.

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