SDCC ’15: The new Batman v. Superman trailer is here

The much-hyped trailer for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice dropped to room full of excited attendees at SDCC this past Saturday, and word on the street is that it received a standing ovation in Hall H.

The movie sets itself very firmly as a follow-up to 2013’s Man of Steel, showing Bruce Wayne distraught in the remains of a collapsing Metropolis following the explosive fight between Superman and General Zod. The incident is enough to provoke Wayne, who has long since hung up his cape and cowl in this continuity, to don the mantle once again and challenge what he (and the rest of the world) perceive as the greatest threat to human civilization, Superman.

Subtlety is hardly at play here as the trailer very firmly plants Batman in the role of antagonist. Much of what we see is trying to set up the omnipotent Superman as the underdog in this fight, with frequent references to Congress demanding he answer for his perceived crimes alongside Batman’s efforts. What flashes we do see of Superman, being mute and obedient, has him looking decidedly indifferent about the situation around him. It’s been an ongoing challenge in the cinematic universe to truly make it seem that the odds are stacked against Superman, and what we’re shown here still leaves us wondering if that can be effectively accomplished.

As far as Batman goes, whether you’re pro-or-anti-Batfleck, he’s front and center in most of the trailer. Given Affleck’s more serious, broody-type roles such as Argo and Gone Girl, it’s rather hard to see him as the complicated Wayne as opposed to a famous movie star in a blockbuster film. Certain scenes, such as seeing him run through the destroyed remains of Metropolis, felt as if they could have been directly transplanted from his recent efforts.

Batman of course isn’t the only one being newly introduced to the Superman film canon, as we see snippets of both Wonder Woman and Lex Luthor (played by Gal Gadot and Jesse Eisenberg, respectively). We get our first true glimpse at Gadot in the coveted role, with brief flashes of her to remind us of her hastily-added presence in the film. Scraggly-haired Eisenberg appears to be a bit of a wild card in the cape battle, though what’s teased of him shows much more potential. Perhaps of least concern is the titular battle itself; we’re teased with snippets of Batman and Superman fully coming to blows, and the action seems as frenetic and destructive as one would expect.

Director Zack Snyder has made a career out of getting people’s hopes up. As the Michael Bay of comic book films, Snyder has proven that his aptitude for choreography and slow-motion explosions will deliver in every one of his blockbusters, regardless of whether or not its warranted (*cough*Watchmen*cough*). That being said, his lust for things that go boom will often take precedence over character-driven moments and story structure. His previous excursion, Man of Steel, received heavy criticism in that regard, and one has to wonder whether he understands that such an approach could cripple the upcoming film, which Warner Brothers and DC clearly have a lot riding on.

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice releases in theatres nationwide on March 25th, 2016.

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