It’s the fight everyone’s been waiting for. Black versus blue. Day versus night. Aristotle versus mashy-spike plate! (And with that Portal 2 reference, my nerd levels are now over 9,000.)
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice pits two of the biggest names in superheroics against each other. Is it the fight of the century or a messy brawl? Well, let’s look at the trailer and find out.
So who stars in this movie? The Man of Steel cast is back, including Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Laurence Fishburne, and Diane Lane. Ben Affleck of Argo is Batman, Gal Gadot of the Fast & Furious series is Wonder Woman, and Jeremy Irons of The Lion King is Alfred. Jesse Eisenberg of The Social Network takes on the role of Superman’s nemesis Lex Luthor.
The director is Zack Snyder, returning from Man of Steel. Expect that film’s dark tone to carry over into this one. Hopefully, that film’s story and character problems won’t.
The trailer opens with Bruce Wayne showing up to a social event, and reporter Clark Kent hasn’t done his homework and has no idea who the guy is. But as soon as he finds out Bruce is from Gotham City, he asks his opinion on “the bat vigilante.” Because a random billionaire playboy philanthropist is totally qualified to talk about an unrelated guy who dresses up like a bat and beats up criminals. But Bruce gives a small smile because the two men aren’t unrelated at all–they’re the same guy! (Spoiler alert for anyone living under a rock).
But Batman’s gotten rougher in recent years, as we see a criminal branded with the Bat symbol and hear Clark talk about people living in fear. Bruce shoots back that “every time your hero saves a cat out of a tree, you write a puff piece editorial.” Hey, that only happened that one time in the original movie. Besides, he’s doing lots of good, saving people from floods and exploding rockets. Still, Bruce calls Superman “an alien who can burn the whole place down.” He even insults his wardrobe, saying, “I have a bad history with freaks dressed like clowns.” The look Clark gives him lets you know it’s on now. You don’t threaten his mother, and you don’t insult the cape.
Things are getting intense, and our boys haven’t even thrown the first punch. Aaaand then Lex Luthor walks in and spoils the whole thing with an attempt at quirky comedy. “You should not pick a fight with this person,” he says, pointing out Clark’s strong grip and giving so much on-the-nose foreshadowing it’s blocking out the sun. Jesse Eisenberg has always been a controversial choice to play a supposedly updated Lex Luthor, and maybe it’s that I miss Clancy Brown’s voice from the cartoon, but this take on the character feels more like Jim Carrey’s Riddler from Batman Forever.
Soldiers bow to Superman, the boy in blue attends a congressional hearing about Man of Steel, and Lex says America’s oldest lie is “that power can be innocent.” Babies are innocent and babies aren’t powerful. Case in point. Alfred calls Bruce on his war with Superman, but Bruce says Supes “brought the war to us.” War: now we deliver! “It’s suicide,” Alfred tells him. No, that’s the next DC movie coming out. This film, as Lex points out, is “the greatest gladiator match in the history of the world.” Well, except for actual gladiator matches.
“You’re psychotic,” Lois tells Lex. “That is a three-syllable word for any thought too big for little minds,” he replies, tapping her on the forehead. I love that confused, taken-aback look she gets for a split second, like she’s asking, “Why are you touching me?” Batman tells Supes “It’s time to learn what it means to be a man.” You must be swift as the coursing river… Bats drives the Batmobile around, fights off Super-soldiers and Apokolips bug monsters, and Superman tells him to stay down. Dude, you can’t keep a Batman down. “If I wanted it, you’d be dead already,” he adds as he takes off Batman’s mask. You’re fortunate that I find your square jaw so attractive.
Lex brings in Zod’s body, declaring that “If man won’t kill God, the devil will do it!” Clearly, you haven’t read Revelation, because that strategy doesn’t work too well. But, appropriately enough, whatever they do with Zod’s body creates the monster known as Doomsday … or at least a cave troll passing as Doomsday. “What have you done?” Superman asks, looking as though he’s smelling something awful. It’s probably Doomsday’s generic design. “Oh sh–” Batman starts, and then the trailer realizes it isn’t Red Band and cuts him off with a laser-vision blast to the Batmobile, causing more destruction in one blast than all of Man of Steel.
Fortunately, Wonder Woman pops out of nowhere, deflecting the blast with her shield (and notably not saying a word–come on, guys, let the girl talk!). Superman asks Batman, “Is she with you?” “I thought she was with you,” Batman replies. She doesn’t have to be with anyone, boys; she’s a strong independent Wonder Woman who don’t need no Bat- or Super-man. And the trailer ends with Wonder Woman leading the two men into battle against Doomsday. Okay, can we officially stop calling this film Batman v. Superman and start calling it Trinity? Or are we just going to keep ignoring the female superhero?
So based on the trailer, do I recommend the movie? Well, sort of. I love Cavill’s Superman and Affleck’s Batman, and I’m looking forward to seeing them dueling on the screen–both with words and with fists–and then overcoming their differences to respect each other and work together. I’m also interested in Gadot’s Wonder Woman; they’ve kept her mostly under wraps, but I’m hopeful she can do the character justice. On the downside, I’m not keen on the villains in this movie; I don’t buy the new and improved Lex or the bland CG Doomsday. Also, I’m worried about DC building a universe on Man of Steel, an enjoyable but flawed movie. If that film’s problems carry over into this one, it doesn’t look good for Warner Bros’s whole universe. Still, I’m enthusiastic enough about seeing Batman and Superman together to go see this one in theaters, even though I’m going in with unfortunately low expectations.
But let’s not fight with each other too much, boys. Deep down, we know you’ll always be Superfriends.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice is owned by Warner Bros.