Zack Snyder has a knack for packaging big franchises. He has the vision of a graphic novelist, as has been evident from his filmography (300, Watchmen, Sucker Punch, Man of Steel) over the years. While the films themselves favour style (and so very much of it) over substance, Snyder hires smart teams that cut the most stylish and intriguing teaser trailers. A film’s first look makes a lasting impression; one that creates a certain expectation of quality, content and milieu.
As he did in Man Of Steel, where the gloomy, brooding teaser of a dour Henry Cavill
making his way across a wet town to a whispery voice-over of Kevin Costner appeared a year before release, raising hopes and curiosity simply because of his obvious departure from mood and tone (producer Nolan’s penchant for humanizing heroes and realism was most visible in teasers), Snyder has now returned with a more substantial nutshell of his vision for its ambitious sequel.
This is every DC Comic fan’s dream come true, because finally, Prince of Darkness Batman will battle with Snyder’s shiny Superman in a live-action Warner Brothers movie.
While Man Of Steel wisely kept out the third-act ear-shattering violence and destruction from its first few teasers, ‘Dawn Of Justice
’ doesn’t hold back, riding high on Junkie XL and Hans Zimmer’s crescendo-obsessed score.
But first, it does well to connect the two iconic figures in Metropolis, and establish the origins of their egoistic rivalry. From the quiet first few shots, it appears as if Bruce Wayne (a salt-and-peppery Ben Affleck
) lost Wayne Tower and perhaps a loved one during Superman’s climatic over-the-top battle with General Zod in the first film. Running towards the destruction of his magnificent tower, he casts a disgusted glance at Superman and his powers above. Meanwhile, there are questions in America regarding Superman’s (Cavill, returning as the caped crusader) obvious abuse of power. The media and courts don’t appreciate his destruction-happy ways, which puts the man himself in an existential daze. Of course, his job at the Daily Planet allows him to delve into this new vigilante fellow. Wayne decides to turn into Batman again, perhaps spurred on by an urge to show Superman that he isn’t bigger than the Universe he occupies. There’s more to it obviously, as demonstrated by new Alfred Jeremy Irons’ sharp warnings to Wayne.
The trailer banks on the two heroes’ eventual clash, but also hints at a possible union; a partnership to fight a long-haired Lex Luthor (Eisenberg) and a seductive Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot).
Banish those visions of a stocky Batman trying on Superman’s red cape or undergarments, or of Clark Kent actually using Batman’s mask to legitimately hide his identity. These quintessential comic-book issues will be addressed one day, but not today.
Batman’s demons are also hinted at, with there being obvious taunts at his inability to save his family. Theories revolve around his failure to save Robin, his long-time sidekick, who then turns into an impersonator of the Joker—who is played by Jared Leto in the other DC movie Suicide Squad, to be released in close proximity. But these are only excited fan theories, and the actual film could be quite straightforward.
I’m not a big fan of the way Snyder treats Earth as a no-holds-barred hunting ground at the end of each movie, for his characters tend to lack emotional gravitas, and end up as props in a VFX-heavy orgy of demolition and madness. But there’s perhaps nobody more technically accomplished as a director than Snyder, and all he has to do is give the fans their superheroes’ worth. The way Christopher Nolan changed the landscape of superhero films has perhaps spoiled a certain section of audiences, who mostly look for dark, flawed and moody men hiding their insecurities with a mask and a cape.
Whatever the case, the trailer does do its job, and although not as cinematic and striking as the Suicide Squad teaser, Snyder’s sequel promises more or less of his same treatment, but with far more characters and crisscrossing rivalries. These equations will be fascinating to explore, and obviously, it will lay the foundation for yet another sequel.
One hopes too many cooks don’t spoil this modern broth. The logo—that of a bat engulfing the usual superman logo—is also a stroke of marketing genius.
What the trailer really leaves with you is the menacing, almost eccentric staccato voice of Jesse Eisenberg, “Black and Blue, God v/s Man, Day v/s Night—the red capes are coming…the red capes are coming…”
Bring it on.