Why the Batman v Superman Trailer has me Excited

Just in case you’ve somehow been cursed to be unable to access the majority of the internet and this 3rd rate website is the first place you’re seeing it, here’s the new trailer for the upcoming film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

It premiered at Comic Con a couple days ago, and since then I’ve watched it about eight ti–– hold up a sec… I’ve watched it about nine times. And I am fucking ecstatic.

I’ve said before that I’m not as deep into comic culture as I probably could be. I don’t have stacks of nicely arranged comic books and I can’t list the different personalities of every Robin there’s ever been off the top of my head. But like everyone does, I love these characters. I’ve read about them, I’ve studied them, and I’ve watched their excellent cartoons. I’m aware of them enough that I’d like to speak my mind.

When I first heard about this film, I admit I was a bit skeptical. It seemed like DC’s slapdash attempt to copy what Marvel did in four movies using only one, cramming so many new heroes into one movie that it would have to either be four hours long or not give any of them the time they deserve. Come to think of it, I still have those concerns a bit. But I can guess one thing from the trailer. I don’t think it’s going to be a bad movie.

What I see here is not an attempt at copying Marvel’s success, but instead a vastly different type of movie. DC has always had to be a bit more serious than Marvel, it’s always had less room to make fun of itself. Because let’s be honest, if in-universe characters start poking fun at how ridiculous a character Superman is, you’re gonna be here all day. So we knew this was gonna be a more serious film that anything Marvel’s done. But what I see is a movie that’s taken that in stride. This is a serious film. By that, I don’t mean that it’s overly dark and gritty, or that it actually doesn’t include a laser eyed photosynthetic demigod. I mean that it takes the events that occur in it seriously. There are consequences for peoples’ actions in this film.

In a superhero film from a few years ago, an alien invasion is brought to earth by an exiled, god-like alien, and it then proceeds to utterly fuck up a major East Coast American city. Now, did I just describe Man of Steel, or Avengers?

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the real consequences of the so called “Battle of New York” haven’t been deeply explored. Tony Stark is shown to have developed PTSD in Iron Man 3. The TV shows Agents of SHIELD and Daredevil briefly touch on a few societal and economic consequences of the destruction. But where’s the blame? Where’s the chaos and the heartache over the dozens (at least) of deaths that occurred? Humanity made first contact, and it came in the form of cybernetic destruction from the sky, and we all just sort of shrugged it off. This isn’t to criticize Marvel, mind you, they’ve made a lot of entertaining movies that I very much enjoyed. But it’s not the path that DC is taking. They’re showing the realistic consequences of that kind of event. People are terrified, and angry, and confused. They blame Superman, they glorify Superman, they want Superman gone. Even in the background, there are real characters having real emotional reactions.

Look at Bruce Wayne in that video from around 30 seconds in until 45. See the way he looks at the destruction around him. This is a man who has spent decades fighting for justice, doing battle with what he thought was the worst of the worst: a bunch of psychos in silly costumes. And suddenly: gods. In the span of a day, despite years seeing himself as a quiet beacon for justice, Batman is proven utterly, hopelessly out of his league. He sees threats that a man in a bat costume cannot hope to combat, let alone protect people from. And what is the standing symbol of that? What is the potential threat that the Batman can’t defeat personified?

Superman.

This film plans to show a world that is ironically realistic. A world where people are emotional and react in good and bad ways to tragedy. A world where a god-like destructive alien flying over us is not taken with universal reverence. This movie is trying at its core, despite being about a ridiculously over-powered extraterrestrial and some dude in a pricey furry costume, to be real. And that’s why I think this will be a good movie.

Don’t know how Wonder Woman fits into it yet, though. Looking forward to finding that out.

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