'Batman v Superman' and the Glorious Zenith of Melodrama

If one thing is obvious from the new trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, it's that this movie is the launching pad for the cinematic DC Universe.

While it clearly acts as a follow-up to 2013's Man of Steel — audiences can see Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne literally running into the destruction caused by Superman's battle with Zod as the trailer opens — this is the movie where Zack Snyder and the rest of the DC movie crew go deep into the comic book mythology, with audiences getting glimpses of the debut of Lex Luthor, Wonder Woman and even a tease of kryptonite.

(So deep, in fact, that I wondered whether the underwater shot at 2:26 was an Aquaman reference, somehow, even though that's clearly not Jason Momoa.)

Interestingly enough, the trailer lays out the players and premise of the movie particularly clearly: the world is torn between hero worship and outright suspicion of Superman (Henry Cavill, who spends the entire trailer silent, tellingly enough) in the wake of the events of Man of Steel — somewhat understandably, considering the carnage caused in that movie's final battle — with Batman being manipulated by someone into deciding that Superman needs to be stopped. Who? Well, probably Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), who couldn't appear more manipulative if he had a neon sign saying "BAD GUY" on his back.

Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, meanwhile, is just kicking ass and punching things. More surprising might be the number of important roles for women in the trailer: Holly Hunter's senator leading the witch hunt against Superman, Amy Adams' Lois Lane reminds Superman that the S on his chest stands for hope (Really, he told you that in the first movie, Lois), while Diane Lane's Ma Kent replaces Pa as the moral voice of authority in Superman's life — or, immoral voice, considering her somewhat selfish advice.

And let's take a moment to note that Jeremy Irons' Alfred might lack the pencil mustache of the comic book incarnation, but embodies his personality admirably, giving Bruce Wayne quiet, yet forceful counsel when it's needed most.

It's brash, unsubtle — the operatic music when the logo is revealed being a genuinely glorious zenith of melodrama — and it sets out the stakes of the movie perfectly; you know what this movie is going to be like after watching, and it's something that's both more realistic and more of a heightened reality than what Marvel offers in its movies.

Whether this is what audiences want will remain the subject of much discussion and speculation between now and the movie's release next March — even since the trailer's online debut, social media has started arguing passionately on the subject — but as a trailer, and a tease of what's to come? It does its job with enjoyable, over the top glee. The red capes are coming, indeed.

comments powered by Disqus