Film Trailers

Trailer: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice Will Be Funnier Than Man of Steel?

That’s it. I give up. I have no idea what to expect from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  Well, that’s not technically true.  I have a very, very good idea of what the basic storyline will be, and this new trailer even leans into all the months of internet rumors by flat out revealing the identity of the film’s true villain.  It’s the tone, though, that I am now unsure about.  Is Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice actually going to be funny?  This new trailer has more laughs than the entirety of Man of Steel.   Before now, the only laughs to be had from the Batman v Superman were unintentional.  Now, are we being told that this is a movie which will secretly be well aware of its own absurdity?  Are they going Iron Man 3 on us?

Let’s recap:

Batman SupermanThe first trailer, or teaser really, was overly serious and appeared to be practically lifted straight out of one of the Batman: Arkham video games.  The basic point was to communicate that the two heroes hate each other and will fight.

Batman Superman 9 11The second trailer was all dramatic music, 9/11 imagery and Jesse Eisenberg convincing a U.S. senator about the enemy at the gates by chanting, “The red capes are coming.”  There was even Diane Lane giving bizarre motherly advice to Henry Cavill’s Clark Kent, more or less telling her son, “Be Superman if you want to, but if not, hey, you don’t owe this world anything.  You just worry about getting your’s.  All those people in peril can just die.  Fuck ’em.”  Is that Ma Kent or the villain from Total Recall?

Injustice gods among usThe 50-second scene released earlier this week was so over-the-top intense that everyone assumed it must actually be a dream sequence representing Bruce Wayne’s worst nightmare and not some incredibly arch moment taking its cues from Injustice: Gods Among Us.

Now, this new trailer has the same old doom and gloom, Batman and Superman flashing their best “I hate you so f’n much it hurts!” faces and full-on cartoon action sequences.  At times, you’d be forgiven if you thought you were watching a live-action version of a Justice League/Justice League Unlimited episode.

But there’s also Jesse Eisenberg seriously camping everything up.  He’s not playing Lex Luthor as Mark Zuckerberg nor is he channeling Kevin Spacey or Gene Hackman.  Instead, he’s surprisingly playing Lex as remarkably fay, speaking with an overly enthusiastic, high-pitched voice, and instantly cracking a rather meta joke about how Bruce Wayne should not pick a fight with Clark Kent because Clark has got quite the good grip.  This interruption comes after Clark and Bruce have progressed through an increasingly tense conversation about the Bat vigilante in Gotham and the alien who could burn it all down in Metropolis.  Clark thinks Batman’s a public menace trampling on civil liberties. Bruce thinks Superman is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.  Oh, these two are so going to fight…

Then, boom, Lex comes along to crack a joke, and the overly insistent trailer music takes a brief break to lighten the mood.  Of course, it comes right back, and we watch clips of Superman and Batman’s clearly epic battle, which at one point will involve Batman piloting the Batwing and unleashing its entire arsenal on Superman, who appears little more annoyed than a normal person would be while swatting a fly.

However, even before Lex arrives the trailer is winking at us, playing on our assumed awareness of what this movie is.  Of course Bruce Wayne should flash a knowing smirk at the camera after being asked by Clark Kent, “What’s your position on the Bat vigilante in Gotham?”  We all know he’s actually Batman!  Duh.  Have fun with that.  I guess.

But, wait, there’s more.

We see Batman reacting to something insane and life-threating by beginning to say, “Oh shit.”

Wonder Woman arrives to save Batman’s ass, and then Superman and Batman crack , “Is she with you?”/”[Bewildered] I thought she was with you.”

The overly insistent music finally stops when the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice title card shows up, but then seconds later as the screen announces the film’s release date the music returns for a final punctuation, the momentary delay creating one last self-aware joke about how much this trailer knows that this movie might seem a bit silly.  This “joke through overly serious music” is the type of thing the Honest Trailers people do all the time.

One thing I noticed after the 50-second scene was released this week is that a lot of people still don’t seem to know what this movie’s actual plot is going to be.  It’s fairly straight-forward.  One of those Metropolis buildings destroyed during the Superman/Zod fight in Man of Steel was owned by WayneCorp, and Bruce Wayne was actually on the ground rushing into the debris to try and save people, ergo, Superman is an alien terrorist and Bruce is a 9/11 first responder looking to put an an end to the terrorist before he ever visits such mass destruction on our soil again.  Or that’s how Bruce will apparently see it.  Lex Luthor feels similarly threatened by Superman and figures he can manipulate Batman into getting rid of said threat.  When that fails and the two fight to an inevitable stalemate (or at least Superman wins but refuses to kill Batman), Lex splices DNA from Zod’s Kryptonian corpse to create a new monster (probably Doomsday) to take both of them out.  Wonder Woman shows up to assist in the grand battle and…that’s about it.

  • Where are those cameos from the other Justice League people? – Not here yet.
  • Does any of this link up with The Dark Knight trilogy? – Nope
  • How long has Batman been in operation at this point? – Long enough that he’s already battled the Joker, who apparently killed Robin (or one of them).
  • So, wait, will Wonder Woman just show up out of nowhere at the end? – She’ll be in the movie plenty, just not necessarily as Wonder Woman the whole time. Bruce and Clark will probably meet her as Diana Prince well before they meet Wonder Woman.
  • Will Lois Lane have more than two lines? – What kind of question is that – of course she will!  Exactly how many lines, though, well that remains to be seen.  The current evidence sure indicates Amy Adams will kind of just be around and eventually taken hostage.
  • Will this movie actually be campy, intentionally cartoonish and a tad self-aware?  Or did someone at WB/DC sorta decide to beat Honest Trailers to the punch and make their own slightly tongue-in-cheek trailer even though the movie itself with be remarkably grim?

We’ll have to wait and find that last one out when Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice comes out March 22, 2016.


  1. Wait a moment…this incredible awkward scene with Lex was supposed to be funny? The only thing I felt seeing it was an intense moment of “Fremdschämen” (being ashamed of someone else acting incredible embarrassing). It didn’t even occur to me that I was supposed to laugh about that…..

    The sad thing is, they actually did built up some good will with me with their first trailer. Not that I was incredible excited but it looked like they actually had a solid story going on this time around. But now I feel…annoyed? I mean, I never really expected to get surprised by the plot of the movie (after all, we all know how it ends, Batman and Superman will team up), and I really couldn’t care less about the question who would win a fight (it’s easy, whoever the writer wants to win…in this case my money is on a draw), but I was kind of interested to see who the end villain is and how Batman and Superman will react to Wonder Woman. Oh…the trailer already showed me. Never mind then.

    1. To be clear, I’m not saying I actually laughed at the funny moments in the trailer. I’m saying that given the way this movie has been marketed to this point I am more than a little stunned to see this new trailer cracking jokes and undercutting its own self-seriousness. I’m not laughing along with it, though. I am more thinking, “WTF?” I do think that Jesse Eisenberg’s clearly flamboyantly performance will absolutely break this movie for some people. I predict that we’ll see plenty of “It’s like he’s acting in a completely different movie than everyone else” comments in reviews.

      Man of Steel was a Christopher Nolan movie by way of Zack Snyder, and Batman v Superman had that same feel to it just with an excess of Snyder’s signature visual flourishes this time. Now, this trailer is unleashing the camp and even a couple of almost Joss Whedon moments (Batman almost saying “Oh shit”, Bats and Supes bantering about Wonder Woman).

      I’ll put it this way – I never would have expected the new Batman v Superman trailer to take itself less seriously than the new Captain America: Civil War trailer.

      I’m both surprised and not surprised by the Doomsday reveal, though (assuming that is, in fact, Doomsday). Maybe their market research showed that audiences weren’t completely connecting with the Batman Vs. Superman angle and needed an assurance that these two will team up. After all, WB wants kids to go see this, and if it just looks like another Man of Steel that might not sound like a fun “neck-breaking” time. The studio has a ton invested in this and will clearly do everything it can to turn it into a success.

      That being said, this trailer does feel a bit more like it should have played at Comic-Con and less like it should have ever been dropped in the middle of a Jimmy Kimmel Live! episode. The Doomsday reveal and that final hero shot of DC’s Big 3 standing side-by-side is every DC fanatic’s wet dream, but as you indicated in your response it gave away far more than you wanted it to. They might have their hands tied a little bit because in this age of Jessica Jones/Supergirl/Agent Carter they don’t want to hold Wonder Woman back as a surprise. They want their female hero out there front and center, actually positioned in front of Superman and Batman in that hero shot. They want people to know that this is Wonder Woman’s movie too. However, if Wonder Woman doesn’t actually show up in the movie in costume until that final battle with Doomsday then there might not be any way to roll her out in the marketing without giving away significant spoilers.

      1. I guess it shows how badly those quips fit that I didn’t even register them as such but as awkward lines. After you post I went through the lines in my head and yeah, in another context they would work as quips. But in this setting they don’t fit at all.

        I am not surprised that Cap America looks more serious, though I guess the quips will come in the second trailer. I expect a Winter Soldier mix from this one, with more personal stakes.

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