Tonight saw the release of the next trailer for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice...and wow, did it deliver.
We got some great Wonder Woman footage, some humor, and the official reveal of a long-rumored threat the likes of which Superman has never faced on the big screen.
So...what were our big takeaways? Read on...!
In Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, fearing the actions of a god-like Super Hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.
Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice opens March 25, 2016.
AND WHO, DISGUISED AS CLARK KENT...
We get our first look at Clark Kent in his role as mild-mannered reporter for that great metropolitan newspaper The Daily Planet in tonight's trailer.
Kent, on a red carpet at some kind of social event -- it looks like maybe they're aucitioning off a motorcycle? -- unexpectedly meets a couple of other significant DC Universe figures...!
It's also worth mentioning that Clark has a photographer next to him on the red carpet, who talks to Clark as he sets up, but it's unlikely this is Jimmy -- or any other Daily Planet staffer -- since he says to Clark "you must be new."
BRUCE WAYNE VS. CLARK KENT: DAWN OF WHITE COLLAR ARGUMENTS
Clark doesn't recognize Bruce Wayne, one of the richest and most powerful men in the world, which suggests that perhaps Bruce was invited to the soiree late and nobody knew he was coming.
Any reporter with their salt would have turned up such an auspicious name on a guest list and done a tiny bit of homework, after all.
His first instinct is to ask about the Batman, of whom Clark apparently does not approve.
There are shades here of the post-Crisis on Infinite Earths take on their relationship. In The Man of Steel #3 by John Byrne, Superman doesn't like Batman's methods and even tries to take him into custody. Batman, for his part, believes Superman to be naive and potentially dangerous.
BAT BRAND OF JUSTICE
There's a literal brand on one of the criminals seen being brought in by police after Batman apprehends him -- something we saw in a previous trailer, but which wasn't made much of.
Here, it's noted in the newspaper and seems to be part of what bothers Clark so much.
It's probably worth noting that so much of Batman's mythology early on was influenced by Zorro -- so the idea of branding bad guys could be basically his equivalent of carving the "Z."
An online theory I saw somewhere following the release of the previous trailer was that this "brand" could actually be a non-permanent mark left there by a custom taser...which might feel a bit more "Batman."
BRUCE FIRES BACK
Calling Clark hypocritical, Bruce suggests that the Planet shills for Superman without considering that he's potentially extremely dangerous. We've seen from the previous trailer -- and will be reminded again in this one -- that Bruce was in Metropolis at the time of Superman's battle with Zod and has a personal reason to distrust the Man of Steel.
He's critical not only of Superman, but of the Planet's "puff piece" editorials praising his good deeds. We see here a bit of the same montage of super-feats we saw in the previous trailer, so I won't go into too much depth here on things like the Russian rocket or the flood victims.
This argument between Bruce and Clark, actually, is a thing that a vocal contingent of fans, including myself, who hoped to see this argument play out. If the conflict between Batman and Superman is at heart each of them doing what they think is best for humanity, and not a petty personal squabble as it has sometimes seemed in the promotional campaign so far, it would go a long way toward explaining why one of them isn't a "bad guy."
Beneath the Superman statue apparently stands a memorial to those lost in the Battle of Metropolis.
We see candles, mourners, a woman who based on her build might be Wonder Woman in her civilian clothes...and Scoot McNairy's as-yet-unnamed character in his wheelchair.
JOKE'S ON YOU
Bruce makes a pretty obvious reference to the Joker here, and seemingly confirms everyone's long-standing suspicions that by now Joker has killed Jason Todd and the statue or bronzed costume is some kind of memorial that has been defaced.
This time the shot lingers on that statue longer than in the previous trailer, as Bruce refers to Superman as a "freak dressed like a clown."
...And, yah, that looks like Tim Drake's Robin logo, but that doesn't mean much. It's pretty clearly just a Snyderverse Robin costume and not meant to evoke one specific one from the comics.
ENTER LEX LUTHOR, MASTER MANIPULATOR?
Just as the pair are seething at each other after their little debate, Lex Luthor joins the group.
Apparently, he's the one who arranged this meeting between Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne -- which of course begs the question why he would have done so. Does he know who one or both of them are?
Lex here is campy and animated, the kind of villain we haven't seen in any recent DC movie and perhaps more reminiscent of the Gene Hackman portrayal of the character than any since. He's also drawing plenty of comparisons online to Heath Ledger's Joker, since he's so bouncy and has that odd affect in his voice.
...But, y'know. Less murder-y.
We still do get more of the odd sequence of Batman in the desert, apparently being caught invading some kind of subterranean area where Superman has a cadre of armed troops.
This seems likely to be some kind of fantasy sequence, a la what happened in Man of Steel, when Superman envisioned himself in the black costume, being buried in a mountain of skulls.
We've also analyzed the heck out of it, not just in my look at the previous trailer but in a recent look at the Gotham teaser from earlier this week. So we won't spend too much time on that, other than to say that if it were indeed a real scene and not some kind of fantasy or nightmare, the two most obvious choices for who those armed men might be would be cultists who worship Superman as a god -- there have been a few instances where that happened in the comics, and it would fit in with the whole narrative about Superman being a "false god" -- or human-looking Fortress Robots, something almost every iteration of Superman has had.
POWER AND INNOCENCE
"Do you know the oldest lie in America, Senator?" Lex Luthor asks Senator Finch -- who is likely not named after Wonder Woman creative team David and Meredith Finch, or Batman villain Nathaniel "Gearhead" Finch, but who knows? -- "That power can be innocent."
Here, we see a lot of footage we've seen and analyzed before. Superman appears before a Congressional committee of some kind, presumably to answer for his role in the battle of Metropolis.
In that hearing, we see that Finch is presiding over it and we see the character played by Scoot McNairy, sitting in a wheelchair.
We'll get to him more soon.
Of course, the idea that Lex doesn't believe "power can be innocent" goes to the core of the conflict between he and Clark Kent, who was raised as the most un-cynical person in the world...at least in most versions of the mythology. Jonathan and Martha were a bit paranoid in Man of Steel, so it will be interesting to see to what degree that dichotomy plays out in the film.
We get a really good look at the layout of the new Batcave here.
Multiple levels, multiple gadgets, an exposed hallway that indicates this isn't an exterior cave and of course the aforementioned Robin memorial.
And what looks like a waterfall in the middle of it all, just in case he wants to make a dramatic entrance through one of those, as he is wont to do.
MORE DEBATE (THIS TIME WITH ALFRED)
Alfred Pennyworth tries to talk Bruce out of going to war with Superman, saying that it's suicide and he can't hope to win.
Bruce is, of course, hearing none of it, claiming that Superman "brought the war to us."
All of this is set against a short montage of Batman in his Dark Knight Returns armor and Superman duking it out -- and then some shots of Batman's plane similar to what we saw briefly in the first trailer.
The tail end of the Alfred/Bruce debate shows, as mentioned in the previous frame, Batman in his plane squaring off against Superman in flight.
Superman is pummelled by what looks like small missiles or large caliber bullets being fired in rapid succession, and while that has already got some people complaining, bear in mind that Batman already knows that can't actually kill Superman, and while handguns are verboten for the Bat, we've seen him use guns on his weapons plenty of times before in TV and film.
All of this leads to...
HEAT VISION EYES
A trope that's used a lot nowadays, it used to be kind of rare to see Superman seething with so much anger that his heat vision turned his eyes red.
It grew in popularity in the '90s and early 2000s, and went from being an occasional thing to "the way you know Superman is angry."
LEX THE FIGHT PROMOTER
Just as he set up Bruce and Clark to meet, Lex boasts to Lois that he's also set Superman and Batman against one another.
Why? Well, he seems to think Batman could take down Superman...and if not, he has a plan B.
We see a little bit of that Plan B during this monologue, actually...and it's in a shot we've seen before!
The previous trailer was cut in such a way as to indicate that Superman was blasting Batman with a potentially fatal dose of heat vision, in the shot where Batman is carrying that rifle around and hanging off the side of the building like in The Dark Knight Returns.
(In that comic, fans, it turned out to be a grappling rifle, not a traditional firearm.)
Here, though, look at the size of that beam. There were fan theories before that it might not be heat vision...but this seems to be pretty much confirmed, seeing as we will soon see a much more likely candidate for creating a beam that large.
This is a pretty typical interaction between Lois Lane and Lex Luthor.
In the post-Crisis era, Lois and Perry White were the two people who had the most disdain for Luthor, even when he was ostensibly an upright businessman. Forget about when he started trying to kill Superman.
Lex, meanwhile, thinks he has everything all figured out and that anyone who disagrees is just stupid, foolish or small-minded.
DO YOU BLEED?
It goes by so fast it's hard to get a good picture, but when Batman is giving Superman the "you're going to learn what it means to be a man" speech, we see Superman bleeding.
Between that line of dialogue, Superman bleeding when Batman punches him (above) and Superman seemingly unable to fly when he's laying on the skylight where Batman pounces, it seems likely that Superman is either rendered powerless, suffering the effects of Kryptonite, or both.
In Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns, of course, we get the same thing -- when Batman is fighting Superman with Kryptonite-powered armor.
Some fans are speculating that these strange, insect-like figures flying in to attack Batman as he tangles with the Superman-soldiers are actually Parademons, flying, disposable minions of Darkseid.
It seems unlikely to me -- and not just because, frankly, I still don't believe this whole desert thing with the soldiers and the angry Superman is actually a thing that takes place within the film's real-world narrative.
Rumors about the Justice League movies have tended toward Darkseid being the ultimate big bad in Justice League - Part Two, not the first foe they all face together. So having Parademons this early? Eh...it's a stretch.
What else could they be? If not part of a nightmare, you've got me.
"IF I WANTED IT, YOU'D BE DEAD ALREADY"
There's a lot packed into that line, not least of all is the idea that it flies in the face of the "Batman beats everybody" philosophy that's taken over DC since The Dark Knight Returns.
For that reason alone it's likely that there's a comeuppance to Superman's comments here, but they are reminiscent of a panel from that same issue of Byrne's The Man of Steel, as seen above.
If this isn't a misdirect, and Superman really does "win" the big "fight" with Batman, could that be what precipitates what's next?
THIS DISGUSTING THING
Whatever the heck this thing is that Lex appears to be using to transform Zod's cadaver into Doomsday...is certainly alien-looking.
Is it tied to the Kryptonian codex, perhaps? Or, more likely, is it connected to those odd, insect-like figures we saw in the desert sequence?
If so, does that suggest that the desert sequence is less likely to be a dream than previously expected?
We see a woman -- Mercy Graves -- carrying away General Zod's body.
Who had it? Why are they surrendering it to LexCorp? Is this what that hearing was about?
Anything is possible. Shortly after the Death of Superman story, the bodies of both Superman and Doomsday (more on him later) were the objects of plenty of beaureaucratic in-fighting as various organizations wanted to study and/or try to clone them.
At some point in that process, Lex surreptitiously involved himself with Cadmus's Superman cloning project...but apparently in the movies, he's not so subtle.
Or so benevolent.
FACE ONLY A MOTHER COULD LOVE
As somebody who has read The Death of Superman probably a hundred times in my life, my first thought upon seeing the face of the movie Doomsday is that he pretty clearly is inspired heavily by the takes that Dan Jurgens and Tom Grummett had early in the story.
Once his costume became shredded and he was more monstrously visible in the comics, he started to take on a kind of uniform look across the board...but early on, it felt like the very flat nose and exposed teeth were primarily done by those two artists. A couple of specific images sprung to mind when I saw his expression here, so I cropped one for our readers above.
When Batman flinches, it isn't just because Doomsday is big, ugly and powerful.
It's because there's a giant blast of heat vision coming out of the monster's face.
There's a definite similarity to another gray-skinned DC villain, Darkseid, the ruler of Apokolips...enough so that one wonders just how they'll differentiate Darkseid from both Doomsday and Thanos enough to be his own look if he shows up in the movies.
A quick note about the lead-in, though: It appears as though that shot we've seen of Batman's car being shorn open by Superman might come right before this shot. At any rate, Batman appears to still be in the driver's seat or a cockpit, with the roof around him removed. That would be an odd position for him to find himself in twice in the same movie.
If so...what moves Superman before Doomsday flies in for the attack?
THAT IS HOW TO MAKE AN ENTRANCE
Wonder Woman shows up in what's arguably the coolest reveal of any superhero ever in a trailer or, indeed, a movie.
And right after that, we get a little bit of humor...something that we haven't seen very much of in DC films of late.
In both the comics and in what we've seen of the movie, Doomsday is an enormously destructive force. Here, we get an ambassador for peace springing into action. Could Wonder Woman help offset some of the destruction porn criticisms of Man of Steel?
THE BATMAN VOICE
We also get a sound of Ben Affleck's Batman voice for the first time.
It's low and raspy, a bit more Michael Keaton than the growling over-the-top Bale voice.
...And, yes, Batman made a joke. Kind of.
...And, yes, the last and arguably best shot of the trailer:
Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman stand united against a common threat in live action for the first time.
Certainly there's a question of what exactly that gun is that Batman's holding. One assumes it's probably a specialized weapon -- sonics, Kryptonite, or something else that might have been used against Superman or might be used against Doomsday.