Superman v Batman angelThe Batman v Superman teaser trailer is out, and it looks amazing. I may be biased given that it looks like many of the ideas director Zack Synder is going to explore were covered on this blog when the Man of Steel trailer was revealed.

Here is what I wrote December 11, 2012:

“The truth is, the world would reject Superman. And in his love for humanity he would offer himself up to them. No matter how strong and powerful he was and no matter how much he tried to convince humanity that he loved it they would fear and, ultimately, seek to destroy him. A world in which Superman exists would thrust a moral weight upon the shoulders of its citizens that would be too uncomfortable to bear for millions (possibly billions) of people, and they would seek to find ways to cast off such a burden by banishing him from earth, discrediting or destroying him all together.”

Now, here is what an assortment of pundits said during the Batman v Superman trailer released April 17:

“Is it really surprising that the most powerful man in the world should be a figure of controversy … We as a population on this planet have been looking for a savior. … Human beings have a horrible track record of following people of great power … Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. … Now we know better now, don’t we? Devils don’t come from hell beneath us. No, they come from the sky.”

The world wants to believe that the perfect human could exist, but if he were to ever really walk amongst us then they would destroy him. They would call him a false prophet. They would fear him. They would seek to make him bleed because a perfect man would change everything. (Hmmm. This story sounds familiar…almost like it really happened.)

Superman v Batman False GodIn a world where Superman existed, there would be those who rightly conclude that if he was not a god, then a check on his power must be put in place. A man with the power of a god — a fallible man — could not be trusted with absolute power. There would always be the chance that he could turn evil, which would beg the question: Then what?

Superman v Batman bowThe answer: Batman.

Superman v Batman cowlThe one man who could create a plausible contingency plan for dealing with a rogue Superman would be Bruce Wayne. He may be a mere mortal, but he has the necessary combination of attributes necessary to pull off such a mission.

Zack Synder has a lot to juggle with Batman v Superman. Audiences won’t know how strong the script is until they step into the theater, but as of Friday, April 17, 2015, they at least know that thematically and visually things appear to be right where they need to be.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

23 comments

  1. It was a great teaser, and precisely the right kind of tone to set it apart from either the hearty awe of Force Awakens and the endless quirks of Age of Ultron. Something with a bit of levity and crucial commentary to get you thinking about a superhero’s calling in society. I’ve seen people criticize the teaser for it’s distinctive mood whiplash and it just shows how much we’ve seen Marvel playing it safe in the last couple of years since Man of Steel. I feel our hand has been held too tightly and we were not being taught any real lessons or given insight into the way our world works through the lens of approachable characters.

    1. The thing I like about Zack Synder is that you can tell he not only thinks about the characters on a surface level, but he examines the ideas behind the characters. And then he goes about trying to see how he can play those idea off one another. I know some people don’t like his style, but that’s just a matter of execution. For me, looking at it from a writer’s perspective, I think the guy consistently gives his work a good shot of succeeding. He impresses me a lot.

    2. “I’ve seen people criticize the teaser for it’s distinctive mood whiplash and it just shows how much we’ve seen Marvel playing it safe in the last couple of years since Man of Steel.”

      Criticize which trailer for mood whiplash? Avengers: Age of Ultron or Dawn of Justice? Also, I still don’t see why they couldn’t call this movie World’s Finest: Dawn of Justice instead of Superman vs Batman: Dawn of Justice.

    3. I meant the DOJ teaser, because they’re so used to jaunty optimistic hi-jinks, then this one comes along and makes them think. Like, “how dare you make me think”.

  2. I have hope for this film…it does look like it has some great potential. I was very impressed with how strong Superman looks and the Batman looks very formidable.

    1. I think the biggest problem will be how many other heroes they try to cram into the movie to set up the Justice League. I’m sure Warner Bros. put tremendous pressure on Snyder to figure out a way to do that, but I think that was a bad idea. They’re trying to play catch-up with Marvel… Maybe it will work, but it probably would have been better if they just took their time.

    2. Yeah, it’s not like Marvel, who gradually set up the Avengers movies by doing individual movies first. I think that, apart from cramming too much into one movie, it looks pretty good. Thing is, Man of Steel wasn’t originally supposed to be the first movie in a DC Cinematic Universe. It would’ve been the 2011 Green Lantern movie with Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively, had it not been a box office disaster.

  3. Maybe if they are just short mentions or brief intros seeing the effects or seeing discussion about Superman?

    1. It’s always interesting to see videos like this because I don’t really have a dog in the fight. In a similar vein, I suppose he’d get a kick out of some of my Spider-Man blog posts…

      I think he said he isn’t a fan of Frank Miller’s take on Batman. If that’s the case, then it’s a good bet that he’s going to find Batman v Superman quite frustrating on opening night.

      Side note: At what point did does a man stop being a common man? I’m still Jenny from the block…(Do you remember when Batman was dating Jennifer Lopez?)

    2. For Angry Joe, his biggest problem with Frank Miller ISN’T The Dark Knight Returns, though Joe does mention that he dislikes it when Batman is portrayed as a big, brutish brawler with John Cena like booking to make him look really tough than the calm and calculating planner and tactician that can easily through people’s lies and know what they’re all about just by looking at them.

      His biggest problem with The Dark Knight Returns is the complete and utter character assassination of Superman by Frank which has constantly spilled over into other stories and mediums and which he dutifully fears is going to happen again on the big screen, especially since Batman has top billing in this new movie, the amounts of Bat-wank out there, and the fact the movie is called ‘Batman V Superman’ and not ‘World’s Finest,’ like it SHOULD have been if they wanted to go with a movie that was more respectful team-up and not putting two fandoms against each other.

    3. His biggest problem with The Dark Knight Returns is […] the fact the movie is called ‘Batman V Superman’ and not ‘World’s Finest,’ like it SHOULD have been if they wanted to go with a movie that was more respectful team-up and not putting two fandoms against each other.

      That’s the rub though, isn’t it? It’s isn’t a movie just for Superman and Batman fans — it’s a movie for those people, but it’s also a movie for comic fans in general, people who aren’t comic fans but they’ll see a good movie, etc. I thought Frank Miller’s Superman off as well when I first read it, so I agree with you on that. However, I would be shocked if Zack Snyder did him wrong in t his movie. I loved the first movie, so I see no reason why this one wouldn’t be awesome.

      I agree with those who are upset that Superman didn’t get a least one more movie that was solely focused on him. I thought that was weird…but I think Zack will turn lemons into lemonade.

    4. Joe’s an entertaining guy. I can’t but laugh with him whenever he feels that Superman and his fans are being slighted. And, like him, I immediately thought of the video game Injustice (fictional universe in which Superman establishes a dystopian regime) when I saw the shot of him with the military soldiers.

      P.S. I still think you’re a common man Doug. 🙂

    5. P.S. I still think you’re a common man Doug. 🙂

      Thanks! Haha. On many levels, I really was serious with that question. A good analogy would be Peter Parker: He’s supposed to be the “common man” superhero, but as he’s grown and matured … had professional successes as a civilian and superhero … does he lose that title? I think as long as a man stays humble and his “core” remains the same, he does not lose that distinction.

  4. This trailer blew away any expectations I had for what the film might look like. You can’t deny Zack Snyder has lots of ambition.

    I was surprised at how heavily the film seems to draw from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, however. Batman on the tower with what appears to be a sniper rifle seems to be a nice homage to when he uses a high-powered rifle to grapple on to a helicopter in the comic, but I’m surprised the armored suit he’s using is so similar to the one in his final confrontation with Superman in TDKR. Hopefully Snyder doesn’t adhere too closely to TDKR’s storyline, as I’m not sure it would work so well with such a freshly christened Superman.

    1. Hopefully Snyder doesn’t adhere too closely to TDKR’s storyline, as I’m not sure it would work so well with such a freshly christened Superman.

      Agreed. I’m really rooting for him to pull off this balancing act.

  5. Great post, Doug. To be honest, I think there’s no way to be certain how humanity would react to the appearance of a Superman.

    Will there be references to Man of Steel in the new film? Did humanity make use of the Kryptonian technology leftover from the battle(s) with Zod and his henchmen? Why or why not? Perhaps this is where Batman (and/or Luthor) gains the means to engage Superman.

    In my view, there would most likely be a schism between the government and the culture at large on the perception of Supes. The former would, as seen at the end of MOS, always be looking for an edge — how to keep Supes in check. Culture at large would react in myriad ways, with the world’s great religions probably spurning him, while atheists and agnostics looking at him as a “great helper.”

    Progressives would want him to enact their agenda, no doubt. They would attempt to make him like one of the members of The Authority, who would act unilaterally supposedly for the “benefit” of us all.

    1. I think this is really the third “Superman” movie Snyder has done on some level, given that he also directed “Watchmen.” Governments would try to use Superman like they tried to use Dr. Manhattan. The problem is that Superman is still only one man…and his failure to bring heaven-on-earth into existence would in the end up making people irrationally resent him. Superman can react to the actions of fallen men, but he cannot permanently leave a mark in all their hearts and souls. Only God can do that — but he’s not God. Regardless, I think these “What if?” questions are fascinating to explore.

    2. This was one of the ideas I thought were great for The Sentry, a character, who never really got one consistent characterization, unfortunately. One of his early miniseries had him with an earpiece which told him about every natural disaster and supervillain attack on Earth at any given time. Because he could do anything, he felt guilty about not doing everything — while fighting a supervillain in Chicago he was mentally counting down until a mudslide hit a town in Guatemala. When he did a TV interview he wondered how people would feel about it if they knew that in order to do the interview he had to let 117 people die in three separate natural disasters. I thought the idea of the burden of power, the feeling that because you could’ve prevented any given death that you’re responsible for all of them, was a fascinating idea. The character devolved after that, but I loved that early version of him.

      In other news, Iceman is now gay for some reason. Could’ve fooled me, what with all the heterosexual relationships and no hint of it whatsoever at any point in the character’s 50 years of history, but what do I know.

    3. Very cool to find someone else who thought The Sentry showed great promise, Eidolon. You just got a nice batch of cool points. 🙂

      In other news, Iceman is now gay for some reason. Could’ve fooled me, what with all the heterosexual relationships and no hint of it whatsoever at any point in the character’s 50 years of history, but what do I know.

      Do I write on this? I’m not really an X-Men guy, but I might have to write something up tonight.

    4. I didn’t understand why they made at least 3 different versions of The Sentry in a short span. There was the “burdened Superman” version, the “schizophrenic Superman” version, and the “crazy guy with the powers of Superman” version. I liked the first one the best, and I’m not sure why they went and created a Superman-type character and kept involving him in things if they didn’t know what they wanted him to be. His death was just strange; in the end he was a villain, I guess? I mean it seemed heroic the way he tried to be a hero while some part of him erased his heroic deeds (a totally different and conflicting idea than the original “burdened Superman” conceit, but interesting in its own right), but I guess because he had a bad side his heroism didn’t count or something? I don’t know, didn’t make much sense to me. Seemed not to do justice to the character, but since they never decided what he was supposed to be it wasn’t as tragic as other pointless deaths.

      As far as Iceman, I don’t know, it just irritates me that they would do something so asinine. I’m not even that invested in the character, but come on, he’s obviously been a straight man for all these years. It’s stupid like most retcons are stupid, but on top of that a) it makes no sense, since he’s acted to the contrary for decades, and b) it sets his future on a dumb path (basically he can date one of a very few gay male superhero characters or he can have a boring non-superhero boyfriend, which is not the usual X-Men thing). He’s dated Kitty Pryde, Mystique, and several other women; he’s often been portrayed as a successful player type. These companies are just falling all over themselves to randomly make characters gay or bisexual, despite the extremely rare nature of those things, and in the face of years of characterization to the contrary.

      And does it ever happen the other way? Are there ever rumors that so-and-so is actually straight? Does anyone ever insist in the face of evidence that some particular character, clearly characterized as gay, is actually straight?

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