Here we are, a week removed from Robert Downey Jr. and Chris Evans chatting it up with Jimmy Kimmel and dropping the mic with the first trailer for Captain America: Civil War. It was just right, you know, like the porridge that Goldilocks finds on her third try. We waited with baited breath, we bitched and moaned, and Disney finally responded. Now, a week later, the trailer still fresh in the back of our minds, Warner Brothers was afforded equal time on Kimmel to release the new trailer for Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn Of Justice. (Nevermind the title, just go with it. It’s like the dawning of the age of Aquarius, minus the hippie hijinks, assortment of mind-bending drugs, and vibrant bright colors.)
Listen – I want to like this movie. I really do. I mean, come on. It’s Superman and Batman for crying out loud! Disregard my level of loathe for David Goyer, or even how clever Zack Snyder thinks he’s being. (Sorry but Christopher Nolan mastered that art and you, sir, are a pale imitation.) I want to see the burly brawl of the Bat and the Man Of Steel. I want to see them clash and tussle and trade barbs, kick their asses silly. I want a Lex Luthor who’s so crazed, he actually comes across as sane and balanced. Oh, and action; God, I want action that makes you ooh and ahh at the screen. I digress though. (I guess growing up with Bruce Timm’s shared universe has me really wanting more.)
After the last trailer, which left me colder than the heart of a polar bear trekking in the Arctic tundra, I was really tuned out. I know DC wants to make a cinematic universe in the same scope as Marvel. And I want to see it happen. I don’t hate DC Comics, hell, I love the living shit out of what Greg Berlanti presents weekly between The Flash, Arrow, and Supergirl; shows with heart and wit and fun (oh, and color). It’s frustrating to grasp why Warners took his script for Green Lantern and turned it into a sheer abomination. I want from a DC cinematic universe what the shows offer audiences each week; I want drama and intensity, some light-hearted shenanigans, and action – give me all the action!
So I said to myself, “Self, let’s just give this trailer a watch and give it a fair shake. It can’t be any worse than the first trailer.” And then I watched the trailer right as I was about to shut my eyes for the night.
I should have listened to my id instead of my ego. I should have just gone to sleep.
The trailer at least starts out great – the first meeting of Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent at a large social gathering. The first 20 or so seconds showcase the intensity, the anger, the tension between these two. It makes for great drama, and I got hooked. I still think Affleck, now older and more smooth around the edges, can knock an older Batman out of the ballpark without any effort. Unfortunately, just when you think the two will stop gazing deep into each other’s souls, gritting teeth, fists curled, ready to go bare knuckle.…in waltzes Jesse Eisenberg.
After that, the trailer’s a total wash. I mean an epic wiping out of that early awesomeness. We transition to a tidal wave of trivial shit, terrible acting, hammy writing that’d make Cannon Films look like the golden age of MGM, and special effects that almost pale to the likes of genre television. Luthor isn’t an older suave businessman who’ll tear out your heart and feed it to you as you stand, he’s a little pompous ass trust fund baby/tech mogul with what appears to be Chewbacca’s armpit hair plopped on his weaselly dome. His voice is high pitched, he bounces around giddily like Roger Rabbit, and hell, I was waiting for him to start dancing like Jim Carrey’s Riddler! …this is Lex Luthor? A piss ant hipster douchebag I see constantly at the mall?
Oh, but it gets even better! Sure, we see more of the same epic fight between Batman and Superman, ripped straight from The Dark Knight Returns by Frank Miller. (Edit – yes, if you’ve missed it, they did use his famed fable as the crux of the story. Because DC Animation didn’t already make a pretty damn good adaptation or anything like that, golly, no.) Miller’s story isn’t the same unless it’s a full-on book-to-script-to-screen adaptation, at least to me. But okay, I’ll buy it for a dollar, sure, whatever. The footage of the two fighting isn’t bad at all. Looks a little too rehearsed unlike the Civil War trailer, but I’ll look past it. That I will give a chance.
Then the highly uneven trailer, which starts to rebound for a few brief moments, finally jumps the shark and nukes the fridge, whatever reference you love more. Warners doesn’t just go all out to beg you to spend $10 to $19 bucks on this film. No, they go for the balls – and leave their brains at the table. They spoil the whole GODDAMN story. Every little ounce of it! Why hide the biggest secret? Why draw people to theaters? The Force Awakens marketing makes us ask where Luke Skywalker is hiding. Civil War is making fans salivate over Spider-Man and the Black Panther. But here?, Dc just plays all their cards and shows who the real big bad is: It’s Doomsday…by way of General Zod…by way of Lex Luthor…channeling Victor Frankenstein.
That first moment that The Abomination, err, Doomsday landed, grinned, and lit up his eyes, I didn’t just close my eyes. I groaned aloud. I muttered, “Are you effin’ serious?” So, in order to keep their cinematic universe grounded and not go the distance of science fiction, Doomsday won’t be a murdering and killing world-hopping alien; hell no, let’s make him a freakish experiment created by a man-child speaking like Tiny Tim. No, let’s make it real clever, let’s not just rip Miller’s story to shreds (we’re paying him anyway!), let’s bring in some Mary Shelley, yes, that’s perfect, Luthor will make the creature using General Zod’s DNA. It’s the perfect way to kill two people you hate! (And we still don’t get any idea why Luthor wants both men dead at all!)
At that point, I was done, I was out. The two minute-plus trailer shows you the whole movie. Two men with different ideologies who hate the other’s alter ego duke it out but are thwarted by an “evil genius” who creates a bastard creature to off both men. Somehow Wonder Woman is dragged into the midst of all this, and, hell, I’m sure they meet Cyborg somewhere along the line, who gives them technology to defeat Doomsday, and ooh, let’s just show Aquaman brooding in a corner, he’ll use the power of the seas to drown the creature!
Enough. ENOUGH I SAY. How is it that the TV arm of Warners/DC manages to keep reeling in geeks and giving us what we like? How do we get a show like The Flash; able to give us an Earth-2 that is very much the DC we all know and love, then get the cinematic arm run by someone trying desperately to emulate the success that Nolan had but to no benefit? There’s a reason why the Dark Knight Trilogy stands on its own. It was wholly different. It was supposed to be more realistic. Hell, Nolan went on record saying that Warners should make a DC shared universe not in the vein of his trilogy. What do they do? They go and do the damn thing anyway. I truly wonder if Nolan keeps executive producing just to get the money to fund his projects, and I’m not kidding with that hypothesis.
This trailer is a hot mess. I truly hope that it’s hiding something, anything. There has to be a surprise somewhere. Some sense of adventure or fun. Ater all, the Joker did ask of us, why so serious? So, I say, why so serious? My level of anticipation for this has dipped to subterranean levels. Something has to salvage this…right? Right? Batman Vs Superman: The Dawn of Justice is sandwiched between Fox’s Deadpool (which already has people foaming at the mouth – this big ol’ Deadpool fan included) and Marvel’s Civil War (a movie that’s had build-up for years between Stark and Rogers). Come on, Warners. Don’t drop a goose egg. Not for a second time in a row. This geek is begging you.