You guys have no idea how badly I want this to be good. Not just because I’m a big fan of the comic book properties, but also because I’m a fan of almost every single actor involved. And I’m thrilled to see DC expanding their universe the way that Marvel has been doing it.
But this… this is not what I want. And I know, I know that it’s early and that there isn’t much here to judge. It’s just a handful of flashes and some voiceovers (although… really? we’re dragging out the “absolute power” quotes again? really?”). But this teaser — or trailer, I can’t keep freakin’ track of what to call them anymore — does nothing for me. It inspires no emotion. It’s just more dark, bleak, joyless Snyderian nonsense. While I appreciate the complexity of the question of Superman being viewed as a godlike figure, does it have to be done in such a stark, grim fashion?
Also, “Do you bleed? You will.” Really? That’s a line that Batman is going to deliver?
Look, there’s a reason that the Avengers — and most of its progeny — are so successful. They’re big and loud and crazy and fun. They’ve got good actors, but they’re giving them something to do beyond grim, morose brooding. Of course, they’re going with a better class of director too, which is equally important. But the direction that Warner Bros and DC is taking here, of making the movies so relentlessly grim, will result in movies that will undoubtedly do very well, but may well ultimately fail most critical tests, not to mention the tests of time. Superheroes should be icons. They should inspire us, they should amaze and entertain. There’s a dark side to their stories, for sure, but Batman Vs. Superman — and Man of Steel, for that matter — focus entirely too much on that dark side. And I liked the first film, but I also acknowledge that its maudlin tone and joyless characters, not to mention its wholly antithetical death at the end, work against it ever being a classic.
And even when it comes to Batman, there’s more to it than just the darkness. The reason that The Dark Knight is the best of Nolan’s trilogy is because it’s the one with at least some small amount of levity, be it the gonzo gallows humor of the Joker, or the lightness between Alfred and Bruce Wayne. That lightness is critical to helping you understand the darkness.
As I said, it’s early. I may be wrong, there may be more to Snyder’s newest project than doom and gloom. But all signs point in that direction right now, and that’s just getting tiresome. And would it kill you, Zack Snyder, to have a little sunlight?
Finally, our own Steven Wilson put it best:
They’re clearly going straight for the basic theme of Dark Knight Returns, but they’re not earning it at all. That was built on 20 years of flashbacks and positioning Superman and Batman as essentially brothers on opposite sides of an ideological crisis. And Frank Miller, for all of his later terrible writing, nailed that story so incredibly. And I see none of the poetry of his take in this trailer, none of those words of dialogue that punch you in the gut: “They’ll kill us if they can, Bruce. Every year they grow smaller. Every year they hate us more. We must not remind them that giants walk the earth.”