After a cell phone cam video of the first trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice leaked online earlier today, Warner Bros. has released the official version, the first real promo for their much anticipated Justice League precursor.
A lot has been made – well, a lot has been made for years now – of the brewing cinematic showdown between comic book giants Marvel and DC. Marvel, of course, has been raking in money and accolades for the likes of Iron Man, The Avengers, and Guardians of the Galaxy, movies that very intentionally blend world-ending stakes with bright visuals and slapstick humor.
As has been expected since Man of Steel kicked off DC’s film continuity, one which will eventually encompass team up and individual films for members of the Justice League and others, this Zack Snyder-directed picture is plying a different tactic. The tone is decidedly more morose here, with a darker visual palette that’s reminiscent of past Snyder efforts like 300 and Sucker Punch, not to mention past adaptations of Frank Miller comic books like Sin City and The Spirit.
The connection to Miller is one that’s been looming since the film was announced by a line from Miller’s seminal graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns, and his influence on Batman v Superman is only confirmed by this trailer. Most notably, some of the trailer’s final images show Batman in power armor preparing for his titular showdown with Superman (a confrontation not unique to The Dark Knight Returns, although Miller’s depiction, replete with the armor, is arguably the most iconic).
The trailer also hints at the plot of the movie, the first half dominated by a mishmash of voiceovers, including at several points Jesse Eisenberg‘s Lex Luthor. The question of Superman’s omnipotence, a staple of the comics, takes center stage. The theme of trust in powers which cannot be directly controlled is certainly one applicable to the world today, although it remains to be seen to what extent Snyder and writers David Goyer and Chris Terrio have tried to capitalize on the idea.
Also unclear is exactly how Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) becomes involved in the story, although the trailer certainly features more of the Dark Knight than the Man of Steel. That said, shots of Superman (Henry Cavill) before armed men in Nazi-style helmets are sure to get the internet buzzing.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice hits theaters March 25, 2016.