Below is the first official teaser for next year’s epic film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. As we all know this was supposed to come out next week, but some moron leaked today a really piss poor copy of this trailer, thus forcing Warner Bros./DC’s hand. It’s too bad they had to rush it out, but at least it makes us forget that limp teaser of a teaser shown yesterday that just showed the Superman and Batman costumes!
As a trailer it sells its point, but for some reason the pervading tone of the movie seems dark, not a bad thing, mind you. Just different from what we’ve been getting lately from Marvel (aside from the TV show Daredevil). But will the dark tone jibe with today’s fans? This mood was in vogue just a few years ago, especially when The Dark Knight was all the rage and fans have had bad to mixed reactions to the reboot of The Fantastic Four coming this summer for its bleak outlook based on its own teaser. So some may think this dark take of superheroes is outdated.
Nevertheless, this film won’t bomb. There are too many fans invested and the buzz is high. And its dourness helps sell the film’s motif that Superman is being mistrusted by the general public. It’s a refreshing direction to take with Superman and adds a touch of realism because let’s face it, in real life this fear of a super-powered alien among us would probably be the pervading attitude.
As for Batman, it seems as if director Zack Snyder is channeling Frank Miller’s seminal work The Dark Knight Returns and that by itself is great. It’s hard to judge Ben Affleck as an older Bruce Wayne, because we all got was one shot of him with a brooding look. But the shots of him as Batman and the Batmobile should satisfy most fans. Putting aside Ben Affleck and the new shots of Henry Cavill as Superman, honestly, the final moments of this trailer when it concludes with Superman and Batman about to face off with each other were the most scintillating parts.
This was a great week for trailers with Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Ant-Man, but this one for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a perfect capper!
Batman is celebrating his 75th anniversary this year so let’s take a look at why this character has such an enduring legacy. Batman is a very versatile character that seems to be at home in any era. He got started in 1939 during the Depression and has gone through many changes during the years. One just has to look at his comic books through the decades, the Batman TV series of the ’60s and The Dark Knight film of 2008 to see how easily and successful Batman can be and reflect the times that he is existing on. This means he appeals to a wide audience and will continue to attract fans and not become irrelevant regardless of whether he appears in either comics or movies. Another trait that makes the Caped Crusader interesting is the fact that he has no superpowers.
All of his strengths and arsenal are the result of years of training and brain power. He does not have the luxury of a mutation or any outside force to give him his powers. Batman does it the hard way. This means he can be more vulnerable, but also somewhat more relatable as well. This doesn’t mean that he is not just some wag with a cheap costume. He uses his many resources to make himself into a first class fighter and detective with a formidable arsenal (like the always cool Batmobile or Batwing) to fight crime.
Any discussion of Batman’s popularity must also include his rogues gallery of villains, some of the most interesting in the genre. Obviously the best one is his nemesis the Joker, the insane killer clown. Who wouldn’t be afraid of that? Not to mention other classic characters like The Penguin, the Riddler, his former ally Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two-Face and his sometime love interest Catwoman. All are in their own right fascinating characters who are in some ways as popular as Batman himself. These iconic characters all show up in highly successful comics, movies and video games that are some of the best to have been created.
The 1989 Batman movie was a phenomenon that foreshadowed the super hero craze of today, which includes the critically acclaimed Dark Knight trilogy. He is so popular that he will be featured in the upcoming sequel to Man Of Steel and the eventual Justice League film. The Caped Crusade has also conquered the world of animation with many excellent animated series like Batman Beyond and Beware The Batman.
In regards to other media, the Batman: Arkham video game series for the PS3/Xbox 360/Wii U and soon for next gen systems is widely regarded as one of the best to feature a super hero that has ever been created. These include Batman:Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham City, Batman: Arkham Origins, and Batman: Arkham Knight. All of this illustrates why Batman is still, after 75 years, a very popular and relevant character that will continue to entertain audiences for years and decades to come.
With the recent announcement of the Man Of Steel sequel and the revelation that it will be a matchup between Batman and Superman, there was disappointment expressed by some fans. They complained that Superman will not be getting his own sequel movie and instead will have to share precious screen time with the Dark Knight.
There is some validity to these concerns since now, for many, this movie will be seen as the next Batman movie instead of the second Man Of Steel film. Also, the speculation about who will be playing Batman (now known to be Ben Affleck), as well as how Batman will be portrayed will take away much of the needed attention from Superman when it should be instead focused on building Superman’s new universe. It has been a while since Superman has been relevant and Man Of Steel was successful in reestablishing him as a viable action hero. Superman is entitled to his own solo movies and not have to share the spotlight with a character that could upstage him. Now, the momentum has been halted and Superman will have to wait until after this new movie or even after the Justice League movie is eventually released to get another solo movie.
But that won’t be until 2017. By then, the movie-going public could be tired of comic book movies and be ready for something else. At the same time, I can sort of understand why Warner Bros. is doing this: The Avengers.
The movie studio saw The Avengers’ box office returns and how well received it was with the public. They want their own super hero movie mashup and don’t want to wait for another Man Of Steel movie followed by a standalone Batman movie to introduce their other main character. Marvel had time to do this with the Iron Man, Hulk, Thor and Captain America movies coming out one year at a time. DC doesn’t really have time to do this with The Avengers: Age Of Ultron coming in 2015. They need something to compete with it, and a movie with Superman alone might not be enough. So we get Superman vs. Batman, which has generated a lot of buzz and excitement.
Hopefully it will help to create a new and exciting DC movie universe that will allow Superman to eventually have his own proper sequel. More importantly that sequel should continue Superman’s interesting character development that Man Of Steel has started.
OK DC, Marvel has thrown down the gauntlet. Look at the result: The Avengers film looks to be one of this summer’s biggest blockbusters-maybe the biggest one. The buzz and hysteria surrounding this film is phenomenal. Toys based on the film are selling well and other merchandise is getting hard to find. Marvel Studios took a gamble and were patient. They carefully nurtured the film properties, which increased awareness for their characters. For The Avengers, Marvel Studios managed to corral the actors originating the super hero roles (with the exception of Edward Norton who didn’t reprise Bruce Banner/The Hulk) and bagged a director (Joss Whedon) who is an unabashed fan. Well it paid off in a super way-an opening weekend draw of over $200 million isn’t anything to sneeze at. So now the question remains: when will DC and Warner Brothers get their act together and put out a Justice League film? We’re not talking about some animated or motion capture film but an actual live-action film featuring Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, The Flash and DC Comics’ other great heroes.
Honestly how difficult is it to pull off? Marvel managed to do it, and DC’s characters has had more film and TV exposure so it would be easy to generate enthusiasm for such a film. And Marvel’s efforts are quite considerable if one takes into account how their properties have been scattered among many Hollywood studios. Warner Bros. has owned DC for some time so the logistics of gathering all their characters into one film should not be difficult. Of course, the ideal would be to bring aboard the most recent actors who’ve played the super heroes like Christian Bale or Ryan Reynolds, but it’s not really necessary as seen with Mark Ruffalo taking over the Bruce Banner/Hulk role in The Avengers and Superman and Batman have been recast throughout the years.
It isn’t as if The Avengers sprung up out of nowhere. The first inkling about a film starring Marvel Comics’ heroes came about at the end of the first Iron Man film in 2008 and later that year with The Incredible Hulk. In those films and others since then put out by Marvel Studios there have been many Easter eggs for fans that showed a shared universe. Captain America’s shield was in the background during a scene from Iron Man, the spy organization S.H.I.E.L.D. turned up, Hawkeye and Black Widow made cameos (Hawkeye in Thor and Black Widow in Iron Man 2) and even the Infinity Gauntlet was shown briefly in Thor. The point of all this was that for four years, Warner Bros./DC and everyone in the world knew Marvel Studios was building up to an Avengers film. Yet DC and Warner Bros. didn’t do anything to match that concept. Their releases didn’t give any indication of a shared universe (the last time this idea was explored were vague railroad PA announcements for a train headed to Gotham City in Superman Returns). It was so simple and would’ve excited fans.
That’s not to say that they haven’t tried to bring the Justice League to life. Putting aside the incredibly awful 1990s TV show pilot and a simplified version of the team appearing informally in Smallville, Warner Bros. was close to producing a Justice League film in 2008. A script was commissioned, George Miller was hired to direct it and he was casting roles, in other words, Justice League was in actual preproduction. But the Writers Guild strike of that year gave Warner Bros. a chance to pause and ultimately kill the project.
Reportedly, the studio wanted to emulate Marvel’s pattern of releasing solo super hero films that would culminate in a Justice League movie. But as of this writing, there is very little evidence that they are working toward such a film.
One worrying factor about building up to a Justice League film is the recent track record of DC movies. Aside from the recent Batman films, Superman Returns, Green Lantern, Constantine, Jonah Hex and Watchmen have been box office disappointments. The Dark Knight Rises is a guaranteed hit but this can’t be stated for next year’s Man Of Steel. Superman has proven to be a difficult character to translate to the big screen unless the right director is chosen and The Man Of Steel’s director, Zack Snyder has had a spotty record at the box office. So if the new Superman film doesn’t deliver it could mean another long drought before Superman returns to the silver screen and could delay a Justice League film.
Christopher Nolan, the director behind the successful Batman reboot, was rumored to be in line for directing a Justice League movie but there isn’t anything concrete stated about that notion. What is troubling for some fans is that Christopher Nolan as said in interviews that he wishes to keep the worlds of the individual heroes separate from each other. So, as with The Dark Knight, there probably won’t be any acknowledgement of Metropolis or Central City in The Dark Knight Rises. Ditto for Man Of Steel, which he is producing.
This mentality is shared by DC Entertainment as well. Diane Nelson, DC Entertainment President, said to IGN back in 2010, “We do have a very different attitude about how you build a content slate. And it isn’t necessarily about connecting those properties together to build a single thing. We think we’ve got great stories and characters that will lend themselves to great standalone experiences.”
Perhaps after looking at how much money The Avengers is making and the film’s popularity, DC and Warner Bros. may change their mind.
2012 promises to be an exceptional year when it comes to sci-fi, fantasy and horror film releases. These are the top twelve picks (being that it’s 2012 “gulp!”) plus some promising runner-ups. Let’s hope these films live up to the hype.
12.Rise of the Guardians
This animated holiday offering by DreamWorkshas a fun premise; mythical characters like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, Jack Frost join forces to save the world from the evil Boogeyman. Release Date: November 21.
11. Wrath of the Titans
A sequel to the surprisingly good Clash of the Titans remake. Just based on the trailer, expect more heroics, monsters, angry gods, and giant cyclops, oh my! Release Date: March 30.
10. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey
It’s astonishing but the placid trailer didn’t really capture the public’s eye except hardcore Tolkien fans. Lots of talking heads and makeup. But being this is Peter Jackson’s follow up to his epic Lord of the Rings trilogy, it’s sure to stand up to his previous Middle Earth saga. Release Date: December 14.
Another one of the found-footage films; this is about a trio of young men who acquire super powers. The fun they have soon gives way to dread as one of the friends lets the power get to his head. Release Date: February 3.
8. World War Z
This adaptation of Max Brooks’ zombie epic would’ve scored higher on the anticipation scale but the word that it will be a PG-13 film and changes from the novel brought about some caution. (The book is told from the point of view of many people across the world. This film seems to be more linear with Brad Pitt in the lead role.) Release Date: December 21.
7. The Cabin in the Woods
This Joss Whedon-produced film was finished a while ago but sat on the shelf until this year. Promising to turn on its ear the cliché of a remote cabin found by a some young people, the buzz surrounding this film has begun to percolate due to Whedon’s genre clout (i.e. Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Firefly). Release Date: April 13.
6. John Carter
The trailers keep looking better and better, capturing the fantastic swashbuckling feel of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars. Directed by Andrew Stanton (who won Oscars for Pixar’s masterpieces WALL-E and Finding Nemo) the film about a Civil War vet’s adventures on the planet Mars could continue the trend of notable animators making successful transitions into live-action filmmakers (see Brad Bird with his Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol). Release Date: March 9.
5. The Amazing Spider-Man
It’s pretty obvious that Sony is cranking this too-soon reboot to hold on to the lucrative franchise but it looks very promising. Andrew Garfield has an eerie resemblance to Peter Parker, Spider-Man’s mechanical web shooters, the evident back to basics approach and Marc Webb’s distinct visual style makes this film one to keep an eye on. It could be this year’s version of X-Men: First Class. Release Date: July 3.
Alonso Cuaron who directed the best sci-fi movie of the last decade (Children of Men) as well as Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban helms this film about two astronauts (George Clooney and Sandra Bullock) trapped onboard a damaged space station and their efforts to return to Earth. Release Date: November 21.
3. The Dark Knight Rises
Christopher Nolan concludes his acclaimed Batman trilogy with the Caped Crusader’s greatest struggle in a Gotham that has shunned him. Meanwhile Batman’s absence leads to the rise of one of his deadliest villains, Bane and sexiest, Catwoman. Given the runaway success of The Dark Knight, this film is certain to be a monster hit. BTW, Robin (supposedly played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is rumored to make his debut in the film. Release Date: July 20.
2. The Avengers
Any fan boy’s (or girl’s) dream come true. Captain America, Iron Man, Thor and the Hulk team up and portrayed by the actors originating the roles (except for the Hulk). Add in other characters like Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Nick Fury and that’s a recipe for a blockbuster. While not as dark and serious like TheDark Knight Rises (just wish Marvel Studios would stop with the too-loud rock music in their trailers!), this Joss Whedon super hero mash up could be the big one for the summer. Release Date: May 4.
And the most anticipated film to be released in 2012 is (insert drumroll sound effect)….
Ridley Scott returns to science fiction in a big way with this prequel to Alien. Actually while it takes place in the same universe the ugly xenomorphs are nowhere to be found in this film. Not much is known about the plot outside of hints that it deals with astronauts trying to learn humanity’s roots and encountering the alien space jockey’s race (that creature was seen as fossilized remains in the original Alien). Once the official trailer was released, the film’s buzz level reached fever pitch. Release Date: June 8.
Others To Look Out For:
Looper(a time- travel actioner with Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon-Levitt);Men In Black III(Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones return as Earth’s best illegal alien hunters with a time-traveling twist);The Hunger Games (based on Suzanne Collins’ novel about young people surviving deadly combat games in a brutal post-U.S.); Cloud Atlas (The Wachowski Brothers return with this centuries-spanning story with an all-star cast; significant segments of the film take place in the future); Battleship (big, splashy alien invasion tale with plenty of action, effects and military hardware, thankfully Michael Bay isn’t directing this one); Iron Sky (a zany premise involving Nazis escaping to the moon’s dark side and returning to Earth a few years from now); Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance (hey if the trailer has the balls to show Ghost Rider peeing fire, then the film deserves to be checked out!),Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter(adapted from the best-selling novel); Brave(Pixar’s newest film about a heroic Scottish girl in ancient times);Skyfall(the next James Bond film is directed by Sam Mendes and Daniel Craig returns as the grittiest Bond); and The Divide(Michael Biehn stars in this claustrophobic apocalyptic thriller).
Remember all release dates are subject to change and add in a few other films (notably Paranormal Activity director Oren Peli’s delayed Area 51 that could debut anytime) that were left off or without official 2012 release dates but may impact geekdom in a huge way.
UPDATE: Both World War Z and Gravity have been pushed to 2013. With Gravity’s case, this was due to some reported mixed reactions to a test screening.