Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Cape Expectations

This is a synched trailer review from a Batman perspective. You can read Kal-Al's Superman-oriented review here!

Over the past weekend I spent an inordinate amount of time online, trawling a handful of websites, pushing the Refresh button at intermittent intervals. Oh, and reading. I did this because I was never going to go to San Diego ComiCon – hell, I’d be hard-pressed to get to Armageddon this weekend, but virtually at least, SDCC was where it was at for me. And why? Because of this trailer specifically:
Yes, in Marvel’s absence, the weekend belonged to Warner Brothers and Fox Studios. And Disney – but dammit, every day is Disney day with or without Star Wars, so enough about that. Let’s talk about the Bat and the Boy Scout. And, also the Amazon! And the Villain – or the one we see here, at least.
The trailer was pretty much everything I’d hoped for, but most of all it’s impressed me with how smart it is. Directly referencing the climactic Battle of Metropolis from Man of Steel is a great start, and should immediately shut up the ‘concerned moviegoers’ who, three years on, are still bellyaching over the destruction wrought in Superman’s death-match with the physically superior and battle-ready General Zod. Moreso, it places Bruce Wayne in the middle of the battle, in a breath-taking sequence loaded with modern imagery. 2016 will see the fifteenth anniversary of 9/11; Zack Snyder’s choice to film the collapse of Wayne Financial’s tower from street level, and frame it from the experience of the average person in the street, can only reference one major recent real-life event. It’s brave, and it’s immediately resonating and it works. The sight of an un-costumed, quite human Bruce Wayne running into the debris cloud is jaw-dropping.
At ComicCon there was much made on both DC movie panels (for BvS and Suicide Squad) over how these movies are anchored in a real world context – yes, there are spandex(ish) suits, capes and super powers, but the real world reactions and impacts are, I think, a new addition to the genre. Super hero comics already work in a heightened version of reality, so this change down is a significant revision, and a smart move on the producers’ part to create points of difference for DC’s heroes and villains. These are deliberate images – the rooftop appeals for help from flood-bound families recalling Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath, the familiar rainbow-coloured placards outside Kal El’s hearing in the Capitol deliberately recalling those of the Westboro Baptist Church demonstrations are another. Maybe more than that, they are touchstones of US culture, a trigger against what looks like Superman taking on a global work roster (saving a Russian rocket crew, appearing in a Day of the Dead gathering.) In response, Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor appears to be baiting his (unseen) audience's patriotism, resorting to a national xenophobia, recasting himself as a modern day Paul Revere in the droll “the red capes are coming!”
So this is the set-up, but there's still much to see – Jeremy Irons' Alfred in the flesh as Bruce's moral core, the Joker's handiwork over a fallen Robin costume, some nifty visual echoes of Frank Millar's iconic Dark Knight Returns cover. And, of course, Wonder Woman in action - at long last!

I'm still sold on this movie, even moreso than I was with the teaser trailer a few months back, and even moreso even after liking the casting of Ben Affleck. It seems we're stuck with a grim and gritty Batman for some time yet (thank god then for the 50th anniversary of Batman '66 next year and the animated movie tribute!) but while Christopher Nolan's similarly 'real world' Dark Knight trilogy left me cold in the end, I think Snyder's Batman will be the best Batman to date; and I think the injection of super powers and godlike heroes into his world will be for the betterment of Gotham's finest.

Next trailer will hopefully show even more. Roll on 2016!

1 comment:

  1. I can't help but think that even if the film somehow fails to deliver that just having DCs holy trinity up on the big screen together at last might be enough for me. But this trailer gives me further hope that they really know what they're doing with this one and, as you say, the future of each character will probably be the better for it by the end.