So, DC released another trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice yesterday.
The first trailer did not excite me to go and see it. And the second trailer does not excite me either.
As I’ve considered what I think went wrong, explaining it makes for a good chance to revisit my “MCU Copycatting” series. Since my last addition to this thread, there have been a few changes, of course. To update, and recap:
Marvel Studios, still squarely in the lead, is planning to produce even more movies than before, including:
2016: Captain America: Civil War – that trailer got me psyched – and Doctor Strange.
2017: Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, a Spider-Man film in partnership with Sony, and Thor: Ragnarok.
2018: Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, Pt. 1, and Ant-Man and the Wasp.
2019: Captain Marvel, Avengers: Infinity War, Pt. 2, and Inhumans.
This is in addition to their continuing success on television with Agents of Shield, the upcoming second season of Agent Carter, and plans for Most Wanted and Damage Control in the works.
Not to mention the recent phenomenal success of Jessica Jones on Netflix, with Luke Cage, season two of Daredevil, Iron Fist, and The Defenders all being produced within a couple years.
Have I mentioned how they’re squarely in the lead? 😉
20th Century Fox surged back towards the forward ranks by investing in their X-Men franchise, which seems to be shaping up into less of a “cinematic universe” and more a loose collection of stories we shouldn’t really expect to have actual connecting continuity. So, basically, what we were already being given. Upcoming projects include: Deadpool (which I am eager to go and see in theaters, blood and carnage or not!) and X-Men: Apocalypse, a third Wolverine film (alas, Hugh Jackman’s final performance! The end of an era!), a Deadpool sequel, X-Force, New Mutants, and television projects entitled Hellfire and Legion.
Somewhat related is Fox’s latest Fantastic Four film, which was arguably the single worst superhero film ever. Plans for that sequel have been officially scrapped, and there are rumors circulating that Fox and Marvel are/were making a deal to return the Fantastic Four to Marvel in exchange for X-Men television rights. There’s nothing official on this as of yet, just more fodder for the rumor mill, but I do so hope it’s true!
So, Fox may not be the most consistent right now, but there’s plenty to hope for from them.
Sony Pictures Entertainment has hitched onto the Marvel bandwagon in a partnership for Spider-Man, scrapping all of their previous plans for the wall-crawling teenager. At the same time, they’ve partnered with Valiant Comics to produce two Bloodshot films, two Harbinger films, and Harbinger Wars, even while Valiant partners with overseas companies to produce television shows. It’s an interesting web of alliances here, and one which has the potential to not only keep Sony’s efforts from collapsing, but it could bring them into an even competition with Marvel. Which is big.
Between these three, that’s some pretty stiff competition, and it doesn’t even touch on the other cinematic universes cropping up all over the place, such as Universal’s upcoming monster films, Sony’s Ghostbusters and Jump Street, Disney’s Star Wars universe, or Paramount’s Transformers series (for which there seem to be plans for at least ten more films). Everyone is getting in on this action. Seriously, even Warner Bros is producing several more Lego films in some kind of cinematic universe (Cineverse?) of sorts.
So… against all of that, and especially their three most potent rivals, DC and Warner are fighting an uphill battle. Out of everyone in this race, they are arguably in dead last, trying to catch up to everyone else and hopefully reemerge as a leader in the superhero genre. On television, they have Arrow, The Flash, and the upcoming Legend’s of Tomorrow, forming a sweet trio, but they also have Supergirl, which leaves a great deal to be desired. Not a perfect record, but they’re doing well.
The real concern comes in relation to their big-screen efforts. They failed to properly launch their “DC Extended Universe” with the sharply-criticized debut of Man of Steel, followed by nearly three years of waiting for the next film. There are indications that they were simply taking the time they needed to formulate a plan, which I have commented on many times now. While that gives me some cause for hope, it’s a very cautious hope.
Their current slate for upcoming DCEU films includes:
2016: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad.
2017: Wonder Woman and Justice League, Pt. 1.
2018: The Flash and Aquaman.
2019: Shazam and Justice League, Pt. 2.
2020: Cyborg and Green Lantern Corps.
That’s outside standalone films for Batman and Superman, and potential films for Green Arrow, Lobo, Hawkman, and a team-up film featuring the more mystical characters of the DC universe. There’s even rumors of the Teen Titans coming to live television, lead by Nightwing.
Just look at all of that. That is easily a lineup second only to Marvel’s, and clearly intended to topple the dominance of the MCU, to reclaim their lost position as the reigning kings of the genre.
However… much of this… if not all of it… hinges on these next two films, with the brunt of the burden falling onto Dawn of Justice. If they don’t do well, no, if they don’t do extremely fantastically absurdly well… then, like a row of falling dominoes, the entire DCEU really could die in its infancy. Not only could they lose out financially, but they could become a laughingstock in Marvel’s shadow, a minor footnote, the people who couldn’t get with the times and lost it all as a result.
In short, the Warner-DC partnership has a lot riding on their very next film. Maybe everything.
That’s enough to make any man a bit… desperate, don’t you think?
That is what I think of when I see this latest trailer for Dawn of Justice: desperation.
DC is struggling, mightily, to just get enough people to just go to the theater and watch the movie so they can call it a success, and move forward with the rest of their plans.
But desperation is self-destructive. That’s why we try to not give into it, which takes some strong nerves. Warner and DC apparently lack these strong nerves.
Either that, or they just have incredibly bad trailer-fu this time around.
Between the two trailers they’ve released, the first failed to excite me because its darker tones bordered on depressing, not to mention how they had to have everything be epic, and the second trailer… well, it spoiled the whole thing. Seriously, we know Bruce and Clark meet, they argue, Batman attacks Superman despite no sign of hostility as he runs around saving lives, just because he’s afraid (and ignoring Alfred’s counsel), while Lex Luthor – who seems more like a yapping ankle-biter than Superman’s most classic and dangerous arch-enemy – uses Zod’s body to create Doomsday – which seems like a pale imitation of the classic monster, more like the Thing with laser eyes than Doomsday – and he crashes into the hero vs. hero fight after Superman has repeatedly demonstrated that he means Batman no harm, only for both to be saved by Diana’s arrival, and the three of them together fight Doomsday and win. I’m guessing it’s going to be a pretty long, brutal, destructive fight.
Oh, and Ben Affleck’s Batman voice sounds like he’s been snorting gravel.
Basically? They had a really great opportunity to psych us up. Two of them, in fact. And they failed, wasting both of them.
Not the most promising of preludes for the entire DCEU!
What do you think? Am I being too harsh? Too pessimistic? Too enthralled by Marvel? 😉