San Diego Comic Con 2015 has passed, and the geek community is still reeling over the explosion of news and videos that have been let loose on the world. Possibly the biggest things to come of the Con were the trailers for DC’s upcoming line-up of films: Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad. Since these films are shaping up to be the biggest blockbusters of 2016, I thought I would give a little look at what works and doesn’t about them, and discuss why we need DC’s brand of superhero flick.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
First off all, let me just say that I am in the camp of people who believes that Man of Steel is one of the greatest superhero movies ever made. I’m also a huge Zack Snyder fan, and yes I even liked Sucker Punch, his most hated film to date. With that in mind, it should come as no surprise that I absolutely loved pretty much every single second of this trailer. Snyder has an incredible eye for visuals and every single shot in this trailer is gorgeous. The action scenes look intense and chaotic, as would be expected from the man who made Man of Steel, and the story looks like it actually has something new to say about heroism and the responsibility of having superpowers.
The score by Hans Zimmer that played throughout the trailer was fittingly epic sounding and really accentuated the scale of the film. I know a lot of people hated the large amount of destruction that was the climax to Man of Steel, and it looks like a pig part of this film will involve addressing the consequences of what Superman did during his battle against Zod. It’s a great idea, and the image of Superman walking into a courtroom in his full suit is very evocative. I’m also very excited to see how the cult that seems to be forming around Superman will play into the larger narrative, the idea of Superman as a religious figure of worship isn’t something I have seen done in any film or TV adaptation of the character.
Ben Affleck looks perfect as both Bruce Wayne and Batman, giving us an immediate impression that this is a man who has been putting on the cowl for years, and is world-weary and hardened by his role as Batman. Although we’re still not exactly sure of where in the Batman chronology the film takes place, the trailer showed us Robin’s suit covered in graffiti, so I’m guessing the film takes place after Jason Todd (the second Robin) was murdered by The Joker. I also really liked the first glimpses of Jeremy Irons as Alfred, as it looks like he’s going to be rougher and more no-nonsense than Michael Caine’s portrayal of the character in Christopher Nolan’s trilogy.
We didn’t get a lot of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, but she certainly looks the part and I love the fact that they are really accentuating the warrior aspect of her character which is a very interesting interpretation of the character. The only thing I’m still skeptical about is Jesse Eisenberg’s version of Lex Luthor. The fake wig he’s wearing is really distracting, and his line at the end of the trailer was already cheesy to begin with, but his delivery made it more so. Hopefully, he fits better in the actual film, but first impressions are hard to shake, and this wasn’t exactly a good one.
My god, what a dark, grimy and disturbing world this trailer presents us with. What’s more, this trailer creeps me out more than most horror movies trailers do these days. The music was haunting, and combined with the glimpses of the characters we saw, it definitely gave us a great impression of the atmosphere the film is going for. What’s more, these villains actually look like deranged psychopaths you wouldn’t want to cross paths with. My only fear is that they will try to soften or rehabilitate some of them as the film goes on, which would be a little disingenuous to the characters. But like director David Ayer said at the Suicide Squad Comic Con panel, this film’s about bad versus evil, and I love the sound of that. Of course, they had to include a small glimpse of Batman, but I doubt he will be in the film for more than a couple of minutes.
Margot Robbie was the perfect choice for Harley Quinn, and she constantly caught my attention every time she was in the trailer and it looks like she’s really having fun with the insanity of the character. Casting her was a stroke of genius, once I heard she was cast, I couldn’t imagine any other actress in the role. Besides Harley Quinn, we got a decent look at most of the members of the squad and I really like what they showed. I’m a little skeptical about Will Smith though, as he is the only member of the cast I have a hard time imagining as a bad guy. I mean, I like Will Smith, but he is unable to camouflage himself in a role. Every time he’s on screen, he’s likeable Will Smith and I’m afraid that’s going to make is character less threatening. Also, this is an ensemble cast, and Will Smith is a much bigger star than any other actor in the movie. Aside from Smith, Jai Courtney looks fitting as Captain Boomerang, I loved the look of Karen Fukuhara as Katana and Adewale Akonnuoye-Agbaje has the physical presence to play Killer Croc, and the CGI on him looks appropriately terrifying.
Let’s face it, after Heath Ledger knocked it out of the park in The Dark Knight as The Joker, any actor that will take on the role will be in his shadow, but Leto’s interpretation looks vastly different from what Ledger did, and he looks like a much more unhinged version of the character. I’m not entirely happy with his physical appearance, his teeth in particular makes him look a little to “gangsta” for my liking, but that laugh did gave me goose bumps. David Ayer is a phenomenal writer and director, his last effort, Fury, was one of the best films of the past year and I have complete confidence in his abilities for this film. He works great with large casts and knows exactly how to explore dark, morally complex characters. If it’s anything like the DC animated Suicide Squad film, Assault on Arkham, than this should prove to be a really violent and intense superhero film. I felt like taking a shower after watching this thing, and that’s only three minutes.
I’m extremely excited by what I’m seeing from DC. Don’t get me wrong, Marvel is doing solid work with their own cinematic universe, but I feel like they are sticking too close to a formula. It’s a good formula mind you, but it’s getting a little too repetitive. With DC, I see a movie universe that’s taking huge risks and has something important to say, and original stories to tell. I mean, a lot of people have no idea what the Suicide Squad is, yet DC felt it important enough to make it the first non Superman/Batman film in their lineup. I’m a DC boy, born and raised, and the fact that they are finally starting a big screen universe with the characters I grew up with is almost other-worldly. I’m happy with the directors DC and Warner Bros have chosen to shepherd these projects. If the trailers are any indicator, we’re in for one hell of a ride next year.