The third and final trailer for the absolutely mammoth Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is here, and in addition to amping audiences up as much as possible for next month’s release, it looks to set a few things straight, starting with not going as plot-heavy as the previous sneak preview did, which divulged such plot points as the Dark Knight (Ben Affleck) and the Man of Steel (Henry Cavill) working together to overcome the brand-new nemesis of Doomsday, who was (apparently) revealed to be the genetic by-product of the fallen General Zod (Michael Shannon).
But, more than that, it looks to answer some long-lingering questions we’ve had about the film that launches the entire DC Extended Universe – and, intriguingly enough, it does so in a not-quite-expected way. Given all the previous (and countless!) trailers, commercials, interviews, and press releases Warner Bros. and the movie’s creative team have unleashed over the past three years, this is no easy feat, and it more than justifies an extended look.
Here, then, are the ways that this latest Batman V Superman trailer answers our questions.
A hard-as-nails Batman
Ben Affleck and director Zack Snyder have long been dropping hints that the film’s older, perhaps more sadistic Batman will be relying rather heavily on technology, and, indeed, the preview goes into great depth to fully depict this to audiences: the opening sequence revolves around Batman singlehandedly taking down 14 well-armed baddies, utilizing a whole bevy of gadgets ranging from a new Batwing, which is presumably controlled by Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons) back in the (rather hi-tech itself) Batcave, to explosives to flashbangs to the knife-resistant armor of the Batsuit. There’s also that superpowered Bat-battle suit hat he employs against Supes in their titular brawl, which is even able to deflect one of Superman’s (presumably lighter) punches.
But the real answer audiences get here resides in the sheer level of fighting prowess that Bruce Wayne employs alongside his technology. The finesse, expertise, and brutal efficacy that has come from spending more than a dozen years wearing the cape and cowl are blatantly on display; despite being middle-aged (or close enough) at this point (Affleck is 43), this Bruce Wayne is easily the toughest one yet, capable of engaging in the lethal strategy depicted in the Dark Knight trilogy and pulling off the impressive fighting moves from the Arkham Asylum video games.
Bruce Wayne’s mindset
Yes, we’ve known for it seems like forever that the basis of Batman’s animosity towards Superman lies in his fear of an unstoppable, superpowered “god,” and that this hostility is rooted specifically in the deaths of Wayne Enterprises employees during Man of Steel’s climatic showdown. What’s newly revealed, however, is the more philosophical – dare we even say ethical? – components of Bruce’s antipathy and the inexorable march to war against the invading alien that it breeds. In an impassioned speech to Alfred, Master Wayne rails:
He has the power to wipe out the entire human race. If we believe there is even a one percent chance that he is our enemy, we have to take it as an absolute certainty.
This kneejerk defensiveness, this almost instinctual default to a worst-case scenario mentality, looks to be one of the most loaded elements of the entire film; one can easily see certain socio-political persuasions embedded within this fundamentalist zeal, and one can easily see how director Christopher Nolan’s examinations of post-9/11 America are continued with the Bat-mythos.
The most exciting prospect of this particular development, however, has more to do with its in-narrative functions: the dictum that humanity must come first no matter the cost could just as easily come from the mouth of Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), which might make for some strange bedfellows, at the least, and some wonderful future character development for Bruce Wayne, at the most.
We’ve had an older, more sardonic Alfred (Michael Gough in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman) there more for comedic timing than any plot concern, and we’ve had a more hands-on, wittier Alfred (Michael Caine in Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy) who’s a more pragmatic force and, even, partner in Batman’s never-ending battle against crime. However, Jeremy Irons’s Alfred, we now know, is the biggest variation on the theme yet.
Just as Ben Affleck is providing the most extreme version of the Dark Knight, Batman V Superman’s Alfred is also a soldier, an active participant who’s not only there for patching up battle wounds, but also to work hand-in-hand with Master Bruce in order to successfully accomplish the mission – which, in the trailer, is remote-controlling the Batwing (or should that be the Bat-drone?) and providing real-time analysis of the situation on the ground. Call him a mission coordinator, a role ready-made for any number of spy films and, it seems, a first for a tentpole superhero release.
What’s the most interesting item to note here is the extra dramatic weight this seems to imbue Alfred’s traditional “no, Master Bruce, you’re going too far on this one” role with; if the two of them have been equals on the battlefield for all this time, his reticence in taking on Superman could provide some genuine emotional interplay – and it can also go a long way to sketching out another possible future character arc.
Romance is in the air
The love affair between Clark Kent and Lois Lane (Amy Adams) is one of the most legendary aspects of the Superman comics (well, until recently, at least), and though Man of Steel heavily implied that this was, indeed, the direction it was taking its two protagonists in, it was never a foregone conclusion that the follow-up film would absolutely go there – particularly since so many aspects of the DC Extended Universe seem to be informed by the current (though not for much longer) New 52 rendition of the DC Comics Universe, which explored a romantic relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman.
This latest trailer, however, confirms that both Clark and Lois are together, and it even throws in a pinch of sensuality to the relationship, showing an enthusiastic – and fully clothed – Man of Steel hopping into a tub with the reporter of his dreams. It’s a nice moment of levity in a film that has had its marketing materials be so dominated by both literal and figurative darkness – and it’s a nice counterpoint to the other bit of (presumed) romance in the trailer, between Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince. Rumors have long been circulating that Wonder Woman and Batman might be an item in Batman V Superman, but it’s still nice to see that the film will at least explore this particular dynamic, if not outright embrace it.
After all, for a movie that is so dominated by fighting, it’ll need a little sweetness to help provide a full narrative and thematic gradation.
What do you think – did we miss a question that has been absolutely resolved by this latest sneak peek? Do you think there are now even more questions to be addressed after these apparent answers? Sound off in the comments below.