The third trailer for Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice revealed much more than many fans expected. While some people cheered as Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) stood united against Doomsday (or at least a villain who resembles Doomsday), others felt the reveal of DC’s Holy Trinity working together against Lex Luthor’s (Jessie Eisenberg) presumably powerful experiment took away from the conflict between the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel, which – up until this trailer – has been the primary focus of the movie’s marketing.
If Warner Bros. and DC are showing things like Doomsday and the heroic trio in the trailer, does that mean they think these reveals shouldn’t be considered big spoilers and there are still plenty of surprises and highlights left in the final cut? Or was it an attempt to “go big or go home” by showing a few of Act Three’s highlights, and the potential payoff of showing the heroes standing together outweighed the potential disadvantage of revealing footage beyond Batman and Superman’s battle? Let’s take a look at the advantages and disadvantages behind the trailer’s two biggest reveals.
DC’s Holy Trinity Stands Together
The advantages of showing this: This is the first time Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman will appear together on the big screen. Wonder Woman’s presence in the movie is far from a secret, but prior to this trailer, she was never seen with the two other heroes – not in costume, that is. The way the previous trailer showed her in action made it easy to think she’s in a brawl which involves at least one of the other heroes, but it was cut in a way that kept the other combatants hidden. Now, Wonder Woman not only blocks an enormous blast of heat vision (which appears to save Batman), but she also stands alongside the Dark Knight and the Man of Steel, ready for action.
There’s a reason the trailer lingers on the shot of the trio for about five seconds: it’s pure fan service. It’s embracing the fact this is the first time these three are appearing in a live-action movie together, and it’s giving fans time to let this team up sink in and fully appreciate it. Fans have seen the Holy Trinity in animated projects and countless times in the comics, but they’ve never seen this iconic trio brought to life in a live-action blockbuster. This shot alone likely filled millions of fans with excitement. Additionally, the brief interactions between the heroes had a bit of levity. A more balanced tone is something that many want to see in the DC Extended Universe, so this brief display of comedy and a more optimistic approach – heroes working together instead of at odds – has the potential to win back some people who think the DCEU is too bleak.
Are any fans that are following the movie’s developments truly surprised by Batman and Superman working together to face a villain? Odds are the answer is no, and there’s a very good chance the studio knows this. DC’s slate through 2020 has been confirmed, and with two Justice League movies on the horizon, it was obvious this conflict would unite the two heroes instead of further dividing them – the title does include Dawn of Justice, after all. Fans have speculated for months and months that the two would fight and then join forces against Lex Luthor when they realize he’s being devious.
The months and months of rumors about Doomsday appearing only further strengthened speculation that Batman and Superman would team up to battle a common enemy. With that in mind, showing the two – along with Wonder Woman – as allies against a different threat comes off as confirming the obvious as opposed to being a spoiler. Knowing the two move past their conflict – at least to some degree – shouldn’t take away from the interest in seeing how it’ll unfold. Several questions still remain about their conflict, and it’s clear there’s a lot of footage we’ve yet to see that’ll focus on their clash. It reveals the obvious (the two won’t remain enemies the entire time and they’ll eventually join forces) and then offers a shot (i.e. the Holy Trinity) that has the potential to fill any DC fan with joy.
The disadvantages of showing this: Batman v Superman’s biggest selling point – by far – is that Superman and Batman are at odds with each other and it’s all going to play out on the big screen. Yes, the fact this movie aims to greatly expand the DCEU is something that has earned the curiosity of many fans but, first and foremost, this movie is about Kal-El and the Caped Crusader trading both verbal and physical blows. Odds are that any passionate – or at least interested – comic fan strongly suspects Batman and Superman will move past their blatant misunderstanding and then work together to take down the true antagonist. But that doesn’t mean they want to see it just yet, especially since everything released has been about Batman and Superman’s disagreement.
With Lex Luthor in the movie and it being confirmed he’s in possession of Zod’s corpse (which strongly implies he’s studying Kryptonian physiology), it’s fair to assume a considerable amount of fans know it’s only a matter of time until Batman and Superman set aside their differences and focus on Eisenberg’s Luthor. But did footage from Act Three – footage after the dust has settled from Batman vs. Superman – have to be revealed to further sell people on the film?
Immediately jumping from this character-driven conflict right to them working together can be understandably jarring to some. These viewers may be fully aware of the fact the duo will work together at some point in the movie, but given how everything has focused on Batman and Superman’s battle, it’s odd to race past this pivotal plot point in order to drop some fan service, especially since many people are going to see the movie simply out of curiosity – again, this is the first time the Holy Trinity will appear in theaters.
The advantages of showing this: Doomsday has been rumored to appear in the movie since 2013. Since then, Doomsday’s name has continued to pop up in several other rumors. Zod actor Michael Shannon even told an odd story about his time on the set of BvS – it implied he was doing motion capture, which is something he’d need to do if his character was transformed. He quickly retracted the statement and claimed he made it all up, but at that point, it certainly felt like damage control.
There’s been so much talk of Doomsday that many fans began to assume the enemy is likely in the movie; it was just a matter of waiting for the confirmation to drop. To then hear Doomsday’s roar right before he literally leaps into action was an exciting way to confirm that a version of the character will appear. Opinions on the character’s design, however, remain understandably mixed. But since, in the comics, Doomsday is able to evolve in combat, the possibility of Doomsday further transforming during a brutal fight shouldn’t be ruled out.
Does showing Doomsday spoil a twist? Technically, yes, but it’s another case of, “Yeah, we saw that coming a mile away.” While some would have greatly preferred the studio to keep this element a surprise for as long as possible, others can’t help but feel anxious to see how the fight with Doomsday will play out. Is there only one big fight, or does it stretch beyond just one encounter? How can the trio hope to defeat Doomsday? Will they receive assistance from Aquaman (Jason Momoa)? Given Snyder’s handling of action sequences, it’s safe to say this fight won’t be short lived, and many questions still remain about this enemy. Some fans can’t help but get excited thinking about the three biggest DC heroes taking on one of DC’s most brutal villains. The trailer reveals a big bad, but it still leaves a lot to the imagination. That should build the anticipation for many fans.
The disadvantages of showing this: A fair amount of fans strongly suspected Lex Luthor would find a way to physically challenge the two heroes. Given the way this film has been marketed, even more fans likely suspected the post-Batman vs. Superman scenario would remain under wraps until the movie was released. After all, the first and second trailer were able to impress many fans by remaining focused on DC’s biggest heavyweights facing off against one another and teasing Lex Luthor and Wonder Woman. Nothing beyond that is needed to guarantee a large portion of people are going to purchase a ticket, and racing past the situation between Clark and Bruce makes it feel less important.
It’s also worth nothing that not everyone was sold on the idea of Doomsday appearing. Batman and Superman teaming up is a given, but the grey foe still could have been a legitimate surprise to some. Even though there’s been discussion about the villain for a year or so now, an appearance by Doomsday still wasn’t 100% certain. There was still talk about whether or not Lex would use armor – something inspired by Metallo, or perhaps even Bizarro – and there is still a lot of speculation when it comes to Act Three with Lex. Is there more to come than the movie has shown us? Probably. But that still doesn’t change the fact that showing the heroes against Doomsday took away from the movie’s primary focus: Batman vs. Superman.
The desire for new details
Potential details are unofficially released months and months before a movie opens. Rumors should always be taken with a grain of salt, but they often have some truth behind them, or they even turn out to be completely accurate. There have been dozens and dozens of articles discussing Batman v Superman’s plot, and several of them state Doomsday could play a role in Act Three. This is something so many of us have taken into consideration by the time the trailer dropped. After so many reports, Doomsday seems probable, and it’s every bit as probable that the studio knew this, too.
If Warner Bros. had withheld Doomsday and left it as a surprise, it’s possible people would eventually say that twist was far too obvious and they should have just revealed it instead of making fans wait. If they present him now, some feel it’s showing too much, despite so many people chatting about the character prior to this trailer. There’s a noticeable desire for new information each and every day about comic book movies and other big blockbusters, but how much information should really be released about a movie’s story before it opens? How much do you honestly want to know before you see a film?
Big Questions That Remain
Only a small amount of Batman v Superman has been shown. There’s debate over whether the latest trailer should have shown its final moments – moments which make people believe they know how the whole movie will play out – but several big questions still remain. We still don’t know how Aquaman fits into the picture. We still don’t know how much of a role Lois Lane (Amy Adams) plays. We still don’t know what’s going on with Batman fighting the Superman army – it was possibly a nightmare, but those Parademon-ish creatures imply this sequence may not be as simple as we previously thought it was.
What about the senate hearing? How is Wonder Woman included outside of the Doomsday fight? Why is Superman kneeling to Luthor? Is Lex OS simply for viral marketing, or is there more to it? Does the Flash (Ezra Miller) really have a cameo? Is Jena Malone really Barbara Gordon? What about Victor Stone’s (Ray Fisher) appearance? Some may not like that Doomsday was shown and Batman and Superman are spotted being friendlier to one another, but the entire movie has hardly been spoiled. We may know some of what happens after Batman vs. Superman, but we certainly don’t know how Batman and Superman’s struggle concludes and there are many, many questions which have yet to be answered.
In the end, whether or not the trailer had too many spoilers will obviously vary from person to person. It didn’t reveal anything that wasn’t already strongly suspected by many people following the movie’s developments; it simply confirmed what has been discussed for a very, very long time. Did leaping into the third act and showing the team up make some feel like the Batman/Superman conflict is being diminished? Yes, it did, and that’s an understandable feeling based on how the movie has been promoted so far. Did it bring others a huge amount of joy to see the Holy Trinity in motion and standing against Doomsday? Yes, it most definitely did.
Terminator Genisys is a good example of a trailer ruining what could have been a legitimately surprising plot twist. For many fans, the same can’t be said about this trailer, but that doesn’t prevent some people from understandably feeling like the trailer took away from the very thing driving interest in the movie: Batman and Superman at odds. The trailer confirmed the obvious and in doing so it offered a lot of fan service, but that also meant taking a drastically different direction from the Comic Con trailer. It also gave viewers a better understanding of the entire plot, but it’s very tough to believe there still aren’t several surprises left in store for us. If that isn’t the case, it will be extremely disappointing.
At this point, we all know a fair amount about where this movie is going. Now it’s just a matter of seeing how it gets there.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice will be in theaters on March 25th, 2016; Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman – June 23rd, 2017; Justice League – November 17th, 2017; The Flash – March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman – July 27th, 2018; Shazam – April 5th, 2019; Justice League 2 – June 14th, 2019; Cyborg – April 3rd, 2020; Green Lantern – June 19th, 2020.