Directing a movie is a hard job under any circumstances, doubly so if the movie in question is a massive undertaking like Warner Bros latest attempt at launching its DC Extended Universe, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. You have to deal with huge sets, larger than life characters, outsized fan expectations and the pressure of setting up a potentially decades-long slate of planned spin-offs and team-up features. In fact, it often means having to build an entire world from scratch on the off-chance that this or that detail might inform the plot of someone else’s subsequent film.
And if you’re Zack Snyder, it can also mean taking time out for “interviews” framed in the context of promoting one of your film’s principal investors. In this case, that includes luxury airline outfit Turkish Airlines.
In a new spot shared on Oscar Night via Turkish Airlines’ social media feed, Snyder sits down to lay out his vision for the post-Man of Steel exploits of Superman (Henry Cavill,) whose character audiences are still evidently divided over after the director’s own controversial reimagining of the iconic superhero. Snyder goes on the explain that, since his first Superman-related film was about creating a new vision of a superhero, it only made sense to pit him against a second self-styled hero with a different philosophical bent on the vocation. Says Snyder:
“I knew we had established a Clark Kent/Superman character in a world that we now could build out from. We just felt like it was an original, interesting concept to pit him against another hero, but a darker hero – and Batman was the perfect foil.”
But while redefining the nature of superheroes and the pop-culture’s collective understanding of the Superman/Batman character dynamic was one of Snyder’s goals, creating a sense of realism to give weight to the fantastical proceedings of the storyline was another. And according to the filmmaker, one of the best ways to accomplish this was to make the products of promotional-partners like Turkish Airlines an integral part of the film’s overall aesthetic. Explained the director:
“Once you enter such a fantastical world as Batman and Superman and you take a real-world product and company like Turkish Airlines, you bring it in to really set the world as real. That’s the thing that I was inspired by, as a filmmaker: Wow, we have created what we feel is a really fantastical world of Batman versus Superman in the sense that you have these two superheroes battling it out. But, the presence of Turkish Airlines makes me feel like these things are actually happening.
In fact, Snyder goes on to say that working the company’s products into his film actually fit together with his overall vision suprisingly well:
“Turkish Airlines has this motto of “widen your world,” and the interesting thing and the way that’s played incredibly well into what we’ve done as a film is that we’ve literally widened the world by creating these two mythical cities of Gotham and Metropolis.”
While it can be unusual (and, likely, a source of humor for fans and detractor alike) to see a filmmaker being so outwardly enthusiastic about what amounts to product-placement, the use of corporate-investors products in movies is nothing new: Food and beverage companies, for example, fight bitterly overly which brands of beer will be consumed by the heroes of raunchy comedies, or who get’s to be the pizza-of-choice for each new iteration of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Plus, it’s hard to argue that commercial-concerns like this are somehow “out of place” in a film like Batman V Superman, which is after all based on pre-existing products from DC Comics and will hit theaters with mountains of toys, games and other tie-in merchandise of its own having been piled up in stores for months prior.
On the other hand, fans of such properties have been known to react negatively when product-placement is seen as too obvious: The brief presence of an Oreo-themed knock-off Autobot in Transformers: Age of Extinction became a widely-mocked internet meme, as did the tendency of characters in The Amazing Spider-Man to exclusively use the Bing! search engine. Of more immediate note: A supposed over reliance on too-obvious product placement was among the sustained criticisms that greeted Man of Steel, with the eagle-eyed Honest Trailers crew devoting an entire segment to highlighting exactly how much corporate branding played a role in Superman’s exploits. Time will tell if Batman V Superman will encounter the same criticisms, depending how much sponsors like Turkish Airlines figure into the actual film.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25, 2016, which is followed by Suicide Squad on August 5, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17, 2017; The Flash on March 16, 2018; Aquaman on July 27, 2018; Shazam on April 5, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14, 2019; Cyborg on April 3, 2020; and Green Lantern Corps. on June 19, 2020.
Source: Turkish Airlines