Director Zack Snyder's Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is aspiring to open the floodgates to the larger DC Extended Universe, while at the same time serving as a logical continuation of Snyder's own Man of Steel and its re-imagining of Kal-El's (Henry Cavill) journey to form his Superman identity. Furthermore, Man of Steel's divisive critical/fan response is being incorporated into the narrative of its followup, with an older Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) reassuming his crime-fighting career as the Batman in response to the destruction that Superman inadvertently unleashed upon Metropolis during his battle with General Zod (Michael Shannon).
However, as illustrated by the portrait of the film painted in the most recently-unveiled U.S. trailer and and its UK release synopsis, the "war" between the Son of Krypton and Bat of Gotham eventually gives way to a larger battle where the pain must unite against a common enemy: a newly-emerged threat in the form of the billionaire Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg), whose machinations involve far more than just pitting the public against Superman.
Here is that new Batman v Superman synopsis, which debuted on the Vue website:
Following his titanic struggle against General Zod, Metropolis has been razed to the ground and Superman is the most controversial figure in the world. While for many he is still an emblem of hope, a growing number of people consider him a threat to humanity, seeking justice for the chaos he has brought to Earth.
As far as Bruce Wayne is concerned, Superman is clearly a danger to society. He fears for the future of the world with such a reckless power left ungoverned, and so he dons his mask and cape to right Superman’s wrongs.
The rivalry between them is furious, fuelled by bitterness and vengeance, and nothing can dissuade them from waging this war. However, a dark new threat arises in the form of a third man: one who has a power greater than either of them to endanger the world and cause total destruction.
The trailers for Batman v Superman have confirmed that in the film, Luthor dabbles in (mad) scientific experimentation, in order to create his own super-powered soldier: a version of Doomsday from the DC Comics. Rumors persist that Luthor suits up in armor to fight Superman and Batman alike in Snyder's upcoming movie too, though it's perhaps more likely Eisenberg's Luthor is a puppet master who prefers to not get his hands too dirty. Then again, previous live-action big screen versions of Luthor (played by Gene Hackman and Kevin Spacey) were brains over brawn types and used others to do the fighting for them, so it's possible Snyder and screenwriter Chris Terrio (Argo) will aspire to differentiate Eisenberg's version from his predecessors in this respect by, say, having him don Kryptonite-powered armor so that he can beat up Supes physically, too.
However, it's with the "furious" rivalry between Batman and Superman that Snyder's movie will either fly or fall, with regard to its ability to provide a satisfying self-contained viewing experience while at the same time paving the way for additional DCEU films. Even with what could be a substantial appearance by Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), the evolution of Luthor, and potential brief appearances by other future Justice League team members - setting up for Snyder's own two Justice League films - said ideological as well as physical battle between Kal-El and Bruce Wayne is naturally the core of Batman v Superman.
Depending on well the storyline is received, it could impact interest in upcoming DCEU installments too, especially possible additional solo films for Cavill's Man of Steel and Affleck's Caped Crusader. With DC characters like Wonder Woman, as well as Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) set to get their own solo movies over the next few years, it would be feasible for Warner Bros. and DC to feature the DCEU's Superman and Batman in team-up films only, should Batman v Superman earn a divisive or lukewarm response from the general public (despite its all but guaranteed huge box office turnout).
On the other hand, it the film goes over well, then it won't be a surprise if Affleck's Batman solo movie is fast-tracked for theatrical release and jumps ahead in the line of DCEU films that are currently in the pipeline. Indeed, after the one-two punch of Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad in 2016, it will be interesting to see how much (or little) WB/DC's overall game plan has changed, for related reasons.
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.
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