Warner Bros., DC, and The CW joined forces to promote not just The CW's latest DC television series, DC's Legends of Tomorrow, but also the upcoming installments in WB/DC's DC film universe, aka the DC Extended Universe. However, before the Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman or any other members of the Justice League unite, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will pit Man of Steel's Kal-El (Henry Cavill) in a battle of wits, brawn, and brains against Ben Affleck's Caped Crusader.
Written by David S. Goyer (Man of Steel) and Chris Terrio (Argo) and directed by Zack Snyder, Batman V Superman is tasked with continuing the storyline from Man of Steel while, at the same time, dealing with the fallout from that movie (in terms of both the DCEU and real-world reactions to the film) and introducing several key players that will appear in the first Justice League movie in 2017. As Snyder notes in the above featurette (from the DC Film Presents: Dawn of the Justice League special), Batman V Superman thus "begins to set the stage for Justice League, when all of these heroes come together and fight as a single unit." That roster includes Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), but also Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher).
This Batman V Superman featurette includes previously-unreleased footage from the film, showing more of Kal-El as he struggles with the burden of being Superman and wrestles with the responsibilities that come with that title - juxtaposed with new clips of Affleck's "older, darker, more world-weary" (as the actor describes him) Bruce Wayne training to take on the threat that he sees in Superman. We also get a better look at how Bruce experienced first-hand just how much destruction the "Son of Krypton" is capable of creating - while he was on the ground in Metropolis during Man of Steel's climactic battle between Kal-El and General Zod (Michal Shannon).
In addition, the featurette highlights Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) as being the "big cornerstone bad guy" - as DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns calls him in the Dawn of the Justice League special - and notes that Eisenberg's somewhat polarizing appearance in the film (in particular, his red hair) does have a basis in DC Comics history. So much likewise holds true for most of the superhero elements and mythos featured in Batman V Superman in general; Superman's appearance here takes cues from the character's New 52 comics iteration (as did Man of Steel), much like Wonder Woman. Meanwhile, Snyder has made it no secret that Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns comic book story has provided inspiration for everything from Affleck's older Bruce Wayne to his "enhanced" armor and Bat-technology in the film.
Batman V Superman and writer/director David Ayer's Suicide Squad will examine (respectively) the key superheroes and supevillains of the DCEU in 2016, yet it's the former that arguably faces the much larger challenge. For example, while Ayer's DC comic book adaptation contains more than its fair share of connections to the larger DCEU, Batman V Superman is more integral to the foundation that's being built for upcoming Justice League films and superhero solo movies alike. Furthermore, whereas Suicide Squad has a relative amount of freedom to embrace a tone and style of its own, Batman V Superman is expanding upon Man of Steel's narrative and themes alike - meaning, it's going to carry over that film's relatively divisive darker visual tendencies and brooding atmosphere, just for the sake of continuity.
That being said, Batman V Superman is very much an event for the superhero genre; marking not only the first time that the Caped Crusader and Man of Steel share the big screen in live action, but also the first time that DC's Trinity (including, Wonder Woman) battle an enemy in live-action too. If Snyder and his collaborators manage to hit one out of the park (or at the least, a solid grounder) with this film, it will only heighten interest in the forthcoming DC superhero films all the more.
Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice will see theatrical release on March 25th, 2016, followed by Suicide Squad on August 5th, 2016; Wonder Woman on June 23rd, 2017; Justice League Part One on November 17th, 2017; The Flash on March 23rd, 2018; Aquaman on July 27th, 2018; Shazam on April 5th, 2019; Justice League Part Two on June 14th, 2019; Cyborg on April 3rd, 2020; and Green Lantern on June 19th, 2020. The Superman and Batman solo films have release dates TBD.
Source: The CW [via CBR]
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