2016 is going to be an important year for the superhero/comic book film genre; not only in terms of the sheer number of superhero movies that will be reaching theaters, but also the variation in content and tone of these films (raising questions about how useful the "superhero movie" label is, anymore). Tim Miller's Deadpool and Scott Derrickson's Doctor Strange, for example, are both based on popular niche Marvel Comics characters, yet they are completely different animals - the former of them being a raunchy action/comedy, the latter a trippy fantasy with elements of supernatural horror - and look to prove as much when they arrive next year.
The three superhero movie "events" that will be arriving in 2016 - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War, and X-Men: Apocalypse - have all received new trailers, just in time for the December 2015 holiday film season - more specifically, the theatrical release of Star Wars: Episode 7 - The Force Awakens. These three comic book tentpoles have their similarities too, yet are quite different in their own ways - and if all goes well, each will prove to be a worthwhile addition to the genre. But, for the sake of discussion, we pose the question: which looks the most promising so far, based on their most recently-unveiled theatrical preview?
Of course this isn't an indication of how much money these films will ultimately make, just a fun look at how the three trailers help build hype for their respective movies. Feel free and weigh in with your own thoughts as we break-down the situation, below!
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
The Good: The latest (last?) Batman v Superman theatrical trailer effectively showcases Kal-El/Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) and Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) exchanging verbal and physical blows alike in Zack Snyder's movie, while at the same time setting up key elements of the larger DC Extended Universe - specifically, Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg). Furthermore, this preview suggest that the movie has the potential to continue expanding upon the narrative and themes of Snyder's own Man of Steel, while at the same time organically integrating characters like the Caped Crusader into the mix - and providing the impressive action/drama that one would expect from Superman/Batman's first live-action big screen crossover/showdown.
The Not So Good: However you felt about the preview's Doomsday reveal (e.g. whether or not it was a spoiler), the new Batman v Superman trailer does raise bigger concerns that the intriguing Superman foe will end up being reduced to a one-and-done punching bag for DC's Trinity to defeat in Snyder's film (see the common complaint about villains in Marvel Studios movies). It's likewise difficult to gauge how well Batman v Superman will be able to deliver a standalone Superman/Batman story, while at the same time fulfilling the universe-building responsibilities implied by its Dawn of Justice subtitle, based on what's been shown. And when all is said and done, will these new interpretations of characters like Batman and Luther (and their relationship to Superman) actually resonate with the masses... or divide them (a la Man of Steel)?
The Short of It: With David Ayer's Suicide Squad set to arrive less than six months after Batman v Superman hits theaters and Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman solo movie already in production, it's safe to that Snyder's film won't derail Warner Bros./DC's shared cinematic universe plans (a la The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Sony's abandoned Spider-Man film universe) - regardless of how it's received. All the same, everyone wants Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman's first time sharing the screen together to be a good time - and for the time being, there's (arguably) just as much reason to remain optimistic that this will happen as there is reason to be worried that it won't.