We saw a lot of media emerge from the cavernous depths of the San Diego Convention Center last weekend, but only one trailer could truly claim to have been born in the darkness. We’re talking, of course, about Zack Snyder’s Mega-Superhero-Epic “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.” What you may not glean from the title, however, is that the movie is about Batman versus Superman and in the trailer there is a lot of Batman versus Superman.
Former Indiewire Managing Editor Nigel Smith wrote an article critiquing the trailer in The Guardian this week, remarking:
“The Comic-Con trailer is impressively mounted and resoundingly loud, but what it doesn’t appear to be is confident in its own product. By showcasing so much of the action close to a year before the full feature opens in cinemas, the promo does a disservice to fans by simply giving too much away.”
It’s always a worrying sign when blockbuster trailers favor a myriad of action sequences over rousing plot points, interesting characters or witty dialogue (Lex Luthor’s “The red capes are coming” quip at the end of the trailer hardly qualifies). Was anything really given away, though? We kind of expected Batman would fight Superman. Is Ben Affleck’s presence enough to make us care about three hours of “Man Of Steel” style action?
Take a look at the first teaser Tim Burton ever released for his go-round with the caped crusader:
It’s exceptional if only because it contains none of the trademarks of your everyday, run of the mill action preview. There’s no narration, no swelling operatic music, no massive flying logos or titles besides the main credits. It looks like some high school film student forgot about a (particularly awesome) homework assignment he’d been given and spliced it up in about fifteen minutes to meet a deadline. That’s not too far from the truth, as the trailer was hastily put together back in 1988, as an attempt to satisfy a bunch of angry fan-boys.
What the trailer does feature is Michael Keaton pronouncing himself as Batman.
This in itself should be enough, but Burton graces us with a little something extra when Jack Nicholson shows up, all smiles, for our first-ever glimpse at The Joker. From the performances of these two actors alone we can tell that this is going to be a real showdown. It’s not shoved down our collective movie-going gullet by massive explosions or heavy political undertones. In a little under two minutes the entire plot is almost entirely handed to us, but instead of worrying the trailer has revealed too much, we are left thirsting for more.
Burton’s “Batman” would go on to set the box office record for an opening weekend and win an Oscar for Best Art Direction.