Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice Trailer Analysis

We analyze almost every frame of the Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer to understand the grudge match.

This article contains potential Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice spoilers.

In case you missed the internet crack open like the fiery pits of Apokolips, the new Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer is here, and it is quite the serious affair. Never before have fans seen the Dark Knight and Man of Steel share the same screen in live-action, but this trailer delivers exactly that plus plenty of clues for what to expect from the 2016 superhero grudge match.

So let’s get into analyzing the Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer…

Right off the bat, it appears we’re one step closer into the grounded aesthetic of Man of Steel and about five removed. The first thing we hear is a media onslaught of talking heads judging whether we can trust an alien of godlike power that helped wreck downtown Metropolis. Yet, amusingly the voices belong to those of Charlie Rose and Neil deGrasse Tyson, sprinkled in with characters like Lois Lane and Lex Luthor.

Ad – content continues below

Nonetheless, while the trailer opens with a moral challenge to the central hero’s existence—much like how the Joker kicked off the first full The Dark Knight trailer—fans should also pay close attention to how Metropolis appears a little more fantastical and unlike the Toronto and Chicago skylines in Man of Steel.

You can spot the LexCorp tower just about in the center there. No sign of other Metropolis landmarks like the Daily Planet, for example. Also, it is immediately evident that this statue built in honor of the Kryptonian that stopped Zod is also in the barren wasteland left in the heart of Metropolis. In the ruins of a new Ground Zero, it would seem not everyone is in love with the Man of Steel. 

Contrast the location of this statue with the traditional spot for a Superman statue in the comics, which is usually Centennial Park. Historically, that statue wasn’t erected until after a very different Metropolis-trashing battle…the one against Doomsday. The one that Superman didn’t survive. 

Also, the idea of a population being turned against Superman via the media has been explored in several stories, and sometimes there are outside influences at work. How outside? Like, offworld. Is that outside enough for you? Don’t forget, this movie also has to set up something for folks to fight in the Justice League movies…

We now have our first image of Henry Cavill as Superman in the film. Again the golden, unnatural light suggests a distancing from the grounded Nolan aesthetic of Man of Steel and something a little closer to the strikingly composed close-ups and lighting choices found in Zack Snyder’s other comic book films.

Ad – content continues below

Superman also appears to be surrounded by a gang that reminds me a bit of the Jokerz from the Batman Beyond animated series. Or perhaps it’s a Day of the Dead celebration. Either way, that probably isn’t Metropolis…

Superman lifts what appears to be a space capsule of some kind above his head. Are those Cyrillic characters on it? If so, it would appear that they’re emphasizing Superman’s global impact early on.

The image evokes the cover of the very first Superman comic book, Action Comics #1 but there’s a hint of this page from The Dark Knight Returns here, too…

However, if that turns out to be a nuclear missile, we’ll leave the Superman IV: The Quest for Peace jokes for all of you to handle.

In another traditional Snyder image, an armored assault team accepts their inferiority by kneeling before…El? It’s interesting that they all have Superman’s “S” crest emblazoned on their shoulders, and their uniform doesn’t appear to be US military. Are they all wearing full face masks? 

Also, it appears not all of the Nolan influences are gone since this image is echoed by the words “terror” and “chaos.” Subtle.

Perhaps this will turn out to be part of a “worst case scenario” dream sequence or hallucination, similar to the image of Supes drowning in skulls from Man of Steel. If not, though, the idea of Superman working for the government is one that was explored in The Dark Knight Returns, and it’s another indication of that book’s influence on this movie.

Ad – content continues below

We’re not entirely sure who the monastically robed figure reaching out for this very godlike pose by Superman might be, but beyond the shining divinity, the insidious suggestion is that Supes is a demon. At least according to the voice of Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor.

We have our first hint of the new Lex, and he is apparently a person that loves telling the press that someone who is different is the devil. He’d fit right in with a certain news network in our world too.

Speaking of angels and demons, Superman’s new Metropolis statue has already been defamed by someone who loved the crimson lettering of Snyder’s 300

Ah, our first official image of Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne. The silverfox gray in his hair (which recalls how the Golden Age Bruce Wayne aged in the Earth 2 depicted in comics like Infinity Inc. and All-Star Squadron more than the thinning gray of The Dark Knight Returns) is barely noticeable when he is staring eye-daggers of death past the camera. Bruce appears to be looking at his Batsuit. Or perhaps, he is actually staring at the much-rumored tattered Robin costume adorned in his Batcave shrine?

As we have speculated, the case honoring a dead Robin is behind him…

All of this certainly seems to suggest that Bruce Wayne has already retired from being the Batman in this film. But the rise of this Kryptonian menace might just be what causes the Dark Knight to return. 

Ad – content continues below

We have another look at the Batsuit, which was the focal point of the tease for the trailer. However, we now see Bruce Wayne’s shoulder in the shot and we have the ominous voiceover from Jeremy Irons’ Alfred. Dispensing wisdom like a latter-day Michael Caine, Alfred seems to be painting similarities between Superman’s arrival and subsequent backlash to the trajectory of Bruce Wayne’s descent into darkness and…cruelty.

Perhaps losing a Robin will do that to you.

Lightning makes everything seem more epic, right? Batman is in a pretty desolate part of Gotham City here, which is covered in graffiti and possible gang tags. But the one that most caught my eye is that question mark on the left hand pillar. It’s unlikely we’ll see the Riddler in this movie, but you don’t just put a marking like that in a Batman movie and not expect fans to get ideas.

We’ve taken a pretty close look at this shot, and that appears to be the only relevant piece of graffiti on display, but if you spot anything else, please let us know.

Is this a new Bat-plane?

…I sure hope not since it totally wasted those goons. But they didn’t die before we caught our first glimpse of Dodge’s vehicular inclusion. Product placement for the win!

The new Batmobile going into battle. Not only does this look cool, but it would seem to suggest a melding of the Batman: Arkham game aesthetic with that of the new DC Cinematic Universe.

Finally, Ben Affleck in the Batman suit. He also doesn’t appear to have the comic book accurate white lenses we see later, which is a good thing. But everything else about this beastly pose suggests the most comic book reverent interpretation of the character since Adam West wore the tights.

Affleck looks positively massive as Batman, and he’s every bit the barrell-chested, battle-scarred fighter that Frank Miller and Klaus Janson envisioned in The Dark Knight Returns.

Although the costume itself is more similar to what Batman went back to in the latter half of Dark Knight Returns:

The Robin in the above panel is Carrie Kelley. While she isn’t pictured in this trailer, we know that Jena Malone is in this movie, and we’re all but certain that she’s playing Carrie Kelley/Robin. 

No Batman movie is complete without at least one watchful guardian pose on top of a skyscraper! We’ll admit, this is kind of a great shot. One thing that was pointed out to us is that what we thought was just the spire on top of a building appears to be some kind of rifle with a scope. While Batman isn’t too fond of guns (then again, who knows what these movies have in store for our heroes), that’s probably the “grappling rifle” he uses in The Dark Knight Returns.

Step 1:

Step 2:

Batman not only has an iron suit but also an iron voice. As kick-ass as this image is — and it is the spitting image of the Batman’s “Kill Clark” get-up from The Dark Knight Returns — hopefully that voice modulation is solely for the iron suit. Because if Batman sounds like this for all of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Christian Bale is going to retroactively appear low-key in his vocal choices.

Still, “Tell me, do you bleed?” We hope so!

This next sequence comes straight out of The Dark Knight Returns #4, too…

Look familiar? Check out that first panel on the left!

Ummm…the rest of the panels should give you a pretty good idea of what’s in store for all this stuff, too…

It’s raining Supermen, Hallelujah!

It’s like the title says: Batman v. Superman. Except, I don’t see any lawyers around…

So, this trailer is heavy on the comic book fan-service, but surprisingly light on plot…and characters other than Batman or Superman. If you were hoping to see Wonder Woman or Aquaman in action, you’re probably going to have to wait for the Warner Bros. Panel at SDCC this year. Unless, of course, Zack Snyder and friends have anything else up their sleeve…

Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice opens March 25, 2016, but you can read everything else we know about the film right here.