A day after a dreadfully pixelated version leaked all over the internet, director Zack Snyder has released what he cheekily refers to as the “not pirated” teaser trailer for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice via Twitter and YouTube.
Despite a runtime of more than two minutes, this first look trailer gives very little away in terms of plot or what role the likes of Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor and Gail Gadot’s Wonder Woman will play in it, understandably choosing to focus on the two superhero behemoths that adorn its title instead.
That said, there are still plenty of interesting revelations, from a first look at Ben Affleck as the Caped Crusader and some pretty cool-looking gadgets, for comic book fans to mull over (once they’ve finished dissecting the latest Star Wars trailer, that is).
So, without much further ado, here are the 11 must-pause moments from the teaser trailer.
1) The tone
While no-one could accuse Man of Steel of being as bright and camp as the Christopher Reeve era movies, the tone of this follow-up is unmistakably darker and more foreboding than anything we’ve previously seen of the last son of Krypton.
Set entirely at night, and swarming with rain-soaked skies, rumbling clouds and ominous tracking shots of a threatening cityscape, the aesthetic is closer to the neo-noir stylings more commonly associated with the Batman series.
Considering that this is ostensibly a Superman sequel, this dark tone might not be the best fit for the movie – when the crux of your story is a powerful alien battling a billionaire dressed in fantastical armour, sometimes you need a bit of levity to aid the suspension of belief.
2) False God
Despite saving Metropolis from the wrath of General Zod – admittedly, smashing large swathes of the city to dust in the process – it’s clear Superman’s heroics haven’t totally ingratiated him to everyone.
The trailer opens with a grim voice-over of the various people – Lex Luthor rumoured to be among them – concerned about the effect this interstellar interloper is having on earth and its inhabitants; meanwhile, the camera creeps up on a newly-erected statue of the man himself, revealing that it has been defaced with the phrase ‘False God’.
Messianic imagery and biblical references abound in this brief clip, with one person even referring to Superman as the devil who fell from the sky, suggesting that Snyder is keen to continue depicting the hero as a divisive, God-like figure who could justifiably be viewed as a massive threat.
3) The hero shot
Our first glimpse of Henry Cavill’s blue and red-clad hero is an iconic shot for the character, shown here using his immense strength to a lift a burning Russian rocket that, we’ll assume, has exploded and crashed to earth requiring some typical high-flying heroics from the man in blue.
Also note the Russian logo on the fuselage, Roscosmos, which could well give credence to the rumour that the KGBeast (a cybernetically enhanced assassin seen primarily as an opponent to Batman in the comics) will feature in the movie.
4) Superman’s Guard
One of the most striking clips of the teaser is this shot of a team of Stormtrooper-esque soldiers bowing to Superman as he enters what appears to be an underground vault.
The eagle-eyed among you may also spot what looks like the Superman insignia emblazoned on the shoulder of each soldier, possibly indicating that they’re part of some kind of task force set up to assist Superman in his crime fighting activities.
This would be an intriguing continuation of the themes explored in Man of Steel, which often played on the culture of fear that surrounded the US post-9/11 and also tackled the use of advanced weaponry, such as drones, in overseas conflicts by suggesting that Superman could be used as a military asset.
5) Ben Affleck looks the part as Batman
His casting may well have proved controversial with comic book fans still scarred by the memory of his awful turn in the equally atrocious Daredevil movie, but there can be no doubting that Ben Affleck looks the part as Bruce Wayne, introduced here showcasing a suitably chiseled jaw and stubbled grimace as he glowers into the middle distance.
Judging by his prolonged staring contest with a display-issue Batsuit (more on that in a moment), it would appear that it has been a few years since Wayne last donned the iconic cape and cowl – which would make sense given the storyline is influenced by Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns series, which follows the Caped Crusaders attempts to return to crime fighting after a 10 year absence.
We also hear the unmistakable hoarse tones of Jeremy Irons, playing Wayne’s loyal butler Alfred, in yet another foreboding voice-over (the trailer really is fully of them), recalling “That’s how it starts – the fever, the rage, the feeling of powerlessness that turns men cruel.” As descriptions go, it provides a pretty accurate insight into Batman’s deeper motivations, but is Alfred saying it to encourage him to return to action or to warn him against it?
6) Batman’s got a brand new suit
We’ve already seen a gloomy view of it, courtesy of the teasingly shadowed image Snyder unveiled last year, but the trailer marks our first opportunity to get a proper look at Batman’s new threads.
Affleck’s casting indicated that Snyder and co are aiming for an older portrayal of the legendary character – a bold move in a genre that typically deals in origin stories and year zero reboots – and the new look certainly fits that depiction, boasting a sinewy design with gnarled facial features on the mask that’s perfectly suited to a more worn and weary Dark Knight.
7) Wayne Manor has had a make-under
Not everything Batman possesses is shiny and new, however, as this shot of the crumbling and graffiti strewn Wayne Manor proves. While we don’t yet know what Wayne has been up to prior to the events of the film, this shot seems to indicate that he has left his childhood home to ruin, lending further credence to the idea that Affleck is playing a Batman who has been on a significant period of gardening leave.
8) The Batmobile
Batman returns to his parents’ mansion to retrieve his new look Batmobile, seen here rising from the floor in a cloud of dry ice like a glam rock band from the 1980s.
Redesigned to resemble a hybrid of Christopher Nolan’s tumbler and Tim Burton’s less practical, winged creation, we next see the Batmobile locked in a pyrotechnic-splattered chase sequence with some kind of high-tech craft – I initially thought this to be a commandeered Batwing, but rumours suggest it is in fact a futuristic drone.
9) The Bat stalks his prey
Another iconic image here, this time featuring the Caped Crusader perched on top of a building as he surveys the city below. On closer inspection you can see that Batman is holding what looks to be a grapple gun or a sniper rifle (or perhaps both?), though what use either of those will be in a fight against an indestructible flying alien is anyone’s guess.
10) Armoured Knight
Not content with having just one new Batsuit, Affleck’s Wayne decides to create a whole new outfit that will help him combat Superman when their final showdown eventually comes.
While we don’t get a chance to see the suit in action just yet, we can see that it is much more heavily armoured compared to Batman’s more traditional cloth getup seen earlier in the trailer. The most striking feature of the new suit, however, is undoubtedly the glowing blue eyes in the cowl – giving Batman the appearance of a dour Iron Man – which double neatly as a mobile Bat Signal, sending his new bat logo shooting into the rainy sky.
11) Batman V Superman
The new Bat Signal heralds the arrival of the trailer’s hero shot. A red-eyed Superman looms into view in the stormy clouds above us before smashing into the concrete ground below as Batman’s gravelly voice intones, “Do you bleed? You will.”
And that’s it; Snyder is understandably keeping back any footage of the actual confrontation for the full trailer (or, one would hope, the actual movie), allowing the trailer to end on that rather tantalising note.
The biggest question the trailer raises is what causes these two superhero heavyweights to face off in the first place. In The Dark Knight Rises, Batman’s return to action is met with resistance by the US government, who eventually send Superman, now effectively working as their enforcer, to get rid of him once and for all.
That would certainly seem to be a workable idea on this basis of this trailer, with Alfred’s gloomy voice-over suggesting Wayne’s age-old issues with authority and justice persuade him to return, while the few scenes we see of Cavill’s Superman appear to show the son of Krypton teaming up with government forces.
As for what part arch-villain Lex Luthor or the more heroic roles of Gail Gadot’s Wonder Woman and Jason Mamoa’s Aquaman will have to play in the story looks set to remain a mystery. At least until the full trailer lands later in the year.