Was I harsh on the Batman v Superman trailer? Maybe. To me it seems self-evidently bad, with its lugubrious pacing and overblown voiceover. But then, the movie is almost a year away and this is just a teaser. The running-time is presumably over two hours, so we’ve only seen a fraction of what Zack Snyder and company have to show us. That’s a point made all the clearer with these new teaser posters.
Whether you like those designs or not, they feel radically different from the dour tone of the trailer. For one thing, they’re trading in the simplest iconography of each character and doing it in bold, primary colors. Even the black and grey Batman poster gets a primal splash of red.
The one shot that genuinely struck me from the trailer was the brief glimpse of Superman standing in front of the outstretched hands of all those people at the day of the dead…whatever it is; and that’s because it isn’t bathed in post-production, gun-metal grey color timing. It’s weird and suggests a larger, more exotic story than the grim, “I’m gonna make you bleed,” self-serious tone of the trailer.
These posters may look like designs for t-shirts that’ll hang in the kids’ section of Target, but that’s what makes them a little wonderful. Nearly 30-years of Frank Miller’s vision of Batman have curdled the popular opinion of the character into the hero we deserve, rather than the one we need. I’m not saying we need to stop telling stories where Batman is a haunted, sad guy who sometimes takes on mutated political views that allow for enhanced interrogation tactics and city-wide surveillance; but if we don’t give the character back to our kids–to a younger generation–he’s going to phase out. Name a great Tarzan story from the last 5 years. You can’t. Characters get worn out if we don’t allow them the flexibility to be different things at different times. We’ve had plenty of adult Batman for the last decade and I think people are ready for something that reminds us all of how much fun he is again.
For years the Adam West show was the prevailing image of the character in the minds of non-comic readers (i.e. the rest of the world). That image kept a live-action movie out of theaters for two decades, despite the monster box-office of Superman: The Movie. But then it changed. Now we’re getting a movie with not only Batman, not only Superman, but Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, Cyborg, Lex Luthor and a whole bunch of other people. And instead of looking like the most fun thing ever, it looks like something you’d have to think twice about taking your kids to see. And I don’t care if I sound old for saying that. A movie with Aquaman in it is a movie for kids. Period.
Anyway, the point is, we’re trying to judge this thing from the other side of the street with a pair of binoculars and have a long way to go before we have any idea what kind of movie we’re getting. I just hope it’s going to be fun and these posters make me feel like it could be. That’s it.
Via Zack Snyder’s Twitter.
— ZackSnyder (@ZackSnyder) April 20, 2015