Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice opens on March 25, 2016. In all likelihood, it will not be very good. It represents DC’s desperate attempt to catch up with Marvel’s wildly successful cinematic universe. Remember in the 90’s when Dreamworks and Pixar basically made the same movie, over and over again? This movie is this generation’s Antz. Everything we’ve seen (Man of Steel) and heard (pre-production rumors) so far points to this being mediocre at best and dreadful at worst.
But last night the second trailer dropped, and the Internet’s reaction was more celebratory than the bench at the NBA slam dunk contest:
Uh, did I miss something? Sure, it had some good visuals and a couple cool reveals, but I’m not sure what the excitement is all about. The character of Superman is still all wrong, I think Bruce is older than Alfred, and they turned Lex Luthor into Rip Taylor.
It’s just weird how overboard people go reacting to these trailers. Stick more than three superheroes in one and the automatic reaction is, “They’ve done it again!!!!!” Relax. It’s easy to cherry pick three minutes of decent footage out of 120. They all hit similar, predictable beats: weird, choral music. An Inception horn or two. Massive plot points spoiled. And of course, my personal favorite: supporting characters listing off meaningless, over-serious platitudes.
Here’s a fun game: write out all the dialogue from the first Batman v Superman trailer and read it aloud. In the ensuing word salad you’ll realize you said nothing of consequence and actually sound like a child pretending to be an attorney, parroting how he thinks grown ups talk in court.
“But Mike, you’re just a hater! You wouldn’t say this if people had an over the top reaction to a trailer for a movie you’re actually excited for!” Not quite. Check out this clip of Captain America: Civil War, a movie I think is going to be quite decent:
Everyone also lost their minds over that clip in which nothing really happened that we haven’t seen before in one of these movies. The part that set everyone off was Tony Stark saying he and Captain America used to be friends. Great, so now the world’s coolest superhero playboy has the emotional range of a kid who got dumped by his high school sweetheart over fall break.
Other than that, it’s just superheroes running around and punching each other. For all we know, the plot could revolve around the Avengers finishing a marathon than starting their own personal Fight Club.
Look: I know people love to get excited about superhero films. I do it too. After the first The Dark Knight Rises teaser, I was so pumped I needed medical attention. Genuine enthusiasm is cool. And if you want to jump up and down like an orangutan on meth every time you see one of these things, go nuts. You’re not hurting anybody. But please know you look like an idiot when you do it over and over for what ends up being formulaic pabulum. You’re the lap dog of the studios, salivating over a commercial you’ve seen countless times already.
This isn’t totally a knock on the superhero genre, but against the current state of movie trailers in general. Here’s a good example of my favorite trailer from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty:
I remember seeing that and being confused, in a good way, and definitely wanting to know more. It showed off major set pieces without giving too much away. There was an aura of mystery to it. You don’t get that with superhero movie trailers. Thanks to excessive previews and the oversaturation of nerd media coverage, anyone can tell you exactly what’s going to happen in Bvs:DoJ. What fun is that? And why is the acronym longer than the title of the goddamn movie? And if the black box is the only thing that survives a plane crash, why not make the whole plane out of the black box?
You know the best part about my comparison? The Secret Life of Walter Mitty wasn’t even that great! It was okay. The trailer was more entertaining than the movie itself and I was duped. Which brings me back to my original point: condensing any movie down to an entertaining couple of minutes is pretty easy. Temper your expectations. Remember: there were people who got excited for every single Transformers movie based on the previews alone. Don’t be that guy.
Anyway, have fun splooging yourselves in a few months over the Doctor Strange trailer.