So just what are we really seeing here? Comic Riffs breaks down the new trailer for Zack Snyder’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” which lands on our fair planet in March:
MICHAEL CAVNA: So “Batfleck” has been perhaps the most debated quasi-word in the “BvS” fandom world — for all it represents — since, well, the day Affleck was announced. So all these months later, with the Great Unmasking of 2015, how are you feeling about this? What’s your be-caped take?
DAVID BETANCOURT: It’s almost as though this sneak peek were designed to say: “Look, it really is Ben Affleck under the cowl! If you’re not onboard, you better hop on the bat-wagon now before everyone starts loving Batfleck.”
I have a gut feeling that there will be “best Bat ever” talk after this. And that’s coming from a guy who has been Team Keaton since 1989. Not that Affleck himself is going to be so much better than Keaton or Bale, but this role, everything from the script, to the design of the suit, is the closest thing to Batman jumping from comic-book panel to the big screen. All other cinematic Batmen have had a comic book “influence.” Batfleck is the comic-book version of Batman, live and in your face.
MC: When have we seen Batman look quite so vulnerable on screen? In that back-breaking fight against Bane? And yet that Jaw of Defiance juts out still, like some Bat-mandible of mean, mean pride. And Batfleck is bathed in the kind of blinding light we rarely see the crusader in when caped. What do you think of those opening moments, and that striking design?
DB: First, I must say: loving the jacket. Cool Sand Jacket Batman should be a toy of choice come spring. Batfleck does look vulnerable here. Almost scared even. But this is Batman. Minus Christian Bale going head on against Bane after getting his knees strapped up, more times than not Batman is two steps ahead of everyone. I wonder whether Batfleck wanted to be taken captive. What I can’t get past is the look on Superman’s face. This is something that has been bugging me since the Comic Con trailer when Lex Luthor looks to be almost petting Superman. Is Superman under some sort of mind control? He has this look of barely controllable anger on his face. Seems very out of character. We know there’s Kryptonite in B v S. Could Lex have used it to gain a controlling edge on Superman?
MC: You read my mind (control). This trailer is powered most by the pained faces in this battle. Batfleck looks somewhere between wounded and faux-wounded. Supes, meanwhile, scowls at that cowl with a rage-contempt that’s indeed so uncharacteristic of him that you wonder whether that’s the rage-joy of Lex behind it. I also get a sense that Affleck’s Batman will bring out something new in Cavill’s performance; two actors who can register as somewhere between stiff to wooden opposite more nimble actors seem to be on the same keyed-in wavelength here — like an actor-tractor beam. Having oaklike actors play bulky DC icons just feels right here. Are you hopeful, having seen this?
DB: I am hopeful. “Man of Steel,” which I thought did a more than good enough job establishing the new DCU on film, didn’t give Cavill much in terms of deep dialogue. I think Affleck was aware of that and that could have been why he has Chris Terrio brought in to rework the script from David Goyer. Both Ben and Henry both get the benefit of looking the part, but there should now be some nicely spun words coming out of their super-mouths.
MC: The last piece of this trailer that gives me joy, squarely above Mr. Goyer’s Name, is the screen credit given, at last after lo these many decades, to Batman co-creator Bill Finger. Love that DC’s lawyers, in working with his estate et al., could finally make this happen. Any reaction to that, speaking of new credits?…
DB: Well-deserved, and so great that this happens connected to a major Batman movie moment. For so long Finger didn’t get the credit he deserved. Now his name is rightfully in the lights for everyone to see along with Bob Kane.