Batman V Superman: Why Is The New Trailer Lighter In Tone?


This Wednesday on December 2, 2015, the world was treated to the latest trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  It was everything a trailer was supposed to be: heroes rising to the challenge, villains setting up their evil plans, and visual effects packed to the brim.  What fans didn’t expect was the overall tone.

For the past year, we’ve been treated to a teaser (which was released in April of 2015) and an initial trailer which was released during San Diego Comic Con 2015.  The word to best sum up the atmosphere exuded by those two would be “grim.”

Yes, they showed the serious side of DC Comics with scenes of death and destruction and a bit of philosophical inquiry.  Older generations who grew up with Superman and Batman were confused by the intense rivalry.  Younger generations — me included — understood that the World’s Finest didn’t always get along, and that was what made their team-ups so interesting.  However, even though some accepted a serious storyline that was wrought with conflict, the overall consensus was that the upcoming movie seemed to lack any sort of joy or fun.

So in comes this second trailer.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  We’re not talking about total Jim-Carrey-Farrelly-Brothers-level comedy here, but the trailer did sneak in some humor and made light of some serious moments.  Case in point: when Wonder Woman appears and a confused Superman and Batman both question if she’s teamed with the other.  There was also a further exploration of Jesse Eisenberg’s portrayal of Lex Luthor, Jr., who came off as an extremely dynamic and schmoozy individual.

It’s safe to say that this trailer was very polarizing.  Though over 9 million views (at the time of writing this article) in a little over 48 hours, and 103,864 thumbs up versus 7,620 thumbs down (also at the time of writing this article) — which translates to around a 93% approval rating — is not too shabby, we still can’t help but question the sudden shift in tone.  Why inject humor now?  Why give us levity when the marketing focused on a dark grim world?  Even the teaser leading up to this trailer gave audiences a feeling of tension and brooding.  The answer, I believe, has to do with the studio over-adjusting for the audiences’ initial reactions.

The DC Extended Universe’s primary rivalry is the Marvel Cinematic Universe — which has created one of, if not the most lucrative superhero film universes.  One of the key characteristics of Marvel’s movies has been its adept ability to balance humor and action.  The best example would be Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), an obscure film to the comics layman which ended up grossing over $700 million worldwide.  The film had heart, action, and laugh-out-loud comedy.  It was the perfect mix of popcorn blockbuster fun.

When audiences got their first sampling of the Dark Knight and Man of Steel in action in the teaser, they felt the film would be too cold.  The Comic Con 2015 trailer, though excellent in its execution, solidified, in some viewers’ minds, that this movie was going to be a bit of a downer.

I believe that Warner Bros. / DC wanted to show people that their heroes and franchise can be just as enjoyable as Marvel’s.  Hence the sudden inconsistent tone in the new trailer.  The interruption of the banter between Clark and Bruce by a talkative Lex made the scene a bit more comedic.  Batman having his “oh sh –” reaction to what people are saying is Doomsday (this will be covered in another article) makes the Dark Knight more relatable.  And the end scene where DC’s Trinity comes together for the first time softens the rivalry between Batman and Superman.

It’s no doubt that people go to the movies for fun and escape, but Warner Bros. / DC may have miscalculated and overcompensated a bit in what fans wanted.  The studio needs to understand that thrills and a cerebral experience should also not be discounted.  All is not lost though because we’re sure to get another trailer before the film’s release in March of 2016.

What do you think?  Did the shift in tone work or not work for you?  Post your thoughts in the comments.

Next: First Reaction To New Batman V Superman Trailer

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice – Official Synopsis: Fearing the actions of a god-like super hero left unchecked, Gotham City’s own formidable, forceful vigilante takes on Metropolis’s most revered, modern-day savior, while the world wrestles with what sort of hero it really needs. And with Batman and Superman at war with one another, a new threat quickly arises, putting mankind in greater danger than it’s ever known before.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice has a United States release date of March 25, 2016.  It will be directed by Zack Snyder, written by Chris Terrio from a story by David Goyer and Zack Snyder, and will star Henry Cavill as Clark Kent / Superman, Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne / Batman, Gal Gadot as Diana Prince / Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Laurence Fishburne as Perry White, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, Tao Okamoto as Mercy Graves, Holly Hunter as Senator Finch, Ray Fisher as Victor Stone / Cyborg, and Callan Mulvey, Scoot McNairy, and Jena Malone in unspecified roles.