clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

5 questions about the leaked Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer

The logo for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
The logo for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.
Warner Bros.
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

The Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer can't be put back in the bottle. The dark, gritty trailer went viral after it was leaked last night. And we have some questions for the marketing team at Warner Bros. (which is making this movie), as well as some questions about the movie that we can't stop asking after watching the leaked trailer.

1) Where is the high-quality version?

Batman v. Superman isn't the first trailer to be leaked, nor will it be the last. Companies usually have contingency plans to deal with said leaks. It seems Warner Bros.' strategy is to sit back and play whack-a-mole with videos popping up on YouTube and other streaming video sites.

That doesn't seem like a savvy strategy. Instead, the studio should take a page out of Marvel's book and release the high-quality trailer as soon as possible.

Back in October, the trailer to Avengers: Age of Ultron was leaked one week ahead of schedule. Marvel got ahead of the leak, released a high-quality version, and joked about the situation:

The strategy paid off, and the trailer Marvel released received 34.3 million global views (a record at the time). The studio turned the leak into momentum and funneled that massive, hungry audience to the video.

Granted, Warner Bros. is planning special Imax viewing events for the trailer. It might not want to cancel those. But at this point, plenty of damage has already been done (those Imax events just got massively less special) and an opportunity has been missed. Marvel had to deal with this as well, and released a special "extended" clip (the version of the trailer where various Avengers try to lift Thor's hammer) to compensate.

There's one other possibility for why Warner Bros. hasn't released a high-quality trailer. The leaked trailer is blurry and hard to see, which may still make an official version a must-see, even for those who've watched the leak dozens of times.

Update: On Friday night, Warner Bros. and director Zack Snyder released a high-quality version of the trailer.

2) How do Wonder Woman and Aquaman fit into this?

The trailer sets up a dark story for our heroes — the world doesn't trust Superman (Henry Cavill) because of the power he possesses. Batman (Ben Affleck) is going to be the man who stands up to him.

Figuring out how to turn the public against a hero like Superman, how to have Batman turn against him, and how to plunge Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) into the middle of things seems like a lot of story for one film.

But the film also has to introduce Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Aquaman (Jason Momoa) into DC Comics' cinematic universe. The tone of the trailer is focused solely on Batman and Superman. Does that mean Wonder Woman and Aquaman going to be confined to glorified cameos so they don't get in the way of these two titans?

3) This isn't Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns. So what is it?

Initially, it seemed like Batman V. Superman would borrow from Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns comic book miniseries. Director Zack Snyder told the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con crowd that the movie would be inspired by Miller's book. In that book, Batman takes on a Superman who has become a high-powered pawn of the government.

The trailer contains elements of DKR, like a bulky, heavily armored Batman. Batman needs to withstand punches from Superman, which requires all the armor he can get his hands on.

(The Dark Knight Returns/DC)

(The Dark Knight Returns/DC)

The key thing about DKR is that the conflict between Superman and Batman isn't really the crux of the story. Batman is fighting for his city and a government that cannot (or doesn't want to) cut down the violence growing in Gotham. Though the massive showdown between Batman and Superman is the heart-stopping climax, it's not the point of the story. Superman seems much more central to Batman V. Superman than he was to Dark Knight Returns.

4) So where's our villain?

Batman and Superman aren't meant to be antagonists in Frank Miller's story. And that's a big reason for why the trailer feels awkward. Superman is painted as a gritty villain who might be drunk on power (in a few shots, characters appear to be kneeling before him). It's a poor fit for the character.

What made DKR so successful was the bigger villain (be it Joker or the government) looming behind the fight. And without Lex Luthor in this trailer, we don't really have a big villain. Instead, we have Superman awkwardly trying to out-grit Batman.

5) Whose voices do we hear at the beginning?

Some are speculating that the disembodied voice heard in the trailer describing why Superman is a threat belongs to Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Tyson hasn't confirmed whether it's him.

The trailer's voiceovers stir up the biggest mysteries. We know three of the voices belong to Holly Hunter, Jeremy Irons, and Jesse Eisenberg. Hunter is credited as a senator and Iron as Bruce Wayne's butler, Alfred. But it's unclear just how big a role Hunter, Irons, and Tyson (if it is indeed him) play in an already packed movie and what kind of alliances they may have.

Watch: Batman vs. Superman — Who would really win in a fight? (from The Verge)

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.