One day after the second trailer for Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens released comes the (likely premature) release of the first trailer for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.1
Perhaps the most fascinating shot in this trailer is the climax of a slow zoom-in to what turns out to be a Superman statue, with a very spiritually significant slogan spray-painted on his chest (over the S-shield that, as Superman explains in Man of Steel, means “hope”):
In fact, the entire trailer is about the world’s response to Superman’s “first contact” in Man of Steel — including an in-universe analog to real-life audiences’ criticisms of Superman’s battle that leveled a huge part of Metropolis.2
Viewers hear shouts of protest against Superman, along with news opinions speaking in favor of him.
Perhaps must disturbingly, we see a group of soldiers in a tunnel kneeling in homage before a slightly disturbed-looking hero.
In the voice montage someone also says,
Devils don’t come from Hell beneath us. No, they come from the sky.
… Which sounds like a chilling echo of 2 Corinthians 11:14: “… Even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.”
If these themes are truly at the heart of Batman v Superman, that would make the two heroes’ titular dual more than a simple fanboy-pleasing beatdown. Instead fans would find a fleshed-out, special-effected, fantastical exploration of the meaning of humanity and heroism — perhaps even the drama of a truly good hero trying not to be corrupted.
I don’t think some folks understood that this is where Man of Steel could have been attempting to go this whole time.3 They stopped short at, “Oh noes, Superman killed and he never ever does that.” Instead we should do what all good readers should do before they choose to get outraged evangelicals-halfway-through-Harry-Potter-style: finish the story. Remember, we’re in another shared cinematic universe. And in this case, the story has only just begun.
- Is it just me or are more film titles these days coming with colons? ↩
- See a few thoughts about that here at SpecFaith: ‘Man of Steel,’ Heart of Flesh, June 17, 2013. ↩
- This presumes the critic is not a Marvel partisan who is rather un-joyously trying to turn everything into a substitute sports competition, rather than seeking to enjoy good stories whether they are found without an Enemy to fight. ↩