'Batman v Superman': Why the trailer's themes could make dubious fans pay attention

An official trailer for the film starring Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck was recently released. The movie will hit theaters in 2016.

Clay Enos/Warner Bros. Pictures/AP
The 'Superman' films star Henry Cavill.

The new trailer for the upcoming comic book movie “Batman v Superman” recently came to theaters, giving fans an official, Warner Bros.-sanctioned look at the 2016 superhero film.

A trailer for the movie starring Henry Cavill as Superman and “Gone Girl” actor Ben Affleck as the caped crusader became available online prior to its official release by the movie studio behind the film. The clip was posted on YouTube by Warner Bros. on April 17 and was available for viewing in theaters on April 20. As we previously discussed, recent takes on the Superman character have not been well-received critically, though Warner Bros. is bringing back “Man of Steel” actor Cavill to reprise his role as Superman, and bringing Batman back to the screen results in some pretty high expectations – Christopher Nolan’s movies about Batman are some of the most highly-acclaimed superhero movies ever and the last was released just three years ago.

But the "Batman v Superman" trailer includes voiceovers from various characters musing on the nature of superheroes in general. “Absolute power corrupts absolutely,” says one, and the trailer shows a statue with words spray-painted on it reading “false god.”

These themes will probably ring some bells for comic book fans. They're similar to those in Alan Moore's “Watchmen,” the comic book series later published as a graphic novel that’s one of the most acclaimed works of the genre. “Watchmen” made the list of Time Magazine’s 100 Best Novels and Entertainment Weekly placed the work at number 13 on its list of “the new classics” (works released between 1983 and 2008). "Watchmen" takes place in a 1980s where superheroes working for themselves (that is, not with the government) are illegal.    

And who directed the 2009 movie adaptation of “Watchmen”? That would be Zack Snyder, who’s directing “Batman v Superman.” The film version was not well-received critically and currently holds a score of 56 out of 100 on the review aggregator website Metacritic. But this movie could give Snyder another chance to explore those themes on the big screen. And the fact that “Batman” seems to be invoking some of the themes of “Watchmen” is interesting, at the very least, and may give comic book fans who were previously dubious about the movie some reason to hope.

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