'Batman v Superman' trailer: How the movie will differ from previous adaptations about the superheroes

'Batman' stars Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill. Stories about both superheroes have been made for the big screen over the last several decades, though these new versions are markedly different than their predecessors. Why?

A full trailer has been released for the upcoming superhero movie “Batman v Superman.”

As indicated by the title, the movie finds Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent going head-to-head, with other well-known personalities like Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) also popping up. 

A shorter trailer – a preview for the preview, if you will – had been released earlier this week prior to the debut of this long clip. 

The trailer includes Bruce, Clark, and Lex encountering one another at a party and plenty of battle sequences involving Superman and the Caped Crusader. 

The film, which will be released this March, follows the release of “Man of Steel,” which came out in 2013 and also stars Cavill in the famous role. It was not critically well-received but became a box office hit. Meanwhile, Affleck is debuting in the role of Batman in this movie. 

Almost all of the main characters in the upcoming movie have been seen onscreen before. Actor Christopher Reeve played Superman in a famous series of movies in the 1980s, and actor Brandon Routh briefly took on the role for the 2006 movie “Superman Returns.”

Actor Christian Bale played Batman in director Christopher Nolan’s acclaimed trilogy, the last part of which was released only three years ago, and various actors took on the role for movies directed by Tim Burton and others, including Michael Keaton and George Clooney. 

How do the previous movie series compare to “Batman v Superman” in mood and message? It would be oversimplifying things to say earlier movies were more cheerful and the more recent movies are darker. The 1989 “Batman” movie starring Keaton and Jack Nicholson as the Joker had the villain committing deeds such as putting deadly chemicals in makeup and releasing poisonous gas in crowded areas. As for the 1970s and ‘80s “Superman” movies, in the first, Lex (then portrayed by Gene Hackman) plotted to send nuclear missiles to populated areas. There are certainly dark deeds in the earlier movies.

However, the appearances of the earlier and later movies are certainly different. The earlier “Batman” movies take place in a 1930s-style world, while Nolan’s Gotham is very modern and thus not a place of fantasy. The contrast is also seen with the appearance of Nicholson and Heath Ledger’s Jokers: both dress in the trademark purple and green, but Nicholson is dapper, with a hat and neat makeup, while Ledger’s hair is ragged and his Joker “smile” is created through scars.

Meanwhile, critics noted when the newest take on “Superman,” “Man of Steel,” came out how different the appearance and mood of the new story was in contrast to the Reeves tales. Even the colors of Superman’s suit were muted so they were no longer the cheery bright red and blue. 

The newer movies lean toward storylines that echo the world’s current struggles, with those behind the movies perhaps feeling more demand from audiences for stories that echo their own world. For example, in one of the most recent “Batman” movies, 2008's “The Dark Knight,” involved a plotline in which tech whiz Lucius Fox (Morgan Freeman) tracks people using their cell phones. 

This echoing of current concerns continues to be seen in the new “Batman v Superman” trailer. “Civil liberties are being trampled on in your city,” Clark tells Bruce when discussing Batman. “People living in fear. He thinks he’s above the law.”

The visuals of the trailer continue to be dark ones that look like they’re taking place in our own world. It looks like “Batman v Superman” will continue the trend of adapting comic book stories as timely tales.

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