'Batman V Superman' Trailer Images: Let's Over-Analyze The New Footage

After a low-quality bootleg did the rounds twenty-four hours ago, Zack Snyder and Warner Bros. released a legit version of the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice trailer. Having watched it a couple times a few ideas jump right out, so naturally it's time for us to go frame-by-frame through the footage, grabbing dozens of Batman v Superman trailer images to pull what details we can out of the footage. 

OK, here we go! Captions relate to the photo immediately above each one.

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This does not look like Metropolis. We understand this film takes place two years after Man of Steel, so wouldn't there be more cranes and construction if this was Metropolis? But why would it not be Metropolis, when this is, at heart, originally a Superman movie?

Regardless, this slow push in to a statue at the center of a city square is accompanied by some commentary seemingly aimed at the emergence of Superman into human culture. "Is it really surprising that the most powerful man in the world should be a figure of controversy?"

That sounds like Charlie Rose, and if it is him, or someone like him, who is he talking to? That's not a proclamation; it sounds like an interview. Is he talking to Lex Luthor, or perhaps the woman played by Holly Hunter, who we'll hear very shortly? And presumably he's talking about Superman, but the emphasis on the word "man" in the quote makes me wonder. Just a bit.

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There's talk of "looking for a savior" as we see people, some seemingly made up in Day of the Dead-style makeup, reaching towards a pensive Superman (Henry Cavill). (Is that makeup actually for the Day of the Dead, or is there an emerging cult around Superman? The latter seems possible, especially as the trailer goes on.)

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Back to the statue push-in. We hear someone who sounds like Neil deGrasse Tyson, with a very awkward audio edit to emphasize the word "alien" and how that alien's existence challenges our own understanding of our place in the universe. (In part, the use of "alien" here is why the word "man" stuck out a second ago.)

At the same time, almost like an interjection, is a woman's voice saying "they are not telling us the truth." There's also a man shouting "this is our planet!" A pattern is set — a primary voice, with more strident interjections coming from other people. That's conflict, folks.

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A real display of strength here, as Superman lifts/saves/does something with a Russian craft. (That's the Russian Federation flag there, on the left side of frame.)

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That push-in to the statue doesn't stop. The audio here is interesting — again, the audio pattern. The main voice talks about our track record of following people with great power, but the line is corrupted by an interjection of the word "tragedy" at a very specific place, and with the word "power" segueing right into Holly Hunter's voice, saying that old line about absolute power corrupting absolutely. The word "chaos" is there, too, just as the frame changes.

***

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W.

T.

F.

OK, first up, this seems like an obvious callback to a shot from Man of Steel, where Superman is in handcuffs while in police custody. But here things are reversed, in every way. He looks like a leader. And not just a leader — those guys are going to one knee, almost genuflecting. And their helmets? Um, those look like WWII German helmets. So that's freaky.

BUT. The biggest deal is the "S" badge on each guy's shoulder — what looks like a red "S" to us, but we know is actually Superman's family crest, and a Kryptonian symbol for "hope." These guys kneel as the voiceover says "maybe he's just a guy trying to do the right thing," and here you might really notice the voices starting to come from specific speaker channels. This guy is on the left. Is that meaningful? Could be.

In all, this is a couple seconds of very complicated symbols and meanings.

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The push-in again, getting closer. "We know better now, don't we," seems to contradict that question about doing the right thing. And this voice is Jesse Eisenberg, as Lex Luthor. His voice is coming from the right speaker channel — is that an indication of his political leanings?

As we get closer and closer to this statue, it really dominates everything else in the frame, just like... well, give it a second. As the camera gets right up towards the statue, we hear: "Devils don't come from hell beneath us."

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Another voice says "no, they come from the sky," but it might not be Luthor. For one, the voice is coming from the left again, and it sounds softer, more awestruck. Appropriate for this image which shows Superman in a very positive godlike light (ahem), one of the only times we see him as such in this footage. We could use a little more of this — more of heroes.

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Now we're right up on the statue, and this thing is threatening. We're hearing Holly Hunter again, but it's the voices in the back coming up that really get my attention, chanting "go home!" There's a percussive beat for each "home!", and the statue is finally lit.

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That's quite a reveal. Just take it in for a moment.

Just before we go to the shot below we hear the voice of Alfred, played by Jeremy Irons, saying "that's how it starts." But how what starts, exactly?

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As Alfred talks about feelings of rage and powerlessness, we see Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne, light playing on his face as he seethes. We're going to start to see other hints of of light and dark applied to the same character as the rest of the footage goes on.

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We saw this shot in the brief trailer tease a couple days ago, but there's a tiny detail here we didn't see — the presence of someone on the left side of frame, disappearing quickly as the shot pushes in. The edit makes it seem like this is the reverse of the shot of Bruce Wayne above. So is he dealing with problems related to powerlessness over Superman, or related to the peoples' reaction to heroes? Or is the problem with his identity as Batman?

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I mean, just look at this mask. The way it is lit — the specific highlights and shadows — make it look like it is scowling at Bruce, almost mocking him. Alfred talks about a feeling of powerlessness that turns good men cruel. But again, where does that feeling come from, in this case?

Or maybe the cowl just wants to sing. "Darkness! No parents!"

***

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Big, bulky Batman here, standing near what may be a vehicle, holding something in his hand — it's very difficult to tell what those objects are. What isn't difficult to see is the very Riddler-like question mark on the left-most column.

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The flickering lightning gets more intense, still keeping the light on Bruce/Batman in an alternating state.

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Here's a vehicle reveal for you — the Batwing. The voiceover is gone now; there's just a dark, rough score and sound effects.

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And it seems, as Bats flies in an attack pattern, that this Batman DNGAF when it comes to taking out bad guys. (Though we don't see anyone actually shot here.) Or is this a drone? This little sequence feels oddly added in here, to show off some new gear. In fact, this is the part of the trailer where it diverges from setting up a story and veers into having to service two major characters. It's a bit awkward.

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And here's your new Batmobile.

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Batman is not in the mood for any of your shit as he steps up from... what? A crash? Having something thrown at him? His suit doesn't look very messed up, so it's difficult to tell. But he's huge, and clearly pissed off.

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Batman stands watch over his city (or a city — is he home?) in a shot that is the one thing in this trailer that is fairly reminiscent of Christopher Nolan's trilogy of Batman films. And the structure he's on — is he atop one of the buildings seen in the slow push-in to the statue?

And... wait. That thing poking out over his right shoulder — is that a sniper rifle? Kinda looks like it. Loaded with tranquilizer darts, we're hoping. (Which would probably cause all sorts of headaches for those who care about ballistics, but whatever.) Frank Miller put a rifle in Batman's hands in The Dark Knight Returns, and given the heavy Miller influence that is all over BvS so far, we expect that Snyder and crew are borrowing the scenario.

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Let's do a couple images pairs as an armored and battle-ready Batman stares up at Superman. The lightning continues the play of light and shadow on him, and soon on Superman, too.

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The lightning does its chiaroscuro work on Superman as he hovers above Batman. Here, Superman does not look like any sort of benevolent figure. The backlight from the lightning here has exactly the opposite effect of the backlight in the godlike appearance above.

Regardless, Batman has no interest in a distant icon. "Tell me," he growls in a voice more rough than any other, "do you bleed?"

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Here it's the lightning on Batman again, turning him from a solitary warrior to an almost demonic presence, with those glowing eyes. Bats has always had that duality, and here it's like both sides of his nature are amplified, in order to confront something that could be hailed as a god by others.

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And then Batman brings — or lures — Superman back down to Earth. There's a show of power (there's always going to be a show of power with him coming to ground) but we don't see anger. He seems almost controlled here. The ground barely buckles when he lands.

We're left with many questions. Where does this encounter take place, in the chronology of the story? And is this a fight, or the fight between them? Finally, do the audio and images that we get here really match up in the film itself? Which is to say, Bruce seems to be asking if Clark bleeds — before using his quietest grim intonation to close with "you will" — but when we see the film, will that really be what's going on?

***

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is out in the US on March 25, 2016.

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