Fans continue to react to Warner Bros.’ surprise online release of the official first trailer from the upcoming superhero team-up/battle film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Next Monday, select lucky fans (yours truly included) will attend special IMAX screenings of the trailer and additional footage from the film, plus a video message from the film’s director Zack Snyder. It is expected that Monday’s theatrical run of the trailer will include a version slightly different from what we’ve seen online. I’ll be giving you a full report-back of the IMAX event, so be sure to check back!
The early online release was prompted by an illicit low-quality phone recording of the trailer overseas, which then spread online and was even (surprisingly) posted by some mainstream media outlets despite the illicit nature of the recording. To stop this bad copy from tainting opinions and perceptions of the trailer too much, Warner went ahead with an early online reveal. And it was quite more revealing than you might even realize.
Amid all of the discussion and fan adoration of the trailer, a few little interesting details have mostly gone unnoticed, and others that are obvious to comic book fans might have been missed by less discerning mainstream viewers. For example, there’s that question-mark graffiti in the trailer, which looks remarkably like the calling-card of Batman’s enemy the Riddler. Then there’s that rifle Batman’s carrying…
What’s that you say? Oh, you didn’t notice Batman is carrying a rifle?
Well, it’s there, and it’s one of several elements in the film’s Batman portrayal that is directly inspired by The Dark Knight Returns, an iconic 1980s limited comic book series by Frank Miller (whose Daredevil comic writing inspired the fantastic Daredevil series on Netflix, by the way) about a middle-aged Batman coming out of retirement as Gotham City falls apart around him.
The Dark Knight Returns was already among the best selling comics of all time, but then after this movie was announced last year during Comic Con, digital sales of the comic jumped 161% while print versions likewise enjoyed a huge increase in purchases. A two-part animated Blu-ray/DVD /Digital-HD adaptation sold more than $10 million worldwide, and is widely hailed as one of the best animated superhero films of all time.
Batman v Superman releases in March of 2016, and is expected to dominate the box office. The previous entry in this brand new DC cinematic universe, 2013?s Man of Steel, took nearly $670 million at the box office, and that film didn’t include Batman — whose own film series has taken nearly $2.5 billion in worldwide box office since 2005, and topped $1 billion with each of the last two franchise entries. Then there’s the addition of Wonder Woman for the first time on the big screen, and Aquaman’s first cinematic appearance as well. This movie is a lead-in to Warner’s Justice League superhero team-up movie series, which further increases the film’s must-see status.
There are so many factors at play here, but the bottom line is Batman v Superman is expected to be a billion-plus blockbuster, and the strong inspiration from The Dark Knight Returns will be part of what makes it such a top-notch story and drives fans to theaters.
So, read on and let’s take a look at the five ways the film’s Batman is inspired by that comic book story! (If you need to take a quick refresher-look at the trailer, you can do so here.)