Wednesday, July 15, 2015

11/07/2015 Batman V Superman Trailer Shot for Shot Analysis

(Or 07/11/2015, for Americans. For some reason)

Three days ago today the mesmerizing new trailer for 'Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice' premiered. I've spent the following three days rewatching it. These are my findings. I decided to make a screenshot of every single shot (uninterrupted piece of film) and number them for cross reference. Some shots have multiple screenshots to accommodate a pan (shot 11), zoom (shot 13) or changing action (shot 98). These will be distinguished by the addition of letters. I will talk about the visual aspects as well as the dialogue. Keep in mind that this analysis is not going to be objective but rather the highly opinionated word-vomit of a DC fanboy.
Now, to quote a fellow madman: Here... we...go.


This is Concerned Looking Political Lady. Remember her for later, she's going to be important.

During shots 1 through 6 she says:
"Today is a day for truth. The world needs to know what happened. And to know what he stands for. That kind of power is very dangerous."
Her monologue appears to be a bit jumbled up, because of the way it's cut for the trailer, but the gist or her position is clear. Rather than heralding Superman for saving the world, she paints him in a negative light for the collateral damage in Metropolis. It's like she's the internet personified. I suspect she has her personal reasons for her views, but more on that at shot 13.


Here we see Superman  landing at the Capitol building to appear before congress (he's right behind the 'Aliens are un-American' sign). There is a large group of people there to protest Superman. Not his actions mind you, they are protesting his very existence. This of course falls right into the comfort zone of the Westboro Baptist Church, who decided to show up as well. Also note the sign that says 'Superman Lives', no doubt referencing the unfinished Superman film directed by Tim Burton.

Already the film has a decidedly Zack Snyder-y look to it (which, in my opinion, is mostly a good thing. It also suggest less studio involvement, but that's just speculation).


The Man of Steel looks up to the Capitol building in reverence. A good sign ('Truth, Justice and the American Way', and all that). We also get a decent first look at the upper half of his updated suit. I like the added decoration in the emblem, but colour-wise it looks strangely metallic. It looks kind of cool, but I still would have preferred cloth (Christopher Reeve style) or at least something less textured. The size of the logo and the thickness of the cape are perfect.


Superman enters the Senate looking like a boss. Some of these people couldn't care less though. Weird. His suit is still tragically dark. Especially the blue is very much desaturated. One would think that the creative team would take the chance to use Superman's bright colours to visually offset him against the dark toned Batman. One would be wrong.

Notice how the shot is framed symmetrically, yet slightly off center. Presumably to create a slight sensation of discomfort.


Concerned Looking Political Lady is shown to be in a powerful position within the senate (I think it's fair to presume that she one of its leaders). At first I thought she might even be the Vice President of the US (seeing as how the Vice President of the United States presides over the Senate), but she is later in the trailer addressed as 'senator'. Oddly enough the seal that is shown is the presidential seal instead of the senate seal. Maybe it's hinting that the president is in the room, maybe the prop department is being cheap.

Looking at this scene it looks like they're doing the whole Pontius Pilate shtick again. Which would fit into the film's narrative by the looks of it, but it would also be somewhat redundant. Not in the last place because they did it in the last film already.


Superman is here to defend himself and judging by the confident look on his face, this is going to be a cool scene.


Our first look at Bruce Wayne in this trailer. One might say he hit the ground running. The shaky cam in this scene made it hard to find a decent screencap, which is a bad sign. I'm really hoping the shaky cam style of filming will be limited to this scene.


Bruce looking at Zod's laser beams destroying the building, confirming that he was in fact in Metropolis during the third act of Man of Steel, as many have speculated.


His reaction shows more anger than shock, suggesting that he knows people inside the building. Maybe he's even on the phone with someone that's inside the building, which would mean that he's probably shouting something along the lines of "Get out!". Speculation for the moment, but this will soon find credence.


The building, as seen from another angle, collapses while Superman is being thrown through the wall. This visual is extremely significant for Bruce's emotional motivation. This is the first time he sees Superman and immediately he associates him with the death of those that where killed in the collapse of the building. He also sees him in a moment of weakness, immediately establishing Superman as someone who is not indestructible.

11 A.

While others run away, Bruce stays true to character and rushes to help.

11 B.

Dude even runs straight into the dust. Cool shot.


Bruce comforts (and has quite possibly saved) a little girl amidst the rubble of the building. This could be a random girl, but she could also be essential to the plot. She appears to have red hair which gives me two ideas. Idea#1: The girl is the daughter of Concerned Looking Political Lady, motivating her to do something we see her do later on (shots 47,48,49). Idea#2: She's one of Jim Gordon's kids. I hope she's not Barbara though, cause I'd love to see her as Batgirl in the DC Cinematic Universe later on (the other Batgirls are cool and all, but if Batgirl is to appear in the DCCU I really hope it's Barbara before anyone else. She is the essential Batgirl).

13 A.

Cool shot, I'm a sucker for the vengeful look into the sky, no matter how overdone it might be. The camera zooms out to reveal...

13 B.

...the building is Wayne's (sign on the left). That's why I was so sure before when I said he knew people inside.

Concerned Looking Political Lady resumes her monologue:
"Let the record show that the committee holds him responsible."
Again, harsh words suggesting emotional involvement. More reason to believe she is the little girl's mother. Also, pairing those words with the image of Bruce Wayne leaves no doubt on his feelings towards Superman.


Alfred walking towards what can presumed to be what's left of Wayne Manor. So, what the hell has happened to it? I have two ideas again. Idea#1: The Joker has blown up the building, killing someone who I'm not going to mention now because it ruins the surprise of another shot if you missed it when watching the trailer yourself (shots 55, 56). Idea#2: When Batman retired (it has been confirmed that Batman has actually hung up his mantle prior to Man of Steel) he blew up his belongings in order to protect his identity, similar to his actions in 'The Dark Knight Returns'.
Of course, those are not the only options. The culprit might as well have been something like an earthquake, like in Batman: Cataclysm, which incidentally has quite a similar Wayne Manor (pictured below).

The shot looks a bit unfinished, as the building matte looks a bit off. Especially perspective wise and how it's just sitting on the horizon. The glow around it gives it much of an Adobe After Effects look.


Our first look inside the Batcave. Looks decent, but Burton still has the best live action Batcave in my opinion. This shot is quite useful in figuring out where characters are in subsequent shots (there's a scene in the red room, a scene in the room slightly left of center and on the right there is... oh boy, that's for later).


Bruce receiving a newspaper clipping while Alfred repeats his monologue from the last trailer during shots 16 through 22, this time landing on an image of Alfred himself:
"That's how it starts. The fever. The rage that turns good men cruel."


Holy shit dude. Who wrote this? Most people are guessing the Joker, but my money is on Lex Luthor trying to get a rise out of Bruce Wayne. This seems to suggest that he knows Batman's identity, but that isn't a necessity. Bruce Wayne is a powerful man, fanning the flames of his hatred towards Superman would be beneficial to Luthor all on its own.


Bruce reacts to the newspaper. This shot doesn't seem that significant at first glance, but that's a portrait of his father in the background (on the left), quite darkly echoing the message in the last shot.

Interestingly, the portrait of Thomas Wayne in 1989's 'Batman' is painted almost exactly the same, only mirrored. This prop department knows what's what.

The fact that this emphasis is usually placed on just his father is a bit odd though. Martha died too, you know. The perfectly crafted Animated Series by comparison never had these kind of hiccups:

Notice the necklace on Martha,
later to attract the attention of one Joe Chill.

Bruce training to become Batman once again. I didn't know this type of training was a thing, but apparently it's something professional athletes actually do. Now, I said that it is Bruce training, and that's clearly what we're supposed to take from this, but what if that isn't him? I mean, we don't really see his face and his hair looks awfully black instead of grey. Could this be a weakened Superman training on human level?

20 / 21.

We've already seen these shots in the previous trailer, but they're still cool. Back when the previous trailer came out, I had a suspicion regarding something in the background of shot 21. That suspicion is now confirmed by shots 55/56, but we'll get there when we get there.


First look at Alfred. Looks great in my opinion. They even gave him Michael Gough's glasses (well, almost). I'm still waiting for the day Alfred actually looks like his comic book counterpart though.

The legendary Michael Gough, for the filthy heretics among
you who might have trouble picturing him.

Looks like Batman is getting himself in trouble with the GCPD again. Where's Jim Gordon in all this?
Batman and the police didn't see eye to eye in 'The Dark Knight Returns' either.
Also, this panel is hilarious.

Shine that thing somewhere else, will ya?


First look at this film's version of the iconic batarang (or, more acurately, bat-shuriken). Classic Batman.


I have to be honest with you guys, I don't have the faintest clue who this might be. I mean... he's wearing a ring, so maybe he's a depowered Green Lantern? As in, this would be Kyle Rayner before Hal takes over because I assume the Justice League's Green Lantern is going to be Hal Jordan. Clearly, I'm grasping at straws here. Hey, wait a minute... that thing on his chest... is that...


Holy shit, Batman totally branded this guy! That's insane! Unless of course someone else did it in order to paint Batman in a bad light.


Bats! This shot could be from an origin story flashback. It could also mean that Batman uses sonar in order to let Bats unwillingly help him in his Batmanning (yes, Batman is a verb now. Deal with it), like in Frank Miller's 'Batman: Year One' (and 'Batman Begins', which copied the scene).


From shots 25 through here we hear what I presume to be Clark Kent's voice:
"This bat vigilante is like a one man reign of terror."
Prompting Perry White to respond:
"You don't get to decide what the right thing is."

This is what I love about Perry White. After all, he's not wrong. Clark is a reporter, not a columnist. His opinions on the matter are irrelevant.


That chin. Yum. I mean, uhm... aw screw it. By the way, is it mandatory for guys to wear either plaid or a sweater vest at the Daily Planet? Because all the guys are either wearing plaid or a sweater vest.


"Nobody cares about Clark Kent taking on the Batman."

GET IT? Hardyharhar.


Cool lighting.


A closer look at the emblem. The detail is great, metallic colour is a bit much.


Lois Lane recalls one of the better scenes in Man of Steel as she lays her hand on the emblem and says (shot 33 through 37):
"This means something. It's all some people have. It's all that gives them hope."


I like the idea of people directing their cries for help directly towards Superman in times of need. I don't know from where these people produced a bucket of paint and a roller though. Based on this image combined with the following two I think that there might be a short scene proceeding this where the man is highly skeptical of Superman to the point of animosity but the woman sees him in a good light to the point of deifying him, like a micro version of what's going on in America and probably the world.

36 / 37.

More credence to that deification I was talking about. Also note the red and blue colour scheme on the woman and the placing of Superman near the sun.


There is no way there are simultaneously that much light pollution and that many visible stars, but I'll allow it because it looks pretty neat. For some reason this image just screams 'Smallville' to me. So, you know, great.


Ma Kent (shot 38 through 46):
"People fear what they don't understand. Be their hero, Clark. Be their angel. Be their monument. Be anything they need you to be. Or be none of it. You don't owe this world a thing. You never did."
What the hell kind of speech is that? Imagine if in Lord of the Rings Aragorn would have said: "A day may come when the courage of men fails, when we forsake our friends and break all bonds of fellowship, but it is not this day! Or maybe it is, I dunno."


Classic Superman.


A different cut of an otherwise previously seen shot. Supes seems to drop by in Mexico in the middle of Día de Muertos solely to echo the mountain of skulls dream of the first movie. Of course, I'm sure there will be more to it in the actual movie.

42 / 43 / 44.

This looks like Superman is saving the manned capsule of a Russian space shuttle, but knowing how much this film owes to 'The Dark Knight Returns' he might also be stopping a nuclear weapon.

Side note: Shot 44 looks very Zack Snyder-esque.

Off topic, but "Twenty million die by fire if I am weak" is a great line.


I got nothing.


I don't like the way Superman is looking at Ma Kent here. Sure, her monologue sounded pretty stupid at the end there, but he doesn't have to react like that to her face for it. Maybe it's just my irritation that Superman doesn't get to smile in the entire trailer. Batman is supposed to be the brooding one, not Supes.

47 / 48 / 49.

Concerned Looking Political Lady visits the weirdly cast Lex Luthor (yeah, I still can't wrap my head around Jesse Eisenberg being Luthor). This is partially why I figured the little girl from shots 12 and 13 might be her daughter. Clearly the little girl wasn't hanging around Wayne Finances by herself. So where is her guardian? I think it's possible that the girl's father/this woman's husband died in Metropolis, making it emotionally easier for her to go through extremes to get to Superman, even if it means cooperating with a clearly shady Lex Luthor.

"Do you know the oldest lie in America, senator? Devils don't come from Hell beneath us, they come from the sky."
I get that he's trying to fan the flames regarding the senator's opinions on Superman, but the awkward phrasing makes it sound like he's saying that devils do in fact come from Hell beneath us.


In a rather curious turn of events we see Superman kneeling before Luthor. You've got my attention, movie!


Had this been the calm, calculated and menacing Lex Luthor of the comics, this would be a chilling scene indeed. Now, it's mostly just weird. Maybe it'll be different in context though.


Superman doesn't seem weakened by Kryptonite and the resentful look on his face shows that he's probably not being mind controlled either. That possibly leaves us with blackmail.


An accomplish of Luthor (assuming this is the same woman we saw from the back in panel 47) is leading the way for two soldies to transport a box that in all probability contains the body of Zod as seen in the next shot. The fact that the soldiers are even there is pretty significant. I'm guessing Luthor used Concerned Looking Political Lady to get the body of Zod from the government (a dead alien was lying around after the first film, of course it was being kept by a government agency).

Side note: Is it just me or does that woman look exactly like Mirage from 'The Incredibles'? You guys see it too right?


There's that Zod I was talking about. Maybe Luthor uses his body to study the biology of Kryptonians on order to gain a better understanding on how to beat Superman?

55 / 56. Robin!

There it is, the money shot. The thing that has exploded throughout the internet. The main reason I choose to do this analysis in the first place. Robin's suit, battered. Defaced by the Joker. The consensus on the internet is that this is the suit of Jason Todd (second Robin), propped up as a memorial like in the comics. Could be. In 'A Death in the Family' the Joker mercilessly beats Jason unconscious with a crowbar after which he leaves him in a building he then promptly blows up, killing Jason. Remember the state of Wayne Manor in shot 14? Looks like that exact scenario might have taken place there. I also spot at least one bullet hole. Like I mentioned before, the way it's propped up is also very reminiscent of Jason Todd. Here's an example of the memorial in the comics:

It's hard to miss the similarity.

Oddly enough, the first appearance of the memorial was before the actual death of Jason Todd was even a thing. In the pages of 'The Dark Knight Returns', a comic that takes place in Batman's future, predicting something would happen to at least one of the Robins. If you've been paying attention, you're beginning to see how much this film owes to this comic. Which makes the idea that the suit is in fact Jason Todd's all the more probable. Here's the memorial in 'The Dark Knight Returns':

There are two things people don't seem to have noticed however. First of, there's the fact that the suit looks much more like Tim Drake's (third Robin). Secondly, the weapon it is holding is also suspiciously similar to Tim Drake's weapon of choice.

This is Tim Drake.
Notice the priest-like high collar, pointy logo and the weapon he's holding.
So, what's going on here? I think the Robin referred to in the film is actually an amalgamation of Robins. Jason Todd and Tim Drake mixed into one character. Hell, maybe even Dick Grayson (first Robin) is in the mix. I hope he's not though, it would be cool if Nightwing is out there somewhere ('somewhere' being Blüdhaven for the moment, I guess).


First (moving) look at Gal Gadot in the film. Not as Wonder Woman yet, because these guys know how to tease. Her choice of clothing could have no significance at all, it could also be a nod to the comics. You see, during the 70s, Diana wanted to part with her past and thus choose to trade her traditional outfit for casual clothing. Stuff that was hip at the time. Although she has actually worn a lot of different outfits through the issues, somehow artists that now hark back to that period seem to fall back on one or two of her white outfits time and time again. So that might be why someone at the costume department thought to cloth Diana in white. Or maybe it just looks cool and I'm over analyzing things.
Maybe should have kept those bullet reflecting bracelets though, Di.


You can see in shot 15 that there's a red room in the Batcave, so that's where they're at.


I have no idea how these Superman logo wearing soldiers are going to factor into the movie. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing, it's nice not to know every once in a while. Surprise me, Chris Terrio!


"He has the power to wipe out the entire human race." Bruce says while looking sternly at Alfred (beginning from shot 58). Superman kind of looks like he's seriously considering it in this shot (he's not, of course). Bruce also said something else before that, but I'm not properly picking up what.

61 / 62 / 63.

Batman resurrects the Bat signal. He's lucky the thing still works or else he would have looked a bit foolish up there. I love that there is graffiti on the roof of the police station. Really goes to show what kind of city Gotham is. Looks like the graffiti near Batman's head might say 'Kane', after supposed Batman creator Bob Kane. If that's the case I'm crossing my fingers for a graffiti piece ten times as big referencing Bill Finger.


Great shot that just oozes 'Batman'. Interestingly, our introduction to the bat signal is framed quite similar to the introduction of the bat signal in 1989's 'Batman':


Kudos for defusing the detail on the signal. Would've looked glaringly unrealistic of that tiny head actually showed up on the clouds.


"I will have to destroy him."

Batman's battle armour, by the way, is taken directly from the pages of 'The Dark Knight Returns'.


Clearly, this shot is taken from the introduction of Aquaman in the film. I'm guessing the curious young diver sees him but mistakes him for a statue or something of the sort. Then, when he goes to reach, Aquaman looks up, startling the diver. I don't think his role in the movie will be much more than a cameo. At least I hope not, introducing too many Justice League members now would make the movie too dense.

Jason Momoa as Aquaman.
I saturated the colour. You're welcome.

These are most likely the Amazons of Themyscira (Paradise Island). Maybe coming to aid Wonder Woman, but more likely during a flashback or hers. Side note: who's with me in hoping there's a Lynda Carter cameo as Hippolyta or Artemis? Maybe throw Lucy Lawless in there for good measure...

Hey Joe, Whatta ya doin' with that gun in your hand?
The obligatory Wayne murder.


I'm calling it now: Best live action Thomas Wayne yet. Also, you can't tell by this shot, but the Waynes are actually leaving the cinema after having seen 'The Mark of Zorro', which then becomes a mayor influence on Bruce. Below is a set picture confirming this. This detail of Batman's origin story has been canon since its introduction in, you guessed it, 'The Dark Knight Returns' (also pictured below).

71 / 72.

Do I even have to site 'The Dark Knight Returns' as a mayor influence anymore?

Side note: this scene is looking very Zack Snyder-ish. Cool.


Wait, the Waynes are dead? I'm shocked. Shocked, I tell ya.


The Batwing flying over a burning rural area. At least I think it's the Batwing, could be Wonder Woman's jet.


I should probably be talking about Lois Lane here, but what's up with that guys's hair?


Speaking of people in the background, are those Mike and Molly? That's random.


There's Diana Prince again. Note the blue and red colour scheme. Also, valet guy finds little joy in his job.


There it is, after all this time! Wonder Woman in action! It's, uhm, well, is it dickish to say that Gal Gadot has a weird rage face? I'm mean, not to rain on anyone's parade or anything, but that's just odd looking.


This quick shot is the only shot we're getting where we almost see her full body and thus is the best look so far into how those controversial muted colours look on film. Also, she's putting her gauntlets together to counter something. This is significant because of the next shot.


Boom! Tokyo Fireball all up in yo face! Because of the shot proceeding this, we are left to assume that this is the amount of energy Wonder Woman got blasted at her during the fight. Holy shit. This almost must mean that we are to see a highly powerful nemesis in this film. I'm talking people like Darkseid, Doomsday, Metallo, Mongul... mayor league players like that.

81 / 84.

Batman in this getup reminds me of the Batman from 'JSA: Liberty Files':

With the pouch straps from 'The Dark Knight Returns' added around his leg:

He's not using that gun to kill anyone,
ease your cheese.
82 / 83.

Still not a clue.

85 / 87.

This looks awfully familiar. I'm not exactly complaining though, this looks awesomely familiar:


It's a quick shot, but it already looks like an awesome action scene.


Stop trying to look scummy, Superman. It doesn't suit you.


Shots 81 to here, Alfred:
"You're gonna go to war. He is not our enemy."
This, together with what we heard previously, makes me very hopeful for Alfred. It really looks like they're getting his character right. When Alfred sees something going a way he doesn't like, you bet your ass he's telling. At many times, Alfred has been the angel on Bruce's shoulder. He is the one that keeps him in check when things go awry.


The cop is motioning the cyclist to slow down or stop, but nobody is actually making a real effort to stop the guy, so I'm assuming it's Lex Luthor.

Where the hell is that lens flare coming from?


Again, where the hell is that lens flare coming from?


Damn, son. That's enough kryptonite to fuel an evil cyborg.

93 / 94.



Why yes, you are looking at Batman crashing through the roof with Superman under his feet while looking directly into the camera. Why'd you ask?


Another shot of Wonder Woman. One that clearly isn't finished yet, because that wall behind her is the fakest looking shit I have seen in a long while. I mean, really now. That look on her face is pretty awesome though.


98 A.

Just in case this movies connotations to a certain comic wasn't clear yet.

98 B.

Batman's grappling gun has been a staple since its introduction in 1989's 'Batman'. Before that it was just a grappling hook, but Batman swinging on it was still an iconic image (see figure A for Jim Lee rocking this). In fact, the very birth of Batman included him swinging about. No, not on an umbilical cord you weirdo. I meant his first appearance, see figure B. For this movie to use that image so eloquently, well, let's just say they made this Batman fan very happy.

Figure A
Figure B


"Black and blue, god versus man. Day versus night."
So there's that. I betting ten bucks that this quote will make the DVD cover.


Dude, Amy Adams is in your arms, can't you at least smile now? Somebody better be dead.


Damn, that looks like some serious shit is about to go down.


Crashing through windows. Another classic Batman move. Here he is doing it in '89:


I wasn't trying to make a wacky screencap, promise. This is the guy's face during the entire shot. He's saying "The redcapes are coming, the redcapes are coming.", liking himself to Paul Revere.


Speaking of red capes, screw Edna Mode, that cape rocks.


Superman ripping the top off the Batmobile. Another shot straight out of 'The Dark Knight Returns'. This shot is much more grainy than the others, which leads me to believe that the shot is cropped specifically for the trailer. If that's the case, what exactly are they hiding?


For the third goddamn time, where the fuck is that lens flare coming from? I mean, other than that it looks like a cool scene, but that's exactly the problem: why obscure it?

Although I think that the reason why the Batmobile immediately looked so familiar is because it's basically Burton's Batmobile with Nolan's detailing, the resemblance to its comic book counterparts for the last years also deserves a mention. Compare this side shot for example with this Batmobile from Batman Inc.:

And that brings us the the end of the trailer. I don't know about you guys, but I'm stoked to see the movie. No more promotional material for me though, that was quite enough. Any more information than this and we're venturing into highly spoiler-y territory, I imagine.

My main conclusion after seeing the trailer is that this is probably going to be a better Batman movie than a Superman movie. Now, Batman is my favorite DC character so I'm glad people are doing him justice (or at least seem to so far), but that doesn't lessen the fact that I also love Superman and want him to be accurately presented as well. I actually liked Man of Steel, but I hoped that Superman would get the change to lighted up a bit in the sequel. Looks like that's not going to happen. Kudos for accurately trying to portray people's first reaction to Superman though.
Overall, despite some apparent hiccups on Superman's side of the story, I think this is going to be a good movie. Or an entertaining one at least.

All screenshots are property of Warner Brothers, DC Comics.
All comic scans are property of DC Comics.

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