Let me begin by saying I loved the Captain America: Civil War trailer. I'll add I've been reading comics pretty much my entire life with most of my childhood immersed in DC and then moving into Marvel in my early teens, and while I can honestly say I spend more time loving Marvel, I can't say I love any one universe more than the other. Batman is pretty much cooler than 60% of the Marvel Universe...so there you go. Like many fans my age, Bruce Timm's DC Animated Universe stands as the highest achievement in telling the tales of the DC Comics Universe, adapted for a younger audience while staying true to the older fans. In my opinion, if you want to successfully re-create that universe for the big screen, you start by talking to Bruce.
That's not what's been happening...for years now.
There was..and is...a bit of a conceit behind many a super hero/ comic book to movie screen adaptation. Whether it is executives or hot shot writers or both...there is someone looking at these award winning, fan loved comics and saying "This will never work on the screen, for audiences around the world." ...and then the worst part... "WE CAN DO BETTER."
nO. No. ...you can't.
The reason why most of the Marvel movies work is there is no disdain for the source material. We are talking about MARVEL STUDIOS making Marvel Comics Movies, so a lot of the love for the characters involved and the stories that make them icons remains intact every step of the way. With FOX...not so much. They need it hipper..more real..more wild and imaginative...and it's almost always a mess. Let's get real...X-Men First Class was a fluke. At the time of it's release, you could not find me one person at FOX who thought it was going to be as well received as it was. Ask any die hard X-Men fan and they will tell you one has to turn their brain off almost completely to enjoy these movies, as the stories are butchered and character's souls ripped apart and put back together. For DC I suppose it's worse, as ever since Marvel began their rise to dominance over the big screen, Warner Bros have been anxious to capture a bit of that action...and have been failing continually.
Ironically, WB has a TV show called Flash that, when not mired in soap opera clap-trap, understands that comics are fun and why. Point of fact, that fun and lightness is starting to infect the always overly dramatic Arrow ..and for the better. They've also churned out more than a few animated movies with one of the more recent ones being from BRUCE TIMM and it was gritty and real worldy and a complete retelling of the DC Comics mythos and IT WAS EXCELLENT!! It was as if Bruce wanted to show WB how it's done, using their rules..and then he did it..and WB said "yea that's great...go play with your dolls now."
I can go on with this rant for at least 20 more minutes, but I'd rather analyze what we just watched and explain why it hurt my head. Apparently, Warner Bros have taken two MASSIVE stories in the DC Universe and thought it would be a good idea to chop them to ribbons and reconstruct them for one insane film. How they hope to achieve this in three hours or less without leaving people with bleeding eyes in the hallways of theaters everywhere...I do not know. The stories are as follows:
1. The Dark Knight Returns: Ben Affleck is doing a grumbly, older, sort of "I grew up in the city back in the day" Bruce Wayne because he's doing Frank Miller's Bruce, in a sense. This would be fine, but he's standing in front of Man of Steel Superman who he is meeting for the first time. That's two different time lines with MIIIIILES of context between them and acres of storytelling not laid down at all. To shove a world weary Bruce Wayne in front of a newly active Superman is a really odd choice, and in the minute we see of them on the screen here, it is glaringly wrong. The original comic series climaxes with a fight between Superman and Batman in his Kryptonian Beat-Down Armor. It's a long time coming and is heart stopping for a life long fan to read. To just rip that from the books and say "that was cool...we'll use it here" is terrible...but we knew it was happening..so we'll move on from that. The most shocking part of this trailer is ..the Dark Knight Returns elements are not the whole film.
2. The NEW52 Justice League: We wondered how they were going to throw practically the entire Justice League at us in one film that's not even a Justice League movie. I think we know now. Our odd caricature of Lex Luthor has a hand in re-engineering the deceased Zod, turning him into ..well..essentially..Doomsday, who in the comics is one of the only creatures capable of killing Superman. When this Zodoomsday appears, it's time to put aside grievances and work together, just like the Justice League at the birth of the revamped DC Universe in the NEW52, where Darkseid's forces invade and a very quickly formed Justice League must learn to fight together or surrender their world. This is what I gathered from the quick introduction of Wonder Woman and i'm 80% sure that's where they are going with things. If that's the case, we really won't get proper introductions for any of the other heroes appearing in the film. They may just conveniently show up, lay down witty banter and then jump into the fight.
I want to love this film. Honestly I really really do. I stood in line for an hour to watch a teaser trailer that already leaked on the internet just to show a little support for the film. This is a mess. This reeks of desperation. This is watching a good friend of yours getting up on stage in front of the entire school to sing "Bohemian Rhapsody" from start to finish, knowing full well he doesn't sing very well, and watching in horror as he's staged a whole production around it with velcro tear away costume changes, dancers, set pieces and pulsating lighting, ending with hands full of sparklers and not an ounce of breath left for a Thank You.
I'm still going to see this glorious mess...but i'll probably be watching low in my seat with my hands over my face for the duration. Good luck to you all.