Warner Brothers has planned an elaborate IMAX stunt to see the first trailer for Superhero Face Punch on Monday night, but the internet, that jackhole, ruined it by spraying Bat-jizz everywhere last night and leaking the trailer early. (The internet also blew Marvel’s big Avengers: Age of Ultron reveal last year.) WB is under a HUGE amount of pressure to deliver with this movie. They’re not going to split it in half— which was a legit option with shareholders dragging them for not having a superhero flick queued up this year—which is the right thing to do, but it puts even more pressure on Superhero Face Punch to deliver in 2016. It HAS to make a billion. They’re basically in the same position that Sony was in last year with The Amazing Spider-Man 2—they’ve got a lot of future plans but they all hinge on this one movie. If this doesn’t work, they’re F*CKED.
So this trailer has to hit. Like Lainey said, they want to turn the superhero conversation their way. And, well, it leaked late on a Thursday night when everyone was still pumped from New New Star Wars. By the time their IMAX event rolls around on Monday, everyone will have seen the trailer and the conversation is already over. I’m not saying it’s not a big deal—it is. Anything about Superman and Batman punching each other in the face has value. The movie will make money, it’s just a question of whether or not it makes enough money. And the trailer, leak or no, is a big deal. But the way this has gone down, it’s sandwiched between Star Wars and Ultron and that’s not where they want to be.
As for the trailer, even the blurry bootleg offers some really slick visuals. How a movie looks is never a problem with Zack Snyder. But the dialogue? Atrocious. “Tell me, do you bleed? You will.” I’m trying to get nerd-hard for that, I really am, but it’s just the worst. That sounds like some sh*t a cheesy one-off villain on a cheesy superhero TV show like Agents of SHIELD would say. I’m also not into Batman’s vocoder making him sound like Christian Bale’s infamous Bat-whisper, but whatever. They’re trying to trick us into believing Christopher Nolan has more to do with this than he does. It’s not a bad marketing angle—invoke The Dark Knight and hope mass audiences follow—but I don’t get a sense of Batfleck at all. This feels like an impersonation, like SNL poking fun at super serious superhero movies.
And that’s my biggest problem—the tone. This is why I can’t get hard for Superhero Face Punch. The tone is SO over the top. It’s relentlessly grim, and the whole f*cking thing is at night, and half of it is in the rain. Superman and Batman punching each other in the face ought to be the f*cking coolest thing in the world, but it feels like a drag. We can’t have even a little hope and lightness in this? It can’t be a little fun? Of course not, SUPERHEROES ARE SUPER SERIOUS. Dudes in capes flying around and punching through sh*t is a metaphor for humanity’s existential crisis of faith it’s not fun no one can enjoy it and f*ck your hope right out the door.
I’m fine with WB/DC taking a pulpier, more noir tone with their movies. I’m fine with morally conflicted heroes. But this is too bleak. Where’s the fist pump? Tell me, which part of this is supposed to make me stand up and cheer? When Batman and Superman grimly stare at each other in the rain? Sorry, but they’re not actually doing anything and I don’t know why they’re fighting except that some people are scared of Superman, which frankly, is justified. Pop quiz: Iron Man and Captain America are fighting—who do you root for? You had an answer right away didn’t you? Now, tell me who you’re rooting for here. Who do you care about winning? Do you care? I don’t. All I care about after watching the Superhero Face Punch trailer is getting a f*cking drink because that sh*t is exhausting. Watch now while you can before they pull it down.