The 2016 Comic Book Blockbuster race is heating up big time. Over the last 10 days or so, both Marvel and DC released more trailers for their next big ‘event’ movies– Captain America: Civil War and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, respectively.
DC and Marvel have been trading blows for years, jockeying for the top spot in print, TV, movies, and pop culture. Well enough is enough. Now that DC is going all in with building a cinematic superhero team of their own, it’s time to pick a side.
I’ve broken down the Tale of the Tape– or Trail(er) of the Tape, as it were– into five categories:
- Enjoyment: As a stand alone entity, is the trailer fun to watch? This is a positive score.
- Excitement: After watching the trailer, so I want to see this movie? This is a positive score.
- Intrigue: After watching the trailer, how likely am I to look for additional content on this movie? This is a positive score.
- Confusion: At any point during or following the trailer did I ask myself, “What the hell was that?” This is a negative score.
- Spoiler Potential: Do I feel like the movie has been spoiled by the trailer? This is a negative score.
Captain America: Civil War
Enjoyment: +3. I mean… meh. That trailer was just ok. Rather than picking one theme and building a snippet of a story around it, the audience was bombarded with 10 different baited hooks in a flurried attempt to snag the audience’s attention. I have the highest of hopes for Civil War and right now I’ve got my fingers crossed that this is an amazing Christmas gift wrapped in old newspaper.
Excitement: +3. In the real world, I’m at level 5 excitement, but that’s because the Civil War storyline in Marvel Comics is one of my favorites. Civil War in print was a months long slow burn with big and small payoffs at the turn of every page. Civil War the trailer was a 2:26 minute assault on my senses and my most easily accessible pop culture memories. Based solely on that tease, I’m not super excited, because I’m not sure what to be excited about. There was a LOT going on.
Intrigue: +4. The reasons why I didn’t love the trailer are the same reasons why I am intrigued. If the goal of that first look was to get me to ask, “who is that? why is this happening? What is his problem? Where is this going?” then mission accomplished! I need to find some stuff out, and I’m not willing to wait to see the movie to do so.
Confusion: –3. That was a lot to follow in a short period of time and relies completely on the audience knowing everything about the Marvel Cinematic Universe. For the same reasons that I an excited, and intrigued, I am also confused. There might as well have been a question mark in every other frame of that video.
Spoiler Potential: –5. So… did you just tell me that Iron Man and Captain America are arguing, wind up breaking up, and fight in this movie AND you’ve told me the reason why? So I’m just showing up to see who wins and the debut of Black Panther? Dope. Here’s my $15.00.
FINAL SCORE: 2 out of 5
Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice
Enjoyment: +4. WOW! That started really great and ended really poorly in the most enjoyable way possible– like a drunk best man speech at a wedding. Contextually hilarious beginning, got super uncomfortable, and ended with me saying, “I can’t believe that happened; can’t wait to watch that mess again on my phone later.”
Excitement: +3. This hit 5 right before Superman dropped into the underground dungeon where he’s holding Batman. At that point, I don’t think the editors could help themselves and decided to shove the climax of every plot twist into the last 15 seconds.
Intrigue: +2. I was hooked and then every question I knew to ask, and a few I didn’t, were answered. It’s hard to get your audience interested when you’re telling them what to love or hate during the movie’s, “hello.”
Confusion: –2. I’m only confused as to why they would do this. I’m certainly not confused by the plot– that trailer basically gave me the cliff’s notes for the entire three hour movie. Batman and Superman don’t like each other, Lex Luthor resurrects Zod, unleashes Doomsday, and Wonder Woman saves them. You could have stopped with Batman and Superman don’t like each other and still made a billion dollars. The audience going to this movie is already going, guys. Stop ruining everything by ruining EVERYTHING.
Spoiler Potential: –5. The milk has gone bad. The vegetables have spots. The bread is mad moldy. This movie has been spoiled.
FINAL SCORE: 2 out of 5
Verdict: Wow. I should add a category called SMH, because that would have smashed this tie to smithereens. I shook my head so hard during the end of the Batman trailer, my neck cracked. Regardless, I will see both of these… so I guess the trailers did something right.
TL; DR: Both movies are going to make billions of dollars and neither movie studio trusts their audiences to be excited about either movie, so they crammed every possible exciting thing about the movie into two minutes.