THE ANATOMY OF BATMAN TRAILERS

Bruce Wayne, as much as he is the man behind the suit, the trailers focus on the Caped Crusader. Out of 19 minutes, the five Batmen are only shown for a minute and 53 seconds. The film Batman Begins, which spends the most time on Batman’s origins shows an unmasked Bruce Wayne the most at 36 seconds while the original Batman only spends 4 seconds behind the cowl.

Villains are shown for 3 minutes and 45 seconds. Batman Returns spends a minute and 3 seconds on Catwoman and the Penguin while the first trailer for Batman vs Superman doesn’t feature a single shot of the villain, focusing on the conflict between the two iconic DC super-heroes instead.

The tone between the trailers changes as new directors take the helm. While the Tim Burton films spend the most time on dark imagery especially for the time the first two films were released, Joel Schumacher relies on comedic beats. Thirty seconds into the trailer for Batman Forever, the first line delivered is a joke by Alfred asking if Batman would like to bring a sandwich with him. Each director who tackles a new part of the Batman franchise establishes their style within the first thirty seconds. Christopher Nolan’s first shots of the trailer for Batman Begins is of a young Bruce Wayne scared to death after falling into a well and being attacked by bats. Symbolism and fear are core themes for the next trilogy of films and the trailer immediately establishes these themes. Zack Snyder’s film is more focused on the roles of the heroes and the shoes they fill. With the shots of the Superman statue, the adoration of fans and the words “false God,” Batman is shown in the opposite light as Bruce Wayne stares at an empty suit.

The trailers for the last 25 years have relied on most of the same images. Batman floating down with his cape stretched out. Menacing close ups of villains. Aerial shots of Gotham (no matter which real world location is used). Alfred delivering a witty line as the comic relief. Though some changes have been made. We wouldn’t see a daylight scene until Batman Begins. Though Zack Snyder’s trailer is completely at night.

Bruce Wayne is shown as a Playboy when watching 20 minutes of Batman trailers back to back. In most of the early trailers, when unmasked we see the various Waynes with models, reporters and even the main villain of the first sequel. Originally promoted as a dark James Bond style character, gadgets, planes and cars are the focus of the first few films before the Nolan switch showing Batman as an underdog driven by conviction.

Aside from Batman Begins, the trailers seem to live by just showing Batman doing cool stuff, which is enough to get most people in a theater. With the exception of the last trailer, the villains are always front and center showing the threat for the film. This is very different from how Marvel promotes their films, rarely showing the film’s villain and focusing on the arc of the hero.

Zack Snyder will be controlling Batman for the Justice League movie, but I’m sure there will be a new face directing the solo Batman movies. We’ll have to wait until then to see if they follow any of the trends of the previous Batman trailers or start a new chapter.

This was originally posted at TrailerMadeTV.

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