Much of the buzz within comic fandom these last few months has been around the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron this May, and for good reason. It’s the next big tentpole in Marvel’s insanely popular cinematic universe, and a follow-up to the highest-grossing superhero movie ever made. But slowly building steam in the background is Warner/DC’s next big feature, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Despite the fact that we have little more than a short teaser and a whole lot of rumors, fans have been clamoring for this one for quite some time.
Dawn of Justice carries with it a far-off release date of March 2016, so we have quite a while to wait before it ever sees the light of day. Even so, its release will mark DC’s first major piece in its Justice League puzzle, set to assemble completely in November 2017. Warner’s working on a later calendar, which may work against them as the superhero craze inevitably fades — meaning Dawn of Justice could very well be its first and only shot at capitalizing on the trend while it’s still relevant. Featuring a movie that pits two of the most iconic DC superheroes against each other, it could very well number itself among the most popular movies of its genre.
So what is it about this movie that’s getting people this excited? Sure, The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises are the second and third highest grossing superhero movies ever made respectively, so needless to say people love Batman. Man of Steel managed to haul in $291 million over its run in theaters too, so both heroes have proven themselves to be eminently marketable. But it goes far beyond the existence of the title characters: For the first time ever in the extended comic book cinematic universe, we’ll be seeing those same two characters act as opposing forces (hence the “v” in the title, duh).
There’s a storied history of Batman battling Superman in the comics, as part of a lengthy series that (comic book spoiler warning) saw the Dark Knight beat the Man of Steel into submission before faking his own death. We have no signs of whether or not Dawn of Justice will follow along with any of this storyline, but we imagine it’ll diverge heavily given DC/Warner’s plan to build the Justice League out two years from now. What we imagine the movie more as is an introduction to the new Batman in the post-Christopher Nolan era. What better way to show him as a formidable hero than to have him battle Superman to kick things off in the new DC universe?
But Dawn of Justice isn’t merely just an introduction to Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne. Rumors abound that we’ll also be seeing a host of other DC characters for the very first time. So far, the list includes Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, Gal Gadot’s Wonderwoman, Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, and Ray Fisher’s Cyborg. That would potentially fill out five of the seven Justice League members in a single movie, with only Green Lantern and the Flash left to go. In a lot of ways, it may very well act as a pre-Justice League primer to help bridge the year-long wait until we get the real deal in 2017. The rest of their release schedule will be packed around that date in the meantime, with Suicide Squad (August 2016), Wonder Woman (June 2017), The Flash (March 2018), and Aquaman (July 2018).
But that brings us all the back to wondering: What will Dawn of Justice actually be all about? An official synopsis has yet to be released, and the first real trailer will go live on April 20 to give us our first look. For now, we’re left with rumors and speculation to fill the Superman-sized void.
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