Over the past year audiences have watched as Marvel and DC have waged an all-out marketing war to hype up their two mega blockbusters: Captain America: Civil War and Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice. Both films are set to make important contributions to the superhero film genre; being the first of their kind to feature a central conflict between two superheroes. However, can either side be said to have actually won the war?
For starters, it can be seen that DC’s marketing has been far more omnipresent. The first footage for Batman vs. Superman was initially shown all the way back in 2014 at San Diego Comic Con, almost a year and a half before the film’s release. Since then the film has spawned four trailers (including that leaked one), filmed adverts for Jeep and Turkish Airlines set within the film’s universe and has also had a major partnership with Doritos, to name a few ways this has attempted to set up a marketing powerhouse.
In fact, the only thing the film hasn’t bought in terms of conventional blockbuster marketing is a Superbowl spot.
Marvel on the other hand has largely left us grasping at straws; with only a month before Civil War’s release there have only been two trailers plus the exclusive content released at D23, a Superbowl spot, a Facebook campaign and partnerships with Lego and Coca-Cola, which haven’t been well advertised outside the U.S. But this all begs the question: why am I more excited for Civil War than Batman vs Superman?
From a marketing perspective, all the attention should be on Batman vs Superman. Their campaign is better known, has been vastly more expensive and has largely been focused on out hyping Marvel at every turn. However this, I argue, has been the downfall of their campaign.
Only eight days after Civil War’s first trailer was released on YouTube DC revealed that Doomsday, a major Superman villain, will be the main driving force which unites the two opposing forces to fight for the greater good. And this is what the films are really about. Everyone knew there would be spectacular action and intense moral debates, but the mystery has always been what can stop the fighting. A question which DC, in an act of desperation, has answered.
They have played their trump card and Marvel knew they would. Even a month before Civil War there has been no photos or footage of Baron Zemo –the film’s primary antagonist- and we have only just seen Spiderman – who everyone knew would appear in Civil War anyway.
The lack of mystery will not stop people from going to see Batman vs Superman and nor should it. You don’t watch a film over again to only see the twist. You know the twist. But the twist is now gone. The hype has vanished. Whatever will be said after the 25th of March will unquestionably vary except from one word: predictable. And the tragedy is we didn’t need trailers or expensive marketing campaigns in the first place. We only needed Batman vs Superman.
Image: S.K.M, Youtube.com