With Wonder Woman now less than a month away from hitting theaters, we were wondering when Warner Bros. and DC would finally put out another trailer — in an age of ceaseless promotion, it was a surprise to go a couple months between official trailers, even if there’s been a fair number of TV spots recently. The trailer drought ended on Sunday during the MTV Movie and TV Awards, when the nearly three-minute final trailer for Wonder Woman debuted.
The trailer makes plain a few of the oddities in the promotion of this movie. The main oddity is, in a way, kind of refreshing — this is the first trailer that has reminded us that Wonder Woman isn’t just fighting the German forces of Kaiser Wilhelm II. Doctor Poison, creator of the Reverso drug, looks to be the main villain, although Ares is (literally) lurking in the background. For whatever reason, DC and Warner Bros have never marketed villains as much as heroes (or villains playing as anti-heroes), so maybe we shouldn’t be too surprised.
Besides revealing Doctor Poison, the trailer touches once again on Diana growing up, leaving Themyscira with Steve Trevor, and trying to fit in with the London set.
DC and Warner Bros have been getting some criticism for a perceived lack of marketing for the movie. That criticism could be a bit overblown (even according to marketing dollars spent) — there have been four trailers now, and while we’re used to constant marketing now, it wasn’t that long ago that even that much would have been considered excessive. The usual superhero movie marketing campaigns tend to leave very little surprises when the actual movie gets released, so absent of context, the Wonder Woman campaign seems reasonable.
Another red flag was a marketing tie-in with diet brand thinkThin and their protein bars, which came with accusations that the marketing had taken a wrong turn by associating Wonder Woman with the unrealistic body image concerns that the character has long been plagued by. But, there have also been tie-ins with NASCAR, Pinkberry and Dr. Pepper, along with the usual battery of superhero toys and merchandise. It makes sense for Warner Bros. and DC to spread out marketing to attract as many demographics as possible, which leads to the real concern — there doesn’t seem to be as many partners as there have been with other superhero movies. Maybe that’s bad, but maybe it’s also nice not to be bludgeoned with tie-ins? Hard to say.
Unfortunately, the third concern makes the first two a little more eyebrow-raising. As is tradition with DCEU movies, rumors of production difficulties have been festering. Nothing’s for sure, but insiders have been cited as saying the movie is ‘disjointed.’ While comparisons between Marvel and DC are often unfair, one thing that is true is that Marvel has planned their cinematic universe meticulously, a process that started well before Iron Man introduced it to moviegoers. DC and Warner Bros seem to have been trying to catch up on the fly, and the lack of planning has been evident — the movies seem more like one-off adventures, but the frequent crossovers (like Wonder Woman in Batman V Superman) suggest that these movies really are supposed to be part of a whole.
That’s a long way of saying that we really, really, really, really want Wonder Woman to be good, but we’re also really, really, really, really worried that it’s headed for trouble. Then again, it’s worth separating critical reception from the that of moviegoers — while DCEU movies haven’t been as successful as their Marvel counterparts, they haven’t been bombs, either, and the average moviegoer has been far more forgiving than critics and comic book enthusiasts. Here’s hoping that when the movie comes out, this all will have been much ado about nothing.