We got our first look at Ben Affleck as Batman yesterday courtesy of director Zack Snyder, and by all accounts, it was pretty wonderful.
Our excitement over the new Bat-suit got us thinking: what’s the best, most goosebump-inducing first look at a superhero ever, and where does the reveal of Batfleck rank? Here’s a rundown of some of our favorites.
12) “Hulk” Teaser Trailer
Ang Lee’s 2003 version of the Hulk is one of the most polarizing superhero movies, regarded by some as an artistic failure, a curious blip on the radar of Marvel successes.
The first teaser trailer for “Hulk” is not polarizing: it’s just awesome. Eric Bana delivers a great Jekyll & Hyde-inspired monologue with just the right about of crazy, and though we never see the full Hulk, seeing Bana’s eye and face morph before he destroys a house made fans eager to see what would be on the big screen.
11) Chris Hemsworth As Thor
“Thor” was probably Marvel’s riskiest venture at the time. The thunder god isn’t a normal superhero, and Marvel was faced with the task of making him true to the comics while still being believable in a connected universe.
Everyone wanted to know what newcomer Chris Hemsworth, then known as the guy who played Captain Kirk’s dad in J.J. Abrams’ “Star Trek,” would look like. The first image, featuring a brooding Hemsworth in costume, managed to show how the movie would be respectful to Thor’s medieval look, and that Hemsworth was a ginormous human being who was believable as a god.
10) Ron Perlman as Hellboy
Even riskier than taking a god and translating him to the big screen? Taking a demon and doing the same thing.
Guillermo Del Toro was the perfect man for the job, and this first image from “Hellboy” shows that Ron Perlman was a perfect casting choice.
9) “Iron Man” First Image
No one knew quite what to expect from the movie version of “Iron Man,” directed by a guy known at that point for “Swingers” and “Zathura;” but the first image of the suit put a lot of those fears to rest. It’s probably the best comics-to-film translation of any supersuit, keeping everything that makes the character recognizable and making it as realistic as it can be.
8) Ben Affleck as Batman in “Batman Vs. Superman”
We’ve written plenty about this one, but now a day removed it’s safe to say that the picture is cool (and very different from most first looks we get of heroes); but it’s hard to imagine it on the big screen with Snyder’s interesting photographic choice. Fans have taken to colorizing Affleck’s suit to give us a better idea, but until we see a wide shot of the suit in full color, it’s hard to know how this will play. Still, that doesn’t make it any less fun to guess.
7) Christian Bale As Batman In “Batman Begins”
Coming off the debacle that was Joel Schumacher’s “Batman and Robin,” Christopher Nolan and co. knew they needed a suit that emphasized the seriousness of Batman (and preferably one that didn’t have nipples). All Batman fans let out a big exhale upon seeing this first picture, featuring a Batman who was dark, brooding, modern, and who you could take seriously. It was the first step in taking in the camp out of Batman.
6) Henry Cavill As Superman in “Man of Steel”
Zack Snyder had a similar task to Nolan, to erase any thoughts of “Superman Returns.” The first image of Henry Cavill in costume allayed many fan fears: Cavill was far more imposing than Brandon Routh, and his new suit was a very modern take on Superman, getting rid of the red underwear and making the costume look more alien with a scaly blue fabric. Mostly, it was just pretty cool.
5) “Superman Returns” Teaser Trailer
Oh, you wanted goosebumps? This one has it in oodles. Bryan Singer’s combination of old school Americana imagery, John Williams’ music, and Marlon Brando’s classic voiceover was enough to make Superman fans need to change their pants. It’s an extraordinary trailer that made people expect an extraordinary film, which perhaps hurt when the film was actually released. Still, that image of Superman’s silhouette against the sun while Brando says “They only lack the light to show the way” is as good a Superman moment as you’ll get, even if it is just in a trailer.
4) “Spider-Man” Teaser Trailer
Because of 9/11, this trailer was only shown in theaters for a short amount of time, and the scene, involving Spider-Man capturing villains in a web between the Twin Towers, was cut from the film.
But having seen that trailer when it first came out, I can tell you: it was the greatest thing ever. I freaked out in the theater seeing it, and I’m sure plenty of other Spidey fans did too. It was perfectly disguised as a heist movie, and then suddenly, you see the web and realize that the webslinger was hitting the big screen. His costume looked great, and even the first scene of him swinging over New York city was pretty exhilarating. It’s hard to surprise people nowadays, but this teaser did just that.
3) “Captain America” Post-Credits “Avengers” Teaser
After waiting years to see the Marvel Phase One universe come together, waiting for each movie’s post-credits scene to set up another piece of continuity, we finally were rewarded for our patience after the “Captain America” credits with 30 seconds of “Avengers” teaser-y goodness. Nick Fury tells Cap that he needs him to save the world, and then the teaser’s off, showing us our favorite heroes finally together, and making everyone wish they could just fast forward time to see the damn movie already.
2) The Joker’s Viral Marketing Reveal For “The Dark Knight”
“The Dark Knight” boasted some of the best viral marketing ever for a movie, though it had the added benefit of re-introducing arguably the best villain in anyone’s rogues gallery, the Joker, to the big screen. It had been over 20 years since Joker appeared, and the seemingly strange casting choice of Heath Ledger for the role had people a bit confused.
And then the viral marketing hit, and confusion turned right to excitement as fans could submit their email addresses to the site Ibelieveinharveydenttoo.com to, piece by piece, reveal the first image of the Joker. How excited were fans? Well, they got the whole picture in less than 24 hours. The site was soon taken down, but the image remained to haunt your dreams. Amazingly, Ledger’s Joker exceeded these early expectations, becoming one of the most iconic big screen villains ever.
1) “Iron Man” Post-Credits Reveal of Nick Fury
No words. Just watch, and remember what it felt like to absolutely freak out in a movie theater because Samuel L. Jackson had an eyepatch and said “Avengers initiative.” This was the post-credits scene that launched the Marvel cinematic universe, and might be the most groundbreaking reveal of them all.