by Ricardo Williams
When I heard the news that the Justice League trailer was finally released, all I could think to myself was: “Please God don’t let them screw this up.” And although fans like me have fallen for this trap countless times before- dare I say it, the trailer actually looks very promising.
Here are a few of my reactions to the footage.
When you look at the long history of the League and their very popular and powerful roster, the Last Son of Krypton is clearly at the top of the list and would by most guesses be the leader of the team. But the first live action outing of DC’s mightiest heroes presents a different scenario. It is not Superman, but Batman leading the team and taking on the very large responsibility of assembling everyone and by his side- the team’s most famous female member and (arguably) second most powerful, Wonder Woman. This makes perfect sense. Batman and Wonder Woman are trained fighters with actual experience in combat and strategy, Superman is not.
2.) Marvel’s Cinematic Formula is Front and Center
Marvel’s The Avengers in 2012 featured Nick Fury and SHIELD assembling Iron Man, Captain America, and other heroes in their cinematic universe to stop an unknown threat that “no single hero could handle alone”. The film’s huge box office return made all the other studios in the world hungry for their own billion dollar comic book movie team-up and its looking like DC and Warner Brothers are using the exact same story formula (aka we need to assemble a team of the most powerful people to stop a mysterious threat and they all just happen to have conflicting personalities and don’t necessary want to work together or even like each other but eventually realize they need to work together to stop this… threat- or whatever it is).
With that said, the first Avengers was the ultimate nerdgasm, some of the best comic book characters done right and brought together in a fun movie-going experience, but I don’t think its a good idea that Justice League is going that same route. One of my favorite comics ever is Geoff Johns’ “Justice League, Vol. 1: Origin (The New 52)”. Released a few years ago, it was a modern retelling of the formation of the Justice League. A fun and exciting character-driven issue with the famously skeptical Batman at the center struggling to trust these 6 super-powered people. There was no master plan of assembling a team, but rather a group of powerful people who met as the threat was happening and had to do some serious on-the-job training on working together. Johns is one of the best comic writers of all time and I’m hoping that through his involvement in the DC Extended Universe, some of his genius reaches the big screen.
One of the truly great achievements of the Justice League trailer is that Snyder and Co. have successfully made Aquaman not suck. The character in the comics is cool. He’s tough, powerful, and has a vast diverse universe (under the water)– but that hasn’t always translated into the public perception of him (aka non-fanboy world). When people think Aquaman, the first thing that comes to mind is a blonde, blue-eyed white guy in an orange and green suit, riding a whale and talking to fish… which is actually accurate. Casting Jason Momoa literally erases all the things that make him lame and judging by the trailer he’s heavy drinking and adventurous; and will most likely have a very fun relationship with Batman.
4.) Justice League is Just as Dark as Dawn of Justice… But More Fun.
Man of Steel, the Superman origin story that kicked off the DC Extended Universe, received mixed reviews. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, although making over 800 million bucks, received generally negative reviews. And Suicide Squad… that movie was just dumb- be honest. The first 3 films of DC’s movie world have had a rocky start but one thing is consistent among their critiques: the movies are just so dark– not just in tone, but literally dark. Its like the sun never comes out. Its like no one is happy. And its like no one tells a joke- or at least a joke that’s actually funny. Enter Ezra Miller’s portrayal of the Flash. A character that has thrived on television with its campy, yet very entertaining tone. This is a character that was made to be fun (and funny) and it looks like he plans to deliver on screen. One of the highlights of the trailer is Miller’s character sitting beside Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne and he condescendingly asks “What are your superpowers again?” to which Affleck responds: “I’m rich”. And with that one exchange the humor Gods have parted the clouds and allowed some light to peak its way into this dark world.
5.) The Justice League Doesn’t Need The Most Famous Character in Comic Book History.
If you’ve seen the trailer for the Justice League, you noticed that a certain someone doesn’t seem to be around- and if you saw Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, you understand why. Now obviously Henry Cavill is confirmed to be in the film and they are most certainly saving any footage of him for a later release as part of some marketing roll out– but lets be honest, its a really fucking bold move to introduce the first ever live action version of the Justice League WITHOUT the most famous character in comic book history.
With that said, something very strange occurs when you watch this trailer. After digesting the 2-minute spectacle of Wonder Woman kicking ass, Batman being a grumpy old man, the Flash being cute, Cyborg being a… cyborg (thats all I’ve got for now), and Aquaman making your girlfriend swoon (and your boyfriend jealous), you realize something… the Justice League doesn’t really need Superman- at least they don’t need him to make the movie look awesome. Superman may be the most famous character in comic book history, but he hasn’t always been the most popular on the big screen– and as the fans always say, “the books are better”
Watch the trailer below.
Oh yeah, Junkie XL and Gary Clark Jr.’s version of “Come Together” by the Beatles is a brilliant addition.