By Jack Dignan
It’s the trailer fans have been begging to see for months now. DC, the masters of releasing trailers too early and overhyping all of their movies to the point where everyone leaves disappointed, decided to wait things out for their upcoming blockbuster, Justice League, much to the surprise of fans. The film, which hits theaters this November, finally got a trailer this morning. DC’s biggest heroes (minus Green Lantern because… uh… goddamn it, Ryan Reynolds) are joining forces to save the world from an intergalactic threat, marking the first time these heroes will be seen on screen together in live action form. But the question remains… Will it be good?
In a perfect world, the answer to that would be a resounding yes. We’re now three films into the DC Extended Universe, with Wonder Woman coming out in a few months time, and each one has received mixed reactions from both fans and critics. Certain people like certain movies. Certain people hate certain movies. Many cite Batman V Superman as being a disaster, whereas I enjoy the hell out of it. Then there’s Suicide Squad… and uh yeah… I may have liked that on first viewing, but my eyes have since been opened. That leaves us with the much-anticipated Justice League movie. For me, Zack Snyder is two for two with his DC adaptations, although they aren’t without flaws, so I should be losing my mind over this trailer. But, I’m not.
First of all, major props to the trailer editors at Warner Bros. While their later trailers all seem to reveal too much, and they certainly shouldn’t have been put in charge of editing the entirety of Suicide Squad, they do know how to make a solid trailer. They can raise the hype. The Justice League trailer is a bombardment of visuals. Excitement can be found left, right and centre, showcasing Snyder’s distinct talent as a visual filmmaker. This is a man who knows how to craft a shot, each frame in this trailer full of dark, artful beauty. He’s a trailer editor’s wet dream, his shots perfect for visual montages and epic trailers. And that’s what’s getting me worried.
For as much as I want to love this movie, and it’s got a lot going for it, it’s also got a lot of story that needs to be told. While Marvel’s Avengers movies benefited from having these characters already introduced in previous solo films, Justice League does not. These are characters here that a lot of the general audience will hardly know. Sure, everyone knows and loves Batman and Superman, and this will mark Wonder Woman’s third on-screen appearance by the time it comes out, but it’s the lesser known characters who need to win audiences over. Wonder Woman was cool in Batman V Superman, maybe even one of the best parts of the movie, but if you were to base all knowledge of the character on what we see in that film, we don’t know much. Zack Snyder is a master of visual storytelling, but not necessarily of deep, layered characters. This is the first time we’ll see Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman on the big screen. I don’t want to see them as accessories to a cool action sequence and nothing more.
Thankfully, this trailer leaves glimmers of hope. A shot of Barry Allen visiting his dad, played by Billy Crudup, in jail seems to tease Allen’s tragic backstory. How much screen time his backstory will get remains to be seen, but here’s hoping it’s just enough to create empathy and likeability within the character, without bogging down the plot. Like I’ve said, this film has a lot to cover, so writer Chris Terrio needs to develop them enough to get audiences to care, while also interrelating it to the plot at hand. Rumours have spread that Justice League’s runtime will be three hours. That would put it at a similar length to the Ultimate Edition of Batman V Superman, a film that benefited from the extended runtime. If these rumours are true, let’s just hope Warner Bros. doesn’t cut out necessary scenes in order to shorten the runtime.
Not only do I want this film to be good, it almost needs to be good. I’ve called too many DC films the film that’s going to save the DCEU. With Justice League, I won’t be making the same mistake. If this film flops critically, even with the inclusion of Geoff Johns, the future of DC isn’t looking bright. The trailer itself looks good, as do all DC trailers, so it’s only a matter of waiting it out in anticipation. I like Man of Steel. I love Batman V Superman. I’m really hoping to adore Justice League. DC, you started the year off strong with The Lego Batman Movie. Please don’t let me down.
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