4 Underwhelming Things About the New Justice League Trailer: Impressions

Oh boy.

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock on the Internet, you’ve probably heard that there’s a new trailer out for the upcoming Justice League movie. It’s pretty much looking like the movie will turn out along the same lines as how I expect it to be–living up to Zack Snyder’s delusions of grandeur.

Before I go any further, you should probably watch it for yourself:

The movie is scheduled for a November 17, 2017 release date, according it the official Warner Bros page for the movie. As far as official-official website, the best I found was their social media campaign site about uniting the league, where you can upload a picture to get a whatever photo/video of yourself with a heroes logo on it.

picture of the author with the flash logo on the bottom
Look I’m the flash.

Before you think I’m just hate-bashing this movie just because, I will say they did a decent job of not spoiling the whole plot of the movie in the trailer. They also at least tried creating some mystery with the notable absence of Superman, even everyone knows he’s going to show up in the movie.

You can never have too many characters

I don’t know why DC is trying just so very hard to make an Avengers movie. For Batman vs Superman, I had the same thoughts–why are you packing so many characters into a single movie? Can’t you have a more focused story? Marvel had a separate movie to introduce each main character and built up a good, fleshed out backstory. Even with the Avengers movie, they tried to keep it somewhat focused on the main team and Loki. In Batman vs Superman, they had a sprawling cast with people being mentioned in somewhat throwaway manners along with the 2 underdeveloped villians. Really, the whole conflict between Batman and Superman felt a bit contrived.

For Justice League, they’re doubling down and continuing to roll out the characters in the movie. Looks like Lex Luthor will be returning, along with fearful passing mentions to Darkseid, and the likely main villian Steppenwolf. Batman already has plenty of origin fleshed out thanks to Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, though technically that isn’t part of this universe. Superman has that terrible Man of Steel movie. Wonder Woman is also getting a solo movie, but we still have Aquaman, Cyborg, Flash (I guess he has a TV show), plus supporting characters for each of those heroes being thrown into the mix. At a risk of being premature, it looks like the characters won’t be getting a ton of development to get you to actually care about them just based on the number. The filmmakers just don’t seem to be trying very hard to push any boundaries with the story.

Trying at Marvel-style humor

Another impression I get is the cheap imitation of Marvel style tension-lightening humor for the heroes. You have Batman talking to Wonder Woman saying Aquaman joined “more-or-less.” Poor CG Cyborg stops a sliding vehicle with a “You should probably move.” Flash receives the answer “I’m rich” to his question on what Batman’s super power is. I’m sure the movie will have more humor attempts, but taken as a whole the comedy writing doesn’t really have the same sincerity or comedic punch that comes across in many Marvel properties.

It’s not the worst writing in the world, but it’s also not the best–lacking flavor or wit is what I might describe it as. They seem a bit easy, almost lazy in their calculated inoffensive appeal to audiences. I might argue that they lack the playfulness and reinforcement of a character’s personality that Marvel seems to do well.

Aquaman: Certified cool I guess

How about Aquaman? There seems to be a good deal of focus on him to build him up to be a bad ass. That’s probably why they made him do the checklist of typical Bad Ass (TM) things–drink a bottle of alcohol, be really scruffy looking, threaten some acknowledged main character with violence, stand around in slow mo as extreme stuff happens, jumping and breaking stuff, etc, wash out all of his scenes in cool blue color tones (get it? he’s cool). I think most people agree that Aquaman is kind of lame–he doesn’t have the same OP powers as say Superman, Green Lantern, or Flash. He’s just a strong guy who talks to fish, so they’re really trying hard to build him up, a little try-hardy I’d say.

some teenager commenting that aquaman riding the batmobile is cool
Are you?

Snyder back at it again

Zack Snyder put his typical Snyder style mark on the movie with slow mo scene after slow mo scene, gratuitous geometrically equal posing, fighting that basically looks like Leonidas + Spartans fighting Xerxes, whiz-bang darkly saturated contrasting color effects, and sparks and smoke. No really big surprises in the visual style. Personally, I think it makes it look a little too cartoonish even as they simultaneously go for a gritty tone. Speaking of gritty, it feels like what a 14 year old teenager would do to make a movie gritty and dark:

  • Smoke and fire!
  • Cool poses!
  • Extreme fighting!
  • Bullet time!
  • ‘Clever’ one liners!
  • Scenes you can imagine someone making while thinking to themselves “Dude you know what would be really cool?!?”

It doesn’t really give the same epic feeling of grasping with complex themes of order vs chaos that the Dark Knight trilogy gave. Instead, we get an action movie with heroes fighting some aliens for some reason. Yes, I know I’m comparing a trailer to a whole trilogy of movies. No, I’m not going to apologize because, based on historical trends of Batman vs Superman, this trailer is evidencing a continuation of shallow treatment.

The new Justice League trailer finishes with an ending scene where Aquaman stands on top of the Batmobile as it Drives Really Fast, then the two heroes nod to each other for a team hero high-five-in-our-eyes-powered-up-by-teamwork. I just don’t think anyone who thinks something that cheesy or with such a teenaged sense of  “wow this would be so cool!” will be a very deep and nuanced treatment of a Justice League movie. That scene really hammered in the notion that this was going to be mindless action and special effects heavy. I know I sound like an old man, but come on, that scene is kind of ridiculous.

Others’ reactions to the trailer

justice league heroes standing in a line with probably gonna suck superimposed
A brief summary of their opinions.

I’ll leave off with some of the informal thoughts/reactions of my fellow writers after seeing the trailer:

Me:

So what didn’t you like about the new Justice League trailer?

Alex:

It’s exactly what’s expected–pretty much the tone of it and the color tone.

Andrew:
Snyder won’t let go of trying to be a poor man’s Christopher Nolan–just give it up. Terrible music too. I’m not watching it again, it looked stupid as hell.
Alex:
Zomg no superman!
Andrew:
I wonder if he’s going to be in the movie. What if he just shows up at the end like Luke? That would be hilarious–like a crazy old man.
Alex:
I was just thinking that, hah, I seriously would not doubt it. Honestly, the movie would probably be better that way. They’re already trying to cram too much in to one movie.
Andrew:
At this point It’s beyond repair. I was only looking forward to Batman and now I don’t know wtf is going on with that.
Alex:
Yeah, I mean obviously the main reason they did the old Batman was to essentially make his movie The Dark Knight Returns, but they already used some of that up in Batman vs Superman.
Andrew:
All they had to do was make a live action version of that and everyone would have been happy. It’s clear they don’t have a clue what direction they’re going to take this. They’re just throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks.

 

Sunny Mui

Sunny Mui

An SF Bay Area native with a decade of Comic Con experience. Reader of books, comics, and more. He also writes short stories and poetry once in a while, when he's feeling to the task. Designer, developer, and marketer by trade, but professional fun person by night.
Sunny Mui

Post Author: Sunny Mui

An SF Bay Area native with a decade of Comic Con experience. Reader of books, comics, and more. He also writes short stories and poetry once in a while, when he’s feeling to the task. Designer, developer, and marketer by trade, but professional fun person by night.