Last summer at Comic-Con Warner Brothers/DC unveiled the first look at Justice League, and it wasn’t completely awful. But in case you were feeling cautiously optimistic that Warners/DC could fix their sh*t and turn out a good Justice League movie—don’t. The first official trailer is here, and it’s a HUGE step down. It has killed any excitement I was carefully nurturing that Justice League might not be a mess. This movie looks straight up AWFUL.
Aerosmith’s “Come Together” blares as the heroes unite—rock songs work for Guardians of the Galaxy, they’ll work for us, too!—and exchange banter that is aiming for “witty” but lands somewhere around “awkward small talk at office holiday party”. The nerdy charm Ezra Miller displays in the Comic-Con cut is completely gone; now the Flash is being a dick to Batman for no discernible reason. I’m actually digging Jason Momoa as Aquaman, but he seems like he’s in a different movie from everyone else. They’re clearly trying to replicate the Thor/Iron Man vibe with Aquaman and Batman which is not a good look as Ben Affleck does not have the quirky dicky charm of RDJ.
And what the f*ck is this movie about? Trailers don’t have to spell out the plot 1-2-3, but they do need to give you a sense of what the movie is about. Take Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Those trailers have not revealed the plot, but we know who the villain is, we know there’s some family drama, and we know Quill still has a thing for Gamora. We have a sense of what that movie is about, even if we don’t yet know the scope and stakes of the conflict.
This Justice League trailer doesn’t do any of that. Who is the villain? If you have a good memory you might remember those flying demons from Bruce Wayne’s Bad Dream in Superhero Face Punch, but for most people those are just wing-blobs with no point and no purpose. And no one knows what a Mother Box is yet, so showing us one going haywire is totally pointless. Less than 10% of a comic book movie’s audience actually reads comic books, and you can’t count on everyone having seen—let alone remembering—previous movies. Without footnotes from Wikipedia, this trailer is utterly meaningless to the majority of the potential audience.
And it’s so goddamn DARK. It’s like every movie Zack Snyder directs gets darker and darker—at this point, it looks like he’s shooting these movies in a damp basement. That underwater shot of Meera (Amber Heard) is virtually colorless, which is such a waste. She’s in a MAGIC UNDERWATER KINGDOM. It could look like literally anything and Zack Snyder chooses “flooded abandoned bathroom” as his aesthetic.
We still haven’t touched on Cyborg’s godawful design—in their effort to look like they’re not copying Iron Man, they have made Cyborg clunky and ugly and his crotchal region is so weird, it looks like he’s wearing a metal diaper—or JK Simmons’ walrus mustache, but I’m exhausted. This looks like the same dour grimdark nonsense as Superhero Face Punch, except they’ve traded the overly serious tone for bad jokes and forced banter no one is comfortable delivering. The little spark of “maybe Justice League will be okay” that the Comic-Con trailer ignited is extinguished.
PS: Superman isn’t in this trailer and do you even miss him?