As predicted, the report that Ben Affleck could be “phased out” as Batman put a dent in in the DC Films presentation at Comic-Con on Saturday. They were on the defensive, Affleck forced to answer again and again that he loves playing Batman and isn’t going anywhere any time soon. His comment during the panel in Hall H was that “Batman is the coolest f*cking part in any universe”, and then he said to Entertainment Weekly, “I’ve always intended to do a third [movie]…if the Batphone rings, I will answer.” Okay, but what if the Batphone doesn’t ring? With a new director and a new script, and a palpable shift in tone in the wake of Wonder Woman’s success, will Affleck’s grizzled old Batman continue to fit into the DCEU? It’s not beyond imaging that no, he won’t. Affleck is like, “I’m totally sticking around,” but he was also once upon a time totally directing this movie, too.
As for the rest of the presentation, Jason Momoa tried it with running into Hall H waving Aquaman’s five-pointed trident—aka, the FIVEDENT— but nobody knows him yet. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki stunt worked because he was coming off The Avengers. Nobody has seen Momoa as Aquaman yet except in commercials. Save that sh*t for next year. Ezra Miller turned up dressed as…honestly I don’t know, but I do appreciate that ole Textiles keeps it lively and always gets into the spirit of Comic-Con, and Gal Gadot lived up to the “Wonder Woman” ideal all day. (Frankly, Affleck’s Bat-drama was an albatross for the others.) And Warner Brothers went light on news, confirming a slate of films—including Wonder Woman 2—but not Patty Jenkins’ return, which is all anyone really wanted to hear. So there was kind of anti-climactic feel to their presentation.
Which was not helped by a new Justice League trailer. In the same kind of tone-reversal that signaled trouble for Suicide Squad, the new Justice League trailer swings from the dark and dreary official first trailer to something with slightly brighter colors and even more bad office humor. (Lainey texted that she “can’t see a f*cking thing”, but it is several degrees brighter than previous—you can actually tell black, blue, and red apart.) They at least restore Miller’s The Flash as a fun and charming presence on screen, as first glimpsed in the Comic-Con trailer from last year—Jesus they advertise these movies FOREVER—but Aquaman still seems grafted in from another movie altogether, and Batfleck is not gelling with the Whedonized tone at all (see above).
At least Justice League doesn’t look like out and out garbage like Superhero Face Punch. It just looks like a mess, like the characters don’t quite belong in the same movie and they’re teasing a villain no one knows—it’s Steppenwolf, for the record, but that doesn’t mean anything to audiences at this point. They’re leaning on Wonder Woman, which is smart—how does no one recognize her as Diana Prince? She doesn’t wear a mask, she just puts a headband on. So Diana lets down her hair and magically no one recognizes her?—but we now have three trailers, each with a different tone, and the last time this happened with DC, we got Suicide Squad. Manage your expectations, is what I’m saying.
And at the end? They’re clearly teasing the return of Superman. Alfred sees the whisky in his glass tremble, like the water glass in Jurassic Park, and then he’s talking to a mysterious, unrevealed figure that is OBVIOUSLY Superman. But since we can’t actually see him, I can only assume that, upon returning from the dead, Superman has transformed into his true form: SUPERRAPTOR. If Superman comes back as a giant alien raptor with a red cape that can fly and shoot lasers from its eyes, I will not complain about Justice League ever again, it will become my favorite movie of all time.