Justice League: breaking down the new trailer


Well, it sure took them long enough, didn’t it? We’ve been waiting since last July for an ‘official’ trailer for Zack Snyder’s Justice League movie. At San Diego Comic Con 2016, Warner Bros. unveiled a reel of footage, but it wasn’t what they were officially calling a trailer. But this one is something different, and it reveals lots more about what’s actually happening in the movie than that initial footage.

So the first thing you should do before I start overanalyzing every piece of this thing, is you should watch the trailer yourself if you haven’t seen it yet.

Here it is…

The biggest thing to note here is that they’re still aggressively pushing a very different tone (if not look) from Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice. But the other thing is, to nobody’s surprise, the alien invasion elements are unmistakeable.

The broad strokes of this movie seem to be based on Justice League: Origin, the comic book story that revamped the team’s initial team-up for a new generation, and one which swapped alien baddie Starro for the Jack Kirby created Darkseid and his army of Parademon drones. 

Darkseid is nowhere to be found in this trailer, and from what we understand, he won’t be around in the movie either. Instead, the general of this invasion is another Jack Kirby creation, Steppenwolf…who is also nowhere to be found in this trailer. We probably won’t get more Justice League movie footage until San Diego Comic-Con in July, and that’s probably when they’ll reveal more vilalin details.

One important note about this trailer analysis: I’m not going shot by shot in order. Instead, I’m trying to make connections between things that happen in different parts, and grouping them as I think is most appropriate. 

We’re going to start with a lot of the Cyborg-centric stuff in this trailer, because this character is probably the most important to the overall story.

This is Dr. Silas Stone, who we saw briefly in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice when Batman was watching videos of all the other superhumans in the DCEU. He’s Vic ‘Cyborg’ Stone’s father, and a leading mind at STAR Labs. This scene, which features a Parademon looming behind him, hints at one of the story points of the movie: the soldiers from Apokolips are kidnapping prominent scientific minds for their own ends. Or…

Maybe they’re just after this Mother Box. The Mother Box is the unifying piece of technology of the Jack Kirby Fourth World. Think of a Mother Box as an alien smartphone that can do anything from heal the injured to teleport you across time and space.

We also know that Vic Stone played for a Gotham City team, and those are his trophies piled up around this all-important piece of technology. 

This is probably our best look at Cyborg overall. I’m not necessarily sold on this design, personally. Also, is he carrying a Mother Box here? That’s a little bigger than I normally expect those to be.

Cyborg is clearly deploying his famous sound cannon from the comics here.

Anyway…

So, when Cyborg goes to the ‘full face mask’ mode here, the similarities to the Parademons become unavoidable. It will be interesting to see how much of this they decide to play with in terms of whether the Parademon/Apokolips tech is trying to take him over in the course of the movie.

Also, and this is just kind of a bonus…

This bit with Cyborg breaking through the clouds under the light of a full moon kind of reminds me of that famous Batwing shot in Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman movie.

Let’s talk about Aquaman, since he gets the most screen time in this trailer, and it’s pretty clear that Warner Bros are pretty hot on the character at the moment.

They sure are pushing Aquaman as the League’s badass/Wolverine type character in this, aren’t they?

Since Zack Snyder sure loves his Biblical imagery, here’s Aquaman using his trident to, essentially, ‘part the sea’. Okay, it’s probably just a garden variety flood of some kind, but you just know they had some Ten Commandments ambitions here.

Two things to note here. The first is that the Aquaman armour is really cool.

But also, the bit where he spears two Parademons with his trident feels like a nod to Justice League: Origin, where the above panel was a key part of his introduction.

Here’s Amber Heard as Queen Mera, flanked by some Atlantean guards. She probably doesn’t have a whole hell of a lot to do in this flick, but she’ll be a major player in the upcoming Aquaman movie directed by James Wan.

I’m totally sold on the Aquaman costume. This is a terrific design, and it’s cool that it includes the traditional ‘A’ belt buckle. Although, are we going to have a repeat of the old Man of Steel ‘it’s not an S’ dialogue in some form with Aquaman?

Anyway, his whole attitude throughout this trailer kind of reminds me of a more ‘badass’ version of how the character was portrayed on the excellent Batman: The Brave And The Bold animated series, where Aquaman was kind of a dude looking for a good time who loved to fight. I think that’s a nice dynamic to add to the DCEU, to be honest, and one that it needs.

Did…did Batman actually smile during this exchange with Aquaman? 

This seems like a reasonable way to transition to talking about Batman for a minute.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was heavily influenced by The Dark Knight Returns comic. But one thing we never got to see in that was any kind of homage to that famous panel of Batman charging on horseback. Whether it’s intentional or not, having Bruce Wayne on a black steed in the snow here feels kind of like one last nod to DKR before we move on with the rest of the story.

Fun bonus fact! Early drafts of the 1989 Batman movie did indeed feature a scene with Batman riding a black horse as an homage to this very moment from the comics!

This vehicle is actually, I kid you not, called the Knightcrawler.

Despite the fact that Bruce is taking on a Parademon here, this shot is a pretty obvious homage to the cover of Detective Comics #27, the first appearance of Batman.

Kind of like the Dark Knight Returns #1 shot from Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.

Here’s Batman’s latest series of upgrades to the Batmurdermobile. The good news is, unlike the dozens of thugs massacred in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, the Parademons are pretty much the equivalent of robots, so there’s no shortage of Batcannon fodder here, with fewer potential moral or ethical issues.

We finally get to meet J K Simmons as Commissioner Gordon. This looks like a great piece of casting. And just in case you’ve forgotten, they’re in Gotham City, but what you’re seeing across the river there is Metropolis. 

Also, Gordon’s line about seeing Batman “playing well with others” is a fun reference to how Bats is basically less of a dick when he has friends. It was heavily hinted at in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice that one of the things that pushed ol’ pointy head over into fascism was the death of the Jason Todd version of Robin at the hands of the Joker. With Chris McKay currently working on a Nightwing movie, the dynamic of Batman working with others is bound to be explored further in the DCEU, and that’s something we haven’t had enough of in modern times on screen (no, the Schumacher movies do not count).

Barry Allen’s nerdy, hi-tech HQ is kinda cool, but I appreciate Bruce Wayne in plain clothes spookily appearing like Batman in this kid’s home. It’s less threatening than if he was in Batman gear, and it seems to indicate his overall, more friendly approach to the other heroes in the DCEU.

I’ve been on the fence about Flash’s costume design from the start. On the one hand, it’s certainly recognisable as a Flash costume, but the extra hi-tech nature and segmented armour bits are things I haven’t exactly loved. But the more I see it in action, the more comfortable I get with it, and I think aesthetically, it’s a good fit for the world being built here. Plus, the above is just an extraordinarily cool image.

Here’s Flash taking on a Parademon. This shot is more notable because it’s our best look at what I believe is an actual human in a Parademon costume rather than a CGI character. I could be wrong, though.

So far, the DCEU version of the Flash has been steering aggressivly clear of obvious parallels to the TV series, but here we have one. That’s Billy Crudup as Dr. Henry Allen, Barry’s father, who is (wrongfully) in prison for the murder of Barry’s mother. The whole ‘hands on the glass’ thing was done quite a bit between the TV versions of these characters, played by Grant Gustin and the great John Wesley Shipp. Crudup was cast as Henry for the upcoming Flash solo movie, which is in between directors and scripts, and is somewhat in limbo right now. 

But there’s one other similarity worth pointing out…

Henry is rocking the Jay Garrick look with the grey hair at the temples thing. With recent developments on The Flash TV series, this could also be an indicator of how things will be handled in the DCEU. 

Whether this is just standard Flash super speed FX or the DCEU visual representation of the overall Speed Force, I have to confess, this is a pretty cool shot.

So, Wonder Woman doesn’t get a whole lot to do in this trailer, although she’s clearly central to Bruce Wayne’s redemption and mission. The lack of too much Wonder Woman in this particular trailer is probably by design, as we’re getting plenty of her in the promotional stuff for her upcoming solo movie.

We’re clearly inside some kind of Apokoliptan/Parademon ship or headquarters here. The design isn’t really all that overwhelming, as it just seems kind of like your typical post-Giger ‘alien’ blockbuster look, and there’s little of the kind of the wild creativity you’d expect from something originally created by comics-as-you-know-them architect, Jack Kirby.

I imagine that this shot is something of a follow up to what we saw before, as Aquaman and Wonder Woman still appear to be within some kind of Parademon base. I could be wrong, and they might just be underground. Regardless, though, dig Diana’s bracelets here! 

But this next part is noteworthy…

And this is flat out great…

Check out the Amazons taking on an army of Parademons! This is pretty badass. I guess the only question here is whether this is happening in the present while the Justice League are elsewhere taking on the invasion, or if it represents an earlier invasion from the distant past.

Hey, look! It’s Amy Adams as Lois Lane! Remember when Superman was part of the Justice League? He sure has been conspicuously absent from all of the footage and most of the promotional materials so far. But remember, according to Flash’s warnings from Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, Lois is the key to Superman’s resurrection. Or maybe she’s the key to his redemption

See, I’m still worried that when Superman is first brought back to life, he’s not going to be on the side of the Justice League.

Anything else you spotted in there? Leave it in the comments…



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