Did anyone expect “Justice League” footage at Comic-Con International: San Diego? We sure didn’t — but man, what an awesome surprise! Quelling fan fears that the film might repeat the mistakes of “Batman v Superman,” the sizzle reel boasted a healthy combo of action and humor, providing that euphoric feeling when you watch a movie properly adapt your favorite heroes for the first time.
Before Comic-Con, we only caught glimpses of “Justice League” through concept art and logos. Now, we’ve got a firm sense of the aesthetic of the film and what kind of tale it’s set to offer. Finally assembling DC Comics‘ flagship superhero team for the first time on the big screen, “Justice League” looks to deliver a visual take on the heroes we’ve yet to see, while holding on to what makes the characters tick in the comics.
There was a lot to mine from the footage, so CBR is here to break everything down that was screened at the Comic-Con panel. From a killer soundtrack, to wonderful character moments, read on to find out everything that’s worth noting from the “Justice League” trailer.
Have any thoughts on the “Justice League” footage for yourself? Sound off in CBR’s TV/Film forum with your thoughts.
10. Not The Usual Trailer Soundtrack
Within the first few seconds, it’s already clear that director Zack Snyder’s “Justice League” will be a very different movie from his take on the DC Comics Universe in “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” on a tonal level. Part of that distinction is made clear with the trailer’s rockin’ soundtrack, brought to you by The White Stripes (the song “Icky Thump,” for those of you wondering). It’s not typical to hear rock music in a Batman movie’s trailer — in fact, this is the first, not counting “Suicide Squad” — so it makes us happy to see they managed to make it work in the footage shown at SDCC.
Of course, this is a sizzle reel, designed specifically for Comic-Con, so there’s a good chance the music used won’t make the film’s final cut. But that’s fine — it did its job to help the movie land a fantastic first impression on its target audience.
9. Aquaman Isn’t a Joke
Gone are the days of an Aquaman audiences can’t take seriously. With the character’s first feature film portrayal by Jason Momoa, expect Aquaman to be a badass force of nature. While other characters in the footage got the chance to tell one-liners, Aquaman kept it straight, playing off the comedy of Ben Affleck with a stone-cold, fish-out-of-water naivety (pun intended), kind of similar to the way Thor interacts with the rest of the Avengers, albeit with less of a sense of humor. While Batman tends to be the “difficult” member of the Justice League in most of the comics and animated adaptations, it seems Aquaman, as a recluse, is the character who resists the idea of forming a super-team the most.
Additionally, the footage hyped Aquaman as one of the major power-houses on the team, showcasing his gruffness and ability to command the seas. After a fairly underwhelming underwater debut in “Batman v Superman,” Aquaman looks primed to truly shine for the first time in “Justice League,” before making a splash in his first film, directed by “The Conjuring’s” James Wan.
8. Ben Affleck Brings the Comedy
For the first time, arguably, since “Extract,” Ben Affleck gets to show off his comedic chops in “Justice League.” Because of his dramatic ability and Oscar-winning work behind the camera, audiences have forgotten just how good Affleck is at delivering genuine comedy on screen. He has a confident charm we got a taste of in “Batman v Superman,” which only looks to be expanded upon in “Justice League.”
In assembling the team, Affleck’s one-liners as Bruce Wayne bring out the best in every character with whom he shares the screen. Affleck seems to “get” the dry wit of Batman, delivering sardonic remarks in a similar manner to Kevin Conroy on “Batman: The Animated Series” or, perhaps, like Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark. While “Batman v Superman” is criticized for its lack of charm, Affleck is looks to be making up for that by anchoring”Justice League’s” tone with a more comic book-y charisma.
7. Flash Is a Lot Like Wally West — And He’s Great
Once again, The Flash is being interpreted with a personality that resembles the second Flash, Wally West, more closely than comics’ Barry Allen, the Silver Age incarnation of the Scarlet Speedster who’s actually being portrayed in “Justice League” — but that’s OK. Combining elements of the comedic Wally and the more scientific Barry, Ezra Miller’s take on the Scarlet Speedster is our favorite character showcased in “Justice League” footage thus far.
Acting as a younger lens into the team, Miller’s version of The Flash has a magnetic charm, showcased in the scene with Affleck’s Bruce Wayne (which reminds us a lot of Spider-Man’s introduction in “Captain America: Civil War”). Miller has a stellar delivery of his lines, ensuring that the comedy in “Justice League” won’t be a problem. We can’t wait to see how Miller’s Flash interacts with the rest of the team, and to get a taste of that Flash-Cyborg buddy dynamic the filmmakers have been teasing.
6. Apokolips Is In the Air
The SDCC “Justice League” footage gave us our first clear look at the mysterious Mother Boxes, which are set to play a major role in the film’s plot. We know some folks from the war-torn planet of Apokolips (particularly Steppenwolf) want their hands on these, so it’ll be up to the Justice League to make sure they don’t do so successfully. Described as a “sentient supercomputer,” the Mother Boxes harness an ancient energy that can be used for space travel, as a source for information, and as a weapon, among other uses. The Mother Boxes also have the ability to regenerate life, which could play a big factor in Superman’s return down the road…
Producer Charles Roven previously said of the film’s mother boxes, “Before there was a history…mankind, the Atlanteans — before they were under water — the Amazonians and, actually, the old gods, teamed together and decided that — based on an event that happened — these mother boxes were going to be placed in the care of, as I say, the Amazonians, mankind and the Atlanteans.”
5. Batman Is Still Relatively Unknown By the Public
Even after the cataclysmic events of “Batman v Superman,” it seems the people inhabiting the world of “Justice League” still don’t know if Batman truly exists, as evident in the scene in with The Flash. How is that possible? Well, if you consider that Bruce Wayne retired the Batman mantle for an unspecified number of years after the death of Robin, and that metahumans weren’t public until “Man of Steel,” then it makes sense Batman — or superheroes all together — would be considered a myth up until now. Basically, Batman’s previous adventures in this timeline, before the death of Robin, went mostly unnoticed.
In Snyder’s universe, a threat on the scale of “Dark Knight Rises,” for example, could’ve never happened. With a Batman that’s lesser known to the public, it’ll be interesting to see how the new-found attention affects the character, and how exactly the public reacts to learning he’s real.
4. Barry Allen & The Flash Get a New Look
The footage not only sold us on the personality of Ezra Miller’s Flash, but also the new look of the character. Both Barry and his Flash costume got a serious upgrade since his feature film debut in “Batman v Superman.” Last we saw him, his hair was much longer indicating that perhaps the filmmakers wanted the character to look more clean cut for “Justice League.” Plus, the Flash outfit itself looks more like the classic costume this time around, while still keeping a look distinctly different from the one on the television series. It’s nice to see that two versions of the Flash costume can work well on screen in their respective universes.
Miller previously said of his take on the Flash, “I’d like for it to be an exploration of a human being, a multi-dimensional human being, to speak….Wow, I just made such a pun, without meaning to!” He added, “I hope to realize him as a person, and I think what’s most exciting for me in superhero mythologies is when we feel the humanity of someone who is heroic – or the heroism of someone who is a flawed, deeply human person.”
3. They Pulled Off the Cyborg CGI
How cool does Ray Fisher’s Cyborg look? In “Batman v Superman,” we caught a glimpse of Cyborg’s tragic origin, but aside from one brief shot of the character’s body, we didn’t get to see Victor Stone in his full robotic form. Now that we have, we can see that the “Justice League” filmmakers crushed it with the CGI. Not only does Cyborg look strikingly similar to his comic book counterpart, but the costume also works really well in the universe it inhabits.
Some viewers were skeptical that the all-CGI approach to Fisher’s costume would serve as a detriment, but the “Justice League” special effects team managed to make the armor look real. After having nailed the character’s initial design, we’re excited to see what other upgrades are in store for the Cyborg’s tech, not to mention the other robotic characters who might be brought into the DC Extended Universe.
2. No Mention of Superman
Hm…was this trailer missing something? Oh, right, Superman! The Man of Steel obviously factors into “Justice League” in a big way — since he’s the whole reason Batman was inspired to unite force with other heroes in the first place — but there wasn’t one mention of the Last Son of Krypton, or his legacy, in the footage. We doubt Warner Bros. is trying to avoid Superman, so we assume this is intentional, as to build up the character’s triumphant return. At the end of “Batman v Superman,” the Man of Steel bit the dust, and even though we know he won’t be gone for long, it looks like the filmmakers want us to question when he’ll eventually return. While we miss him, it’s not a total loss leaving Superman out of the spotlight. With Cavill’s Kal-El taking a break for much of “Justice League,” there’s that much more room for other characters to shine before his inevitable return.
1. Batman & Wonder Woman, The Real Dynamic Duo
So far, it looks like Batman and Wonder Woman’s dynamic in “Justice League” is one of the film’s biggest draws. Already proving their on-screen chemistry in “Batman v Superman,” Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck make one heck of a dynamic duo in the scenes they share once again in the “Justice League” Comic-Con footage. Since “Batman v Superman” already introduced the two characters, “Justice League” is a wide-open opportunity for Batman and Wonder Woman’s relationship to develop further as they face a new threat and assemble the League. Plus, Superman’s not in the way of things — this is the Batman/Wonder Woman team-up we’ve been waiting for in live-action. DC’s Trinity is a crucial factor in the DC Extended Universe going forward, and it simply has to be nailed in this film as Warner Bros. doesn’t have another shot at proving that Snyder’s vision of the “Justice League” works.
What were your favorite moments from the Comic-Con “Justice League” trailer? Sound off in CBR’s TV/Film forum with your thoughts!