After months of anticipation, the first trailer arrived this morning for director Zack Snyder's "Justice League," undoubtedly further fueling excitement for the 2018 film as it answered some questions while raising new ones.
Poring over the footage, we spotlight some of the trailer's best -- and most significant -- moments, hatch a theory or two, and ponder the omission of a major player.
Warner Bros. and Zack Snyder seem to have taken to heart some of the lessons of "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice." Sure, everything's still cloaked in a cyan haze, and, sure, there are solemn proclamations and gritted teeth (it is a superhero movie, after all), but there's also humor, with scenes of Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne playing straight man, Ezra Miller's Barry Allen being socially awkward, and Jason Momoa's Aquaman being, well, generally awesome. It may be a good sign to skeptics of the DC Extended Universe that, in a trailer that needed to sketch out a premise and introduce the key players, the studio made a point of squeezing in moments of levity.
Fans have long known that Darkseid's general Steppenwolf and his troops of Parademons are the main threats of "Justice League," but this trailer introduces some potential new wrinkles. Throughout the footage, we glimpse some of our heroes fighting on a bleak, barren landscape, beneath black skies, raising the possibility that at least some of the film takes place on Apokolips. The more likely alternative may be that Steppenwolf & Co. are terraforming Earth as part of their invasion, turning its surface its a replica of Apokolips.
Call Your Mother Box
Director Zack Snyder confirmed a year ago that a Mother Box, an Apokoliptan living computer, is used by Dr. Silas Stone to save his son Victor (played by Ray Fisher), transforming him into Cyborg. We then learned just last month that the Mother Box is Cyborg's body, so we know the whereabouts of at least one of the three devices sent from Apokolips to Earth (the other two, at least at one point, were in possession of the Atlanteans and the Amazons). In the trailer, we see the one Mother Box first as it seemingly comes to life in Dr. Stone's home, and then in the hand of his son.
The earlier revelation that the Amazons are, or were, in possession of one of three Mother Boxes on Earth indicated they'd play at least some role in "Justice League," but it was easy to imagine only a minor cameo, perhaps limited to Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta. However, this trailer makes it clear the warrior women aren't relegated to the sidelines; they ride into battle against the forces of Apokolips on a field seemingly ringed by lava. As it seems unlikely the Amazons and their horses hopped a Boom Tube to Apokolips, this shot would seem to support suspicion that Steppenwolf and his troops are terraforming Earth, and maybe even Themyscira.
Introducing ... Mera
Likewise, Amber Heard's Mera makes a grand underwater entrance, flanked by a pair of Atlantean guards, presumably because the submerged kingdom has a connection to the third Mother Box. While Jason Momoa's Aquaman is directly recruited into the fight by Ben Affleck's Bruce Wayne, it's easy to envision a direct threat from Apokolips bringing the forces of Atlantis into the conflict.
Aquaman Is Every Bit As Awesome As You Hoped
We can probably debate how much of Aquaman's personality is derived from the script and how much is actor Jason Momoa simply being himself, but there's little arguing that it works. In his moments on screen, he's a swaggering, no-nonsense sea king who can just easily display humor as he does intensity. If this footage is any indication, Momoa will make everyone forget decades' worth of "Super Friends" jokes. #TalksToFish
Is That the Nightcrawler?
While the shot of the Flying Fox revealed in the Wonder Woman-themed promo is nowhere to be seen, we do glimpse another of Batman's new vehicles: the Nightcrawler. First mentioned to journalists during a July visit to the set of "Justice League," it's a one-person vehicle with multiple legs, designed to fit into cramped spaces. “There’s an action set piece — we’re gonna take you to this tunnel,” producer Deborah Snyder told reporters. “It’s a tunnel they were gonna build between Metropolis and Gotham and it had been abandoned, so the project never really went forward. But there’s abandoned remains of what started to be this tunnel. It’s pretty hard to get the Batmobile through there, so it’s nice to have the Crawler, which can maneuver.”
The Supporting Players
In addition to Amber Heard's Mera, the trailer also carved out room for Amy Adams' Lois Lane and, in a larger moment, J.K. Simmons' Commissioner Gordon, who sets up a lighthearted moment between Batman and Aquaman. But the most touching introduction is that of Billy Crudup as an imprisoned Henry Allen, who receives a visit from his son Barry, played by Ezra Miller.
Seriously, Where's Superman?
Joking, and that parody teaser, aside, the biggest question by far about this "Justice League" trailer is, Where the hell is Superman? The virtual absence of Henry Cavill's Man of Steel from the film's marketing materials leaves us to wonder whether his role might be severely limited, similar to that of Mark Hamill in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." Will Superman sit out for the majority of "Justice League," only to show up to save the day in the third act, or maybe even wait until the final scene, leaving audiences yearning for the sequel?
Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally Diana Prince to face an even greater enemy in director Zack Snyder’s “Justice League.” Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes — Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash — it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
Arriving Nov. 17, “Justice League” stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Willem Dafoe as Vulko, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor, Jeremy Irons Alfred Pennyworth, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Connie Nielsen Queen Hippolyta and J. K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon.