The New ‘Justice League’ Trailer Proves That DC Has Learned Nothing From ‘Batman v Superman’

Matthew Loffhagen
Warner Bros
(Photo: Warner Bros)

Wow, guys. Justice League looks more terrible every time DC releases a trailer.

(This article is almost certainly going to upset some DC fanboys, so apologies in advance, but get over it.)

It’s actually impressive just how bad this movie looks. After a year and a half of insisting that the studio has learned from the mistakes of Batman v Superman, DC’s final trailer for their answer to The Avengers pretty much just looks like the same movie all over again, but worse, and with more annoying characters.

So let’s take a look at a few of the big complaints that audiences have with BvS, and see how DC’s gone about addressing them.

If you asked anyone who’d seen Zack Snyder’s second DCEU film what is wrong with it, they’d probably tell you that the plot is confusing, the characters are unlikeable, the whole piece is too dark and colorless, and everyone just seems too sad.

BvS relies weirdly on a series of complicated dream sequences, flashbacks, and other offputting framing devices, all so that Snyder can indulge his love of pretty visuals without having to feature a coherent plot anywhere in the movie.

So how does this trailer for Justice League start? With a dream sequence, of course!

Way to go, DC – you can’t even go a whole trailer without trying for some confusing narrative structure.

Then there’s the issue of color. Presumably when DC’s studio executives heard that comic book movie fans like their heroes to be more “colorful”, some bright spark said, “red is a color”, and the whole team took lunch.

This trailer has plenty of footage that, in earlier sneak peaks at the movie, looked dark and monotone, with a bunch of CGI monsters fighting superheroes that are shrouded in shadows. Now, the whole thing has been run through a red filter, in what seems to be DC’s attempt to make the movie seem more colorful without having to fix the limited dark palette of the earlier footage.

Then, there’s the “jokes”, such as they can be called. BvS is too grumpy, said the fans, the characters are unlikeable and sad.

Okay, DC seems to be saying, we’ll give them jokes. We’ll make The Flash be quippy and talkative, and Aquaman will spend the whole time hollering like a drunken fratboy.

Justic League Red
Source: Warner Bros

Congratulations, DC. You just made two of your core Justice League characters incredibly annoying.

There are a lot of random, out of place smirks in this trailer. Characters are constantly smiling knowingly at the camera, as if they’re trapped in some kind of Dreamworks animated nightmare, forced to constantly do The Eyebrow Thing every minute or every day until they die.

It’s hard not to think of Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor, ostensibly a funny character who comes off as irritating in BvS. Now, all of the Justice League are that guy, with the exception of Ben Affleck, who’s doing a great job at acting like he doesn’t want to be there.

We’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he is acting.

Ultimately, this movie looks like a garbage fire, both figuratively and literally. Sure, it’s had a very, very troubled development, so nobody should have ever expected it to be perfect, but what’s really frustrating is that the movie is only making cursory attempts to correct course, while still barreling forward with the generic CGI destruction porn aesthetic that ruined Man of Steel’s ending and the entirety of BvS.

This is all the more frustrating considering now near-perfect Wonder Woman is. Perhaps we just need to accept that Patty Jenkins’ unironic superhero masterpiece was a fluke, and resign ourselves to the fact that nothing else that good will be coming out of DC’s pipeline any time in the next decade.

Justice League Red and Dumb
Source: Warner Bros

Oh well. At least Warner Bros has the Lego Movie cinematic universe.

While Zack Snyder was busy making grumpy, unlikeable antiheroes out of some of the most iconic characters of modern mythmaking, Phil Lord and Chris Miller accidentally laid the groundwork for a much better superhero universe that features ninjas, Chris Pratt, and a far more enjoyable version of Batman to boot.

We all might as well give up on Justice League now and start hoping for an eventual Lego Justice League Movie to take its place as something that’s actually worth watching.

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