Justice League is a contractual obligation film. It’s a project which was entered into under the assumption that Batman v Superman (and, to a lesser degree, Suicide Squad) would neither suck nor dampen audience enthusiasm. Yeah, they really shit the bed on that one. Now, Justice League exists as a weird Zack Snyder/Joss Whedon hybrid movie and comes at a time when various reports indicate WB and DC are conceding defeat to Marvel and moving away from cinematic universe-dependent films and over to more standalone adventures ala Wonder Woman or even complete one-off, non-canonical entries like a Joker origin movie.

As such, WB has been working overtime to remind us that Justice League still exists, that even if it is but a vestige of a failed production strategy it’s still a movie they’re working hard to fix and drum up some enthusiasm for. After all, Thor: Ragnarok can’t have all of November to itself. Somebody has to want to see Justice League too.

[Pause to acknowledge that not everyone actually hated or even mildly disliked Batman v Superman, and nod toward how well the film has performed on home video].

Thus, today brings us Justice League‘s fourth trailer:

This is the first trailer to feature Henry Cavill returning as Superman, albeit in a dream sequence to torture poor heartbroken Lois Lane, at least third to emphasize “look, we have actual jokes this time!” and (I want to say) second to feature a cover of a classic rock song, trading out The Beatles’ “Come Together” for David Bowie’s “Heroes.” To my eye, it gives the impression that Geoff Johns and Joss Whedon’s reportedly massive reshoots and post-production efforts might have, at best, turned this into a Wonder Woman scenario where despite any good on display it’ll all inevitably give way to a CGI orgy of an action finale best pitched to teenage males. That being said, Wonder Woman works for me despite its finale; I’m not optimistic that Justice League will too.

Still, the trailer’s opening scene with Lois and Clark is the first real hint of a recognizably human emotion I’ve seen in any of these trailers. Sure, it’s a shame Man of Steel and BvS didn’t do more with their coupling to actually earn this heartbreak, but it’s still a perfectly lovely scene.

Is this scene and the rest of this trailer and all the trailers that came before it enough to get you excited to see Justice League? Me, not so much, but where you do you stand? Excited? Pessimistic? Couldn’t care less? Let me know in the comments.

Justice League is due out November 17.

 

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Posted by Kelly Konda

Grew up obsessing over movies and TV shows. Worked in a video store. Minored in film at college because my college didn't offer a film major. Worked in academia for a while. Have been freelance writing and running this blog since 2013.

21 Comments

  1. I believe it is destined to suck big time. Outside of Wonder Woman, DC hasn’t proven they know how to make good movies recently.

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    1. The track record is not encouraging, that’s for sure.

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  2. Indifferent. Well, I’ll be interested in the reaction of the critics, the audience and the box office result. But I think even DC has given up on the universe idea at this point. At best they will go for an X-men model with movies which are kind of connected but don’t care about continuity at all. I just hope that Marvel won’t follow suit. They have been lately really lax in this matter.

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    1. “At best they will go for an X-men model with movies which are kind of connected but don’t care about continuity at all.”

      That does seem to be where they’re heading right now.

      I think I’m with you in feeling not so much angry or happy about this movie; it’s more like I don’t even think about it at all, one way or another. When it arrives I’ll be interested to see what it means for the overall evolution of WB’s DC strategy and how its box office will measure up to Ragnarok and Wonder Woman, but at this point even though it’s just a little over a month away I’ll go back to leading my life, one in which Justice League is a thing I know is happening but it barely even registers in my mind beyond that.

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      1. On the other hand, I really look forward to the next Thor. Which I originally didn’t really expect, the Thor franchise is after The Hulk the weakest part of the MCU so far.

        Honestly, DC has so many different projects in the making and none of them sound really interesting.

      2. And as a result of the well-earned Ragnarok hype Justice League has become November’s also-ran. It’s Ragnarok we want to be good, Justice League we don’t really care about. My only concern with Ragnarok is that there’s really a lot going on in that movie with plenty of new characters and villains, yet they also keep talking about how it’s also kind of a Hulk movie as well as Thor movie (that is if Thor the franchise changed course and acted more like Guardians of the Galaxy). That creates some minor worries that all of the “new” surrounding Hulk and Thor will be under-served. Still, the trailers have done their job, and it’s hard to imagine Ragnarok won’t at least be a lot of fun.

      3. Well, with the director it at least should be pretty funny and good in fleshing out the characters…something which Thor desperately needs imho. Loki is a very complex character, but Thor has not been so far. He was kind of short shifted in his first movie in favour of Loki, who got all the meaty stuff, short-shifted in both Avengers movies because Whedon apparently doesn’t really know what to do with him outside of his rivalry with Loki, and the second movie just was…not good. Again the only good stuff in it were the Loki scenes.

      4. Yeah…I mean, I like Chris Hemsworth as Thor, and he’s had his moments and funny line readings but everything you said is pretty fair. I at least think the first film did a good job of telling the story of Thor learning humility and growing into someone slightly more worthy of his power and prestige, but it’s a story completely dwarfed by the more interesting drama playing out with Loki, which has turned into a recurring problem for him.

        Just as long as they do something more interesting with Thor than the nonsense Whedon ran with in Age of Ultron we’ll be good.

    2. Excuse me, what was that about Marvel? I don’t see it.

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      1. It’s the Spider-man franchise…if they want to keep Peter in high school they will have to compress the timeline now, but instead there is this really weird date in Homecoming which doesn’t even match with Civil War. It’s a pretty big error. And they have also moved from using actual dates and time stamps to being as vague as possible.

      2. I wasn’t particularly paying attention to dates and time stamps in the previous movies. If anything, I think they’ve gotten more specific about when these movies take place in relation to each other, and that’s what’s not really working out for them. Doctor Strange had a reference to it being 2016 (at least) at the beginning, and Homecoming had that “eight years later” stamp after the prologue. These felt a little forced, to me, and tangled the timeline a bit. So, perhaps I’m more inclined to let them be vague.

  3. I’m a huge Justice League fan but oddly this movie doesn’t stick in my mind as a must-see. I will probably go see it because I really want o see The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg on the big screen. I don’t care about things like continuity and plot all that much in comic book movies. Those were only the secondary and tertiary reasons why I read any of the comics. I’m not particularly attached to any individuals in the group. I didn’t read the comic books of the individuals outside of Batman and the occasional WW. (I mostly read about them as a group.)
    I suppose depending on what a person is expecting when they go see it, they will be disappointed. What I expect is that it will be a fun popcorn movie with lots of eye candy. I expect to have a good time, get in some laughs and some oohs and ahhs, a couple of times.

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    1. “I expect to have a good time, get in some laughs and some oohs and ahhs, a couple of times.”

      At the very least, there will definitely be some actual laughs or at least attempted laughs this time. BvS is a grim, joyless affair, and whether or not they happen to be any good the fact that Justice League clearly has actual jokes in it is a form of progress.

      Of course, I’ll definitely be seeing this movie, mostly of out of fan obligation. It’s Batman. I have to. Plus, after WW I’m up for seeing her again. Also, since you mentioned the comics I read a fair bit of The Flash’s New 52 stuff, ditto for WW and the first volume of the Aquaman New 52 output and first volume of Justice League New 52. I’ve never read a Cyborg comic book. I more know him through Teen Titans/Teen Titans Go!. So, I don’t have any real comic book-specific expectations here. My frame of reference is clearly mostly New 52-related.

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  4. Incidentally I did go to see Bladerunner today, and yeah I got all kinds of thinky-thoughts that I’ll post about later.

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    1. Oh, awesome. I look forward to reading that.

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  5. Arg. So much cringe-worthiness!

    Firstly “The world remains in mourning after the death of Superman. Violence, acts of war and terrorism are all on the rise.”

    Really? I’d imagine that terrorists planned heavily regardless of whether Superman was alive or not. They aren’t just going to rush ahead their plans immediately after.

    Secondly, too much angst in that awful cover of “Heroes”. I was expecting the Wallflowers’ cover.

    Is this really a trailer? I remember the good old days when trailers told the audience the basics of a plot then when trailers went out of their way to spoil the spoilers of the film. Now it’s oh, Lois Lane is sad, Flash is funny. Aquaman is useless without transport help from the landlubbers.

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    1. “Really? I’d imagine that terrorists planned heavily regardless of whether Superman was alive or not. They aren’t just going to rush ahead their plans immediately after.”

      I was more taken with the notion that the death of Superman would throw the world into slight chaos, that the sudden removal of the world’s glorified supercop would lead to despair in his followers and emboldened criminality in his (potential) enemies. That’s not a bad idea, necessarily, even if it paints too broadly and oversimplifies, just as you pointed out with the terrorists. However, as with the Lois/Clark scene at the start of the trailer, it’s also an idea that feels somewhat unearned after Man of Steel and BvS. Zack Snyder’s tendency is those two films was to dive right into the Superman as Christ metaphor idea/imagery without actually putting in the work for that to make complete sense. Now Justice League is kind of stuck with a losing hand in that area.

      “Secondly, too much angst in that awful cover of “Heroes”. I was expecting the Wallflowers’ cover.”

      Agreed. I would have preferred The Wallflowers. I mean, at this point most people don’t even remember that version was used to promote Godzilla, right? They don’t remember The Wallflowers playing in a tumbling skyscraper and staring down Godzilla in a music video? So, they wouldn’t care if that version of the song ended up promoting some other movie. It would at least have been better than the woefully angsty version they went with.

      “Is this really a trailer? I remember the good old days when trailers told the audience the basics of a plot then when trailers went out of their way to spoil the spoilers of the film.”

      It seems like the new strategy is to open with a tone teaser, follow it up with a plot trailer, follow that up with maybe a tone/plot hybrid trailer that doesn’t really say much and then maybe, out of desperation, drop a spoiler-heavy trailer at the last minute when the tracking suggests no one actually knows what your movie is about. That, of course, is mostly specific to blockbusters. Normal movies are running with the same old kind of spoiler-heavy trailers, but the blockbuster game has certainly taken a turn toward advertising through mood and attitude and not story.

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  6. I enjoyed the first trailer or two, though, considering this would be the fourth Zack Snyder movie I’d be seeing and the first three were woefully underwhelming, I did not have my hopes up. Now, oddly, I’m feeling even less hopeful than before. Not pessimistic, really, just… flat.

    DC definitely might be considering throwing in the towel. I’d have hoped they’d instead go with, “Let’s make better movies,” but if they were the sort to go with that, they’d probably have done so from the start. I mean, if you want to sum-up the difference in attitude between DC and Marvel: Marvel made an event of announcing their Phase 3 lineup, while DC just announced it at a shareholders meeting. So, I can easily see them learning the wrong lessons from Wonder Woman’s success.

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  7. Wow! A lot of misinformation in these comments.
    WB (which owns DC Entertainment) is not throwing in the towel on a united DCEU. The movies will still be connected (Geoff Johns confirmed a few days back as internet trolls were advising differently based on some misinterpreted comments). Yes, there will be non-continuity films, but this is nothing new, they’ve been doing this for ages with both movies, TV and animation, and have made numerous statements to this effect over the years. Yes, Marvel is very organised, and yes, the DCEU is behind the eight-ball with their movies.
    But no need to give up on them. The Man of Steel/BVS/Justice League trilogy (they’re all linked, after all) are a cycle with common metaphors/imagery (other than characters) connecting the films. The biggest issue for those films was attempting to graft darker, more adult issues into storylines where audiences were expecting simpler, lighter fare.
    Wonder Woman wasn’t the be-all and end-all of WB’s/DC Entertainment’s strategy, and JL was always expected to be lighter in tone as the third, more uplifting act of the trilogy.
    🙂

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    1. The point is things changed. They wanted to be Marvel. Now they’re trying to be both Marvel and Fox, continue on with their DCEU films but worry less about continuity and lean more toward Fox’s “fuck it” strategy with the X-Men franchise. If they have a good idea for a Logan-like movie, for example, they’ll just do it and not worry about its placement in the DCEU. That’s a new move for them, but after WW’s success compared to Man of Steel/BvS/Suicide Squad’s respectable box office but critical backlash this is also them simply responding to the market. Solo films that can stand on their own (albeit with some connective tissue to others) is what they’re better at. Truly interconnected Marvel Studios-like movies, though, not so much.

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      1. Yeah, Kelly, that’s pretty much the point I made. 🙂

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