Well boys and girls, it has happened. San Diego Comic-Con (or more commonly known on the web as SDCC) has come, seen and kicked ass for another summer of salivating fans anxiously awaiting trailers, test footage and announcements for all of the big comic and sci-fi based happenings to come. And this year was of no disappointment to the masses.
Not only were fans given the news that Academy Award-winning actress Brie Larson was cast as Marvel Studio's next big heroine, Captain Marvel, but we also got the first trailer for DC's female driven franchise, Wonder Woman (starring the phenomenal Gal Gadot). Watch that trailer below if you wish.
That's not the only big of DCEU goodness fans were given, though. We also got our first look at a full-length trailer for Zack Snyder's follow up to the grim, bleak and emotionally draining Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, better known to audiences as the Justice League film.
What is of particular interest here, besides the obvious fan frenzy that accompanies any first footage from such a picture, is that it looked really, really good. I'll explain after you've had a chance to watch that one for yourselves, as well (assuming you haven't already).
The biggest takeaway from DC and Warner Bros. surprise hit of the convention weekend is the significantly lighter tone to the material. As you no doubt may recall, Man of Steel was received with mixed reaction due to its dark nature, mass destruction, implied death toll and the decision to have the titular hero defeat General Zod with the brutal snap of his neck.
[Director] Zack Snyder's follow-up, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, was an even darker foray into the world of the last son of Krypton and the new film version of the caped crusader.
Academy Award winner Ben Affleck's performance as the older, grizzled and more cynical Batman (inspired by Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns) was undoubtedly the best part of the film (up there with Jeremy Iron's take on Alfred Pennyworth and Gal Gadot's, albeit brief, introduction as Wonder Woman). His darker take on the character was appropriate given the version of the character the film was portraying and the circumstances for how he viewed Superman.
But Was It Necessary For Snyder To Make The Whole Movie So Grim & Gritty?
Warner Bros. and DC Films took a lot of grief over the incredibly dark nature of Batman v Superman. So much so that fans were even calling for Zack Snyder to be removed as the director of Justice League. And it's true, the film was incredibly dark. It was depressing, melodramatic, and severely too overtoned in the messianic view of Superman as a god and terroristic nature of his power.
Hell, even if the montage of Superman doing heroic Superman things was depressing as shit, it deitized him way too much while narrated by the comments of the anti-Superman senator from Kentucky. A scene that should have inspired hope and good thoughts — or at least have just been a lot of fun, old-fashioned popcorn entertainment — made you feel horrible.
When Christopher Reeve and Brandon Routh saved people you felt good. You had a lot of fun and you really grasped the hero as well as the super when you watched it. When Henry Cavill does it (and this is by no means a slight against Henry — he's a great actor and was just doing the best with the material and direction he was given) you feel like you're stuck at church when you'd rather be getting your morning pre-game drunk on.
Then the rest of the three hour run time (of the Ultimate Edition) is filled out with endless senatorial babble, anti-Supermanism, Batman doing the occasional Batman stuff — to a bit of an excessive extreme — and whatever the hell, overly eccentric character Lex Luthor, Junior (seriously, was THAT necessary) was supposed to be. By the time you even got to the overly rushed Death of Superman storyline — which just kind of felt tacked on all Spider-Man 3-like — you didn't even care enough anymore to complain. The "it is what it is" mentality had set in and you just kind of accepted it. And when the movie was finally over you just kind of looked around at the vague expressions of your fellow audience and went about your evening.
But then something pretty amazing happened.
The Justice League Trailer Drops And It Was Lighter, More Optimistic And Funny
You see, about a month ago it was announced that DC's Chief Creative Officer, Geoff Johns, was taking over DC Films to bring some of the more appropriate feel back to the films. While Warner Bros. originally set out to differentiate themselves from the much more established Marvel Cinematic Universe by giving their movies a more Oscar-caliber dramatic art house feel, they had lost sight of what makes a superhero movie a superhero movie.
Yes, a character's powers are what makes them super, but the hero part is not just made up of what they do, but how they make people feel, how they inspire them. And that's not just limited to the people in the story. A kid isn't going to say that Superman is his favorite hero if the only version of Superman they see is dark, brooding, regretful of his actions and killing his villains all of the time. You need to lighten up the tone and find a good balance.
Justice League is bringing some fun back into the mix as Bruce Wayne, inspired by Superman's selfless act and reinvigorated for it, works with Diana Prince to form the titular Justice League and save the world from an impending doom.
Ben Affleck's performance is less grim and even a bit more traditional Affleck-like when he banters with Diana about Aquaman initially turning down the offer to join (the "he said no" quip from the trailer). Hell, even the part where Affleck approaches Jason Mamoa's Aquaman with "Arthur Curry...I hear you can talk to fish" is a great slam on Challenge of the Super Friends and ultimately the biggest and harshest exposure that most people have to the Aquaman character. Justice League, and likewise even the more comedic tone from the likes of Chris Pine in Wonder Woman, is finally realizing that in order to make a fun, memorable and inspiring picture you need more than just cold, dark, grim and cynical world building.
Yes, the world we live in is pretty shitty right now, but the movie audience doesn't need to be reminded of that. You watch a movie to escape. You watch a superhero movie to imagine that things can get better. It's true that in real life there is no Superman to save you from a car crash, mugger or terrorist attack, but that's not why we go to the movies. We go to the movies because for two hours we want to believe in something a little different. A little better. And a little fun.
Wonder Woman and Justice League (and hell, even Suicide Squad after it's re-shoots) are set to finally give us the DC Cinematic Universe we've all been yearning for.
Now here's hoping they don't screw up The Flash, whom seems to be portrayed more as a nerdy Peter Parker type than traditional Berry Allen. But with Geoff Johns overseeing the development from here out I'm sure it will be fine.
58790 cd45ba74-1b12-4f8c-84f3-6fd83504bc74 poll Are you excited for 'Justice League's lighter tone? http://images-cdn.moviepilot.com/images/c_fill,h_1000,w_2000/t_mp_quality/z4jb9vvgyqt4netj5b74/are-you-excited-for-justice-league-s-lighter-tone-1070869.jpg 193520 6431de4a-38fa-45e9-bf06-d49c33d6e294 58790 YES! It's about time they got more fun! 193521 57eef0f3-1f4c-4061-b999-0b5a5cc4f973 58790 No. Our world is shitty and theirs should be, too. 193522 795807a1-324a-4e7d-a84c-bfca0bee2c4a 58790 I really don't care! Just...please don't suck...