Mar 25, 2017

Trailing Off: "Justice League" (2017)

Scene from Justice League
Welcome to the sporadic column Trailing Off in which I take a look at a trailer from the past week and analyze its potential. This will be done using an obnoxious amount of analyzing and personal thoughts on the cast and crew as well as expectations. I will attempt to highlight films ranging from new blockbusters to lesser known indies and give them their due. Partially to spread awareness, I do believe that there is an art to the sell and will do my best to highlight why these trailers matter or don't with approval (trove) or disapproval (trash). So please stop by, recommend some trailers, and I will see you next time.

Trailer in Discussion

Directed By: Zack Snyder
Written By: Chris Terrio (Screenplay), Zack Snyder & Chris Terrior (Story By), Bob Kane & Bill Finger & Joe Shuster & Jerry Siegel (Characters)
Starring: Gal Gadot, Amy Adams, Ben Affleck

- Preamble -

If there's nothing else that 2017 will feature, it will be a whole lot of firsts for DC movies. While everyone is familiar with the tales of Batman and Superman, even within the same film, there's a lot to be learned about the rest of the Justice League. Technically they all made cameos in either Batman v. Superman or Suicide Squad last year, but this will be the first time that most audiences will likely get to see them in their own important story on the big screen. Likewise, this will be the first time that a mainstream film has given Wonder Woman her own film as well as the first time that the Justice League will assemble to fight whatever evil lurks ahead for them. As far as advertising goes, it's not even clear what that is yet.
The one gripe that many have with DC at this point is that the movies have been continually lacking. Many pit that on Zack Snyder, who is essentially the head producer of this franchise and will make Justice League his third outing as director. There's a lot of hesitance to immediately think that any of these movies will be any good. It could be that even the non-Snyder directed films have gained an irregular notoriety. The jury is still out on Wonder Woman - which at least has some promising trailers to its credit.
So, why are people so down on the DC Extended Universe (or DCEU)? I admit that the quality isn't the best and that maybe a certain fraction of every film feels rushed. It could be that it settles for a tone so dour that even a movie made of LEGO has taken to roasting them. I for one don't love any of these movies, but feel like there's something interesting about what they are trying to do as superhero cinema that is totally different from the more optimistic norm of the Marvel films. I don't give it all a pass - and I frankly think that Batman v. Superman's biggest problems are in its third act - but I think that the films are merely mediocre.
I technically have already reviewed a trailer on here for Justice League. However, this is the first "official" trailer. I am going to see if things have improved over last time. In all honesty, the trailer out of Comic Con actually looked fun and full of life. I don't get the insistence of making The White Stripes into the house band soundtrack, but it isn't a terrible idea. This will be the first look at several of these characters. Here's hoping that they look good.

- Dissection -

The one thing that can be said is that this looks like a Zack Snyder Justice League movie. The pale colors all add up to this weird and ominous landscape where a lot of action will take place. Some of it looks good - possibly his best of his three as director. There's a mechanical vibe to everything that makes it a tad soulless, but fits within the vision of a more nihilistic superhero story. Even the heroes' costumes are so Gothic in color that most of these characters look like they're going to a funeral. There's even something about The Flash's red color scheme that seems a tad depressing.
With all of that said, it would be difficult to not want to piece this movie apart and question what all of the rampant action sequences actually are. They look epic and maybe will provide something exciting. There's plenty of machismo in all of the characters (yes, even Wonder Woman). There's plenty of ribbing and humor, which I think is a nice touch and will hopefully be in higher supply than just what's in the trailer. I am not wild about The Beatles cover, which manages to make the entire Justice League look like douchebags. It's a cover of "Come Together," which works in theory. However, the guitars are so bland and generic that it feels like a textual layer of commentary for those wanting to talk smack about the film.
I would like this to be a good movie. I think that the Justice League deserves to have their introductory film be one on par with The Avengers from five years ago. I am worried that it will at best be mediocre. Still, the characters are given a chance to have personality here, and that's enough to get me enticed. There's still plenty that I would like to see be done better (Aquaman's suit, for one). But for now, this is the image of what's being put forward for history-making cinema. It looks like a standard blockbuster, albeit with a bit more of a depressing tone. I'm not sure if it's a bad thing, but I wish that they just stuck with the Comic Con trailer as their big push.

- One Sentence Sell -

Batman and the gang are back for more shenanigans, and you probably know what to expect already.

- Trove or Trash -

It's a decent trailer, but I don't find too much that's exceptional about it. Maybe it's that the franchise is more of the selling point than the trailer, but I am not swayed to see this because of this footage. I already was planning to because of curiosity.

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