Justice League‘s showing at Comic-Con built upon the momentum that Warner Bros. and DC Comics have built with Wonder Woman this summer to present the best look at the iconic team and the evil they’ll be facing this November. While unveiling their entire future slate of DC Comics films, Warner seemed to learn from their mistakes and presented a panel that not only created some anticipation for Aquaman, Flash, and the other heroes to come, it did wonders for their already established characters and the actors currently playing them — like Ben Affleck with Batman.
The 4-minute special preview trailer gave us a more humorous look at the team, hinted at plenty of DC Comics goodies for fans to pick out, and introduced us to the forces of Apokolips that aim to conquer Earth and reclaim the mother boxes for Darkseid. All of it together marks one of the few times fans could say that Warner and DC owned the stage at Comic-Con and competed with Marvel. It seems they’ve finally figured out what they want to do.
So let’s once again dive into the world of Justice League and see what it all of it could mean for the film and the future DCEU projects:
While we got a good glimpse at Steppenwolf in hologram/Kryptonian goo form in the deleted scene from Batman V Superman, this trailer gives us our first real look at Darkseid’s elite in action. He doesn’t look overwhelming just based on his build, but he’s clearly got some power behind him and his axe that could cause trouble for Batman and the crew. We see him multiple times throughout the trailer, meaning he’s a petty hands on character that doesn’t just want his minions to be the ones to do his work for him. He’s traveling to Atlantis, hanging out in the tunnels under Gotham and Metropolis, and making one of those superhero landings in one of the sanctums of Themyscira.
There’s another mother box here and it helps fill in some of the blanks about how the film could play out plot wise while also introducing what looks to be a boom tube. The version of Steppenwolf in the film seems to be based on the New 52 version, following along with the plot and team that’s being presented. That also means he’s a little tougher than the Jack Kirby version, having led an invasion of Earth 2 in the books and killing that planet’s version of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.
No idea if that will happen in the series. There is a possibility given another element of the trailer, but you’d have to think they’re done murdering their heroes after offing Superman in only the second film.
Arthur Curry gets another strong showing in this latest preview, giving us a look at his underwater kingdom and another bad ass moment to distance the character from his past incarnations. This is definitely the Aquaman that rules the seas and is calling upon great white sharks to chew up Parademons.
As described during the Warner Bros. panel at Comic-Con, Aquaman isn’t the rule of Atlantis at the moment. That duty falls on his brother, Ocean Master, the rumored villain of Aquaman’s solo film. We got a tiny glimpse of him in the footage that Zack Snyder shared months ago and you can almost make him out here as Arthur swims towards the throne. Patrick Wilson will play the character in James Wan’s film, so we can at least start piecing together some looks.
Crisis In Red
If it’s DC Comics and you see a red sky, there’s usually only one thought that should come to mind. Crisis On Infinite Earths was the monumental mini-series from the ’80s that set out to restructure the confusing DC Comics multiverse. It was great, but failed at its job. The multiverse was later brought back, with two more Crisis events highlighting the recent years of DC Comics. Infinite Crisis was a way to mop up some of the issues left over from the original mini-series and is now known as the middle Crisis. Final Crisis is Grant Morrison’s batty and fantastic take on the event, having Darkseid essentially invade Earth and take over. Superman is away, Batman gets kidnapped by Darkseid’s underlings, there’s a few references to some of Jack Kirby’s other creations tossed in for good measure, and we end up with this:
Darkseid is defeated, The Dark Monitor appears and is also defeated by an army of Supermen from across the multiverse, and Batman is thought dead but really launched back through time by Darkseid’s omega beams. That’s comic talk for wacky plot that won’t work in a movie. But that doesn’t mean we’re not going to see pieces of it appear in Justice League. The red skies are coming, Darkseid is definitely coming, and all that talk of Ben Affleck leaving the role makes you wonder if we aren’t heading for a time displaced Batman to open the door for a new actor? He refuted the rumors on stage at Comic-Con, but Hollywood is built on deception, right?
Gordon, Alfred, and The Classic Batman Connection
Speaking of Batman, the trailer featured a lot of classic Batman references that seem to bridge the gap between the hyper-realistic version in The Dark Knight and the cartoonish version from the Tim Burton/ Joel Schumacher years. Not only do we get a traditional Commissioner Gordon, lighting the bat signal and meeting with the team on the roof, we also get the classic Batman disappearing act and the scene described during the set visit where the Flash points out how rude it is.
Neil Hamilton and Pat Hingle played versions of Gotham’s veteran cop that weren’t very unlike the one we got on the pages of the comic. Then Gary Oldman played one that skewed closer to the Year One version, similar to Ben McKenzie but with a closer look to the actual character. The most authentic Gordon appeared in The Animated Series and it seems like J.K. Simmons is taking cues from that portrayal, which is welcome.
Alfred also returns, complete with more attitude and hopefully more insightful Jeremy Irons interviews. He’s the one providing most of the Batman lore in the trailer, discussing the good old days with Bruce Wayne and how he misses the exploding wind-up penguins. This is a nod to the Penguin obviously, rumored to be played by Josh Gad in one of the future films. This was before the shakeup with The Batman solo film, so we’ll have to wait for a confirmed answer.
The absence of Superman is addressed at the beginning of the clip, showing the black and silver logo hanging from London Bridge. This isn’t the only time we see a hint of the Man of Steel, as Bruce is looking him up in the Batcave via hologram and he possibly shows back up at the end to surprise Alfred. There’s no way to confirm that, but it’s clearly a friendly face for Alfred and it has a few signs of Superman’s arrival with the tremors and shockwaves that typically have accompanied his flight in the new series of films.
His absence in this trailer also likely means that the rumored evil return for Superman was a fake. It doesn’t rule it out completely, but it doesn’t seem like they’d have any time to bring back Superman and turn him into an evil slave of Darkseid. The movie would make Michael Bay aching for an intermission at that point.
You better believe that Wonder Woman is going to get a major part in this film and the marketing behind it. If there was an absence in marketing for the solo Wonder Woman film, the box office totals will have changed that for the folks at Warner Bros. Gal Gadot’s take on the superheroine has elevated the character to the same level as Batman and Superman on the screen. It’s hard to say just how much the actual film will reflect the success of Wonder Woman given the short amount of time, but the future slate of DC Comics films, the existence of Flashpoint as The Flash movie, and the confirmation of Wonder Woman 2 ahead of the uncertain Batman and absent Superman shows that the character is here to stay.
Also the Amazons will play a major role in Justice League, battling with the forces of Apokolips at different points — possibly with a major flashback battle that we’ve talked about before and the arrival of Steppenwolf seen above.
All and all, there is going to be a lot to analyze when the film is released in November. But if you were on the fence about it before Comic-Con, this latest trailer should’ve been a cooling wave of relief.