Justice League Trailer Takeaway

The final trailer for Justice League has arrived and there’s not much else new to it. If you’ve seen other trailers, it’s just really expanded sequences. Honestly, I still don’t even know what this movie is about. It looks to be a simple invasion movie, which might work best with all the characters in the movie. But here we go:

  • Superman-JusticeLeague.png Superman is back! Well sort of. Everyone knows that Superman will be back in this film but the trailer finally gives something to chew on. Of course it is presented as a dream sequence for the grieving Lois Lane. But what if this is not a dream sequence but actually the end of the movie?
  • The beginning of the trailer deals with the continuing repercussions from the “death” of Superman. Crime and various other bad things throughout the world have gone out of control.
  • More narration from Bruce Wayne/Batman about his nightmare from Batman v. Superman and how he foresaw the end of the world
  • There is a flashback to an ancient battle with the forces of Apokolips fighting the Amazons along with other forces from Earth. It looks like the goal is to terraform the Earth into another Apokolips.
  • Batman and Wonder Woman look to be the leaders of the team or at the very least the lynchpins
  • Various soundbites play about how none of the members can do what they do alone and they’re stronger together. There are quick shots of each of the heroes doing their thing. The world needs Superman.
  • Throughout we see the various members of the Justice League (minus Superman) in various action scenes, many with the members confronting Steppenwolf himself.
  • Again we never get a clear shot of Steppenwolf. Only quick glimpses. Though Steppenwolf is a CG character, I’m at least glad there is threat that the team has to fight. Not just an army of goons but there is a figurehead there that can talk to them.
  • The final scene is really just a scene about how giddy Barry Allen is to be teaming up with Bruce Wayne as he spots the Bat-signal in the sky.

Overall, it was a decent trailer. I’m already set in my ways to see the movie. I was genuinely shocked to see Clark Kent/Superman show up. But since it was presumably a dream sequence, they can have their cake and eat it too. But solid trailer and not to quote the tagline but I’m all in.

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Is The Loose Continuity For The DCEU A Good Idea?

It was recently announced that the DC Extended Universe (which was also revealed to not be the official name) would have a loose continuity post Justice League. Many people promptly freaked out as it looked like Warner Bros. was already giving up on a movie universe for its DC Comics. But Geoff Johns clarified things on Twitter, speaking about how this universe is still moving forward and the movies would still be linked. You can see why people would freak out but you can see why the overreaction was unwarranted.

Honestly I do not think it is a bad thing if continuity between the movies is much more loose going forward. Not to compare DC to Marvel, as that is an argument that is nauseating at this point, but it has to happen here. Marvel Studios changed the game with the Marvel Cinematic Universe as everything movie is a piece in a larger puzzle. When it first started it was more subtle but it slowly took over and you get movies such as Age of Ultron. While a fine movie, it really did not feel like a complete movie as it had to set up future movies.

This even happened with Warner Bros. with their second movie. Batman v. Superman was announced a few months after Man of Steel and the title was all that was known about the movie. As cameras began rolling, Wonder Woman was added to the movie and eventually so were The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. The subtitle Dawn of Justice was added to the movie as well. When the movie was finally released, it was divisive to say the least. One of the biggest complaints was how the film was rushing too many things to get towards Justice League.

Suicide Squad was released a few months after and while the bigger universe things weren’t as forced, there were still some element. The post credits scene between Bruce Wayne and Amanda Waller felt forced and an afterthought. Wonder Woman was released but other than an email from Bruce Wayne referencing a plot thread between them in Batman v. Superman, it was hardly connected to anything larger. This was largely because the film was mostly a prequel but no post credits scene (except for the home video release) and nothing in the present day sequences. Wonder Woman turned out to be a huge success, critically and financially.

Now Aquaman is in production and due to come out next year. It has been said many times that the film will take place post Justice League. There’s no need for say The Flash or Batman to show up for any other reason just to remind people that they exist in the same universe. A line here or there referencing the events of Justice League will suffice. There has been much to say about the upcoming Batman film and just what exactly is going on with that. Writer/director Matt Reeves has said that he wants to film to stand up on its own and now his line makes more sense.

One of the biggest criticisms that face the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that it feels like most films are in service to another. That a lot of films cannot stand on their own because they have to reference so much of what came before and set up the future. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is my favorite film of the MCU is because it averts that. All you really have to know is that Cap in now in the present and had an adventure with The Avengers. The more pertinent information is covered within the film itself and other than a post credits scene, hardly has to set up the next Avengers film or any other film.

The more a film can stand on its own, the stronger the universe will be. I think that has been the weakest part of all these film universes. They never focus on the individual and only the bigger picture but it has a weak foundation and thus no one cares. It’s hard to say why the DCEU has not suffered too greatly from two very divisive films that would have sunk any other franchise. But it’s good to see that they are getting in front of the issue before it gets too serious. These are beloved characters and many want to see them succeed in films. No one really wants to go back to where everything was only Batman focused.

 

Flashpoint Is The Smartest Choice For A Soft Reboot of the DCEU

Flashpoint is one of those recent comic book storyline events that I feel is a tad overrated. I remember when it came out that I was happy as to how short it was (five issues) but I still felt that it was padded out. It could have been a three issue event. I think why it is somewhat remembered fondly is because of all the events surrounding it. The alternate world that The Flash created where everything was the same but just slightly tweaked. Batman was now Thomas Wayne and Bruce Wayne was killed instead. Kal-El was never found by the Kents and instead picked up by the government and was something of an invalid. Aquaman and Wonder woman were monarchs waging a world war with one another. The actual event of the miniseries with The Flash trying to fix the world from his own mistake seems to go unmentioned a lot when actually talking about the event.

So at San Diego Comic Con 2017, Geoff Johns announced that The Flash movie would be based on the series, it got people excited. The best thing about Flashpoint is that it is an interesting way to tell an origin story. The Flash’s origin plays an important role in the story as the whole event kicks off when he travels back in time to prevent his mother’s murder when he was a kid. It was done by his arch enemy; the time travelling Reverse Flash.  You can tick many boxes by going this route instead of just showing the hero getting his powers and fighting his arch enemy route that many superhero movies take. Plus we’ve already seen The Flash in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad and Justice League by that point.

The movie also serves as a way to do a soft reboot of the DCEU. There have been a few questionable choices made through the earlier films that many would like to see be gone. There is the whole Ben Affleck not wanting to be Batman thing as well. A key detail in the comic Flashpoint and even the animated adaptation, they show the world pre Flashpoint and post. The pre Flashpoint versions of the heroes look very different from the post Flashpoint ones, mostly in costumes. But the films can go a different route by showing Ben Affleck as Batman before Flashpoint and then post, have his replacement in the role. After X-Men: Days of Future Past, I think movie going audiences are a bit more understanding of how these things work.

Flashpoint was already very loosely adapted in the currently running Flash television series. That version left a lot to be desired. So one thing that the movie has going for is a larger budget and the ability for cool cameos from other actors in the DCEU. I’d be interested in seeing a skinny and tiny Henry Cavill. But the movie is still a ways off so who knows. Since the DCEU is very different from the DC Comics, it will have to make its own Flashpoint and that leaves things exciting. I honestly hope that the film smooths the bumpy road that the DCEU has faced and it’s a good ride afterwards.

At This Point…I Don’t Care Whether Ben Affleck Stays as Batman

There has been a lot of back and forth about Ben Affleck being Bruce Wayne/Batman. Playing the role in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad and the forthcoming Justice League. Rumors have persisted since last year that Affleck has been frustrated and does not want to continue to play the role after Justice League. Obviously this is bad for business as Justice League has yet to come out and you really can’t have one of the main actors talking about leaving the role. It just doesn’t look right and casts a cloud over the movie which already has enough problems going for it. The news popped up again right before the cast of Justice League was set to appear at San Diego Comic Con and of course Affleck denied he would be leaving.

I was a big champion for Affleck when he was casts for the role. Other than being a billionaire part, there are many things that Affleck and the character have in common when one another. Plus when it comes to all the actors who have played the role before, Affleck is the one who looks the most like how the character is described in the comics and most other media adaptations. My one biggest complaint is Affleck’s age as you really can’t have an actor who is the latter half of his 40’s in such a physically demanding role. Maybe for a one off movie but not one you build a franchise around. Sure Batman does have the advantage of being masked, so you can hide it but still the actor has to be in some shape.

But as the rumors go back and forth about whether he is staying in the role, at this point I don’t care. If he decides to stay on, at least for Matt Reeves’ upcoming Batman movie, then I’ll be happy. If he does not and moves on, then for being a great Batman. You really don’t want an actor who does not want to be there, staying in the role. WB has now been shown that they do not need to rely on the Batman crutch that they tend to rely on. Wonder Woman was the biggest movie in summer 2017 and Aquaman is looking to be another success for the studio in 2018. I guess we will all know a few months after Justice League is finally released. Plus the studio has a unique story way of replacing Ben Affleck with a different actor.

 

Not Worried About Justice League Reshoots

A recent trend I’ve noticed is that everything concerning the DC Extended Universe gets analyzed and dissected more than most big budget movies. Ever since Joss Whedon took over directing duties for Zack Snyder on Justice League, the microscope has been further analyzed on the film. Recent reports came out that the film was deemed “unwatchable” by Warner Bros. execs. Now if this is true or not, who is to say. But I know personally I am not worried about the reshoots or additional photography, whatever you want to call it, as it is clear that the studio is trying to make the best film possible.

I don’t know why reshoots came to be such a taboo thing. If you see a problem with a film and you have the ability to fix it, why not do it? The fact that everything must be perfect from the start is an insane concept in itself as well. So if there are problems with Justice League and I do think that there are, then take the time to fix them. If the film came out “unwatchable” and was released as that, people would jump on the film even harder than if they didn’t. So it’s kind of a lose lose situation.

Sure these reshoots are a bit more than typical but sometimes that happens. Does not necessarily mean that the film will be a wreck. Apocalypse Now and the recent Rogue One are examples of films that underwent massive reshoots and the films turned out fine. Of course it can turn out the other way but that can happen on films that did not undergo reshoots. So it’s all just a process.

You don’t necessarily turn in a class paper with your first draft. Some people feel content with that and it turns out fine. Others work on it until the very end and it also turns out fine. The opposite effects happen for both situations as well. Making a film is similar to this. I hope that the film is a success as I love the DC superheroes and want them to prosper on film.

So here’s a sort of new poster for the Justice League film

 

Wonder Woman (2017) Review

The time has come for the premiere woman superhero to finally get a feature film after 75 years. Sure there has been a TV show in the 70’s but after that, it has been little to nothing. There have been numerous attempts at feature films and live action shows that have never materialized. There was a fairly popular animated movie in 2009. But now that the DC Extended Universe is off and running and making a small appearance in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Wonder Woman’s chance has finally come. How does it succeed?

Arguably this is the best movie in the DCEU canon and one of the best superhero movies in years. Origin movies are usually the best way to go especially with heroes whose origins aren’t commonly known. So this was the route chosen for Wonder Woman as well as setting the bulk of the movie in the past during World War I. Wonder Woman is usually tied to World War II but since Captain America: The First Avenger handled that war, you can see why they shifted it. After spy Steve Trevor crashes on Themyscira, Diana (Wonder Woman) agrees to take him back to mainland Earth where he has information on a new weapon to help end the war of wars. People tend to forget how brutal World War I was and this change does not diminish Wonder Woman’s plight against the God of War, Ares.

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Gal Gadot as Diana/Wonder Woman is serviceable as the titular hero. She is not necessarily great in the role. No fault to her as her acting resume is thin with a lot of roles that asked nothing of her. But when she does shine, she does. I can see her growing into the role and becoming a better actor in the process. Chris Pine steals the show for me in the movie. I’ve always been so so on him as an actor until fairly recently. In this movie, he plays a spy who has become world weary due to the war happening. While he is jaded, he always shows that he believes in the good of people. This is a good contrast to Diana’s more naive black and white view of the world. When these two interact, their chemistry is great and help sell the movie. The Amazons played by Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta, Diana’s mother and Robin Wright as General Antiope, Diana’s aunt are strong presences in the movies despite limited screentime. Diana and Steve’s compatriots played by Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner and Eugene Brave Rock are solid and help flesh out the war side and also help flesh out the world for Diana. Danny Huston, Elena Anaya, David Thewlis and Lucy Davis are the rest of the supporting cast are solid and help flesh out the movie.

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Patty Jenkins deserves all the credit in the world for this movie. The tone for the movie was perfect. There wasn’t humor just thrown in for the sake of humor. A lot of humor comes from Diana being a fish out of water. The contrast between Themyscira and the actual world is such a beautiful contrast. When Diana enters the modern (circa 1918) and sees London, you can just feel the pollution on the screen. When the war scenes happen, even though it is not an R rated film, you feel the effects of this horrific war. There are no hidden shots of missing limbs or anything like that, you see them. I think it was a tricky balance to not be too heavy but also show the effects of the war and what it is doing to the world. So when Diana finally does step in and become a beacon of hope, you really feel it.

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The action in this movie is top notch as well. Since Diana comes from a warrior group of people, they are much more melee based combat. This reflects in her combat style as she frequently goes for the legs. The opening action scene between the Amazons and German soldiers is unique to see this group of trained warriors go up against modern weapons that they know nothing about, which helps makes things even. Whenever Diana steps into battle, it is memorable since she is no normal person and can do things like no other. A unique battle shows that even though she is all powerful, she can not do everything and it is juxtaposed with her teaming with soldiers and their weapons to help turn the tides of battle.

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This is also a gorgeous movie. As mentioned earlier the contrast the modern world and Themyscira is palpable. Themyscira is a gorgeous place (probably why it’s nickname is Paradise Island) and the hues of greens and blues make you just want to visit the place. Then when entering the modern world and seeing the effects of war and everything is black and gray helping to sell that the world is really at war. Seeing the world in 1918 is also pretty much being like in a different world. Seeing London in this era and war torn Europe is nothing like the world today. The fashion, the vehicles, the lingo, everything about it.

Is it a perfect movie? No. The third act is a little long winded. The whole thing with Ares is a bit on the thin side. He’s a serviceable villain but not much to him. But it is nice to see a movie about a superhero who actually wants to be a hero. Everyone involved in the movie should be proud of themselves for creating one of the best superhero movies in recent years.

 

SCORE: 9/10