The new Justice League trailer dropped today and it can be best described with one word: boring. Gone is the booming action laid over the driving rhythms of a hard rock cover of “Come Together” by the Beatles. Gone is the impending doom, darkness and against-all-odds vibe that set up our heroes to have to learn to overcome. In its place are painful one-liners, platitudes about heroism and coming together, and campy sly smiles. It’s not cool anymore, and it’s not different, it seems to be just another installment of the superhero film formula that audiences are already exhausted with.
I can’t say for certain that this is Joss Whedon’s influence, it’s possible the marketing team did this all on their own, or that it was the plan all along to massively break from the style they established in the other trailers, but Joss Whedon has a recognizable style and it’s on full display here. Even eternally brooding Bruce Wayne is seen delivering the same kind of teenage banter present in Buffy, The Avengers, and all of his other work.
Admittedly, Suicide Squad was a mess. However, it was originally a side story that got thrust into the limelight with the unwanted responsibility of saving the DCEU after Batman vs. Superman got panned. Reshoots muddied the plot, as it rushed to make sure the criticisms of the fan response weren’t present in the final cut, making a movie that was deeply incoherent. I still wonder, if we had gotten the Ballroom Blitz vision showed off in the original trailer, would it have been so bad?
Admittedly, Batman vs. Superman had problems, but I believe the studio massively over-corrected. It seemed likely, given the stakes and the pressure from the studio, that Zack Snyder would have taken the criticism and did his best to iron out the kinks and still presented a movie with more humor and light while still maintaining his unique style.
Obviously Snyder left the film, understandably, due to an immense family tragedy. WB’s response could have been to hire a competent director who would complete his vision — what they did, though, was hire Marvel’s most prominent director, who has a very distinct vision of his own, to give us a strange hybrid of two very different styles.
The jury is still out on how the movie will be, but my concern is it’s going to be closer to this latest trailer, which bored me to death, than the original trailer, which gave me goosebumps. I’m also concerned it will make the same mistake as Suicide Squad, allowing criticism to guide its direction and delivering a messy mashup of completely conflicting visions — a strategy completely devoid of authourial courage.