'Justice League’ Trailer Impressions: DC Does Marvel Formula With Darker Visuals

How much Batman is in 'Suicide Squad'?
How much Batman is in 'Suicide Squad'? DC Comics

The fledgling DC Extended Universe has had a rocky start. Seeking to differentiate themselves from the earlier established Marvel Cinematic Universe, Warner chose to triple down on the ‘dark’ tone that Nolan’s wildly successful Batman films utilized for Justice League, which arrives November, 2017.

Unfortunately, whoever typed up the meeting notes didn’t define dark as, "thematically mature and grounded in reality," but instead as "humorless" and "literally only very dark images on screen." Leaving the core lessons of the success Batman films behind them and forgetting that all of those film are enjoyable, they created a string of films that are ponderous, humorless physical painful to watch, all in the name of ‘going darker than Marvel.’ The great irony is that the world, themes, and stories they developed felt far more childish and simplistic than those of the MCU. This left viewers with a sort of worst of both worlds because if you’re going to be childish, at least be fun or funny.

READ: Justice League Insults My Intelligence

But, as this new trailer shows, DC is trying to learn their lesson and change all that. The good news is, the trailer gives further encouragement that Justice League is willing to have a little fun. There are some light quips between the team in between moments of a vague CG threat. Even though the trailer shows relatively little, I would bet that this film comes out far better than the first three of the DCEU. Unfortunately, that bar is low enough that even Donald Trump’s tiny hands tower over it.

As DC tries to course correct from their old direction, they’ve arrived at a place that feels shockingly similar to what they tried hard to differentiate themselves from - a Marvel movie. In the little footage we have in the trailer, the things that stand out are the aforementioned quips between the heroes and a vague, presumably villainous, relatively aesthetically uninteresting CG army. These are the core qualities of the first and second wave of MCU movies. Marvel got away with having trouble with their villains because the energy, humor, and stories between the protagonists were so engaging. I find it extremely hard to believe that Justice League will have the same luck as they slowly dip their toe in the water of a lighter tone.

So what are we left with? At best, we have a watered down MCU movie with all the shots 80% darker, which is not an exciting target to be aiming for. Even if, against all odds they make a film that is as fun and enjoyable as The Avengers, we’re getting three Marvel movies a year so who can really stomach another? Beyond that, even Marvel is moving away from using their old trick of faceless CG army as a main threat because even they couldn’t get much mileage out of it. For a DC mega fan, enjoy the relief that you may see a DC movie that won’t literally age you by ten years. For everyone else, I hope you can stomach twice as many Marvel movies coming out each year. I enjoy nearly all of the Marvel films, but I for one can barely handle as many as they are already putting out. I pray your endurance is greater than my own.

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