I’ll come out and say it.
This is not how I imagined the start of the Justice League hype train prior to the release of BatmanVSuperman.
Whatever your opinion of the latter film (I sort of liked it, then enjoyed it a whole lot more upon subsequent viewings) the lukewarm reaction from critics and audiences has cast something of a pall over the production of DC and Zack Snyder’s superhero team-up film.
Nonetheless, the fan community has so far reacted with cautious optimism when Warner Bros released their official synopsis for the film:
“Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.”
I’ll admit part of me balks at the sparse mention of Superman and the Batman-heavy bias implied in the narrative. I love Batman, I really, really do! Nonetheless it clashes somewhat with my preferred depiction of the character. The Batman I grew up reading would be an ill-fitting leader for the fledgling JLA. He would more likely play the part of a reluctant loner, joining this outlandish troupe of garishly clad meta-humans only when absolutely necessary and entirely on his own terms.
But, hey, it’s not my film, Zack Snyder’s and the concept makes sense following on from the narrative flow of BvS and it’s also a logical next step in Bruce’s character arc.
The mention of Superman only as a fallen iconoclast tells me that they’re sticking to their guns with the “Death of Superman” arc. Indeed, the early movements and the upcoming Suicide Squad could very well be considered the cinematic equivalent of the “A World Without Superman” arc in the comics. If that’s the case I really want to feel the Man of Steel’s absence and make his inevitable return (he’s all over the concept art after all) all the more triumphant.
In lieu of Clark, I hope that Diana will serve as Bruce’s moral compass throughout the film, reminding him (and indeed the rest of the team) what it truly means to be a hero.
The film’s official logo was also released:
For my money I think it’s pretty cool although lacking the elegant simplicity of, say, the Avengers’ “A” logo. I happen to like the font a lot but I think the metallic lettering from Man of Steel and Batman V Superman might suit the concept better than plain black and white.
Curiously, the only other image released from the film was this new image of the Batmobile (taken by photographer Clay Enos) . I’m not quite sure why this fairly innocuous image was chosen to be the first still released from the film other than to reaffirm the “more of Batfleck, less of everything else” mentality that the studio continues to believe is profitable.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a beautiful shot and I still like the Batmobile design (which to my eyes looks unchanged from BvS)… it’s just an odd choice for a reveal.
The most curious (and if legitimate by far the most exciting) item came from Brandon Davis of Comicbook.com who posted this description of a rough cut of a scene from the film, screened to a select few from the set in London:
The scene starts out with Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen heading into his apartment. It’s dark and seems to be part of what looks like a warehouse. It’s unconventional – high ceilings, looks old, and is powered by a circuit breaker when Barry arrives to flip its switch. When that switch is flipped, dozens of lights and TV screens hanging from the ceiling are turned on. More importantly, Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne is sitting in Barry’s apartment waiting for him.
“Barry Allen… Bruce Wayne,” Bruce says to a stunned Barry. “You say that is if it’s normal to have a complete stranger sitting in my second favorite chair,” Barry responds to several laughs from the select press members watching. Bruce quickly reveals a print out of a screenshot from the convenience store surveillance footage which served as one of The Flash’s cameos in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Bruce questions Barry about what he’s doing in the moments caught on camera, but Barry insists, comedically, that is someone who looks exactly like him but is definitely not him – just an “attractive Jewish boy.”
Bruce is obviously not convinced, as he throws a Batarang at Barry, also throwing the scene into slow motion with a couple flashes of light and wind accompanying the scene. Barry steps to the side, looking at the Batarang which would have otherwise hit him in the face, and realizes Bruce Wayne is Batman. He catches it (the Batarang was not added into this part of the scene yet so Miller merely performed the motion of catching it) and looks back to Bruce. Time reverts to normal speed and Barry tells Bruce, “You’re the Batman,” to which Bruce responds, “And you’re fast.” Another comedic dime rolls out when Barry tells Bruce he thinks that way of thinking is an “over-simplification.”
Bruce reveals to Barry that he’s recruiting people like him and Barry signs up immediately, with zero hesitation. After a pause, he tells Bruce he “needs friends” and asks to keep the Batarang.
Again, if legitimate this scene is a great microcosm of the tone that the film needs to strike and it marries with screenwriter Chris Terrio’s comments about Justice League having a lighter tone even before BvS’ troubled release.
It shows a more playful side to Bruce that we had only seen the briefest hints of previously as well as showcasing the wit and affability of actor Ezra Miller.
The Justice League hype train may be leaving the station with more of a whimper than a bang but in the eyes of this DC fan, the news may be sparse but it’s certainly promising!