There is that old saying: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.
What is you keep getting fooled time and time again? At that point, are you just hopeful? Perhaps overly optimistic? The type of person who looks at a house fire as a way of saving a few bucks on their heating bill?
Or are you the type of person that can be misled? Fooled? Bamboozled? Can you blindly follow?
These are the questions silently asked by the new Justice League trailer.
There are many people out there who seem to enjoy the new colorless world of DC superheroes that Warner Bros. seems to be molding. Kevin Smith is one of them. And I’m sure those who star and make the films have parents who are proud.
But according to most critics’ reviews, YouTube videos, blog entries and die hard fans of comics, each and every attempt thus far has ranged from mild disappointment to epic fail.
Starting with Man of Steel in 2013, which was deemed overly moody and over-the-top violent for a Superman movie. Henry Cavill’s portrayal of the Last Son of Krypton was too downcast and sulky to be the savior of Earth and the beacon of hope for mankind.
His disposition was more in line with someone that would sell me a My Chemical Romance hoodie at the mall than run faster than a speeding bullet.
Then in 2016, audiences we dealt with the double blow of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad.
BvS was what is kindly referred to as a “fascinating mess.” No fun, no humor and nothing remotely to relate to in terms of character development and story arc, the whole affair seemed rushed. Warner Bros. was anxious to get something out the door that would set them up as a fierce competitor to Marvel and Disney, but in their haste, forgot to be true to the comics.
Also, having Zack Snyder at the helm instead of a visionary such as Kevin Feige might not be the greatest move. While Snyder’s filmmaking ability is a matter of opinion, one wouldn’t necessary call him a man of great patience. Feige can tenderly plant a story arc ten years prior and watch it blossom into a beautiful tentpole one day. Snyder sprays seeds around the multiplex and hopes something takes root.
Flower metaphors aside, at the end of the day, BvS was destroyed by critics, but made a fuck ton of cash.
Then came Suicide Squad, a movie so flawed, so badly heavily edited and so confused it seemed to have six introductions for each character.
The story made absolutely no sense, characters of other than Harley Quinn and Deadshot either phoned in their performance or the bulk of it was on the editing floor, the music was all over the place.
Somewhere in there was a decent movie, but it was lost long ago by nervous studio executives with the power to demand edits and filmmakers who were given enough rope to hang themselves. What were were left with was a horribly, flimsy “superhero” movie with no real plot, no likeable characters and no redeeming qualities.
Strike that. What we were left with was an Oscar-winning horribly, flimsy “superhero” movie with no real plot, no likeable characters and no redeeming qualities that made $745.6 million at the box office?
I don’t blame fans. Just like all comic book fanatics, I was hungry to see these characters on the big screen as well, so I shell out my cash. In the end, the only winners were Hot Topic, 21 Pilots and Warner Bros. financial department.
But sure as shit not their writers. At least, not all of them.
So, where does this leave Justice League?
Already on thin ice, the world which Justice League inhabits is similar to what we’ve seen and in contrast to the comics. Once again, Snyder’s vision of the DC Universe is seen through the same dark Christopher Nolan filter that blankets Gotham City and Batman’s universe. Somehow, it’s seemed to escape him that not all comics need to be dark and gritty and that a little color never hurt anyone.
In the new trailer, hints of brown, gold and green set the stage for each of the main heroes to be introduced while Godsmack’s “Come Together” plays on full blast.
It’s easy to get lost in the excited as the trailer shows small bits of epic battles, clever quips and slithers of heartfelt moments featuring Aquaman, Batman, Flash, Wonder Woman and Cyborg, teasing fans with characters they have waited all their lives to see on the screen.
In other words, all of the tricks we fell for before.
Listen, great character intros set to thumping music mean nothing. Look at Suicide Squad. It had like 50 of ‘em.
However, it does make for great trailers. Unfortunately. And that’s where we are with Justice League. There is no doubt it is a great trailer. But a great trailer does not make for a great movie.
Let me repeat that: A great trailer does not make for a great movie.
Everything about Justice League has the earmarks for another great con job. There is nothing about the trailer to give any indication that there is more to the movie outside of the trailer, which probably utilizes all of the best parts of the movie.
The trailer reuses the same exact formula that worked with both BvS and SS. And why not? Those movies made record-breaking amounts of cash thanks to those trailers alone. Why change something if it ain’t broke?
So, does that mean I, along with every other comic book fan, won’t see this movie when it comes out because we learned our lesson?
But I will wait. Perhaps even until VOD depending on the reviews. Warner Bros. can no longer be trusted. They have proved themselves as shady as a Tinder date at 2 a.m. or a Craigslist responder who wants you to accept a certified check.
Warner Bros. failed to realize the lessons from Marvel, particularly Spider-Man. With great power, comes great responsibility. They had a responsibility to these characters and the fans, and so far, failed to deliver in many different ways on many levels. But despite WB’s and Snyder’s attempts to suck the joy and optimism out from these iconic characters, they couldn’t do it from the fans. So, fans remain hopeful and will go see the movie despite reviews because the trailer offers the promise of something more than a bleak universe of three colors.
Never lose that.
Despite what Warners might do to DC’s legendary hero lineup and their universe, remember that it doesn’t change who they are or what they represent. That’s just one man’s idea of what will bring in cash.
It is okay to stay golden to the Golden Age characters. Just remember to be wary and remember: A great trailer does not make for a great movie.
For better or for worse, Justice League arrives in theaters on November 17.