Sunday, March 26, 2017

'Playing well with others': First 'Justice League' trailer review/breakdown

Could director Zack Snyder actually have fun with DC Comics heroes? Is that really a possibility in the "Justice League" film (out Nov. 17)?

The teaser footage that Snyder released in July at the San Diego Comic-Con indicated DC fans might actually get the good time and fangasm that we so richly deserve. For the distinctive Cary's Comics Craze nearly second-by-second breakdown, click here. (The "Deadpool" sequel short/teaser, titled "No Good Deed," got the same treatment most recently.)

Snyder's biggest challenge with "Justice League" — just as it was with the third act of the related "Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice" — is to deliver a finale that lives up to the rest of the film.

The Dark Knight-heavy "BvS" script gave us no reason to care why Superman died while fighting Doomsday. Having marginalized the Man of Steel in the eyes of society, the story adds insult to injury by failing to make Supes the heroic man he is in the comics and as played by the late Christopher Reeve.

Fans truly can't mourn and/or miss a character if he hasn't done enough to contribute to the importance of the storyline — as I pointed out in my preview of "Justice League" in my preview of the biggest genre movies of this year. And the so-called "Ultimate Edition" of "BvS" did nothing to alleviate the problems of what I'd called a "hot mess" of a movie in my no-spoiler review.

Judging from the SDCC teaser footage/trailer and this first official trailer, "Justice League" has more light-hearted moments.

Only time will tell if Team Snyder has created a fun film or if we've only seen humor-heavy footage. To avoid making another hot mess of a why-did-DC-bother movie, Snyder and the screenplay writers also must find the sweet spot in making sure every character in this ensemble film shines on a regular basis.

Without further ado, here's the CCC breakdown of the first "Justice League" trailer. It sure does look like there's plenty of fun to be had in the middle of the moody Snyder-esque darkness …

• 0:00-0:25 — Is it just me or does this winter setting seem like a wink-wink, nudge-nudge throwback-reference to "Batman Begins"?

• 0:28-32 — Victor Stone's father comes home to a high-tech alien box shimmering in the corner. One of Darkseid's Mother Boxes, perhaps? Notice the football trophy on top, a reference to Victor being a star athlete before his nearly fatal lab accident. And doesn't that alien creeping behind Mr. Stone have more than a passing resemblance to Blue Beetle?

• 0:34-0:36 — "The others — where are they?" Bruce Wayne, it's time to recruit the Justice League! And cue the teaser-trailer footage/montage of Aquaman, Cyborg, the Flash, Batman and Wonder Woman. A brilliant marketing move, Warner Bros., to promote the release of the this trailer. Bravo!

• 0:41-0:43 — Arthur Curry comes into a bar hauling Wayne over his shoulder. Did Aquaman just finish kicking the billionaire's ass or did he just save him?

• 0:44 — "It's on him."

• 0:46-0:53 — Cyborg gets the spotlight.

• 0:56-0:58 — Fittingly, the Flash produces lightning in his wake as he runs. I prefer the red blur from "The Flash" TV series, which is much more true to the comic books. At least it was through the late 1990s or so. The lightning imagery started during the New 52 reboot.

• 0:58-1:02 — This footage of Barry Allen watching Wayne throw a Batarang at him is taken from the SDCC teaser.

• 1:04 — "You're Batman?" Well, duuuuuh! He just threw a Batarang at you to test your speed.

• 1:04-1:08 — This footage of Batman swinging into the scene is sweeeeeet! Definitely one of my favorite sequences in this trailer.

• 1:16-1:17 — Aquaman attacks the Blue Beetle-esque aliens with his spear — in midair. This dude is gonna kick all kinds of ass throughout this movie!

• 1:19-1:21 — Wonder Woman's sliding, kick-sweep move is awesome. Definitely part of her bag of tricks! Remember seeing it in the first "Wonder Woman" trailer? (Also reviewed on CCC — just sayin!) I love the look on actress Gal Gadot's face; it's like she's saying: "I just kicked his his ass. You're next."

• 1:26-1:28 — Trying to shoot the Fastest (young) Man Alive? Good luck with that!

• 1:29-1:32 — Barry Allen: "What are your superpowers again?" Wayne: "I'm rich." This ying-and-yang dynamic between these two should be a lot of fun to watch.

• 1:33 — Cue this crappy cover of The Beatles' "Come Together." I guess WB/DC Entertainment couldn't afford the rights to the real deal.

• 1:35-1:39 — Batman jumps into what I assume is the Batwing. And indeed, it's "my turn" as he fires on the aliens. For a guy he doesn't believe in using guns (in the comics at least!), the Dark Knight sure does have no problem arming his vehicles with plenty of them.

• 1:43 — An image of Stone as a football player. Of course the team's colors are black and gold!

• 1:45 — Who is that running with the Flash in the middle of the Speed Force? The Scarlet Speedster is on the right, but even by freezing the frame I can't figure out who the person is on his left.

• 1:46 — A blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo by Amy Adams as Lois Lane.

• 1:46-1:48 — Aquaman faces a wall of water. Is that by his own creation or is he attempting to control it with his spear?

• 1:49 — A blink-and-you'll-miss-it cameo by Amber Heard as Mera. Pretty hot!

• 1:50 — A quick look at Allen visiting his father in prison, talking on the visitors' phones. Like the aforementioned runner, it's hard to see what actor is playing Allen's dad.

• 1:51 — Epic battle

• 1:52-1:54 — The Batmobile, armed to the teeth, shooting down the aliens. Check out Batman's goggles.

• 1:56-1:57 — This a cool sequence of The Flash running. I'm beginning to appreciate the lightning.

• 1:57-2:01 — Wonder Woman jumps down from waaaaay above to be at the front of the next battle with Aquaman and Cyborg. Man, Gadot has fantastic legs and thighs!

• 2:01 — "Shall we?" … Indeed, Wonder Woman!

• 2:06-2:14 — It's our first look at J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Jim Gordon, who delivers a great line to Batman: "It's great to see you playing well with others again." Lovin' the hat and trench coat!

This is, by far, is my favorite sequence (presumably on the roof of the Gotham City Police Department). Jason Momoa's Aquaman, like the Hulk in the first "Avengers" film, might be the break-out star of "Justice League." Gotta love what he tells Batman: "Just like a bat. I dig it."

"It may be temporary," Batman quips to Gordon.

• 2:14-2:21 — And if that prior scene wasn't cool enough, Snyder ends the trailer with … Aquaman surfing on the Batmobile! He's about to deliver more of a beatdown to the aliens. How about that nod Batman gives Aquaman? One of the big battles likely takes place in the very dark streets of Gotham City.

Yeah, it looks like the Dark Knight knows how to "play well with others." But can Team Snyder play nice with all of the Justice League?

Grade: A

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