It’s a sad day when the most inspiring thing DC has going, PR wise, is Mark Hamill reading Donald Trump tweets in his Joker voice.
The truth is that nobody here at the office thinks the Justice League movie is going to be very good. So, I was sitting here, brainstorming a million ideas for an op-ed to reflect that like, “5 Reasons the Justice League Movie Looks Like Landfill” or “Superhero Cinema in the Trump Era.” You get the picture. As it turns out, instead of five ways to explain how awful this movie is going to be, we were given just one in form of this image.
To be fair, we were all fairly to moderately excited about this when we first saw it. Then again, that was when we thought this was a picture of a line of upcoming action figures to promote the impending addition to DC’s Cinematic Murderverse, Justice League. Alas, that is the actual cast in costume, their dour expressions seeming to mirror the overall buzz, or lack thereof, for the movie (except for Ezra “The Flash” Miller, who looks as though he’s just been told he’s not in the Power Rangers remake).
Folks, it’s one thing for Ben Affleck to have bitter beer face. Not only is that part of Batman’s whole thing (his parents are uber dead, mind you), but it’s a recently discovered scientific fact that gazing upon the script to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice melts all the joy from your face like the Ark of the Covenant. But Gal Gadot looks like she’s daydreaming that she’s back on the set of a Fast and Furious movie when her career made sense. And I don’t even know what to say about Cyborg (Ray Fisher) that hasn’t already been said about a fifth grader’s paper mache geometry project. The Justice League looks about as excited to be there as we are (to recap, that falls under “not very”). It could very well be because of the fact that even this image demonstrates a vast misunderstanding of what people appreciate about DC’s flagship mythos. It looks like this picture was taken in some dark warehouse or laboratory as if they’re skulking around in the shadows…which is nowhere near what The Most Celebrated Assembly Of Heroes Ever is associated with.
Remember when you saw The Avengers’ movie poster?
I mean, they were all in the middle of a war torn New York in steadfast poses, ready for battle. A plane was crashing, some beam was shooting out of Stark Tower. Hawkeye had his bow tensed, standing vigilant. The Hulk was looking for something to smash. Iron Man had his blaster hand out ready to give someone off in the distance that work. There was even one where Captain America was looking alert, leading the team into battle. There was chemistry, there was excitement, there was an element of mystery. Put simply, they looked heroic. So far, we have one teaser trailer (in which NOTHING happened) and a picture and the most heroic thing that’s happened between them is Bruce Wayne throwing a batarang in slow motion and really that’s only second to Jason Momoa’s chest. Granted, that’s a step up from Dawn of Justice where he outright murdered just about everyone, but we need better to get us convinced, especially after three lukewarm movies attempting to set up this one movie that the studio seems to have bet the farm on, in terms of trying to launch other DC movies. And it doesn’t help that there’s no Superman in this movie.
Even though I realize Superman didn’t first appear in the original Justice League comics until later on, most modern day images you see have Superman there at the heart of the team to draw your eye. As the basic archetype of what we now know as the superhero, no matter how you feel about him, everything about the Man of Steel is designed to scream “Hero” at even the most casual observer, despite Zack Snyder’s best attempts to make him otherwise. Without him, it’s that much more challenging to capture your gaze so that you understand that real hero shit is about to go down.
The original campaign for Justice League was “Unite the Seven.” Looking at this picture all I want to do is donate thirty cents a day to Amnesty International and free these five from captivity.
Cover image: DC Films