Recently, in an interview with People Magazine, Batman actor Ben Affleck discussed his time filming the Justice League film. He gave a lengthy speech about how great it was working with his co-stars, but he also said the following about the film overall:
“This is a step in evolution to bring together all of these characters who have had their origins. It’s about multilateralism, and it’s about hope and about working together and the kind of conflicts of trying to work together with others. Part of the drama of the movie is the question of whether or not the team is going to come together. It’s very different from the tenor of the last movie and there’s also more room for humor.”
Firstly, the “multilateralism” comment is funny because that is the exact opposite of what being a superhero means. Even if you have teammates, you are one body deciding things for others. Even if each of you have your own thing going on, you are still comrades with similar goals and interests.
Despite that, saying the film is about “hope” is a bold statement, given how the DCEU has panned out so far.
Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice were certainly not hopeful movies. Man of Steel tried to be about hope, but the final product really only elicits feelings of depression and dreariness.
Suicide Squad tried to be more upbeat about things, but that just turned out a confused mess of a movie with an insipid plot and cast.
Wonder Woman was the only one that I could truly say was about hope, and it frigging dealt with World War I, that war what killed off an entire generation of young men.
Now, I know this is a different film, they’ve been giving this behemoth maintenance for over a year now, and the trailers are trying to give an upbeat vibe to them. That doesn’t mean the resulting product will be “hopeful.”
Now, I don’t know what the final product will be yet, I haven’t seen it, Affleck actually worked on it, etc. etc. However, I do have trailers, promotional material, and still shots to work with, and using those does not give me “hope.”
Take the one, for example. This one has been paired with the Affleck statement. It has Bruce, Diana, and Barry in it. Look at that muted color palette. Good lord, this thing couldn’t be grayer if it aged 50 years. Flash’s red is darkened. Wonder Woman’s costume looks brown and grey. None of this inspires optimism. We use color to convey feeling, and the colors here do not convey hope, especially with that black bat-monstrosity in the center.
‘Icky Thump’ by the White Stripes did not make the first full trailer seem hopeful. In fact, the weird tone of the song perfectly conveyed how confused the trailer seemed. It looks like they’re trying to make this movie upbeat, optimistic, and, indeed, “hopeful,” but the movie itself seems to resist this impression. They’re trying to force an animal already set in its instincts to be something else.
Now, maybe this will work. I hope it does. I want a good Justice League movie. Maybe, in two and a half months, it will come out and prove me wrong. Please do.
I guess we’ll figure out in November.
Maybe it will be better than last year’s November event about the fate of the world.