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Pre-REVIEW: Justice League Movie
September 6, 2017 By Brett Jett
by Brett Jett
Although my main interest is in Wonder Woman, I’m also a mythologist who watches many different mythologies, since childhood. And superheroes are certainly mythology. I remember playing “Justice League heroes” with my elementary school mates. But I only write reviews involving Wonder Woman. So my critique of the JUSTICE LEAGUE movie is mainly aimed at her, of course. But since she has a heavy connection to the other superheroes in the movie, they’re going to get my critique treatment in this pre-review as well.
I don’t know the total number of JUSTICE LEAGUE trailers that have been out, but I have seen 2 of them so far.
I don’t know why DC/Warner chose this particular ensemble of superheroes to be in the first Justice League movie. Where is Green Lantern or Green Arrow? Perhaps they wanted to match Marvel Comics’ AVENGERS movie? Well let’s see…
–Superman is to Captain America, or even Hulk…..Idealism & super might.
–WW is to Thor AND Capt America…..Mythology & old world wars.
–Batman is to IronMan, or even Hawkeye…Crazy rich white guys with too much time and no metahuman powers. Though I would tend to match Hawkeye with Green Arrow.
–Cyborg is maybe to IronMan?…for the tech suit reasons?
From there it gets tricky. Because Flash has no Avengers equivalent, neither does Aquaman. Personally, I’d have left out Aquaman and casted Martian Manhunter and the other 2 green guys, plus Black Canary. Only then would there be an equivalent for Vizor, Hawkeye, Black Widow, and Scarlet Witch who has similarity to Green Lantern…its that “Careful what you will into being” theme of their superpowers.
I’ve always thought of Aquaman as lame. NO ONE on the playground wanted to be him! And that’s why, out of all the Leaguers, DC/Warner has given HIM the most enhancements…A badass makeover, complete with an “extreme sports surfer” personality…AND they chose a Polynesian instead of a white boy to play him! Hmmm, creative choice, considering that the Polynesians are water people…albeit mostly on the water, not under it. Yo, the presence of tattoos on him….very Polynesian. And of course, being Hawaiian, Jason Momoa is used to being wet. BTW, this marks the very first time a Hawaiian was successfully cast as a mainstream comic book superhero on the big screen! Megan Gale’s WW didn’t get off the ground. I never thought Aquaman would be the character to make it happen. I’d always thought it’d be Starfire. And yo, that weapon he carries has 5 prongs, so technically its not a trident…its a pent-dent. Despite Aquaman’s initial animosity toward Batman, I know they can relate to each other’s addiction to extreme activities, living on the edge.
I must say…Wow!…This is the FIRST time (in live-action) that all these DC superheroes are together in a big screen movie! In fact, there are a few other firsts. With most of the focus on WW lately, people forget that this is also the first time Cyborg appears on the big screen. For Flash & Aquaman, technically their first big screen starring appearances were in THE LEGO MOVIES.
You know, the ONE vital angle that most fans are forgetting about this first Justice League movie? Its this: This is a major chance for DC/Warner to correct the past misdeeds of the JLA comic book and LEGO MOVIE…where Superman’s morals are marginalised, WW is made a background character with hardly any action or dialog and no agency, while Batman is made the “true” hero of the group (when really he’s not) who always bails them out (when really he’s not more skilled than WW) and becomes the centre of attention (when really he should not be).
I like it that this movie will involve many significant characters from DC and won’t over-focus on any one superhero or their story. However, WW should still be the moral compass of the group, along with Superman…just as they originally were at the dawn of superhero comics. In fact, they should’ve put WW in the middle of the movie poster! She’s the oldest, wisest, and most experienced of the bunch…NOT Batman! I truly hope that Batman will be portrayed mainly as a recruiter, while WW is shown to be the leader, the main hero. It would tend to make sense NOT to make Batman the leader, as we saw how unstable his judgment was in BVS!
I predict that WW’s solo film will end up being the most popular and financially successful box office hit out of all the other Justice Leaguers’ solo films. With Aquaman (ironically) probably being the second most popular hit. And that hers will remain unique from the others with a totally different, feminine and intuitive feel.
I predict that Flash’s solo film will be over in a flash. Because what’s there to tell? Barry Allen is still young “today”, so his backstory would involve him being in his teens. Some murder mystery, him getting superpowers, the end. Not much there.
In fact, I’d say that the ONLY way that any of these other superheroes’ solo film will be successful is if the writers got deeply personal with the characters and bring out the drama of their essences. Otherwise, WW will have been the ONLY solo film with any real substance. Except for Batman, only because he’s the most popular, no matter how he’s presented. But how many more years will that last? I predict more people will start to get sick and tired of Batman, and be more into Wonder Woman, and maybe Green Lantern (only because his has the potential to explore “police brutality” allegorically).
The Trailers – “They say the age of heroes would never come again.”
From what I gather from these two trailers, they are really connecting modern superheroes with the ancient tradition. When WW spoke of heroes, I’d imagine she was talking about Hercules, Achilles, Perseus, etc. Then here they are, the Justice League, being presented as the modern day versions! As a mythologist, I just feel that’s so friggin cool! I’m also proud of the fact that particularly WW is the juncture between the ancient and modern worlds of heroes, as her Amazon heritage connects to Greek myth, while the other Leaguers are all novel creations. Except maybe Aquaman, being an Atlantean…well, half. And Batman is the one modern hero with no super abilities, so I’m glad they finally had him admit that his real power is that he’s rich. Which is a reflection of how people in the real world get powerful…although they often abuse that power rather than helping their fellow human beings.
I think this film…what with several superheroes in it…will be more action than drama. But the solo films will have to be about drama in order to get people to care enough about the superhero in question. Especially since not all of them are predisposed as Batman or WW to being loved by the fans. Whereas in JUSTICE LEAGUE there are several superheroes to choose from.
Now…considering that this so-called DCEU was built on a more literal & realistic narrative style, they still need to tell how they each got their superhero names. So far, we got Superman & Batman’s stories. For Cyborg, he’s obviously seen as a human cyborg, so I can imagine the team sort of making fun of him by calling him “Hey Cyborg!” instead of “Victor”. Arthur Curry had already been known as “The Aqua-Man” by his town folk. For Barry Allen it’s a bit tricky. He’s known as “The red streak”. So how will that turn into “The Flash”? Notice how in this realistic genre, the word “The” is put in front of their superhero names to make them more credible and less cartoony.
For WW, it’s still a mystery since the WW movie omitted that story detail. If you’ve read my other WW movie reviews, you’d know the ONE time in the WW movie that she was remotely referred to as a wonder woman, even if not as a name. Historically in the original comics, Steve Trevor was the first man to call her “the wonder woman” before the in-story media made it a name for her. But that wasn’t shown in the movie, maybe because Snyder went overboard on the realism and thought it’d be too corny? Here’s what I figure the story is on how Diana gets the “Wonder Woman” name:
After World War 1, the survivors wrote and spoke of a marvellous woman with amazing abilities. Since they had no proof of her existence (Diana has the only photograph of her), such stories got recorded as legend, or even myth. In those days, the term ‘wonder woman’ was popular and used to describe a woman with exceptional gifts. So of course they call her that. And in the present day, she also helps mankind by fighting crime, thus causing more stories of her to be spoken/written. But because she doesn’t keep a low profile, Lex Luthor (with all his money and power of reach) gets wind of it. He obtains video footage of her, sneaks into her office, finds the 1918 photograph, steals it, does research on her and finds the old stories of a “wonder woman” who fought the Germans. Thus, he names her “Wonder Woman” in his files.
I will definitely say this for the movie…they made good casting choices for the superheroes…except for Batman. I still don’t understand…why Ben Affleck? Good thing I’m not going to see this movie for the Bat. For me, its mainly to see the rest of WW’s story continued or flash-backed.
And now, regarding Wonder Woman…..
Now…what I see in the second trailer, I like! Ah, the WW hair flick! That’s my girl…fighting crime and maintaining allure! Her JLA movie poster appearance is true to her character too, with her “Wonder Woman pose” akimbo. But I noticed there’s a 5-pointed star on the Justice League title. Why?
For her action sequences, I wonder what theme music they’ll use. Will it be her own, or some WW/JLA amalgam?
Yo, are those the Amazons I see fighting back the alien invasion!? Woo hoo! Wouldn’t be the first time in the WW mythos that they defended Earth from otherworldly aliens. Their appearance tells me that maybe Diana finally convinced her mother to send troops out to Man’s World and reunite with it instead of being holed up on the beautiful-but-stuffy island.
I heard all these rumours from you fans saying that Antiope and Steve Trevor will be raised from the dead, because you received news that they’ll make an appearance in the JUSTICE LEAGUE movie?! WTF? Mind you, this so-called DCEU was built on a more literal & realistic narrative style. There is no funky fantasy-styled magic going on here. Once Antiope & Steve are dead, they stay dead. I would surmise that Steve & Antiope’s appearances will be FLASHBACKS. Which means one wonderful thing for us WW lovers…..more background story details that were not revealed in WW’s solo film! Maybe a revelation on what happened to Steve that compelled him to be so dedicated in his military role. And perhaps we’ll get another flashback to when Antiope was training young Diana. Or perhaps some other secret that deepens the plot!
In case you don’t know, the WW movie left a LOT of unspoken stuff and omissions, thus creating this feminine mystique surrounding the movie. Which is genius, because it keeps WW lovers coming back for more to any production that contains WW stuff….and it stays true to the original WW concept, which involves mythological mystery.
And in the JUSTICE LEAGUE movie, here’s what I surmise is the rest of WW’s story:
So Diana in the present day has stayed in Man’s World to continue helping mankind. She works at a museum in France (where artist Harry Peter’s heritage is), both to help pay her living bills and keep in contact with ancient artifacts that her people knew about. And she’s been in contact with mother every so often, like any daughter who’s flown the nest.
But backtracking further to where the WW movie ended, I figure that since Diana believed that she was not allowed to return home, she went to live with Etta Candy. And now that the entire village of Veld is dead, she also returned to collect the photograph that the old man took of her and the gang…just to have a memory of Steve. Then one day in the 1920’s, she received a telepathic message from mother to return home, and the truth about everything is finally revealed to Diana, including her misunderstanding of not being able to return home. She stays on Themyscira to heal from her war traumas, never wanting to go back. Thus the line “walking away from mankind” that she said to Bruce Wayne in the BVS movie.
And perhaps all the Greek gods ended up dead to make way for the New Gods? We can only imagine what the DCEU would be like if any of the Greek gods were still alive. Maybe by eliminating the gods, Zack Snyder just simplified things.
As for talk of a WW sequel….how about it being set in 1948…when Israel was established!?! I wonder if Gadot could stay in character or would she take it personally?
*Batman used to work with Wonder Woman’s brother!
Well…not REALLY. Here’s a little interesting piece of trivia: Ben Affleck used to work on an 80’s TV show called “Voyage of the Mimi” where he worked with a guy named Peter Marston. No, its not the same Pete Marston who is Dr. Marston’s oldest son (AKA Wonder Woman’s brother). But its still an interesting synchronicity!
Well that’s all for my PRE-review of this momentous movie. After it comes out, I’ll review it and that will be my last (or second to last) article before Brett Jett will finally “return to Paradise Island” for good.
P.S. I got a strange feeling that The Flash will, at some point in the movie, utter the word “super friends”.