Today’s Movie: Justice League
I almost never root for a movie to fail with critics or at the box office. Hundreds of people work on movies, and regardless of my personal tastes or filmmaking trends I would like to see come to an end I wouldn’t wish failure on all of the artists involved in creating a film. On the other hand, I occasionally find myself rooting for a film to succeed, sometimes even in spite of my own feelings about the film itself, because that film’s success might have a positive impact on the film industry or the world as a whole. And so, I find myself absolutely thrilled with Wonder Woman’s reception, both its strong showing at the box office and it’s nearly universal praise among critics and audiences. The feminist in me knows what it means for a studio to release a big budget superhero film with a female director and have it be such a smash hit, and the film fan in me loves that the DC Universe has finally found some heart and joy after their recent misfires. Having said all of that, while I may be wholeheartedly cheering for Wonder Woman, and while I think it is an excellent film, it didn’t resonate with me as fully as I had hoped.
Some Mild Spoilers Below
My goal for 2016 is to get back in the habit of posting trailers on a regular basis, something which I sort of abandoned in the last half of 2015 (it’s a long story). And what better way to start than with the latest trailers for Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. I haven’t been particularly enthusiastic at the prospect of a DC Extended Universe of films, designed to combat the wildly successful Marvel Cinematic Universe, following the release of Man of Steel two and a half years ago. I was not a fan of Man of Steel (nor of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy before it, which is not a part of the new Universe but which obviously influenced its tone), and the fact that the second film they’re attempting is such an obvious push to get an Avengers-style film out (Superman! Batman! Wonder Woman! Flash! …Aquaman? Cyborg?) makes the film feel too forcefully commercial in an already overly-commercial genre. But what I do find interesting about the DCEU is that its two upcoming films already feel very different. If there’s one criticism of the MCU I’ll entertain, it’s that the films generally aim for the same sort of tone, and despite a good amount of variety among the films they all feel kind of similar, as if they’re different chapters in the same book rather than individual movies. And while Batman v Superman feels like more of the same following Man of Steel, Suicide Squad’s latest trailer makes it seem like the film was made by an entirely different studio. And what really surprises me is how much these latest trailers have changed my level of enthusiasm for the films, though in completely opposite directions from each other. Take a look at the Suicide Squad trailer below and then read on for my thoughts on it and Batman v Superman.