– by David Kozlowski

We all wondered what kind of influence and impact Joss Whedon would have on Zack Snyder’s Justice League movie. Many fans worried that Whedon would reshoot and replace much of Snyder’s work with a talkier, and funnier version (not that there’s anything wrong with that). Both filmmakers have their strengths and weaknesses, so how things would come together — or not — remains a valid, open question.

However, it’s clear from this new footage that both directors somehow married their respective visions into something kind of awesome. Justice League still looks deadly serious and somber — starting with that opening dream sequence — a blend of visuals, action, and character that’s far more than just the sum of its parts. Justice League seems to land somewhere between the tone of Wonder Woman (2017) and Man of Steel (2013). I don’t think anyone will mistake this for The Avengers (2012).

Related – Justice League: Ben Affleck Talks Batman’s Motivation

Superman Returns Again…

Snyder loves him some flashbacks and dream sequences doesn’t he? Warner Bros. and DC are still keeping the return of Superman a secret, even though everyone knows full well that he’s coming back at some point in the film (my guess is a late second act, when the s**t’s really hitting the fan and all looks lost).

I like that Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, and Cyborg are shown getting pummeled as a basis for their team-up. The underlying message is pretty clear: until Superman is back, this fight isn’t going to go very smoothly for our heroes. Again, this sets up a bit differently than The Avengers, which rather indirectly used S.H.I.E.L.D. as a punching bag to draw everyone together. I like the way DC sets-up Justice League‘s stakes.

Parademons Are Made Out Of People!

Any day I get to quote Charleton Heston is a good day! So the real plot of Justice League isn’t your run-of-the-mill alien invasion (see The Avengers). Instead Steppenwolf and Darkseid’s plan is to harvest humans to fight their other wars. Basically, the Earth isn’t a destination, it’s a farm! OK, that’s a nice twist, not an earth-shaking twist, but still a twist. Sadly, this kind of reminds me of the Enchantress’ master-plan in Suicide Squad, but I digress.

Between Aquaman’s impalings, Wonder Woman’s slashings, and Batman’s shootings there’s going to be a lot of Parademon carnage… you can bet that at some point the League is going to realize that these creatures were once human, which should spin the narrative into a few different directions. I’m just hoping that the Parademons aren’t simply mindless zombies, it’s way past time for the minions in these superhero films to do something more than mindlessly swarm.

A Truly World-Spanning Storyline

I’m not all the way sold on Jason Momoa’s ‘frat-boy’ Aquaman interpretation, but the new underwater footage in Atlantis looks remarkable. We also get scenes in Themyscira, Gotham, Central City, Metropolis, Smallville, and London (that’s the Lady Justice above the Central Criminal Courts, the Old Bailey… incase you were wondering). I really hope that the fictional DC locations look distinctive, this is a real opportunity for DC to establish the look of their world, apart from Marvel.

I also really appreciated the smaller locations, like Cyborg’s bedroom, which helped keep the other 99% of the trailer’s craziness in check (a bit).

This Is Not (Entirely) Your Uncle Snyder’s Justice League

Fear not Snyder fans, it still looks like Justice League is packed full of the amazing cinematography, muted colors, and pose-downs we know and (mostly) love him for. No one can say that this movie lacks for epic visuals, that’s for sure. However, Whedon’s thumbprints are all over the dialog and tone, as there’s an energy to the character interactions that seemed absent from previous trailers and teasers.

What’s interesting about Justice League, based on this latest trailer, is that the team seems pretty stoked about working together. There’s no obvious tension between anyone (see: Thor/Hulk and Stark/Rogers from The Avengers), these five DC heroes appear to align and unite pretty easily, which I kind of like — the world has more than enough ‘reluctant heroes’ films.

What’s with all the smirking and grinning?

My only negative takeaway, and it’s pretty minor, is the over-abundance of chuckles, winks, and nods throughout the trailer. Look, I’m not saying superheroes can’t love their work, but when the world’s coming apart at the seams maybe high-fives and back-slapping is best done off-camera. There’s just something a little weird about all of the ‘thumb’s up’ moments in this trailer. Look, if that’s the worst we can say about this Snyder-Whedon Justice League monster, we’re going to be A-OK!

What’s your opinion of the new Justice League trailer? Are you “All In”? Let us know in the comments down below!

Justice League hits theaters on 17 November 2017.

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SOURCE: Warner Bros. Pictures

David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.