What You Missed: The CW’s Dawn of the Justice League

Last night, the CW had an hour-long special introducing audiences to the broad DC Extended Universe set to appear on-screen with the Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, and Wonder Woman films. In addition, Warner Bros. gave us a glimpse of its upcoming television show and Arrow and The Flash spin-off, Legends of Tomorrow, which is premiering this Thursday. Hosted by comic book writer and aficionado Kevin Smith and DC Comics Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, we learned how DC is planning on introducing the Justice League on the big screen starting with Batman v Superman. We also got to see the first ever footage of Wonder Woman, starring Gal Gadot in the titular role, but the big headline of the night was the debut of the first official trailer for the Suicide Squad. I say official because the Comic-Con trailer was only released by Warner Bros. due to a low-resolution version that was leaked online. Let me break down for you piece by piece what happened in this crazy hour. Trust me! It was more than enough to get you excited for the Justice League.

Legends of Tomorrow

DC's Legends of Tomorrow

This was not officially part of the Kevin Smith & Geoff Johns’ show, but the first half-hour was dedicated to introducing us to the CW’s new show, Legends of Tomorrow, which, as I alluded to earlier, is a spin-off from the CW’s other popular DC Comics’ shows, Arrow & The Flash. If you’ve been following the news about Legends, nothing really new was shown on this program. However, if you haven’t here’s the gist. Legends of Tomorrow brings together both heroes and villains from The Flash and Arrow on a mission to prevent an immortal villain, Vandal Savage, from taking over and destroying the world. Rip Hunter, a member of the enigmatic Time Masters, goes back in time to assemble this rag-tag motley crew to prevent the dark history created by Savage in the future.

The team consists of regular DC Comics mainstays: The Atom, Hawkgirl, Hawkman, Firestorm, White Canary, and Flash rogues Captain Cold and Heatwave. Many of the aforementioned heroes have also been on and off members of the larger Justice League in the comics. Each of the characters got an introduction by the writers of the show led by Greg Berlanti, the brain behind the CW shows as well as CBS’ Supergirl. We got a brief glimpse into their histories, their powers, their motivations, and what they each bring to the team. The inaugural episode takes place this Thursday, January 21st at 8 PM on the CW, if you want to check it out. That was just the appetizer. Here’s the main course.

Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice

While DC and Warner Bros. have been killing it on television with The Flash, Supergirl, Arrow, Gotham, and now Legends of Tomorrow, they’ve really lagged behind Marvel bringing their superheroes to the big screen together as a team. Man of Steel introduced Superman, but Batman v Superman is really the launching point for their larger cinematic universe.

There are several points I took away from the Kevin Smith & Geoff Johns’ presentation. The biggest one being is that Batman v Superman has a lot more Justice League than we realized. While the film is primarily about the conflict, both physical and ideological, between Batman and Superman, this film does indeed bring most of the core Justice League members together. Like Legends, Geoff Johns, with pre-taped assists from the actors & actresses playing them, introduced us to the Justice League we’ll be seeing on the big screen: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg.

Here’s another big takeaway from this segment: Warner Bros. seems to be introducing these Justice League members with strong correlations to their comic book counterparts. These origin stories will be faithful to the comics. We got to see a little new footage from Batman v Superman during this presentation, but it was mostly a few second teasers added onto scenes we’ve already seen from the previous trailers. Still, it was enough to whet your appetite for what else is to come.

Wonder Woman

It wasn’t a trailer, but we got our first glimpse into the upcoming Wonder Woman film, as well as a brief I wouldn’t call synopsis but set-up for the world we’ll be stepping into with Wonder Woman. It’s suggested that the Amazons were once guardians of “man’s world,” but, as man became more violent and distant, the Amazons abandoned them to their fate; however, Wonder Woman is determined to show that man’s world is worth saving.

The film does indeed take place during World War I, but might even dip into World War II a bit. The image, director Patty Jenkins is conveying is that Wonder Woman is a powerful, yet graceful warrior. We see scenes of her fighting what look like Germans and/or Nazis. She is frequently on horseback, in and out of combat. Wonder Woman will also be doing her best to blend into man’s world, which could lead into an interesting culture shock or fish-out-of-water dynamic between her and Steve Trevor, her potential love interest played by Star Trek actor Chris Pine. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman looks fantastic. Look-out, Lynda Carter! You’ve got some serious competition for the definitive iconic portrayal of Wonder Woman.

Rest of the Justice League

While Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman are the faces of the Justice League, the Trinity as they are commonly referred, the rest of the cinematic Justice League got their debut. Aquaman, played by Game of Thrones veteran Jason Momoa, The Flash, portrayed by The Perks of Being a Wallflower actor Ezra Miller, and theater actor Ray Fisher as the half-man half-machine hero, Cyborg. Although no actors or even characters have been announced, Geoff Johns did confirm that Justice League member, Green Lantern, would appear in later films, introduced in Green Lantern Corps, which indicates we’re possibly getting multiple Green Lanterns such as Hal Jordan, John Stewart, or Guy Gardner.

The actors briefly introduced their characters’ origin stories, and they largely, if not directly, line-up with their origins in the comics, which for DC fans is excellent. The one potential snag is CW’s The Flash has done such a magnificent job of portraying the Scarlet Speedster on the small screen, Ezra Miller might have trouble topping Grant Gustin as whom can portray the better Barry Allen. The television and film universes may be separate, but the fact they are both playing the exact same character with the exact same origin might be confusing for some fans to follow. We’ll just have to wait and see.

Suicide Squad

Without question, the main event of the evening was the release of the new Suicide Squad trailer. I have just have two words: HOLY $#!T. I’m going to call it right now. Batman v Superman will probably make more money, but Suicide Squad is going to be the film everyone loves the most. Not saying Batman v Superman will be bad or mediocre, I’m just saying Suicide Squad is set to be hands-down the more enjoyable of the two films. I think both will be awesome. Check out the trailer for yourself:

This trailer definitely alleviated some of my fears about this film. First, Will Smith is without a doubt a perfect looking Deadshot. Between the weapons, the attitude, and the style, Will Smith is bringing his A-game to the role of Floyd Lawton. I can say the same about Jared Leto and Margot Robbie as the Joker and Harley Quinn, which are set to be the craziest on-screen couple in the history of cinema. Leto nails the voice and persona of the Joker. Even with the tattoos, he looks and acts like the Joker, as does Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn.

Harley I think will become the definitive female icon from DC’s film universe. Wonder Woman who? Nothing against Gal Gadot, who as I said earlier looks amazing as Wonder Woman, but Margot Robbie, without a doubt, captures the insane spirit of Harley Quinn. Cosplayers will go nuts over her for years to come.

I won’t do a full breakdown of this trailer. Many others will do that for you, but there is one big thing I want to point out from the trailer that has me stumped. It’s been suggested that either Jared Leto’s Joker or Cara Delevingne’s Enchantress will be the main villain the Suicide Squad will have to face. After watching the trailer, I’m not so sure about either of them. The trailer gives the impression the Enchantress will, if not right-away, become a member of the Suicide Squad. It could just be clever editing, but there are other clues that lead me to believe otherwise. Likewise, while the Joker will be causing a ton of chaos, as well as add an extra layer of drama for Harley Quinn to deal with, he also doesn’t quite seem to be the main antagonist. There’s a blink and you’ll miss it moment around the 1:43 mark. A mysterious figure is destroying a train using powers I can’t quite make out. The style and visual effects of that mystery character seems to match up with the creepy looking mess that appears throughout the trailer. It could be the Enchantress in another form, but I have my doubts. Here’s the being from two separate angles. Who do you think this is?

Suicide Squad Villain

Suicide Squad Villain

Suicide Squad Villain

This was, in my opinion, a huge victory on the part of Warner Bros. I’m absolutely pumped for these movies now. They’re aiming to do in a year what Marvel has done in eight. DC and Warner Bros. will add some fresh blood to the roster of comic films. Whether DC or Marvel does better, the winner will clearly be comic book nerds everywhere. It’s a great time to be alive. I will be so pissed if I die before all of these films are released!

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