Last weekend, DC and Warner Brothers held a 24-hour personal Comic Con dedicated to new trailers, Q&As with the directors, and more. As with the rest of the DCEU (DC Extended Universe, for those who don’t understand that idiotic title), it was mostly a clusterf*ck, with major actors of color getting banned from the convention (#JusticeForRayFisher), famous directors harassing critics on Twitter (critics who actually LIKE their work), and more. However, despite the messiness and ridiculousness of the entire event, there were still some interesting trailers and concepts pitched during the ceremony, highlighting the good, the bad, and the Snyder of the upcoming slate of superhero flicks.
Up first, we have The Suicide Squad, the rebooting of the series by James Gunn, shown here in the form of both a character introduction and a stunt demo reel. I’ve got to say it’s kind of hilarious to see how far DC has taken their hands off the wheel. When this series first started, they allowed Zack Snyder to have full reign over the material, and would often tinker and destroy directors’ films to “appease everyone.” This famously turned the mildly bad Suicide Squad into the hilarious so-bad-it’s-good masterpiece with Jared Leto playing The Joker as a stoner rapper. After losing hundreds of thousands of dollars, they’ve learned to trust directors like James Wan, Cathy Yan, and David F. Sandberg, which has made for better films. Now, they’re letting Guardians of the Galaxy director take over, and giving him the freedom David Ayer never had (perhaps thankfully, given recent reviews of The Tax Collector). What’s ironic about these trailers is that it seems that Gunn realized which parts of the original film worked (Margot Robbie and Jai Courtney, for instance), which parts didn’t, and added more flairs of interesting material. There’s a 70s-era war drama flair to the trailer, along with some actually-interesting action sequences (as opposed to the horribly choreographed 2016 film), and the cast and costumes are on point (Idris Elba! John Cena! Alice Braga! Pete Davidson!). I can’t say I’m all in on the film, but this trailer certainly is enticing. The Suicide Squad is currently scheduled for release on August 6th, 2021.
The next big reveal was supposed to be Black Adam, Dwayne Johnson’s big reveal as a comic book antihero/supervillain! The film has been in pre-production for years, and finally, we have the footage we’ve all been waiting for. Or at least, that’s what DC wants us to believe. Because that’s not what we got. The studio was so desperate to get us a trailer, they forgot that the film hasn’t actually begun filming yet, due to the COVID pandemic. So instead, they did a big debut for a cartoon, narrated by The Rock. This is…this is just the epitome of DC’s hubris. I cannot fathom how they thought this would be a good idea. It doesn’t excite anyone, doesn’t demonstrate to new viewers why this film is a can’t-miss event, and tell us nothing about other heroes, other cast members, or anything worthwhile outside “The Rock and DC are teaming up.” This is going to be a hilarious mess, and I can’t wait to see it blow up in their face. Black Adam will be released on December 22nd, 2021, should the studio actually get this movie filmed and released to the general public.
Up next, we have Wonder Woman 1984, the delayed sequel to the 2017 smash hit. I was a mild positive on the first Wonder Woman – its first act is tough to watch, and the third has some bad CGI, but man is that middle segment a sheer blast. Thankfully, Wonder Woman 1984 looks to build on all the best parts of its predecessor, with none of the weak links. This is an excellent trailer, demonstrating Patty Jenkins’ strengths, along with a strong cast including Gal Gadot, Kristen Wiig, and a surprising performance by Chris Pine, which the film hints will result in Diana and Steve switching roles as to the fish-out-of-water in the relationship. Honestly, this film looks great, and may even surpass its predecessor in status and quality. Wonder Woman 1984 is currently slated for release on October 2nd, so long as the pandemic doesn’t grow any worse.
We now come to the biggest talk of the ceremony, The Batman. Matt Reeves’ take on the Caped Crusader has been much talked about in recent months, thanks to the incredible creative decisions he’s made. He’s returning the famous Bat to his status as a detective (here played by Robert Pattinson), looking to solve a string of crimes committed by The Riddler. And he’s gathered a remarkable cast to bring the film to life – Jeffrey Wright as Commissioner Gordon, Paul Dano as The Riddler, Colin Farrell as The Penguin, and in the greatest casting decision in the entire DCEU, Zoe Kravitz plays her dream role (and the perfect role for her) in Catwoman. And with all that information at our fingertips, the question remains: does the trailer live up to the hype? Well…kinda! Listen, if I’m being honest, most of the footage is oppressively dark, and clearly copping the entire aesthetic of Seven. But when the trailer lightens up, and showcases the performances and visuals, it’s hard to deny its Zodiac-esque scope and filmmaking prowess. Even if I found the trailer mildly disappointing, this is still the best trailer of the lot, and one of my most highly anticipated films of the next year. The Batman will be released on October 1st, 2021.
Which brings us, inevitably, to The Snyder Cut. For those of you unaware, The Snyder Cut was a supposedly long-lost cut of the hilarious disaster Justice League, which was famously remade by Joss Whedon after beloved director Zack Snyder was fired/left due to a personal tragedy. Rabid fans online demonized, harassed, doxed, and maliciously threatened critics, filmmakers, and other fans in the hopes that a copy of the “proper vision” existed and would one day be released. And HBO Max has acquiesced. Despite the fact that everyone involved admitted no such copy existed, Snyder has gone out of his way to produce a copy that would appease the “true fans.” And the hubbub surrounding the trailer for this “extravaganza” is probably more interesting than the film itself would be. Scored ham-fistedly to Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah,” everything about this trailer should scream terrible. And yet…I kinda liked it. It’s well-edited, and seems exciting enough for the stakes surrounding it. There’s just one small catch: all of this footage is actually in the Theatrical Cut fans are criticizing. And when critic Scott Mendelsohn pointed this out, Zack Snyder attacked him by claiming “This movie is for grown ups!” Despite the fact that Mendelsohn is notoriously one of Snyder’s most staunch defenders. Because nothing screams “true art” like attacking someone online with the sentence “My comic book movie is for big boys!” Sigh. Anyway, the Snyder Cut will finally be released May of 2021, and will be four-hours long. Yay?
Anyway, you can watch all the ridiculous trailers below, and decide for yourself which most interest you, if any. As for me, I’ll be more than happy sticking with Birds of Prey on HBO Max and treating it like the only film in the franchise. It’s by far the least messy – and I’m including real life in that analogy.