WARNING: The following article may contain potential SPOILERS for Justice League
It may have felt like years waiting to see the first official trailer for Justice League, but it is now truly over. Director Zack Snyder has began to publicly “Unite The League” in a variety of posters and one action-packed trailer, revealing so much (or to others, so little) that fans may not know what comes next. We’re here to help, since a detailed breakdown of the Justice League trailer actually offers more information and long-awaited reveals than most casual observers would ever notice on first viewing.
Taking what we learned from the Justice League preview from Comic-Con, and combining it with this new footage – and what we learned firsthand from our visit to Justice League‘s set – some questions have been answered, some mysteries solved, and entirely new territories of DCEU mythology and adaptation have been opened. From callbacks to Batman V Superman to Cyborg’s Battle Mode and everything in between, we hope our analysis lets fans appreciate every single second now released to the public.
Needless to say there may be some potential SPOILERS in our Justice League Trailer: Breakdown & Analysis.
29. Batman’s a Long Way From Home
The trailers opens with a slower, more contemplative montage of a lone rider making camp in a frigid landscape (driven home by the first image above, an undeniably beuatifully composed shot by Snyder and cinematographer Fabian Wagner). The man is eventually revealed to be Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) making his way north to Iceland in pursuit of Aquaman, but before then, viewers should take a moment to consider the shifts in tone, character, and similarities to previous scenes in the DCEU.
For starters, it’s more than a little poetic that Snyder’s preview should begin with Bruce Wayne alone, isolated from civilization – as he was mentally and emotionally in BvS‘s darker moments – but is now calm, kind, and in pursuit of an ally. An ally he’s crossed a land this harsh and unwelcoming to extend the hand of friendship. The fact that we’re seeing Batman – the Batman – as far from urban skylines and dark alleys as one could imagine speaks to his newfound flexibility. And, literally and figuratively, this is unfamiliar territory.
28. Shots Feel Familiar, But Not The Prize
It may be a case of coincidence, but it seems too thematically relevant that Ben Affleck’s Batman should find himself in two films, wearing a coat, goggles, moving silently through a barren landscape, only to survey the next step in his place from a cliffside. We’re referring here to the Knightmare sequence in Batman V Superman, beginning with Bruce stepping across a harsh, sand-swept ruin only to take in the absolute despair of what used to be Gotham Harbor… dried to the bone, drenched in fire, and emblazoned with the Omega symbol to signal the end of all things.
Here, the color scheme is literally the opposite, following Bruce across a landscape that is neither hot, dry, or vibrantly orange, but freezing, by the sea, and tinged with blue. Again he stands overlooking his prize, but this time around it’s not a weapon promised to bring down the Superman, but the first ally needed to build a new legacy following Superman’s death. It also establishes that Bruce Wayne is a fan of goggles and scarves, and offers the first glimpse of Aquaman’s Icelandic hideaway… but we prefer the symbolism over plot relevance here.
27. The Secret Mother Box
It’s likely that plenty of trailer viewers won’t have actually brushed up on the Mother Boxes proving so pivotal to Justice League‘s plot. We’ve previously broken down what to know about Mother Boxes in the DC Universe, but this particular one has already played a profound and highly visible role. Before Dr. Silas Stone (Joe Morton) brought the reinforced plastic box home from S.T.A.R. Labs, he put it to work when all other means of saving his son’s life had failed. The footage of him unleashing the mysterious relic inside of the plastic case was viewed by Bruce Wayne and Wonder Woman in Batman V Superman.
In short, it began to pulse without instruction, floated over to young Victor Stone strapped to a table, and began to do… something to him that began the construction of artificial limbs (as well as Victor’s screams of agony). It’s believed that of the three Mother Boxes left behind by Apokolips somewhere in Earth’s history – we’ll get to that again soon – this is the one entrusted to humans. Somewhere along the line it was recovered and fell into the hands of S.T.A.R. and Dr. Stone. Considering what it did to his son, we can’t blame the doctor for trying to hide the evidence at home.
26. Silas Stone Meets a Parademon
We should say that we’re assuming Dr. Stone has taken the Mother Box into his personal protection, but where it now rests may mean less than what it was used to achieve. Worldwide audiences got their first look at Cyborg when the Mother Box worked its magic on Victor’s failing body, and the sudden burst of activity obviously caught the attention of the Box’s original owners. At least, that’s judging by the Parademon sneaking up behind Dr. Stone in what appears to be his home. It’s technically the second look at a Parademon offered in the DCEU, but the first to appear in the current day (not in some dream-like glimpse of a possible future).
Thankfully, Parademons are easy to describe: they’re the footsoldiers of the planet Apokolips, winged, programmed, and extremely expendable shock troopers of the big bad Darkseid, ruler of Apokolips, as well as his lieutenant/uncle/Justice League villain Steppenwolf. So, the question here is whether Dr. Stone is about to be killed and see his Mother Box recovered by Steppenwolf, or if he’s about to be captured to ascertain the Mother Box’s location. We’re likely to bet on the second option for now, considering the impact that his kidnapping would have on his son’s desire to join up with Batman and company.
25. Aquaman’s Change of Heart?
Since most of Aquaman’s (Jason Momoa) scenes appear to be set in and around Iceland, theory-weaving fans should be able to establish some kind of chronology to the glimpses being shown. From that first scene showing Bruce Wayne and Aquaman’s first meeting, it’s safe to say Arthur Curry isn’t jumping at the chance to join a superhero team. And as that preview, as well as this trailer show, something changes Arthur’s mind. Well, that and the bottle of alcohol he empties on his way out to the end of a dock, being engulfed by the seas.
So, in summary: Arthur Curry refuses Bruce’s invitation, something happens, he changes his mind, recovers his Aquaman armor from Atlantis, and joins the Justice League. As tempting as it may be to view the above shot of Arthur, identity concealed, rescuing a sailor in jeopardy and assume it’s akin to Clark Kent’s silent heroism in Man of Steel, Arthur doesn’t seem that charitable – at least not so overtly charitable. And considering his treatment of said rescued sailor, and where he heads to drop him off, this may be the story beat linking points in our rough plot outline.
The trailer spells it out plainly: Arthur deposits the sailor at a seaside tavern, and makes his hasty exit – but not before snatching up the liquor bottle he’s shown to be chugging later. So, is the event that leads to the sailor’s predicament the same one that urges Arthur to head to Atlantis, retrieve his armor and trident, and join Bruce Wayne’s cause? It would fit in a rough timeline, since his costume is the same when rescuing said sailor, strutting down the dock, and the effects shot showing Aquaman swimming underwater.
It seems too clean a chain to be missing a major link, so fans need only debate the events surrounding Arthur’s residence, and the reasons he would leap into action. If the forces of Apokolips are coming for the Mother Boxes on Earth, then they’ll be targeting Atlantis, too (since they’ve got one of their own). Is the threat to his genetic, but not necessarily cultural people all it takes? Or is his return to Atlantis of a more personal nature? (We’re looking at you, Mera.)
24. Cyborg in Hiding?
Yes, we’ll admit that having a majority of your body replaced with alien technology is a difficult process to go through. And if we’re being honest, dressing up in a hooded sweatshirt will probably not do much to conceal either Cyborg’s glowing red eye, or the glowing blue circle in his forehead. Still, you have to give young Vic Stone (Ray Fisher) credit for trying, since he’s clearly still in his transition from resurrected Frankenstein monster to full blown superhero. In the New 52 – the most modern, traumatic, and movie-ready version of his origin story – Vic didn’t leap into his new heroic life with ease either.
It’s for those reasons that we’re inclined to think the “he said no” exchange between Bruce and Diana (Gal Gadot) in the Justice League Comic-Con preview was actually in reference to Cyborg’s recruitment, not Aquaman’s. It’s purely speculation on our part, but it seems the simplest answer. Bruce tries to recruit Victor but find him far too broken, sullen, and lost to self-pity that he refuses. Only when his father is kidnapped by those same enemies he was recruited to fight does he reach his breaking point, and join the League (allowing his link to Apokoliptian technology to be a natural plot development, as opposed to THE reason he’s valuable to the team).
23. Cyborg Brings The Box
If you’re in agreement with our theory, then the above scene may strongly support it. That’s Cyborg, looking to be standing on a landscape that could be a match for the same dark, slick, stony shore that Batman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman have their meeting with Police Commissioner Gordon (J.K. Simmons). If it is, then this would appear to be some kind of staging area. And if Cyborg shows up there, it’s as good as him agreeing he’s ready to join the team. The fact that he brought the exact same carrying case for his father’s Mother Box means he’s bringing the very thing the Parademons are after, too.
The plastic panels are missing here, revealing the same bronzed, smooth box that the Apokoliptian relic was buried inside of by the Humans who helped repel the pre-history Apokolips invasion. We know because we got a good look at the concept art for the Mother Boxes of Man, Atlantis, and the Amazons during our set visit. For clarity’s sake, it appears that the black, rippling, and textured Mother Box that ‘gave life’ to Cyborg in BvS was the true Mother Box. The three races crafted surrounding containers that matched their cultures, and the bronze, metallic one seen here looks to be one such design.
22. Return to Ground Zero
The next few shots of Cyborg rising to his potential are worth examining for different reasons. The first look at Cyborg’s sonic cannon turning falling debris to dust is important since it appears that it’s actually his father that he’s saving from said debris. The bald head, brown coat, blue shirt and tie are all a match for the outfit Silas is seen wearing when he’s surprised by the Parademon, so the question is whether Victor reveals himself to his father before or after he is (possibly) captured by the film’s villains. Was Victor beginning his change of heart, and inquiring as to the Mother Box’s location to aid Batman? Will his resolve swell to actual heroism when he learns his father is already in danger? Your guess is as good as ours.
The second sequence, shown above, involves Cyborg smashing a flaming, tumbling vehicle just a moment before it takes the life of a Metropolis police officer. We know it’s Metropolis thanks to the nearby police car and the unforgettable setting: Heroes Park, ground zero for Zod’s World Engine in Man of Steel, later turned into a memorial when Superman is killed by Doomsday. What brings Cyborg back to this key location? The Flash is later seen sprinting through the same park, so we can assume either the villain takes the fight to hallowed ground, or the heroes have a surprise up their sleeve.
21. Batman’s Assault On Apokolips Tower
The exact plot of the movie is still, largely unknown in its specifics. The forces of Apokolips failed to invade and conquer Earth in a time before history. They’re back to do it again… but how? What is it about the Mother Boxes that seems to be the key, instead of teleporting thousands of soldiers to Earth and conquering by force? That’s a mystery we can’t yet solve, but these sequences give a very clear idea, since they appear to be set in and around a structure already seen in the pages of DC Comics. They’re best described as ‘Apokolips Towers,’ and in the pages of the recent Earth-2 series, Darkseid used them to coordinate and dominate his Parademons in their ruthless assault on Earth.
We’ll get a clear look at the one appearing in the film later in the trailer, but it seems that said Apokoliptian Tower is what Batman is grappling onto, and fighting Parademons on top of (as well as our trio of heroes infiltrating the structure later on). The swinging Batman and his comic book-esque wing silhouette is a nice callback to the Dark Knight’s earliest comic appearances, and fortunately, his Tactical Batsuit Armor looks to move just as smoothly, retaining the streamlined ‘comic book’ aesthetic.
20. The Happiest Man Alive
The statuesque, amber-hued close-ups of the Justice League heroes are a Zack Snyder specialty, granting each of them a glowing moment of absolute grandeur, even while speaking of a second ‘Age of Heroes.’ But in all the grandiosity, it’s easy to overlook the fact that while Cyborg, The Aquaman and Wonder Woman are staring down their goal, Barry Allen is grinning ear to ear, overcome with exuberance, staring straight at Wonder Woman. Nobody could blame him, since a front row seat to a woman of her caliber is next to impossible to attain.
But it also drives home two ideas that may become larger themes for Barry’s character on a personal level. For starters, he accepts Bruce Wayne’s invitation without hesitation based on the belief that… well, he needs friends. Based on his multi-screened hideout, he may not even be a forensic scientist yet. Which explains why he finds himself facing down death, surrounded by heroes as grim as the event would require, and can’t help but smile. He’s part of a team, and a darn good one to look at.
Secondly, and it may be a case of comic book history coloring our interpretation, but considering that Zack Snyder is a dedicated fan of that same fiction, it’s possible he’s also familiar with Justice League of America #20 (2008). In that issue, the late Dwayne McDuffie provided the internal monologue sparked when The Flash got a surprise visit from Wonder Woman herself. The Flash in question was Wally West, not Barry Allen, but with the age difference at work in the movie we’d say the sentiment holds:
“I first met her when I was thirteen years old, still a kid, playing at being a hero. I can’t even remember what I was doing that day. Something with the Titans, probably. I do remember thinking she was the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen. I wanted to impress her. I wanted her respect. Some things never change.
“I’ve been The Flash for years, now. I’ve helped save the world a dozen times. Saved it all by myself a time or three. And a compliment from her makes me grin like a first grader with a crush on his homeroom teacher.”
19. Aquaman Makes a Parademon Kebab
As much as we would love to hope that the above sequence is set underwater, it would seem the simplest explanation for Aquaman’s flowing hair, deliberate leap and precise throw is slow motion. That, and what is clearly the look of excitement on Aquaman’s face that can only come from years of bottling up the warrior inside of him. Not a bloodthirsty one, through some might have expected that treatment given Jason Momoa’s best known roles. No, this take on Arthur Curry is just pleased to have a chance to hone his trident (pentadent?) throwing precision. And from here, it looks pretty good already.
This sequence is also one of the first clear looks offered of the desolate, remote, night setting of the film’s big battle – or the one involving the towering Apokoliptian structure so pivotal to the plot, at the very least. It appears that Aquaman is taking his own path to infiltrating the structure, as Batman takes to the air and onto the tower. And we can all breathe a sigh of relief that this time around, the League is facing an enemy so faceless and disposable (like most superhero movies before it) that an audience can cheer when two are impaled in a moment of Zack Snyder speed ramping.
18. Cyborg’s Battle Mode Enabled
In what looks to be the same underground tunnel system in which the rest of the trailer’s action is set , Cyborg takes his technology to a new level. It’s hard to even guess how much control he has over the Apokoliptian tech keeping him alive at this point, but for whatever reason, Cyborg’s ‘Battle Mode’ is engaged mid-flight. The metal skeleton around his head spreads to encase his entire face and skull, leaving only the glowing red eye exposed to continue fighting. And that’s not even the best part: during our set visit, concept art showed that Cyborg’s real ‘Battle Mode’ included the growth of additional, weaponized limbs.
When he’s depicted in this form, it’s a clearer suggestion that the technology making him is the same stuff creating the Parademons. The glowing red eye, and the metal mask are strongly reminiscent of the Parademon design, which would make sense given the source of his exoskeleton. Could that lead to mistrust or even self-doubt in the rest of the story? We’ll have to wait and see.
17. Batman Brings a Tank To The Fight
Most of the attention surrounding Batman’s expanding arsenal of aircraft and transport has centered on the Flying Fox, the scaled-up version of the Batwing capable of carrying the entire League. But he’s a firm believer in using the right tool for the job. So when the Parademon infestation is revealed to be in a tunnel stretching between Metropolis and Gotham, he turns to an invention of his family’s from the 1960s. That invention is the Nightcrawler – “Crawler” for short – and is the vehicle shown in the above shot.
It appears as a standard Armored Personnel Carrier when transporting the League to the tunnel base, but lives up to its name when each leg, equipped with its own tank tread, detaches to puncture the walls around it, allowing the Crawler to… well, crawl up a vertical surface. Fittingly, that’s a transformation even Bruce Wayne can’t help but boast over. Even if his “My turn” can be taken as a witty retort to the Parademons, payback for his Knightmare defeat, or returning the favor of rescuing Wonder Woman after she saved his life in Batman V Superman. Take your pick.
16. Vic Stone, Pride of Gotham University
The shots of Vic Stone walking in his Gotham City University letter jacket was all the confirmation some needed that he would appear as a star college athlete, as he was in the comic book origin story. Still, it’s nice to see that theory explicitly confirmed with this brief shot of him doing the impossible on the football field even before his superhero days. Typically, his father had little interest in his son’s athletic achievements… which may or may not be partially to blame for the pained scream on Vic’s face.
His number is also of note, as it seems a perfect opportunity to insert a clear comic book easter egg. The fact that Vic’s number changes depending on the writer and artists of a given story, it’s hard for any one to be more meaningful than another. We can say that Vic had the number 7 in the animated film Justice League: War (2014), and that film’s director Jay Oliva has worked as a storyboard artist on both Batman V Superman and Justice League. Hopefully he can confirm or deny the connection in the future.
15. Diana Uses Her Father’s Lightning?
Yes, you read that right: we’ve got a serious suspicion that Wonder Woman will get Zeus’s power in the DCEU, after the New 52 relaunch of DC Comics re-imagined her origins to being the daughter of the Greek god of the sky. Queen Hippolyta was still her biological mother, but she now owed her creation to old fashioned intercourse, and not a clay baby made real through the grace of the gods. In the comics Hippolyta made up a cover story to keep Zeus’s wife Hera from tormenting Diana she she had Zeus’s other illegitimate children (Hercules chief among them). But in the DCEU, it seems there is a different reason for Hippolyta’s deceit.
When we recently got a preview of Wonder Woman from the editing bay of director Patty Jenkins, it was seriously hinted that Hippolyta was keeping a sizable secret from her daughter – one that, if revealed, would allow “him” to find her even faster. The “him” wasn’t revealed, but it’s appearing more and more likely that Zeus didn’t leave behind a Godkiller sword with which to end Ares, but a Godkiller daughter. One capable of, say, calling upon the same lightning as her father, and turning it into an unstoppable shockwave when combined with her ancient Amazonian shield? If Diana’s parentage is going to bring such incredible drama, it should at least bring a perk or two, as well.
14. Lois Sees… Something
The patience of DC fans hoping beyond hope to see Superman himself debut in the trailer was, sadly, not rewarded. That may end up being a good thing, with Snyder and the studio keeping their actual plans and method of returning Superman to the DCEU under wraps. This is the first full length trailer, after all, but Lois Lane (Amy Adams) was given a cameo all the same. Fans desperate to see Lois and Clark reunited once more will read a lot into this shot, imagining that what Lois Lane is beholding is none other than her future husband. But that might not be the case.
First of all, it’s not the reaction one would expect if Lois was to see Clark suddenly flying overhead (and the shot holds on her expression long enough to suggest there would be some recognition). It might be more likely that this daytime shot is focused on what brings the heroes to Metropolis, with that danger shown through Lois’s eyes. Either that, or it comes near the end of the film after Superman has returned. Snyder may want fans asking the questions, but the answers aren’t coming anytime soon.
For now, we’ll just keep watching Superman’s parody teaser trailer and count ourselves lucky.
13. You Shall Not Pass (Water)
It was the moment that punctuated Aquaman’s teaser for the trailer, and one fans won’t soon forget. With a massive wall of water coming crashing towards him, Aquaman slams his trident into the ground, emitting a burst of light and stopping some, if not most of the water in its course. It’s the first sign we’ve gotten of Aquaman wielding truly godlike, magical powers, and how they’ll be worked into the weapon, or the royalty of Atlantis itself isn’t yet clear. We would also recommend that in the meantime, fans not ignore the edges of this shot, either.
Based on the structure, the water appears to be rushing into a tunnel… perhaps the very same tunnel that the league heads into to make their assault on the Parademon nest? Flooding it behind them is a dirty trick on the Apokoliptians’ part, but it also suggests a role for Aquaman in that battle (he isn’t shown engaging in the fight alongside Batman, Woman, Flash or Cyborg). Perhaps he’s making an entrance to remember, as well as a demonstration of his powers?
12. Mera & The Mother Box
Of all the things that fans of Aquaman were expecting to see in the Justice League trailer, the first footage of Amber Heard as Mera was most certainly not on that list. Mera’s movie armor had already been revealed, but seeing it in motion underwater is something else entirely. And now that both Mera and her future lover (we assume) Arthur Curry have both been seen swimming in the depths of Atlantis, the solo Aquaman movie seems that much closer. Well, we assume this is Atlantis… because the Mother Box entrusted to that race is visible on a podium in the right of frame.
In the same batch of concept art the Atlantean Mother Box was shown contained inside a box adorned with crustaceans and seashells, as fitting to the Atlantis culture as the classical metalwork of the Amazons’ Apokoliptian relic. It’s unclear if this relic will be similarly sought after by Steppenwolf and his soldiers, but Mera’s role in Justice League is presumably tied to it. Also worth noting is the spiral staircase rising to the Mother Box. Some will leap to comedy, wondering why a swimming society would need stairs, but Atlantis wasn’t always underwater… so a podium and staircase of reverence could have made sense in the distant past (the distant past seriously hinted at in that Aquaman visual effects footage).
11. Henry Allen, Where He (Sadly) Belongs
It’s a little harsh to say that seeing Henry Allen behind bars may be the most thrilling moment of the trailer, but when fans of The Flash realize that it’s the first step towards confirming Reverse-Flash in the DCEU, they may have a change of heart. Since the Flash: Rebirth origin story by Geoff Johns placed Henry into prison for the murder of his wife – a murder that would later be revealed to have been committed by Eobard Thawne – Zack Snyder may have confirmed that’s the story on the way by including the ending, first (what do you expect from a time travel story?).
More importantly for this story though, Barry’s wardrobe implies this scene takes place just prior to meeting Batman (more likely than after, at least). Considering that his agreement to joining Batman’s team includes the thought that he “needs friends,” and doesn’t seem to be spending his days at the Central City crime lab, that line may be a reflection of this scene. Barry strikes us as the kind of hero who would devote his life – his whole life – to proving his father’s innocence. If Henry Allen urges his son to make a life of his own… Batman’s arrival carries an even bigger emotional impact for Barry’s future.
10. The War Before Time
At first glance this might appear to be a battle scene from Lord of the Rings, or even Thor: The Dark World, but rest assured it’s the history of planet Earth in the DCEU. It’s pulled from Justice League‘s ancient prologue sequence, explaining the events that led to the Mother Boxes, Steppenwolf, the Parademon invasion, all of it. Tends of thousands of years ago, the forces of Apokolips came to Earth with invasion in their minds. As can be seen from the right side of the image above, they came in hovering personnel carriers a bit more advanced than their opposition.
That opposition was comprised of the Amazon warriors created by Zeus, the mighty Altantean empire, and the youngest faction of early Mankind. The Amazons are the only ones actually featured in this flurry of images – including a fighter who could be Queen Hippolyta, Diana’s mother herself – but the landscape may be just as important. Those marking are made by the invaders, meaning this is an area of some importance. It may also be the area that the heroes (and villains) return to in the modern setting, since this plain surrounded by mountains could be a match for the isolated industrial setting seen elsewhere in the trailer.
9. Bat vs Demon
The battle waged between the Batmobile and a Parademon was the stuff of legend long before the trailer dropped, since the gunfire (and Bruce’s stoic expression while dealing it out) earned a place in his own Justice League teaser. For the record, this is the isolated setting we’re referring to. The one that could be the same land that Steppenwolf once tried to use as a launching point for his invasion, and the one now home to a massive Apokolips Tower. It appears to be a deserted industrial city or town, but we can’t say for sure.
The shot sets up a gag to be paid off soon, but is also highlights the reason for Bruce’s addition of more weapons to his Batmobile. Some took issue with his use of bullets in Batman V Superman at all, so the grafting on of even more cannons seemed like escalation. Fortunately, they’ve been added in anticipation of monstrous, insectoid, alien invaders. We would hope those critical could understand the need for live ammunition in those circumstances… or just feel for Bruce, since he really does need those guns and explosives to even the odds.
8. Wonder Woman To The Rescue (Again)
It turns out that in the world of the DCEU, Batman sets his enemies up just for Wonder Woman to knock them down… literally. You almost feel for the hapless Parademons clinging to the hood of the Batmobile, attempting to smash their way into Batman’s weapons and vehicle as if he hasn’t anticipated such an eventuality. Whatever backup plan or booby traps he had, however, won’t be revealed just yet. When property damage is imminent, a leaping Wonder woman clotheslining the two into oblivion works just as well.
It’s a satisfying moment for Diana fans, and the abandoned buildings, burning fires and husks of old cars on the street behind her support our theory of an abandoned town (perhaps abandoned too late, falling victim to Steppenwolf?). It also gives what may be the clearest depiction of the Parademons yet, showing how closely their design is being kept to the comics. They may be referred to as soldiers, but they wear the scars of test subjects and those broken into submission. We almost feel for them… but don’t.
7. Cyborg is Struggling
A single shot of Cyborg clearly distraught could prove to be a potentially massive spoiler, if it’s a sign that he’s lost the person closest to him, regardless of how strained or broken their relationship may be by the movie’s start. But it doesn’t have to be the only reason for Cyborg to be emotionally damaged on this mission. As we said before, Victor Stone has woken up into a nightmare. And all the superheroes surrounding him can’t change the fact that, in his mind, he’s a monster his father would have been better off letting die. So yeah, his story can get a little heavy.
But that’s part of the reason why he seems a fitting addition to the team. Every hero has gone through some kind of trauma or heartbreak, but Cyborg is the only one whose actual superpowers – his existence as a superhero at all – are as a direct result. And if you’re interested in seeing Zack Snyder explore the idea of the hardships and events that force everyday people into heroes, then a character with the intense emotional complications of Cyborg is a promising place to start.
6. Aquaman vs. Steppenwolf
Surprisingly, after director Zack Snyder took it upon himself to release the first footage of Aquaman underwater, there wasn’t much of a follow-up in the first full length trailer. Sure, there was a single shot of Arthur swimming and dodging some kind of attack, but nothing more substantial… right? Wrong. It’s no ordinary attack or weapon that sends Arthur spinning, but a massive battle axe as big as his entire body – the telltale weapon of the Apokoliptian general Steppenwolf, the soldier of Darkseid come to collect his Mother Boxes.
We’ve gone into detail about what all this may have to do with stealing Atlantis’s Mother Box, how Mera may factor in, and how it could send Arthur on his quest for redemption and balance. But the point is, Aquaman will be close enough to Steppenwolf, in Atlantis, to warrant a fatal throw of his signature weapon. Considering how early in the film this scene would seem to take place, and how secretive the studio is being about their big bad, Steppenwolf being confirmed to appear in Atlantis, prior to Arthur’s ascent into Atlantean armor is a big, unexpected twist. Here’s hoping we get to see him, and not just his axe, soon.
5. A New Breed of Speedster
The full length trailer gives the best look yet at how Zack Snyder will be differentiating his take on The Flash from the version adapted for The CW… and needless to say, these are two very different concepts in motion. There are a few different looks of Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) offered, giving a variety of ways that his superspeed will be perceived. Flipping from super slow motion in close-up to imperceptibly fast in macro is particularly effective, but the bursts of lightning and the sudden flitting from one position to another gets across the same point.
The real departure here is the rooting in science. No matter which version of Barry’s speed is being showcased, it is two things: violent, and energetic. Superspeed is still fiction, but it’s the very real science of ernegy and electrical discharge shaping the DCEU’s Flash. To give a full, in-depth description would amount to a physics class, but suffice to say that Barry Allen is being presented as similar to a living, breathing Tesla Coil – Nikola Tesla’s experiment into wireless transfer of energy and alternating current.
Short version? When Barry moves, there is such a radical amount of energy produced, it can’t help but fire off into the air around him as lightning. That’s also the reason for his suit’s construction, with the high tensile wire strung across his body to help dissipate the energy. The real fiction behind his speed will have to be delivered by Barry himself, since anything we came up with would be, in his words, “an oversimplification.”
4. Final Assault on The Apokolips Tower
As we mentioned throughout our analysis, it seems this is the Apokoliptian structure all the heroes have been fighting to infiltrate. The architecture is a match, and bears more than a passing resemblance to the architecture seen in the pre-destruction Krypton. It’s hard to say if the filmmakers are hinting at anything there, or have simply set a standard for what the structures of cold, calculating, and harshly ruled alien civilizations have in common.
The immediate question is where are The Flash, and Batman? Batman may still be making his way down the tower, or be carrying out the real plan as Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Cyborg create a distraction. It mainly helps to establish a spine for the final acts of the film, but it’s also worth catching a small detail courtesy of Jason Momoa. Diana’s drop into their midst is a glorious one (giving her the “Shall we?” line), but it clearly takes Arthur Curry by surprise. He can be seen recoiling from her impact, before returning to a fighting stance, trident in hand. Even kings get spooked, okay?
3. Batman’s Making Friends (Temporarily)
If it was only suspected prior to the trailer, it can be confirmed now that Arthur Curry is intended to be the lighthearted, but rough and tough – Lobo-esque? – personality of the team. When you’re as big and intimidating as Momoa is when he wants to be, those are easier shoes to fill. But beyond the one-liners or quippy retorts, it’s wise for the filmmakers to give the character of Aquaman yet another leg up, allowing him to take some shots at the super-serious Batman. Someone has to to lighten the mood, and we can’t see Bruce Wayne trying any funny business with a hero who looks like Aquaman.
This sequence also gives our first look at Police Commissioner Gordon, played by J.K. Simmons. It’s impossible to really judge his specific performance based on so little, but the twenty years he and Bruce have been working together shows in their casual tone. Apparently he has also noticed Batman’s slip into more and more extreme, or pessimistic methods and outlook on Gotham and the world beyond. The acknowledgement that it really is nice to see him playing well with others is earned, and few audience members would disagree.
2. Batmobile Surfing
We knew there would be one moment or two that would keep fans talking for weeks, if not months to come. In the case of Justice League that moment may also be the one which perfectly encapsulates the idea put forth by Zack Snyder that, through their personalities alone, assembling the Justice League is a funnier, more varied, and playful story than the one that got Batman to this point. Nothing sums it up like Aquaman hitching a ride on the Batmobile, trident in hand, grinning ear to ear, and Batman’s emotionless face pretending it isn’t the most fun he’s had in years.
In a more practical sense, it’s a sign that time has actually been put into how these heroes will be getting from place to place. The Avengers have their Quinjet, the X-Men have their Blackbird… you seeing the pattern here? Now, the Justice League will have a Flying Fox for long distances, but in the midst of a battle, for all the laughter it brings, Arthur hopping onto the Batmobile actually does make sense. And what comes next may be the most promising, and least noticed moment of the entire trailer.
1. Aquaman is The Wild Card
The shot of Aquaman surfing atop the Batmobile is, predictably, the sequence upon which the trailer closes. And although it may actually be Batman to blame for Aquaman’s fate – he’s the one who nods his head up towards the concoming Parademons in the first place – his willingness to leap into the unknown establishes Arthur Curry as the thrillseeker of the League (another promising detail added for the live action version of the hero). But it’s what follows that speaks most to the developing team dynamics. (And yes, that’s the aforementioned Apokolips Tower in the distance.)
He may be hard to spot at first, but Cyborg is actually keeping pace alongside the Batmobile through that entire run, flying in typical Iron Man fashion. And when Aquaman courageously leaps into the formation of three Parademons, he learns instantly just how much maneuvering matters when your feet leave the ground. We’ll forgive him the mistake, since water is his element (literally). Pay close attention to what follows, though: Aquaman’s bravery finds him outnumbered and directly flown into a nearby building at top speed… followed closely behind by Cyborg, rushing to pull his wild card teammate’s feet out of the fire.
Something tells us that’s not going to be the last time such a move is needed. And we can’t wait.
That’s it DC fans: every theory, question answered, easter egg, nod to the comics, and subtle detail we caught in the second official Justice League trailer. There are sure to be more, and we’ll be digging even deeper to see what other secrets have been teased or revealed. There are sure to be more, so let us know if you’ve got any that should be added to our list.