Analyzing the Justice League trailer: Action, smiles, and red skies

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Jan 22, 2021, 4:50 PM EST (Updated)

The new Justice League trailer has arrived, and it is glorious. There are smiles all around -- a notable change in tone from previous frown-heavy DC Films productions -- and plenty of action. There isn't much in the way of actual plot in the trailer, but in a world where trailers so often spoil too many major moments of a film, that may not be a bad thing.

What there is in this trailer is plenty of major (and sometimes subtle) moments that tell us about the movie's importance to DC Comics fans, and a clearly established tone (every hero smiles!) that says, "we're ready to make you smile, and smile with you." Let's take a look at the biggest takeaways from the trailer -- after we watch the trailer again ...

Warner Bros. Pictures YouTube channel



Heartbreak in a world without hope

"I'll take that as a yes."

Man, way to start things off by making us cry, Justice League. In the dream sequence of Lois Lane's, we see how "the world remains in mourning after the death of Superman," and hear that violent crime and terror are on the rise. The world needs Superman - and that looks to be a major theme of the film.


Invasion (Amazons vs Parademons!)

Blink and you'll miss it, but Steppenwolf slams down into Amazon cavalry in this trailer. It's unclear if this is a flashback, or if Steppenwolf and his seemingly endless army of Parademons (that's those flying bug-like creepy soldiers) are attacking Themyscira in the modern day. If it's in the past, perhaps Diana holds the key to victory, having faced them before.



Is it a little on-the-nose to have Wonder Woman literally standing on the shoulders of Justice? Of course it is. But it's also a nice, iconic way to show that this movie is about balancing the scales, and that can be interpreted as how they're balancing the tone of the film. And who's leading the way? Wonder Woman, of course.


Red skies in the morning, sailors take warning

Okay, revel in the sheer fun of Cyborg and Aquaman's team-up for a second. We'll wait. "Ride ain't over yet." "My man!" Ready to move on?

The red skies here are extremely important to all DC Comics fans. When you see red skies in the pages of DC Comics, it means only one thing: Crisis.

In Crisis on Infinite Earths, a comic book story that's largely regarded as the first true "comic book event" crossover, all of Earth was covered in red skies, and newspaper headlines noted it. It was a symbol of the trouble everyone was in that was repeated in subsequent events at the publisher.

There's an old saying: "Red sky at night, sailors take delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning." Well, in the DC Universe it's more like "Red skies mean the whole world is going to hell and only the Justice League can save us."


Apokolips Now

We finally get up close and personal with a few Parademons in this trailer. Denizens of Apokolips and the footsoldiers relentlessly devoted to Darkseid, the planet's ruler (and an evil New God), Parademons have flight, enhanced strength and endurance, and the ability to look really creepy. There's also a functionally endless supply of them, provided you have a Mother Box to boom tube them in (translation: a device of the New Gods that lets them teleport instantly anywhere in the universe - one of them also powers Cyborg). They are, however, drones - take out the leader and they'll be directionless.


Wonder Woman saves the day

If you didn't catch it, Wonder Woman is by far the most creatively successful movie from DC Films so far. Seeing her front-and-center throughout this trailer is... wonderful.

Yes, Gal Gadot's smirks (we have another one coming later, don't worry) are fantastic on their own, but the fact that this one in particular comes after saving Batman and being in the heat of battle is perfect. Without Superman to help in probably the majority of the film (look for an Act 3 triumphant return), Wonder Woman will probably be the field leader of the team, and we wouldn't have it any other way.


That's your signal!

The "oh gee" take on The Flash provided by Ezra Miller is purely delightful.

"Oh! Awesome! That's the Bat Signal, that's your signal, that means we have to go now! That's so cool."

It's obviously nice to see that straight-up humor in a DC trailer, but it's also just so accurate. As one of the youngest members (along with Cyborg) of the team, it makes total sense that Barry Allen would be excited by the "legend of Batman." Giving him the opportunity to speak for the fans certainly doesn't hurt.


Superhero mom and dad

Not only does it seem Wonder Woman and Batman will be sharing superhero leadership duties, but it looks like they'll also be "mom and dad" to the team. Both experienced heroes, they gather the Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman to save the day, but they know they have to lead the way. The pair have been an actual couple before, on the Justice League Unlimited animated series. As it says directly after this shot in the trailer, we are ALL IN on this ship.

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