'Justice League' Comic-Con Footage Breakdown

On Saturday, Warner Bros. revealed the first footage from the upcoming Justice League to a packed audience at Comic-Con. And then it arrived online. It would be unfair to call this a trailer – it's obviously been put together from a movie that isn't close to being finished, focusing on simple dialogue scenes instead of the VFX shots and action beats you'd expect from this sort of thing.

And yet, it still looks promising! There's an attitude on display here that simply wasn't present in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which certainly lends credence to all of that buzz about director Zack Snyder attempting a serious course correction for the DC movie universe.

So how about we go through this thing frame by frame? I'm sure we'll find something to talk about.

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The footage opens with Bruce Wayne in an unnamed town looking for a mysterious man who apparently arrives every so often via the ocean (wonder who that could be). It's not clear exactly where this is, but it's the kind of chilly seaside village where men grow awesome beards. Yeah, I really just grabbed this shot because that's a pretty impressive beard.

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Speaking of beards, it looks like Mr. Wayne has grown one of his own. Since he's clean-shaven in the rest of the footage, this seemingly implies that he's been looking for Arthur Curry for long enough that his trademark stubble has turned into a cowl-defiling face-rug. If you want to get really obsessive, this implies that Aquaman is the first potential hero Bruce is searching for. After all, the beard is gone in every other scene.

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And here's Aquaman himself, looking entirely unlike his traditional comic book counterpart in just about every way. After all, this character is a tough sell before you take into account his bright orange and green color scheme and Aryan looks. Making him look wilder and more dangerous is an interesting choice and could go a long way to selling audiences on a character that many viewers (including people who paid to watch Ant-Man) think is ridiculous.

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We know that the plot of Justice League revolves around the team hunting down a trio of peculiar alien artifacts called Mother Boxes, which have been hidden on Earth for quite some some time. Naturally, it's a race against time to beat the villainous alien Steppenwolf from getting to them first. Anyway, here's a group of people in medieval garb gathered in a forest...

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...where they are burying a Mother Box. There's something unabashedly dorky about any movie where folks from the distant past encounter alien technology. Anyway, it looks like we'll be getting at least one flashback to a long-ago century, where the people of the time decide that these devices aren't worth the trouble of keeping them secure above ground.

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This angle gives us a better look at the soldiers doing the digging, including a king with a peculiar crown and a warrior with a fairly impressive horned helmet. Standard Viking-types or a DC Comics deep cut that I'm missing?

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Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman was one of the few genuine bright spots in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, so every little reminder that she is in this movie is a good thing. It's kind of amazing just how great this character looks on screen, which makes you wonder why the hell it took everyone so long to realize a cinematic version of this character.

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Just how extreme is Jason Momoa's Aquaman? He's so extreme that he's covered in extreme tattoos and guzzles liquor like an extreme rad dude! I kid, but this is the point where I express some trepidation about what Snyder and company are doing with this character. Could their attempt to make one of the least cool DC heroes relevant to mainstream audiences just transform him into a completely different kind of ridiculous?

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This is the point in the footage where you realize that there really aren't many visual effects shots finished, so the bulk of the trailer will consist of stuff that required little or no polishing by computer. However, this seemingly practical shot where Aquaman is engulfed in a massive wave is impressive, reminding us that this guy can do more than talk to fish and withstand elements that would kill an ordinary man.

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Let's ask the obvious question: since Batman v Superman features a scene where Wonder Woman watches a trailer for a Cyborg movie...er, features a scene where Wonder Woman watches footage of Cyborg's creation, does this shot of Ray Fisher as a perfectly normal high school student come from a flashback? Or will Justice League casually ignore that awful scene and give this character a proper origin on screen?

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Here we are in the home of Barry Allen. I count at least sixteen screens in this shot, which is apparently the kind of stimulation you need when you're that much faster than the rest of the world. You'll also note that his costume is on display in the far right of the frame, but we'll get a better look soon enough.

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Ben Affleck was one of the best parts of Batman v Superman and the decision to depict him as an older, wiser vigilante appears to be paying off here. Watching the reserved and stoic Bruce Wayne interact with the energetic youngsters and oddball characters he's trying to recruit is certainly amusing. There is no better straight man in a comic exchange than the always serious Batman.

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And that brings us to our first proper introduction to Ezra Miller as Barry Allen, who certainly appears to be the comic relief of Justice League. To be fair, these few minutes contain more jokes than the entirety of Batman v Superman, with just about every character earning a chuckle or two. Still, Miller looks to be leading the charge in bringing some much-needed levity to DC's cinematic universe.

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It should be noted that we are getting a live action Justice League movie that features at least one scene where Batman and Wonder Woman hang out in the Batcave to talk about how difficult it is to recruit Aquaman. That is a combination of words I would never have written a decade ago.

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So you transform Aquaman into a shaggy wild man with dangerous eyes who has a thing for guzzling booze before withstanding a tidal wave. That's a start. How do you really prove that he's Really Serious and Not A Joke? You have him manhandle Batman and make it look easy, of course.

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Between her few lines in this footage and that fantastic new trailer for her solo movie, Gal Gadot is truly starting to look like one of the most valuable players in this movie. Most importantly, both the new trailer for her solo outing as Wonder Woman and this footage reveal a comic timing that wasn't on display in Batman v Superman. We knew she could do the tough-as-nails warrior thing, but now an actual personality is starting to take shape.

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This extreme close-up of Barry Allen's Flash outfit reveals a seriously worn texture. It seems that being the fastest man alive causes some serious friction on your clothing...

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Now we know how the Flash's powers will be visualized on screen. As Bruce Wayne throws a Batarang at Barry to test his powers, everything slows down except Barry, who becomes engulfed in blue electricity and watches everything happen in extreme slow-motion. It feels like the halfway point between the super-speed powers depicted in X-Men: Days of Future Past and Avengers: Age of Ultron, although the lightning is a new (and welcome) touch.

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This shot is fun because in the space of a millisecond of real time (which is about five seconds of Flash time), you can see Ezra Miller's face go from "What the hell did he throw at me?" to "Oh, crap. Bruce Wayne is Batman!"

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Ezra Miller appears to be playing Barry Allen as an awkward, slightly goofy guy who spends every waking moment battling the world's worst case of attention deficit disorder. It's sweet and funny and just annoying enough to ensure a few great Batman reaction shots.

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You don't fix what isn't broken and the Batman costume from Batman v Superman was one of the few things in that movie that wasn't broken. Look at Batman crouch! Look at his knees bend! Look at him do basic motions that were impossible in the rubber monstrosities of earlier movies!

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And this begins a quick montage of character shots! You know Wonder Woman already...

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...but meet Cyborg, a.k.a. Victor Stone, a high school athlete whose scientist father transforms him into a, uh, cyborg after a devastating accident all but kills him. Originally a key member of the Teen Titans, Cyborg was retconned as a founding member of the comic book Justice League in recent years and that change has crossed over into the cinematic realm. Sorry, Martian Manhunter. You're old news. Anyway, Cyborg looks very close to his comic counterpart, but his glowing, seemingly hollow interior is a nice (and creepy) touch.

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So here's our first proper close-up of the big screen version of the Flash and you have to applaud this design: it is instantly and recognizably the character while being wildly different from the version seen on The CW's The Flash. Part of me can't help but wonder if wearing armor instead of cloth slows him down in any way. Another part of me wonders how Barry managed to construct an outfit that is comparable to the superhero suit designed by billionaire Bruce Wayne. At the end of the day, this look gets my solemn nod of approval.

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Here's a wider look at the new Flash costume, including a proper look at the iconic lightning bolt on his chest. If you're curious what his powers look like as they're activated, the next few images will fill in that particular blank for you:

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Here's my question about how the Flash's powers are depicted: can the naked eye actually see that lightning as he moves at impossible speeds or are we only seeing it because we're privy to Barry's unique POV? In either case, it sure looks nifty.

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Here is the footage reminding you for the nth time that Aquaman is Serious Business. Look at those eyes! Look how he's shirtless in the snow! Would you see Superman shirtless in the snow? Of course not!

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Speaking of Superman and Aquaman, both are noticeably absent in this shot of our hero entering some kind of compound. Superman has a good excuse since he was kind-of, sort-of dead at the end of Batman v Superman, but Aquaman just seems like a tough guy to convince. Anyway, I'll make an educated guess and suggest that the full Justice League doesn't actually come together until the climactic battle. Before then, it'll be a skeleton crew.

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"I heard about you. Didn't think you were real." This is the first time we get to hear Cyborg speak and he he sounds about as serious as you'd expect a mutilated teenager who is only alive because his dad turned him into a robot to sound.

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"I'm real when it's useful." Batman's response to Cyborg's observation is a perfect blend of wry humor and stuck-up jackassery. Yep, that's the Batman I know and love.

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Could this be the final title treatment? Could it really be that simple? Because this looks perfectly fine and the little start built into the font implies that the movie attached to this title is, you know, actually fun. I remain skeptical about Justice League because I, you know, watched Batman v Superman, but I dig the tone of this footage in a big way. A little bit of personality goes a long way.

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"Arthur Curry. I hear you can talk to fish." Sure, this new Aquaman is a Tough Guy who Isn't A Joke At All, but that's not going to stop Batman from making jokes about him talking to fish. I think I can get behind this intense take on Aquaman if he is tempered by the other members of the team constantly pushing his buttons.

Justice League is set for release on November 17, 2017.