DR #94: Breaking Down the Justice League Trailer

Dear Reader,

Today we’re going to explain weddings.

Wedding Explanations

Back in the European Middle Ages, they had a system called feudalism.

In this system, each of the guys who could actually fight would be in charge of protecting a small piece of land, and all of those guys would be under the authority of another guy who was in charge of protecting the larger chunk made up of all the small chunks put together, and THAT guy would report to a guy with a larger combined chunk, and so on until you got to the guy in charge of protecting all the land, and that was the king. (You also had the Pope, and sometimes an Emperor, but they weren’t really part of the basic feudal system. They were the DLC expansion packs, if you will.)

The whole thing was basically cobbled together from equal parts “This is what we think we remember the Roman Empire doing” and “Oh crap Vikings!”

And That Explains Weddings How?

Well, those chunks of land were not just representations of money and power—they were also where the regular people lived and kept their stuff and grew their food. Thus, you needed a way to reassure everyone that when their current Fighting Guy died, somebody would take over who could be, if not trusted, at least lived with.

The way you did that was by having his son take over, and THAT only worked if everyone was really sure that his son really was his son.

Which meant that, instead of getting quietly married in a simple practical ceremony, the upper classes HAD to throw big flashy ceremonies that everyone could see happening,

they had to have the bride wear a color that specifically symbolized that she wasn’t involved with anybody but the guy she was marrying,

and they had to have pieces of jewelry that specifically represented the fact that they were going to have children with each other.

Ruling Klass Begins With Kay

All our modern wedding traditions come from this. It was all about reassuring the peasantry that the government wasn’t going to fall apart—and judging by what happened when there wasn’t a clear heir, the peasantry had some legitimate concerns. Look at what happened in the Wars of the Roses fought for the throne of England (though arguably more well-known is its AU fanfic, Game of Thrones).

The point I’m working toward, Reader, is that the way that Medieval Feudalism used weddings is the same way present day superhero movies use trailers.

Took me awhile to get there, I know, but it’s about the journey, not the destination.

“Don’t Worry, It’s Going to Be Fine”

That’s essentially what a trailer like this is meant to say.

“Hear ye, hear ye, all those who live within the Fiefdom of DC. All ye who pay Allegience unto Super Man and Bat’d Man, thy loyalty is not in vain. Behold! I bring thee tidings of a Film, New and Unblemish’d, that ye may be in confidence of the endurance of the realm of DC unto the ends of time.”

Given their films’ reputations, it’s something they really need people to believe when they say it. So, how believable is it?


The Good News First

It does look like this movie has a sense of fun—not exactly a Marvel sense of fun, but Jason Momoa seems to be enjoying himself, which nobody was doing in Batman V Superman. Gal Gadot seems to actually get to say and do things, which is good; she was the best part of Dawn of Justice despite being barely in it.

And Ben Affleck looks like he’s finally justifying all the wailing and lamentation over his being cast as Batman in the first place. I can see a little bit of Kevin Conroy in his “It’s funny because I’m refusing to acknowledge the ridiculous things that are happening” that made Animated Universe Batman comedy gold.

I still see two problems. And they’re not small ones.

They Both Have to Do With Suicide Squad

I’m going to refer you to someone who knows much more about film editing than I do, which is already like… five times the research I usually put into these letters.

In case you’re not into clicking on things, that link is to a professional film editor talking about the problems with the editing in Suicide Squad. He attributes most of them to a mad rush to assemble a film from two completely different cuts in reaction to how poorly Dawn of Justice was received, which isn’t an unlikely explanation. Except Justice League, presumably, doesn’t have that same kind of night-before-it’s-due editing scramble, and from this trailer it looks like it’s still making two of the mistakes he talked about.

First, there’s the way that so much of the beginning of Suicide Squad was spent on the laborious, unnatural, just-like-being-in-a-pitch-meeting-for-this-movie introduction to each of the characters. Which is just what Batman and Wonder Woman are doing with Aquaman, Cyborg, and Flash in this trailer.

Then there’s the way that Suicide Squad used the pop music on the soundtrack. Every song was the most obvious, blunt choice possible…

…Just like underscoring a trailer for a movie about different superheroes coming together with “Come Together.”

They even did the same thing that the first Suicide Squad trailer did and had the gunshots line up with the heavy percussion in the song.

Which makes me worried that the mistakes in Suicide Squad weren’t mistakes—that the bad filmmaking wasn’t because they were rushing to try to save a failed movie, it was because someone thought it looked cool.

Although, if Justice League has to be like a bad DC movie, I guess I’d rather it be bad like Suicide Squad than bad like Dawn of Justice.

Time will tell. Just keep the receipt for the wedding gift, ok?


I Got Them a Feudal Toaster,

-The Guy Who Wrote This

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