Comic BooksOpinion

Truth and Justice For All, Except Characters

Bailey Olmstead ’20 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

The Justice League trailer recently dropped, and with it a lot of comic book fans breathed a sigh of relief, because there were some jokes. Which means the over-serious, self-righteous tone of the DCEU are behind us, right?

Batman:Flash
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

But there’s something very important missing from the trailer. It’s not a universe full of CGI, it’s not snappy one liners, it’s not angry buff guys, it’s not the syncing of a popular song to action in the trailer for the second movie in a row–it’s color. Watch the trailer, see how dark it is. How muted the tones are. How everything is shadowy. All of the character’s traditionally bright suits are now all just the muted matte finishes. The entire DC Cinematic universe is just full of muted and sad colors.

DCEU Trinity
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
Man of Steel
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
Suicide Squad Joker
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

The first two pictures both have to have bright backlighting so you can see the muted character costumes from the muted backgrounds. Even the Joker, a clown, looks muted, dark, and sad. Not even examining the Hot Topic edge the character design possesses. Now look at some images from the comics.

Justice League
Image Credit: DC Comics
Batman & Flash
Image Credit: DC Comics

Look at the bright, vibrant colors of the Justice League, and in the picture of the Flash and Batman there are more colors and contrasts in that single image than in any of the stills from the first three entries in the DCEU canon. There should be artistic liberty given to filmmakers making comic book adaptations, but they should be following the spirit of the source material. And they’re not. They’re showing sad, muted, dark, and gritty colors, in a universe that for decades has been defined by bright colors and huge two page splashes. The DCEU has shown a commitment to telling serious stories as opposed to the more lighthearted tone of the MCU.

The fact they think that can’t be done with bright color palettes and dynamic-looking scenes shows a blatant disregard and lack of faith in the source material. Comics have been making money for decades because of the art combined with the story. Superman is supposed to be a bright beacon of hope, his colors have always been rich and dynamic; this also goes for Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and the Flash.

Now they look all like they’re trying to blend into an emo club. It’s as though the filmmakers are afraid too much joy in a shot will ruin their cool status. The fact that filmmakers like Zack Snyder and the Warner Bros. execs cannot see that a powerful and mature story can be told in bright colors shows a basic misunderstanding of comics as a storytelling medium and an art form.

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