A chill pill for Superman, not so much for Batman
For the casual viewer, the Trinity are the only characters who really matter. Wonder Woman’s pretty much sorted out, but Snyder’s got quite a bit to fix about the chaps here.
Superman’s been a whiny and lost teenager with existential problems since Man of Steel, too emotional and joyless to be the compelling character even Brandon Routh’s was. Should he return (which he obviously will), we hope he would’ve done some extensive soul-searching, ditch the self-consciousness and save the world with class. Timing is also incredibly important - he can't reappear too early to meddle with Batman's own journey, nor too late that he becomes an easy cop-out when things go south. It's a resurrection - it has to be poetic and timely.
If Superman is supposed to lead the Justice League eventually, we need to believe it.
Batman walks a tricky line here. Based on the trailers, Snyder seems to have given the rage-filled and trigger-happy Bruce Wayne a chill pill himself. He’s now cracking jokes, completely at odds with the intensely sociopathic Caped Crusader we witness in Dawn of Justice. In the trailers, Flash asks him what his abilities are. His reply: "I'm rich." It's funny, true and we know we asked for some lightness, but we're not sure that Batman as the next king of memes is what the world will want to see.
Hopefully Justice League manages to juggle Batman's new comedic twist with his own conflicts, which shouldn't be pushed aside completely. Dawn of Justice introduced us to a world-weary, damaged Batman and we want to see his road to restoration properly realised.
Break the mould
There are plenty of things fans want out of the DCEU films, from character flesh-outs to specific easter eggs and references. But perhaps the greatest thing we want to see from the franchise is a willingness to do something different. If Marvel’s about to end the party, DC needs to justify why it ought to continue.
We’re talking about a boldness to break free from conventions – of the confines of the source material, the usual fight sequences and generic narratives – to do something we haven’t seen before. Whether it’s by giving us shocking parallels to our real-world narrative, or doing things to characters that truly mean something (instead of pointless deaths), or bypassing a final showdown altogether to drive bigger ideas through.
Justice League is already late to a departing hype-train, so if the DCEU intends to capture the attention of audiences long enough to squeeze in yet another superhero franchise, big changes need to be made.
Justice League opens 16 November, Thursday.