The World Needs Heroes: Is 2022 the year of the DCEU?

The Super Bowl DCEU The World Needs Heroes teaser reveals new looks at The Batman, Black Adam, The Flash, and Aquaman 2.


One of the big teasers during Super Bowl 2022, DC Entertainment throws down the gauntlet with The World Needs Heroes from its upcoming slate of superhero films. The teaser includes mostly new looks at The Batman, Black Adam, The Flash, and Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom.

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The DCEU has a full plate for 2022 revealed in The World Needs Heroes Super Bowl teaser. (Images: DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Pictures)

It’s no secret that the DCEU has been playing catch up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the past few years. But 2022 is shaping up to be the biggest counterattack from DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. against the Marvel Studios/Disney juggernaut.

Could the Discovery merger have anything to do with the push? Is 2022 the year the DCEU turns the tide against its MCU rival? Check out the details below for the answers.

The Batman

It is no surprise that The World Needs Heroes teaser opens with The Batman. As it focuses on the biggest franchise character in the DC pantheon and the theatrical release is the first week of March 2022, it makes sense to give it one more push. However, it also offers very little that is new.

The clip does provide slightly extended snippets of the previously shown interactions between Robert Pattinson’s Batman and Zoë Kravitz’s Selina Kyle/Catwoman. There are also blink-and-you’ll-miss-it shots from the action scenes involving the muscle car version of the Batmobile.

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No new footage of The Batman was shown, except for extended looks at previous promotional material.

With The Batman receiving the artistic nod of the AMC Artisan Film Selection (putting it on the same creative level of quality as 2019’s Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix), the hype for the newest entry in the Dark Knight’s film is at an all-time high. It should be noted, however, that The Batman is not exactly a DCEU film, operating on a completely different universe as what has already been established.

Black Adam

The DCEU property that received the meatiest content in The World Needs Heroes Super Bowl teaser is undoubtedly Black Adam. The new footage included presents Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson’s titular anti-hero finally flexing his muscles outside of the tomb wherein he was apparently imprisoned (previously shown in the DC Fandome 2021 event). Moreover, we get our first looks at the Justice Society of America in all their costumed glory.

One new and particularly interesting scene depicts Teth-Adam prior to being empowered by the Wizard Shazam. It echoes the concept art which showed Adam’s time as a gladiator and slave. But a new wrinkle is Dwayne Johnson’s dialogue, referring to his son dreaming of a better world and why the boy saved him. This is a new character element, as Black Adam never had a son in the comic books or other media.

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Fans finally get to see the Justice Society in Black Adam, with Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo) and Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell).

However, this may be an alteration of the New 52 version. In it, Teth-Adam had a nephew named Aman. Aman is the actual champion chosen by Shazam because of his pure heart. Aman owed Adam his life, but the latter was mortally wounded. To save him, Aman shared the power to Adam, thus establishing the ability of Shazam’s champions being able to give the power to their family. Changing Aman as Black Adam’s son instead of his nephew is likely a plot choice to make the anti-hero more sympathetic.

Aside from Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam, the teaser shows the four superheroes in the JSA that are confirmed to be appearing in the movie: Atom Smasher (Noah Centineo), Cyclone (Quintessa Swindell), Hawkman (Aldis Hodge), and Doctor Fate (Pierece Brosnan). Although the actors have previously been shown behind the scenes during filming in their civilian identities and clothing, the teaser gives the first clear looks at their superhero identities.

Cyclone’s green formal dress is shown, though it confirms she will not have the red hair and striped leggings the comic version is known for. Atom Smasher is appropriately depicted in his giant form, though his costume does not have the bare arms and looks more like the Ray Palmer Atom costume, save for the full mask.

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The Lord of Order Doctor Fate (Pierce Brosnan) looks comic accurate, sporting his iconic golden helmet.

Perhaps the biggest departure is the design of Hawkman. Aldis Hodge’s costume takes on a gold and orange color scheme, eliminating the green traditionally included in the motif. Moreover, the wings are now metallic, instead of the more feathered look of the original comics. In fact, the wing design seems to have similarities to the armor worn by Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman 1984.

Meanwhile, Pierce Brosnan’s Doctor Fate is perhaps the most comic accurate of all the JSA in the film, showing the iconic golden helmet, cape and gloves with a mostly blue suit. Brosnan also gets a few lines of dialogue in, speaking with Johnson’s Black Adam. Brosnan’s Kent Nelson appears to be recruiting Adam into the JSA, referring to a glorious world waiting for him. Interestingly, this is reminiscent of the old Wonder Woman theme song from the 1970s TV series, stating all the world is waiting for you.

There are also shots of what appear to be an aircraft, similar to the X-Men’s Blackbird. Although the JSA rarely had the need for a means of transportation, this could be a nod to another DC Comics property from the golden age, The Blackhawks.

The Flash

Similar to The Batman footage, there is little in the Super Bowl teaser that reveals substantially new details about The Flash. However, it does give a better look at the updated costume that Ezra Miller’s Flash will be wearing.

Unlike the cobbled together piecemeal costume Miller wore in both the Whedon and Snyder versions of Justice League and later appearances, the new Flash costume is sleeker and pulses with golden electricity. The newest revelation is the feature of having orange-colored lenses that deploy over the eyeholes of the costume. This is a great addition, reminiscent of racing helmets.

Other than this, the rest of The Flash footage is Barry Allen approaching his mother, Nora Allen (still alive in this universe) and from the prior DC Fandome teaser with the two Flashes and Supergirl (Sasha Calle) in the Batcave speaking with Batman (Michael Keaton).

Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom

The Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom footage is the least in quantity, but does provide a more complete look at the new costume. This is the first time fans can see the stealth suit in motion that will be worn by Jason Momoa at some point in the upcoming sequel to the 2018 blockbuster.

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The Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom footage included in the teaser shows the new stealth suit in motion.

There is also a new shot of Arthur Curry/Aquaman sporting the orange and green armor seen at the end of the Aquaman film. Arthur is seen wearing that armor while sitting on the Atlantean throne.

Nothing else is shown regarding Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom, save for a key dialogue from the first film about what can be greater than a king: a hero.

New era of DCEU?

Fan reaction on social media for the Super Bowl teaser has been largely positive. Many have even taken this as a possible resurgence and renewed calls to restore the Snyderverse.

With the $43 billion Discovery merger with WarnerMedia and the outstanding success of the HBO Max Peacemaker series, the slew of 2022 big screen releases may herald the breakout of the DCEU that fans have been waiting for.

Produced by DC Entertainment and Warner Bros. Pictures, these DC superhero films have confirmed the finalized theatrical release dates:

  • The Batman - March 4, 2022
  • Black Adam – July 29, 2022
  • The Flash – November 4, 2022
  • Aquaman and the Lost Kingdom – December 16, 2022.
Geoff Borgonia
Geoffrey "Borgy" Borgonia is a veteran writer, artist, journalist, gamer, and entrepreneur based in the Philippines. When not contributing to some of the top pop culture sites on the planet, he spends the rest of his time running his business, practicing martial arts, working on and developing books, comics, and games. In his man-cave, his only luxury is sleep. Borgy on Linkedin.
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