The Justice League movie has finally arrived, and it’s a fun ride!
US Release Date: November 17, 2017
Runtime: 2 hours
Writers: Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon
Directors: Zach Snyder and Joss Whedon
Production Company: Warner Bros.
Cast: Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince, Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent, Jason Momoa as Aquaman/Arthur Curry, Ray Fisher as Cyborg/Victor Stone, Ezra Miller as The Flash/Barry Allen, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, and Ciaran Hinds as Steppenwolf.
What You Should Know:
In the 2016 film Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Batman is shown to hold a grudge against Superman for being too powerful and for putting normal human lives at stake during his battles. This leads to a confrontation that ultimately resolves itself once the duo (plus Wonder Woman) join forces to defeat the Kryptonian monster Doomsday. Superman is killed during the battle, causing Batman to see the error of his ways. He tells Wonder Woman that he plans to assemble a team of meta-humans to help defend Earth against out world invaders he’s had previous visions of.
What You’ll Find Out (SPOILERS):
Batman begins seeing more and more aliens called Parademons appearing on Earth. He discovers that they are attracted to the pheromones released when a person experiences moments of fear. Examining Lex Luthor’s notes, he also notices that there are several references to three boxes that have some significance to the aliens. He surmises that the Parademons are scouts sent from elsewhere to locate these three boxes for some purpose.
On Wonder Woman’s native home of Themyscira, we see one of these boxes hidden in a secure compound. Many armed Amazon warriors have surrounded it as it becomes active with energy. When the Amazon queen Hippolyta arrives, a teleportation window called a Boom Tube appears. Out of it steps the other world god Steppenwolf who is giant in size. The Amazons reveal that they know who Steppenwolf is and that in ancient times the Amazons, Atlanteans, Olympian gods, the Green Lantern Corps., and mankind joined forces to stop him. Steppenwolf previously planned to use three cube power sources called Mother Boxes to transform Earth into a planet similar to his homeworld of Apokolips. Earth’s forces were able to defeat Steppenwolf, sending him back into space. They also managed to take the three Mother Boxes from him, splitting them up between the Amazons, Atlanteans, and humans.
Upon Steppenwolf’s return, he manages to steal back the Mother Box protected by the Amazons, telling Queen Hippolyta that once all three boxes are reunited that he plans on taking her and the rest of the Amazons as his mates. When he leaves the island, Hippolyta sends a mystic fire to the Acropolis Parthenon in Athens, Greece. Seeing the fire on the world news, Wonder Woman becomes aware via her Amazon training that Steppenwolf has returned and now has the Amazon’s Mother Box.
Wonder Woman tells Batman what she knows about Steppenwolf, confirming Batman’s notes. They agree to reach out to the meta-humans they’ve discovered in the hopes that they can help stop Steppenwolf from getting the other two Mother Boxes.
Batman first reaches out to Aquaman, finding him aiding a small arctic village. Batman tells Aquaman that he knows what he is and that he and a team he’s assembling need his help to stop an alien threat. Aquaman refuses and returns to the ocean. When he arrives back at Atlantis, Aquaman finds Steppenwolf in battle with Mera and the Atlantean armies. Aquaman joins the fight, but Steppenwolf is too powerful for them. Steppenwolf takes the Atlantean Mother Box and uses a Boom Tube to escape. Realizing just how dangerous Steppenwolf is, Aquaman asks Mera for a weapon that can help him in his fight.
While searching for a meta-human, Wonder Woman’s computer is hacked. The screen in front of her tells her that it knows who she and Batman are. It then asks why she is looking for meta-humans. Wonder Woman asks the hacker to meet with her in person, and only then will she tell it everything. Following a location displayed on her computer screen, Wonder Woman goes to a vacant city block at night. The lights dim and she is faced with a robotic man hidden beneath a hoodie. Wonder Woman tells him that she knows who he is and that he needs to stop hiding from the world so that he can help her and Batman stop Steppenwolf. Cyborg doesn’t answer her but instead flies off into the night. Upon arriving at his home, Cyborg discovers that his father was kidnapped by one of Steppenwolf’s Parademons.
Discovering The Flash living in a desolate warehouse, Batman surprises him at his home. When he asks The Flash to join his team, he immediately says yes stating that he needs more friends.
In Gotham City, Commissioner Gordon receives reports of vampire-like creatures attacking the city and stealing several of its citizens. As the description sounds a lot like Batman, he calls for Batman using the Bat Signal atop police headquarters. Instead of just Batman answering his call, Gordon sees that Wonder Woman and The Flash have joined him as well. They inform Gordon that the vampire creatures are aliens called Parademons and that they are trying to stop them and their leader Steppenwolf from destroying the planet. Cyborg suddenly appears and tells them that he will help them find the missing citizens. Finding them in a bunker beneath Gotham Harbor, they sneak in and find Steppenwolf and his Parademons interrogating them on the location of the third Mother Box. A battle ensues in which Steppenwolf is surprised to see meta-humans battling against him. While Batman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg battle him, The Flash manages to take the kidnapped citizens to safety. Seeing he is backed into a corner, Steppenwolf ruptures the bunker, causing Gotham Harbor to come flooding into the structure. Thinking they will drown, Aquaman suddenly appears and uses a mystic trident to hold back the water until the others can get to safety.
Regrouping at the Bat Cave, the newly assembled Justice League share what they know about Steppenwolf, the Mother Boxes, and the alien attacks. Telling them that he was created by the Mother Box given to the humans, Cyborg tells the others that he knows where it is and just how powerful it can be. Remembering the creation of the Doomsday creature, Batman suggests that they use the power of the Mother Box to reanimate Superman. The team goes back and forth on the moral implications of bringing Superman back from the dead, but Batman finally convinces them that they were barely strong enough to hold back Steppenwolf and need Superman’s power to finally defeat him.
Cyborg and The Flash are tasked with unearthing Superman and bringing him and the third Mother Box to the Kryptonian spaceship that created Doomsday. Once there, they place him in the ship’s amniotic fluid and use The Flash’s Speed Force electricity to activate the Mother Box. It works, but Superman immediately flies out of the spaceship, leaving the others to wonder where he’s gone to. Steppenwolf, sensing the last Mother Box has been activated, appears and takes it away before the others could attack him.
Venturing outside the spaceship, the Justice League (sans Batman) discover Superman standing beside the now broken Metropolis Superman statue. When Superman sees the team assembled, he uses his x-ray vision to scan their bodies to see that they are not human. He’s overcome with extreme aggression, which both Aquaman and Cyborg are able to sense. Cyborg’s machine components register hostility and go against its human host’s wishes by sending an attack pulse at Superman. This causes Superman to attack the Justice League members, who have a hard time containing him. It’s not until Batman appears with Lois Lane that Superman is able to come to his senses. He takes Lois and flies off into the sky.
Arriving at the Smallville farm he grew-up in, Superman sees that it is now bank owned and for sale. He and Lois talk about their feelings before Superman’s mother Martha Kent shows up to greet them. Lois then says that she’s sad because she only got him back but now must send him away again to help the Justice League stop Steppenwolf.
Using his body’s technology, Cyborg is able to locate the three Mother Boxes. Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash then go to Steppenwolf and battle to regain the Mother Boxes before he can use them to transform the Earth again. They are at a stalemate when Superman finally arrives and helps to destroy the Mother Boxes once and for all. Defeating Steppenwolf, he and his Parademons disappear via a Boom Tube back to Apokolips.
Superman discovers that after the battle that Batman has legally returned his boyhood home in Smallville back to his mother Martha, finally burying the hatchet between the two of them. Going to his own now dilapidated childhood home outside Gotham, Batman tells Wonder Woman that he plans to transform the building into a place where meta-humans can join together to help plan the Earth’s protection. Elsewhere, an assassin named Deathstroke boards an expensive yacht. Aboard is a prison escaped Lex Luthor, surrounded by black-clad female bodyguards. He tells Deathstroke that since Superman now has a league of comrades that they should also.
What Does This Mean for the Future?
The Justice League is now established so we can expect that any future crisis to appear will be even more large scale and more dangerous. The last sequence in the movie shows Lex Luthor planning the formation of the Legion of Doom, so I’m sure the next film will be filled with lots of meta-human fighting to an amazing degree.
Also, as the original film was to be 2 hours and 50 minutes but was mandated to be chopped down to a final 2 hours, you just KNOW the deluxe DVD release of this film is going to be chock full of never-before-seen moments and DVD extras.
Final Thought: Overall, I thought the movie was a lot of fun to watch and had several great moments to enjoy. Actor Ezra Miller, who played The Flash, was the conduit of this throughout the film as we watch his non-combat trained reactions to several insane experiences. The scene that stands out most is when the newly revived Superman begins attacking the Leaguers, Flash attempts to use his speed to help free them from Superman’s grip. When The Flash realizes that Superman is just as fast as he is and is keeping up with him, the look of shock and terror in his eyes made everyone in the audience around me laugh and giggle with glee. To be honest, The Flash and Aquaman’s sense of humor was much appreciated to watch. Whereas many people had issues with humor being shown in Thor: Ragnarok, here it fits in nicely as the prior Zack Snyder directed movie entries were unanimously deemed a bit too dark and serious for a lot of prior audiences. The subtle jokes in Justice League brought a much-needed breath of fresh air to what we were given before.
Ben Affleck brought a lot to the table too in his portrayal of a man living 20 years as Batman and is now gray-haired and weather-beaten. His suggesting that Wonder Woman live up to her full potential and lead the other team members should they not be able to revive Superman, and not himself, shows that the character has come a long way.
Another great piece was the music used in the film. My geeky little heart leaped for joy when the 1989 Danny Elfman Batman score was used for Ben Affleck’s solo Batman scenes, and again too when the 1978 John Williams Superman score was used for Henry Cavill’s dramatic appearance to battle Steppenwolf. Bravo to Danny Elfman as the movie’s music composer for giving fans this little piece of magic to relish.
One thing that was never explained is how Batman, a human with no meta-human abilities at all, was able to have visions of Parademons in the prior Batman v Superman movie. That bit of story plot was never resolved between that movie and this one. Also not fully explained was the Batman v Superman clip of The Flash appearing to Batman in an alternate costume telling him that he was right about Superman all along and to fear him. Perhaps this will be revealed in a later film?
Due to family issues, director Zack Snyder had to step away from his movie duties on this film just as the film was entering the final arc of filming. In stepped Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Avengers writer/director Joss Whedon to help finish the project and add his own finishing touches to the film. Seeing how successful the Wonder Woman film was at the time, Joss was key in including more scenes with Wonder Woman and the Amazons into the Justice League film. You can see some of these scene shifts on screen from the bright colored robust Amazon battle scenes Joss brought to the table, to the dark and ominous flashback battle scenes Zack created. Although these differences are apparent, they manage to mesh well together and give homage to the characters and events they portray.
Also, because of the Warner Bros. mandate that the movie be cut down to 2 hours, many shots shown in the movie trailer do not get shown in the final released film. The trailer showed more origin exposition for the Cyborg character, as well as another scene, were Bruce Wayne is watching a more slender meta-human wearing Superman colors, that can only be guessed to be Supergirl. I’m hoping that this uncut version will finally be shown once the film gets released on a DVD.
While the film is getting mixed reviews for not offering fans specific plot points, being too comic booky (really?), and having *gasp-shock* humor, I feel the movie managed to deliver a fun and entertaining story that showed respect for the various characters involved. I was left excitedly wanting to know what was being planned for the next film, which is a sure sign of a good movie. This is one fan who plans on savoring the film a couple more times while it’s still available to be seen on the big screen.