Need A Refresher Before Justice League? Check This Out!
It’s been a winding road to the November release of Justice League. The team-up event from the DC Extended Universe promises one of the biggest moments in superhero history. Even with only four movies before this film, there’s a lot of ground to cover.
Below is a break down of all things DCEU and Justice League as we head into the release. You will find a history of the DC Extended Universe, a look into each major character, and some news of what will happen in the movie.
Previous DCEU Films
Man of Steel:
The most recent DC cinematic universe began with 2013’s Man of Steel. Filmmaker Zack Snyder reinvented Superman; stripping back the “boy scout” mentality and replacing it with a more introspective take on the hero. It tore the fan base apart as some welcomed the change, while others grabbed their pitchforks.
While Man of Steel has the label as the first film in this series, it serves mostly as a solo origin story for Superman. There are some easter eggs for things to come, but nothing major happens to distract from this being a real look at Superman. Even the villains being Zod and Faora works to show the struggles of what Superman’s life on Earth is. In hindsight, every decision in this movie led into the next. Especially the killing of Zod; that moment weighs in on him during the entirety of Batman v Superman.
Batman v Superman
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is the most polarizing superhero film in the last decade. If the first entry divided fans, this built a wall in-between them. Taking the finale of Man of Steel and adding Bruce Wayne’s point of view, Batman v Superman is the real launching pad for the DC Extended Universe. Much to the dismay of some fans, there is a lot of world building happening and introduces things that wouldn’t pay off until later films. It also continued the radical alternative takes on the DC characters, examples being Jessie Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor and a more brutal Batman.
When looking at how these movies will affect the DCEU and Justice League, Batman v Superman is considered as the source of everything. Not only did it give minor introductions of all of the League members, but Justice League’s story directly follows this. Also, the film includes a “Knightmare” sequence that plays into Justice League. That dream/premonition gave viewers the first look at a militant Superman and Parademons.
Unlike other films in the DCEU, Suicide Squad will most likely not play a significant role in the upcoming movie. David Ayer’s take on the criminal gang was plagued with production drama and a critical bashing; it’s hard being the film to follow Batman v Superman. Much of the original cut got lost in the shuffle, and it felt like a half-heartened attempt at both a standalone film and as a world-building event.
Suicide Squad did give fans another look at The Flash and some more Batman scenes, but nothing of real substance. It’s also apparent that there isn’t room for any more characters in an already character-filled Justice League movie.
Bow down to the queen. Wonder Woman is the movie that saved the public perception of the DC Extended Universe. Not only is the film a powerful experience, but it has a sleek style of filmmaking. Patty Jenkins took on the task of bringing this Amazonian to screen after 75 years and swing the favor back over to the brand. She did just that when the film opened to record-breaking numbers and ranks highly on movie review aggregator sites.
With the Wonder Woman solo film set in the past, there wasn’t a lot of chances to dive into the current DCEU timeline. That doesn’t mean it won’t connect to Justice League at all. In multiple trailers for the film, you can see the Amazons battling it out with Parademons. The San Diego Comic-Con trailer also revealed that a Mother Box is on Themyscira, the home of Wonder Woman.
Batman is the face that runs the place. Without Bruce Wayne and his alter ego Batman, the entire DC film universe wouldn’t exist. That goes beyond just the DCEU; Batman is the most prolific character from the brand. Ben Affleck took on the role of the Caped Crusader to some hate initially but quickly turned fans around with a stellar performance.
Yes, this version of Batman is grisly. His dark side even cost Superman’s his life in the long run, even if Batman eventually saw the error in his ways. Now with Justice League, Bruce Wayne is using his superhero skills to team up, rather than push people away. The character arc is polarizing. Seeing the very worst to build to the hero we know drove fans mad, but this film hopes to be the perfect pay off.
If she wasn’t a big part of the movie before, the success of Wonder Woman launched her to the forefront of Justice League. Our Amazonian warrior won fans and critics over with her single film earlier this year, and DCEU fans are hoping that love translates to this. Her role as a founding member of the League is exciting; she’s seemingly replacing Superman’s founding role due to his death. But her story goes beyond just uniting the team!
With a war coming to her island of Themyscira, this marks the return to her homeland. The question is how the island will look when she gets there? Will the villain Steppenwolf slaughter the Amazons? This moment will surely drive Wonder Woman over-the-edge. Thankfully she has her newly less-cynical friend Bruce Wayne to keep her focused.
Other than the “DC Holy Trinity,” The Flash is the most recognizable character from the brand. His hit-show on The CW makes him a household name, and Justice League’s Flash is labeled a scene-stealer in the trailers. While Grant Gustin is beloved on the television show, actor Ezra Miller is already a fan-favorite.
Little is known about the movie version of the character. Some of the trailers did give a glimpse at Barry with his imprisoned father and that he’s a loner, but that’s about it. Expect everything in Justice League to lead us to his solo film; the iconic DC event named Flashpoint. The Flash could attempt to turn back time in the movie and trigger something.
Somehow, Jason Momoa turned Aquaman into the bad-ass we see before us. The character sadly saw years of ridicule with a campy version of Super Friends and later becoming a meme. Comics eventually rebranded him with a longer hair & hook for a hand. It helped, but nothing works quite like seeing Jason Momoa as Arther Curry.
With Batman, Wonder Woman, and The Flash do not doubt Aquaman’s ability to steal the movie. Justice League has tons of characters, but few have this kind of appeal. This role is the type that men want to be him and women want to be with him. There is more to Aquaman than good looks though. His story as Atlantis King is interesting and we could see a minor origin story for the character. His water-bending wife Mera will appear as well.
Victor “Cyborg” Stone started as a Teen Titan, and now he’s here. Cyborg is one of the newest characters to mainstream audiences. That will likely change with a fun performance and a story that ties deep into world building. Justice League follows the minor introduction in Batman v Superman that showed Silas Stone, Cyborg’s dad, creating him after an accident. There is resentment there and is a topic in the movie.
Besides some creation drama, there is also the fact that Cyborg is made-up of a Mother Box. A Mother Box is an object in DC mythos that is synonymous to Darkseid and his Parademons. This connection to the villains of Justice League adds an interesting dynamic. How much of this machine will take over the remaining man side?
Steppenwolf is the first step in the introduction of DC’s New Gods. Once the parademons made their appearance in Batman v Superman, Darkseid and the New Gods was evident. Thankfully they didn’t jump right in with the big bad and send this troubled villain. The odds of him making it out of this movie alive are slim, but he’ll be impactful.
Ciarán Hinds is taking on the role of Steppenwolf using motion-capture. He spoke about calling his friend Liam Neeson for advice on doing this type of performance. An esteemed actor diving into a unique role like this will be thrilling to see.
What Will Happen In ‘Justice League?’
Let’s address the Kryptonian elephant in the room. Yes, we all know Superman is returning from the dead in Justice League. The real mystery isn’t if, but how will he return? Odds are it will be a heroic return to save the day. That’s something some fans are begging for after a Superman they didn’t recognize. Don’t be surprised if it does get darker though, much like the “mullet Jesus” Superman of the 90’s.
After reshoots that are rumored to be fairly extensive, the tone of the film will be uneven. With Batman v Superman seeing criticism for being “too dark,” these newer scenes will introduce a lighter toner and something more hopeful (like Wonder Woman). Rumored reports say that Cyborg was a major focus in the reshoots, in an attempt to make him more like his comic-book counterpart. You can also expect a more lighthearted tone sprinkled throughout as Zack Snyder’s plan was to make this lighter than his grim previous entries. With the late addition of director Joss Whedon, the tone will be even lighter than originally intended.
What are you most looking forward to with Justice League? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
Unite with the League in theaters on November 17th.
It features an ensemble cast that includes Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Ciarán Hinds, Amy Adams, Willem Dafoe, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, and J. K. Simmons.