Hope has flowed through most of the DC Comic movies that have made up the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), since it began back in 2013 with Man Of Steel. Fans and critics alike have hoped for the most part that the next foray into this arc, in an attempt to compete with Marvels Cinematic Universe, would be ‘better’ in some way than their predecessors.
That is not to say that any of these movies have been bad, but many have found them lacking in their own right, or in comparison to their competition.
Justice League kicks off after the end of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (BvS). Bruce Wayne’s faith in humanity has been restored by the selfless act of Superman, and he is investigating Lex Luthor’s schemes, along with some strange reports of alien creatures and abductions. A greater danger is discovered, and Bruce must find help to fight it.
The greater danger here, being Steppenwolf. An alien general with superpowers, bent on turning Earth into a wasteland. It’s not really explained why he wants to, or for what purpose, but thousands of years ago he attempted this, only to be thwarted by an army consisting of Olympian gods, Amazons, Atlanteans, humans, and Green Lanterns (yes, they are back!). He wasn’t happy about being defeated, so decided that he needs to wipe everything off the face of the earth just to feel better about it, rather than an order from a higher power it seems.
The Mother-boxes, 3 mystical boxes that combine to some awesome power that terraforms a planet, (separated and hidden between the Amazons, Atlanteans, and Humans), form the central weapon that the movie revolves around, with Steppenwolfs quest to regain them, and the newly formed Justice league’s attempt to stop him from doing so.
The pairing of Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince are rapidly joined by an eager young Flash. He is seemingly new to his powers, coming across as clumsy, cocky, highly socially awkward, and frankly annoying to watch. He is meant to be a little light relief, but mostly he just comes across as annoying for viewers, and the League alike, who also keep having to pick him up.
Cyborg and Aquaman reluctantly join them as they are drawn into the fight by the machinations of Steppenwolf, just in time for the newly formed League to take on the big man himself, only to be woefully outclassed.
Aquaman is the reluctant hero, wishing to avoid his duties, but completing them nevertheless. Considering he’s Aquaman, water features barely at all in his fight scenes, which I find a little weird and amusing considering his character.
Cyborg has an awesome amount of power, derived from a motherbox, but struggles with seemingly lacking full control over his artificial parts and feels he is a danger to others just by existing, and struggling with a painful past. There’s a little aspect of Marvin the manically depressed robot about him at the start, but soon comes out of this to a great new character with lots of promise for future growth.
Diana Prince, stunning as ever, has grown to accept and user her powers more than seen before. However, considering she spent so much of the movie fighting a being an army of her people (both gods and Amazons) could barely defeat before, the power she wielded didn’t even match the potency we saw her using in Wonder Woman at times. This begs some questions as to whether this is just perception, lost potency with time, or she appears reluctant to use them to their full potential.
Superman is a core thread to this movie, his absence symbolising the loss of hope for many. He remains integral to the story throughout, acting as a source of inspiration for the League as Steppenwolf defeats their plans time and again, only to be beaten at the very end by the League finally working together.
The other thread running through this, is the establishment of power within the Justice League, as Batman shows that he is largely outclassed himself. Being a mortal man fighting against beings with supernatural abilities, he takes a beating, but keeps on coming, and focuses and directing and encouraging his new friends. Ignoring a very minor hint of attraction between him and Diana, that is thankfully NOT continued at this time, this is the first signs here that Batman may sooner rather than later gracefully (ahem, yeah right) exit being ‘active’ in the League.
The movie overall delivers an entertaining story, and provides a good ‘next step’ in the evolution of the DCEU. This movie moves along much more comfortably to me than BvS, and develops the characters nicely for the follow-up movies (except the Flash who I now actively do NOT want to see a movie dedicated to, I really found him annoying). I still found a few aspects of the movie lacking as with previous DCEU movies, especially on the light-hearted moments, they were lacking.
I can only HOPE (Sorry, Superman pun again) that this movie is a sign of more good things to come, and the news of multiple DCEU movies in various stages of development at the moment is a sign that DCEU is upping it’s game, and not just churning them out as cash-cows.