DC's Justice League: What to Expect (For Now)

As a plethora of intriguing news continues to spring up from the set of 2017's much-anticipated Justice League film, once again directed by Batman v Superman director Zack Snyder, I thought it was as good a time as ever to give my thoughts on some of the heavy-hitting teases we've gotten so far. From a handful of vague scene descriptions to insight on the big new players of the film, the biggest team-up film since 2012's The Avengers is already hinting towards revolutionizing superhero cinema. With numerous questions still at large surrounding what this film is and how it will usher in the rocky future of Warner Bros.' DC Extended Universe, let's dive into some superhero speculation (and spoilers!):   

Damn...Even the logo has me excited!

A New Palette of Superhumans:

One of the most exciting things to come out of March's lackluster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice had to be its introduction to a number of massive comic book characters. Some new, like Gal Gadot's Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman, and some we've seen many times before, like Batman and Superman, the much-anticipated introduction (and reintroduction) of the popular staples of DC Comics was one of the most fulfilling elements of that film. Even with the film's many flaws, in character development and otherwise, seeing these colorful heroes finally pop up on the big screen got me more than excited to see them appear in 2017's team-up film. Looking to finally bring the super-powered team together, Justice League is setting out to add even more development to the characters we met in Dawn of Justice. 

While I might sit here as quite the inexperienced comic book fan that I am, I have had my fair share of the Justice League. Growing up with shows like 2001's Justice League and later Justice League Unlimited, whenever I wasn't watching one of the many solo television series about Batman or Superman, I was all about the JLA. A kid seeking a new sense of superhero action and adventure, I found solace in the Justice League and their various escapades. Now, as the heroic team of meta-humans and mortals alike is finally being brought to the live-action scene, I can't help but relive my childhood memories. Looking to dive deeper into its established characters -- from Ben Affleck's grizzled and violent Batman to the mysterious Amazonian princess of Gal Gadot's Diana Prince -- as well as its new incarnations of fellow JL members like the Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman, Justice League is aiming to fast track its way toward having an impressive color palette of fan-favorite characters.  

Oh, how I wish John Stewart Green Lantern were in this line-up...

But who do we have on deck? Well, as we saw from Dawn of Justice, as well as what's hinted at in the plot description of Justice League, Batman must enlist in the help of Diana Prince to find the other meta-humans (super-powered friends) that occupy the world. Eventually joining the team, we have speedster Barry Allen aka the Flash (played by Ezra Miller), Ray Fisher as Victor Stone aka Cyborg, and the King of Atlantis Arthur Curry aka Aguaman (played by Jason Momoa). Some top players in the Justice League lore, and others -- like Cyborg -- later members of the team, the cast already looks to be a formidable -- and quite daring -- collection of stars ready to bring these characters to life. Each with their own unique backgrounds and birthplaces -- something that ties heavily into the film's plot -- it will be very interesting to see if and how Zack Snyder brings these characters together and how they interact with each other.     

A Typical Plot Mixed With Potentially Awesome Outcomes:

Going off of those central characters' respective backgrounds, we were also treated to the very vague synopsis of the 2017 film, as well as plethora of scene descriptions that work to piece the full plot of the film together before we even get a trailer. As the plot synopsis reads, "Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne (aka Batman) enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince (aka Wonder Woman), to face an even greater enemy". That new enemy, we've also learned is the military-trained alien known as Steppenwolf, in command of Darkseid's army of Parademons. As we learned from Dawn of Justice, where Batman had a number of eerie premonitions about the end of the world and a hoard of flying bug creatures swarming overhead...yeah, those were the so-called Parademons. What they are exactly, I have the slightest clue. As for Darkseid, the bug creatures' Thanos-like leader, we've already gotten a number of hints that he's coming soon enough. 

What to expect in Justice League, however? Most likely a subtle hint as Darkseid's entry much like the one we got for Marvel's big bad Thanos at the end of Avengers. While we're waiting, the team is set to battle Steppenwolf, who was heavily teased in a deleted scene from Dawn of Justice. While the scene is super vague, featuring a horned manifestation looming over a weary Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) and summoning three mysterious cubes before him, any comic book fan would know that this was teasing a character we better study up on before November 2017. As for the plot, it's assumed that the Justice League will tackle whatever force this mysterious ally of Darkseid throws at them, all the while preventing the baddie from collecting the mysterious Mother Boxes -- ancient devices that find their way into the homelands of our heroes. What Steppenwolf plans to do with these so-called "Mother Boxes" is still hidden in the shadows, but we do have a better sense of how our heroes are brought together in the film. 

Time to get studying...
Among this shadowy plot, one of the most exciting things fans hope to see in the film would have to be the origins of where our heroes come from. With the plot heavily influenced by where we find our heroes -- from Aquaman's underwater kingdom of Atlantis to Cyborg's humble beginnings as a dying man saved through the power of technology (and mystical alien cubes) -- one thing director Zack Snyder and Company hopes to accomplish is establishing a wide range of expansive locations in which to keep the live-action DC universe fresh and alive. While that may be a daunting task for any filmmaker, it's also a very ambitious one, as we dive further into the lore of the comic book world. A great element to what appears to be a pretty commonplace plot of evil-alien-vs.-superhero-team, one thing I hope to see done well in Justice League is the exciting world-building aspects that could bring the superheroes of the DC Extended Universe to unique other worlds other than just Earth.    

A Lighter Side of Things:

One major negative many moviegoers saw -- including myself -- in both 2013's Man of Steel and Dawn of Justice were the film's bleak and ultimately serious tones. Ambitious in his journey to bring a darker, more complex Superman -- and eventually Batman -- to the big screen, director Zack Snyder was met with a silent but deadly backlash that saw that the films lacked both the hope and somewhat of the wit and charisma of the comics. With this slew of news from the set also hinting at scenes between characters like Ezra Miller's Barry Allen and Affleck's Bruce Wayne -- as well as tidbits from our new Commissioner Gordon (played by J.K. Simmons) -- scenes that tease an ounce of sarcasm and humor among the bleakness, there remains a measure of hope in the DCEU appealing to a greater audience. Maybe even fans of the CW's Flash series. 

Lighten up, guys...It was just a joke
Along with a more upbeat tone that could result from characters like Barry Allen and James Gordon being introduced, another ounce of hope could be revived as Henry Cavill's Superman is set to return. Already providing Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince with a new sense of purpose with his "death" at the conclusion of Dawn of Justice, a revived Man of Steel could lead to a number of interesting possibilities. Whether he's a victim tormented by the destruction he caused, or a changed man destined to rebuild the hope that he once believed in for the people of Earth (most likely the latter for the sake of the argument), Superman's exalted return in Justice League will surely (and hopefully) give these films a new sense of what Superman really stands for.  

So they turned an epic comic event into the last ten minutes of the movie?

A (Mostly) Perfected Formula:

With Zack Snyder and Company already promising a lighter tone and a less-jumbled plot for the 2017 film, there remains a great sense of hope that by next year, DC will have established a much better grasp on what exactly they want the Justice League film to be. Learning from their missteps with both Man of Steel and Dawn of Justice, Snyder and Company are obviously competent of what the fans truly want in their upcoming projects. From less clunky dialogue to more (but just enough) character and plot development, there remains a number of things waiting to be perfected in the next few films. Whether or not Snyder will listen to every fan is unknown, but one thing is certain that following the backlash of Dawn of Justice -- a superhero battle for the ages -- DC and Warner Bros. have got to get Justice League to work if they ever want to survive.  

Even if Dawn of Justice did under-perform (for most of us anyway), I still have
 faith in Zack Snyder and the DCEU to survive...At least they have Ben Affleck

Ultimately revved up to bring a new sense of science fiction and fantasy (as well as religion) to the more grounded and real-world setting of the current DC Extended Universe, 2017's Justice League is still heavily shrouded in mystery, especially for us common folk who can't visit the set of one of the biggest superhero movies ever in person. Set to build up a powerful new team of superpowered heroes, and hopefully deliver a fresh new story that doesn't feel too reminiscent of similar films like Avengers or too familiar to what critics found so negative about DC's previous missteps, Justice League could end up being the team-up film DC fans have been waiting to see. While DC still has plenty of room to grow before November 2017, with this summer's Suicide Squad and next June's Wonder Woman set to surprise us, I have high hopes that Justice League offers up the same dynamic hype that the flawed-but-enjoyable Dawn of Justice did for me last year. 

What are your thoughts on the Justice League film? Are you excited, or is it even early enough to even get excited? What's the biggest improvement you hope to see in the final product of the Justice League? Leave your thoughts in the comments below, and stick around for more discussions on the biggest upcoming movies!        

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