It’s finally here. The DC Extended Universe is finally about to culminate in the first ever Justice League movie. This is The Avengers of the DCEU, and that was the movie that kicked the MCU right into gear and got things moving.
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice introduced us to the so-called meta-humans Ben Affleck’s Batman and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, while thrusting Henry Cavill’s Superman of Man of Steel into a whole new world of like-minded heroes.
Ezra Miller’s The Flash, Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, and Ray Fisher’s Cyborg also had cameo appearances. But Justice League will see them all come together as a team to defeat a common enemy.
We’ll get extended screen time for all of them, fleshing out the characters and gearing them up for their own solo movies all slated to be released over the next couple of years. It will be more lighthearted than Batman v Superman, but still maintain its vast scale, its rich, dark aesthetic, and its beautiful spectacle.
Forbes experts are predicting an opening weekend of anywhere between $130 million and $170 million. So, to help make that happen, here are 15 reasons we should all be excited about Justice League!
15. The runtime is sensible
Zack Snyder made Batman v Superman to be ludicrously long at 151 minutes — about two and a half hours — and it worked against the movie. In some cases, long movies are good — they’re rich and epic and the scale is vast — but with Batman v Superman, that was sadly not the case. It rarely can be with comic book movies.
They’re just dumb fun, so they need to be a snappy length, like two hours. A lot of fans balked when the runtime of Snyder’s first cut was announced to be 170 minutes (almost three hours), but luckily, replacement director Joss Whedon has managed to trim it down to the much more manageable 121 minutes.
This will hopefully place more of an emphasis on story and not on cramming as many characters into the damn thing as you can shake a stick at.
14. The writer is an Academy Award winner
Chris Terrio has written the screenplay for Justice League. He’s the guy who won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for writing Argo, which was directed by Bruce Wayne himself, Mr. Ben Affleck.
He also wrote Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which was his first big budget, action-packed blockbuster. And while it was clunky and poorly structured, you have to hand it to him that he did give us some truly inspired and original scenes. It wasn’t the same movie with the same structure every time like the Marvel movies.
This was something quite original in terms of screenwriting. Hopefully he’ll have honed that originality into a much better story and screenplay for Justice League. It won’t win him another Academy Award, but it could at least be a good script.
13. It will focus on a standalone story
One of the biggest criticisms of Batman v Superman was that it was too busy setting up the big shared universe of DC movies to stand on its own as a good film. However, that’s all about to change with Justice League.
Warner Bros. have decided to focus less on building an interconnected universe and more on creating strong movies that stand on their own, more like this year’s terrific Wonder Woman.
Diane Nelson, the President of DC Entertainment, said, “Our intention, certainly moving forward, is using the continuity to help make sure nothing is diverging in a way that doesn’t make sense, but there’s no insistence upon an overall story line or interconnectivity in that universe.”
12. Cyborg is the heart of the movie
According to Justice League director Zack Snyder, “You have Jason [Momoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman] stomping around as this inked, hairy man, just this mythic figure. And you’ve got Ezra [Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash], who’s full of life and hilarious and all over the place and amazing – a really fun and also poignant Flash.”
“And Ray [Fisher as Victor Stone/Cyborg]’s story is, in a lot of the ways, the heart of the movie.” This is an interesting choice, since Cyborg is the least known character in the ensemble. He’s a college athlete who gained the powers to manipulate technology and turn his arms into cannons.
He’s pretty awesome, but he’s not Batman or Superman or The Flash, so it’ll be interesting to see how they make him “the heart of the movie.”
11. Superman is alive!
After the events of Batman v Superman, Superman was presumed dead. It might have had something to do with the fact that he was stabbed with a big shard of Kryptonite and then buried in a huge, lavish funeral ceremony. But the ground did move, so it was suggested that he was alive.
Plus, there’s no way you could do a Justice League movie without Superman. It defies all sense! Luckily, Henry Cavill posted on social media that he’d begun working out for Justice League, so that puts fans at ease.
Zack Snyder elaborated, albeit in cryptic fashion: “It was always a super-intriguing concept to me to have this opportunity to have him make that sacrifice but also have him be this, in a weird sort of way, the why of Justice League: What do you do now with him? What does the team think? What does the world need? All that comes into play. It’s fun for us, but it’ll be interesting for audiences, what we do with him.”
10. Justice League will have a lighter tone
DC Entertainment chief Geoff Johns — a guy who has lived and breathe comic books ever since he was a child and has written them, published them, and adapted them for the screen, and is now spearheading the DCEU — has said that Justice League (and by extension, all DCEU movies going forward) will have a lighter tone than Batman v Superman.
Apparently Warner Bros. has listened to the fans and the critics for once. “In the past, I think the studio has said, ‘Oh, DC films are gritty and dark and that’s what makes them different.’ That couldn’t be more wrong,” Johns said in an interview.
“It’s a hopeful and optimistic view of life. Even Batman has a glimmer of that in him. If he didn’t think he’d make tomorrow better, he’d stop,” he said.
9. Basically every DC Comics character ever will be in it
If you’re a fan of almost any DC comic book, then you’ll want to see Justice League, because it’s guarantee to feature your favorite character by sheer virtue of featuring all the characters.
The characters featured in Justice League will be — drumroll, please — Batman, Superman, Lois Lane, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg, Alfred, Martha Kent, Queen Hippolyta, Commissioner Gordon, Dr. Silas Stone, Amazonian General Antiope, Lex Luthor, Steppenwolf, Mera, Dr. Henry Allen, Iris West, and Nuidis Vulko.
That’s enough characters to rival Captain America: Civil War. Maybe not the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War, which will see the Avengers join the Guardians of the Galaxy, but still, it’s an impressive number. It’ll be interesting to see how directors Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon have managed to wrangle that many characters into a coherent narrative.
8. Aquaman has a huge story arc
As Jason Momoa, the Game of Thrones alum playing Arthur Curry (aka Aquaman) in Justice League and further DCEU movies, has said this: “He’s not even Aquaman yet. He’s not the King of the Seven Seas. We don’t really get there until my solo movie, at the end. Really, it’s a huge growth for me. It’s a gigantic arc for Arthur Curry.”
“It may be tough for a lot of fans to watch what they’re gonna see, how I portray him. But you gotta wait until we get to the solo movie to really know. Because he’s not king yet. He doesn’t believe in himself, he doesn’t know what to do with the powers he has. He’s going through tons of loss.”
“He hates Atlanteans. The fact that people are calling him ‘Aquaman’ right now – he couldn’t give two shits about anything Atlantean. So he’s really not quite there yet. That’s kind of tough to play. We gotta figure out the origin, where we’re going. Some people will be like, ‘This isn’t my Aquaman.’ But we’re not there yet.”
7. The villain is awesome
The villain in Justice League is going to be really awesome. His name is Steppenwolf (which is the German word for a coyote, but there’s nothing really that cool about that) and he rides a hover bike and he has his own army that the Justice League will have to face in the movie.
He has big horns on his helmet and red, glowing eyes. In Justice League, he’s going to be portrayed by Ciaran Hinds, who’s been in all kinds of high profile movies, like Road to Perdition, The Sum of All Fears, There Will Be Blood, Harry Potter, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, and even Frozen, so he’s not averse to doing big, exciting blockbusters.
If you want an idea about the power of Steppenwolf, he survived Doomsday. You know who didn’t survive Doomsday? Superman.
Apart from maybe Gal Gadot, there’s no argument against Ben Affleck as the best thing about Batman v Superman. His angry, growling, grizzled take on Bruce Wayne was hailed as a terrific and fresh direction for the character.
In Affleck’s own words, his Batman is “a little older, he’s a little more world weary. He’s been around the block once or twice, so he’s a little wiser, but he’s definitely more cynical and a little darker and more jaded.” The critics agreed, as Affleck’s performance was one of the few elements of the film that they gave positive reviews.
The Guardian’s review read, “Ben Affleck earns his batwings,” and it’s true. Many critics and fans believed that Affleck was the greatest screen Batman we’ve ever seen, and we’ll get to see him again in Justice League. He was the best thing in BvS, and he’ll likely be the best thing in Justice League — after maybe Wonder Woman.
5. Early buzz for the movie is strong
The early buzz for Justice League is strong, with those who have seen the various test screenings — the cut of which reportedly runs to about two and a half hours and “nowhere near” the horrifying three hours that was earlier reported — having positive reactions to the film.
A Twitter user who claims to be the “DCEU Insider Guy” tweeted after an early test screening: “So… #JusticeLeague screening last night. No spoilers. Wow. Despite all the behind the scenes drama, this was great.”
Meanwhile, Batman News tweeted after that same screening, “Spoke to 3 people who attended the #JusticeLeague test screening. They loved it!” They quoted these viewers as calling the movie “epic,” while saying that one of them “didn’t like” Batman v Superman or Suicide Squad, but “loved” Justice League.
4. Wonder Woman is back!
Anyone who saw Wonder Woman in her standalone debut movie earlier this year will likely be very excited for her return in Justice League. Gal Gadot nails the character perfectly — she’s strong, fierce, powerful, fearless, noble…she’s just amazing!
The movie’s $821 million worldwide haul smashed a bunch of box office records and defied all expectations. Variety praised the movie anchored by Gadot’s performance. They said it was a welcome departure from the dull, dark tone set for the DCEU at this point.
“Never prone to stewing in solitude, and taking more notes from Richard Donner than from Christopher Nolan, Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman provides a welcome respite from DC’s house style of grim darkness — boisterous, earnest, sometimes sloppy, yet consistently entertaining — with star Gal Gadot proving an inspired choice for this avatar of truth, justice, and the Amazonian way,” their review said.
Expect her to carry over some of her fierceness and lightheartedness over into Justice League.
3. It’s from the same director as The Avengers
Originally, Zack Snyder was directing Justice League. He’s the director of 300, Watchmen, and Sucker Punch who set the tone for the DCEU with Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. However, the tragic and unexpected death of his daughter caused Snyder to step down and take some time out.
Joss Whedon, who he had already brought on to perform some rewrites on the script, took his place. Whedon is the guiding beacon of the movie now, and he’s a terrific filmmaker.
His feminism has been called into question recently, but there’s no denying that he’s a fantastic storyteller. He graced the world with Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, The Cabin in the Woods, and — yes — the first two Avengers movies, so he knows a thing or two about bringing superhero teams to the screen.
2. And Ben Affleck got along swimmingly with his new director
Ben Affleck has nothing but good things to say about his new director, Joss Whedon, and the impact he’s had on the movie since taking over from Zack Snyder.
“Joss just brought to the movie what good directors bring, which is good taste,” Affleck said. “A sense of what’s gonna work in the story and what isn’t. An instinct for realism and for finding the humanity in the characters and the humanity in the conflict, then making it accessible and relevant.”
“I think that’s one of the things he did so well with Avengers, frankly. He really defined the tone, and it felt like a lot of the movies after that sort of fell into that tone that he created.”
“It was a very tricky dance where you have all these people who can do all these fantastic things that’s completely absurd on the face of it, and yet, a good storyteller like Joss brings us in, makes us identify with them, makes them seem real, and makes it interesting.”
“A lot of guys know the comic books, a lot of people have that knowledge base. What Joss really has is talent.”
1. It’s the Justice League!
Justice League is tantamount to what The Avengers was back in 2012. This is the first time that we’ll see the Justice League of America fighting together on the silver screen. Sure, we got Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman battling Darkseid in Batman v Superman, but that was just three of the members.
Now, we’ll see them joined by The Flash and Cyborg and Aquaman, and it’s going to be awesome. I mean, okay, Green Lantern isn’t involved in this movie and the Justice League isn’t complete without Green Lantern and we won’t get to see Green Lantern join the Justice League until at least the sequel — maybe even later than that — but this is a start.
This is the most of the Justice League that we’ve seen fighting together on screen before — enough for the movie to be named after them.