With the death of Superman (occurring in previous movies of the DC Universe) bringing the world to a state of turmoil, frustration, and fear across humanity, exiled super villain and destroyer of the worlds, Steppenwolf, has been targeting “Mother Boxes,” which contain infinite power when combined. Using a calculated contingency plan to combat the attack and Steppenwolf’s army of fear-smelling, beetle-like creatures, protagonist Batman (Ben Affleck) gathers a team of powerful warriors–Flash, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman, Flash, Superman–capable of protecting Earth from complete destruction.
The entirety of the plot, however, feels redundant. From the “villain comes to destroy the world by finding items of power” cliche to the “gathering a team of superheroes to save the entirety of humanity” cliche, the plot seemingly follows conventional patterns in these created universes where good and evil clash and the easily expected revival of a hero (Superman) are necessary, perpetuation two more cliches. For the first official Justice League movie joining these heroes and even introducing three new characters to the DC Cinematic Universe, the backgrounds and–in some cases–origin stories are implemented correctly for quick understandings of the members of this team.
Below are detailed explanations of the characters.
Superman – The revival of Superman is the crux of the story, which requires the other characters to join together for the first time. This cliche plot successfully brings the deceased hero to life, and after this moment the story feels rushed. Upon his revival Superman is confused and angry, attacking the other members of the League, but the sight of his loved one manages to bring him to remember his past and purpose in the world. Not only does it feel forced, but from this point on Superman happens to miraculously appear during the final fight (which occurs in the middle of nowhere) and beat the almighty “destroyer of worlds” within minutes.
Batman – Considering the retold story of Batman, which everybody has come to love, his origin story being told in the movie is properly implemented. It is not dragged out more than it needs to be. However, a completely random romance is introduced between Batman and Wonder Woman that left me entirely confused. If it has any effect, it is simply to bring out the leader in Wonder Woman and portray Batman as his typical brooding self, but it has no other purpose in the movie.
Wonder Woman – The entirety of her character revolves around her inability to lead and her path to overcoming this deficiency. Through the irrelevant romance she starts to have with Batman, she overcomes this obstacle, but her character in the beginning part of the movie cries over a lost loved one numerous times (even though this loved one passed away decades ago). On another note, Gal Gadot shows she is the perfect Wonder Woman again through her charm and charisma.
Cyborg – A majority of the plot could not have happened without Cyborg, such as preventing the destruction of the Earth. For the first live action movie with this character, he feels properly introduced. His background is implemented nicely into the movie and viewers get a full sense of both his personal struggles and story.
Aquaman – Similarly to Cyborg, this is the first live action movie with this character. Not only is he a crucial fighter on the team, but he also provides a significant amount of humor and has an intriguing backstory that flows well with the plot. The movie utilizes his abilities in a manner that does not make this hero seem useless; however, skeptics of this hero, such as myself, still wonder the following: How helpful are the traits of swimming fast, breathing underwater, and talking to animals?
Flash – Flash retains the classic elements of this hero that fans expect: witty humor mixed with a comedic hero. He is relevant to the story and fight scenes, and it is evident he is learning to manage his powers.