Justice League is a 2017 superhero movie, featuring the Justice League of America from DC Comics. It is the 5th movie in the DC Extended Universe and an ensemble movie featuring Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman while also introducing Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman.
Thousands of years ago, Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons attempt to conquer Earth through the combined energies of three Mother Boxes. They are foiled by a unified army that included the Olympian Gods, Amazons, Atlanteans, mankind and the Green Lantern Corps. After repelling Steppenwolf's army, the Mother Boxes are separated and hidden in locations around the planet.
In the present, the world is in mourning after Superman's death at the hands of Doomsday. This causes the Mother Boxes to reactivate and Steppenwolf to return to Earth in an effort to regain favor with his master, Darkseid. Steppenwolf manages to retrieve the Mother Box from Themyscira, prompting Queen Hippolyta to warn her daughter Diana Prince of Steppenwolf's return by lighting the invasion fire. Prince joins Bruce Wayne in his attempt to unite other metahumans to their cause, with Wayne going after Arthur Curry and Barry Allen, while Prince tries to locate Victor Stone. The two of them fail to persuade Curry and Stone, but manage to recruit an enthusiastic Allen onto the team. Stone later joins the team after his father Silas is kidnapped, along with several other S.T.A.R. Labs employees, by Steppenwolf seeking to acquire the Mother Box from them.
Meanwhile, Steppenwolf attacks Atlantis to retrieve the next Mother Box, forcing Curry to take action. The team receives intel from Commissioner James Gordon leading them to Steppenwolf's army, based in an abandoned facility under Gotham Harbor. Although the group manages to rescue the kidnapped employees, the facility is flooded during combat, which traps the team until Curry helps delay the flood so they can escape. Stone retrieves the last Mother Box, which he had hidden, for the group to analyze. Stone reveals that his father used the Mother Box to rebuild Stone's body after an accident almost cost him his life. Wayne decides to use the Mother Box to resurrect Superman, not only to help them fight off Steppenwolf's army, but also to restore hope to mankind. Prince and Curry are hesitant about the idea, but Wayne forms a secret contingency plan in case Superman returns as a nemesis.
Clark Kent's body is exhumed and placed in the incubation waters of the Kryptonian ship alongside the Mother Box, which in turn activates and successfully resurrects Superman. However, Superman's memories have not returned, and he viciously attacks the group after Stone accidentally launches a projectile at him. On the verge of being killed by Superman, Batman enacts his contingency plan: Lois Lane. Superman calms down and leaves with Lois to his family home in Smallville, where he reflects and tries to recover his memories. With the final Mother Box unguarded, Steppenwolf retrieves it with ease.
Without Superman to aid them, the five heroes travel to a village in Russia where Steppenwolf plans to unite the boxes once again and reshape the world. The team fights their way through the Parademons to reach Steppenwolf, although they are unable to distract him enough for Stone to separate the boxes. Superman arrives and assists Allen in evacuating the city, as well as Stone in separating the Mother Boxes. The group manages to defeat Steppenwolf, who, overcome with fear, is attacked by his own Parademons before they all teleport away.
In the aftermath of the battle, Wayne and Prince agree to rebuild Wayne Manor as a base of operations for the team, with additional space for more potential heroes. Prince steps back into the public spotlight as a hero; Allen acquires a job in Central City's police department, impressing his father; Stone continues to explore and enhance his abilities with his father in S.T.A.R. Labs; Curry returns to Atlantis; and Superman resumes his life as reporter Clark Kent. In a mid-credits scene, Superman and Allen race to see who is the fastest. In the post-credits scene, Lex Luthor has escaped from Arkham Asylum and recruits Slade Wilson to form their own league.
- Executive meddling. The movie was a victim of massive amounts of this. As a result of all the problems mentioned above, the movie is very poorly paced and has a very inconsistent tone.
- There are many times where footage from the original cut and the re-shoots are used in the same scene and it is very noticeable.
- Due to the executive meddling and trying to catch up with Marvel's MCU, the movie feels like a weaker clone of Avengers.
- Horrible CGI, most noticeably Superman's infamous CGI mouth.
- Large amount of scenes were cut from the final version released in theaters, causing a lot of plot and development for characters to be lost.
- Zack Snyder's dour and grim tone very badly clashes with Joss Wheadon's lighthearted tone, this makes the re-shoots even more obvious.
- Due to Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman not getting a proper movie to introduce them or their lore, their backstories are very rushed.
- Large parts of the movie attempt to outright retcon Batman v. Superman. For example; in BvS, the world had a very polarized view on Superman with some comparing him to Jesus and others hating him as an alien invader. But in this movie, the whole world suddenly views Superman as a beacon of hope and everyone mourns his death with zero mentioning of him being hated by anyone at all.
- There's a scene in BvS where Batman has a vision of Darkseid conquering the world, an evil Superman, and Flash coming from the future to warn him about incoming events. The whole point of that scene was to set up the Justice League, yet none of it is mentioned in the actual movie because Darkseid was completely cut, so he is only briefly mentioned once in the entire movie.
- Batman is out of character since he is made considerably weak compared to the rest of the team and is over-reliant on gadgets as he's barely useful in combat unless he's using weapons or vehicles. He also makes many one-liners that don't fit the character as he was established in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and seems more like what Tony Stark would say. Examples are:
- "I'm rich!" when Flash asks what are Batman's powers.
- "I'm not the one carrying a pitchfork" to Aquaman.
- "Maybe temporary" when asked about why he's making a team.
- "Something's definitely bleeding" after he got beaten up by Superman in a very embarrassing way.
- Flash runs in a very awkward unnatural way and the actor often moves his eyes around very distractedly.
- Aquaman barely gets to use his water powers during the movie.
- Superman is too overpowered and makes the rest of the league feel unneeded. Before Superman is revived the League utterly fails to do anything to slow down Steppenwolf, then in the climax Superman defeats Steppenwolf almost effortlessly and without needing the other heroes' help. Flash is also made near redundant after Superman is revived because he's very clearly shown to be faster than Flash.
- The Justice League is rather incompetent, most notoriously when the team has the final Mother Box then they leave it completely unguarded allowing Steppenwolf to effortlessly take it without a fight.
- The character's costumes were meant for dark dimly lit rooms, but because the color palette was brightened up in the reshoots, the costumes stick out badly.
- The movie overall has a very generic feel, not doing anything new that hasn't been seen before in the dozens of hero movies that have come out in the past decade.
- Steppenwolf is a very generic and lame villain. His whole character is literally "I'm gonna destroy the world because I'm evil!". He was also supposed to have some backstory but it was also cut as part of the reshoots and studio mandated edits.
- The soundtrack is also very generic, outside of theme songs that came from previous movies.
- The plot is too similar to the first Avengers movie; A horned-helmet wearing alien wants to conquer the world with a cube shaped object on behalf of a superior evil being acting from behind the shadows, and in response heroes around the world team up to stop the alien's army but first must learn to work together.
- The team's interactions with each other are fun to watch.
- The action scenes are pretty cool for the most part.
- Much less dark than previous DCEU movies.
- The acting is decent.
- The Jesus allegory that was shoved into Superman in both Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman was completely dropped in favor of giving the character real development, which in turn makes him a more likable character with more personality despite his short screentime.
- There are some effective jokes, such as when Aquaman starts talking about his feelings unaware that he's sitting on the Lasso of Truth. The scene where Flash fights Superman was also funny.
- Steppenwolf is still an intimidant villain, and he has an awesome design.
Plans for a Justice League move began since 2007, when a script titled "Justice League Mortal" was written by Michelle and Kieran Mulroney and green-lit for production, however the movie was quickly cancelled due to multiple delays and problems before starting filming. The film would’ve been directed by George Miller and starred D.J. Cotrana as Superman, Armie Hammer as Batman, Megan Gale as Wonder Woman, Common as Green Lantern, Adam Brody as the Flash, Santiago Cabrera as Aquaman, Teresa Palmer as Talia al Ghul, and Jay Baruchel as the main antagonist Maxwell Lord.
Shortly after the success of The Dark Knight trilogy, Warner Bros. had began plans for a Superman trilogy beginning with Man of Steel, however after the release of Marvel's The Avengers the trilogy was dropped in favor of a DC movie universe, unofficially labeled the "DC Extended Universe" with Man of Steel considered the first installment of the series. The intended Man of Steel sequel was reworked into Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice which would then be followed by a new Justice League, both of which would be directed by Zack Snyder, who also directed Man of Steel.
Director Zack Snyder's plan was to make a trilogy of Justice League movies following Batman v Superman, where Steppenwolf would be the villain of the first movie, followed by Darkseid as the true villain of the second and third films.
The first Justice League movie would begin production immediately after Batman v Superman, however, when Batman v Superman was released it was panned by critics and most audiences, despite the movie being profitable the negative reaction towards it led to Warner Bros. meddling with multiple DCEU films, primarily demanding that the dark tones of those movies were changed to be more lighthearted and comedic.
The meddling by Warner Bros. resulted in Justice League suffering large amount of production problems; the script was drastically altered leading to Darkseid being completely cut, leaving Steppenwolf as the only villain in the movie. An early cut of the film was presented but higher ups described it as "unwatchable" and demanded more changes and rewrites, alongside rumors that Zack Snyder would be fired. Mid-production, Snyder's daughter tragically died, causing him to completely step down from the project. Joss Wheadon, director of The Avengers, was brought to make extensive re-shoots and finish the project, however by that time the movie was dangerously close to release and yet Warner Bros. refused to delay it. More than an hour worth of footage was cut because Warner Bros. mandated that the movie couldn't be longer than two hours, as a results many scenes shown in trailers were nowhere to be seen in the final product.
An additional problem came when Henry Cavil, Superman's actor, was called to do re-shoots but at that time Cavil was already shooting for Mission Impossible: Fallout and his character in that movie required him to grow a big mustache that he wasn't allowed to shave. Warner Bros. had to use CGI to hide Cavil's mustache during the re-shoots, but due to the movie being so close to release the editors didn't have the time to properly apply the CGI.
Following the release of the movie, there's been a large amount of speculation regarding the initial cut of the movie intended by Zack Snyder, dubbed the "Snyder Cut". Some sources indicate that said cut does indeed exist but is a very rough cut without any major editing work nor any CGI applied, therefore it is too incomplete to be released and would cost too much money to complete. Warner Bros. later stated that there are no plans for making more crossover movies for a while, as such the intended second and third Justice League movies as planned by Zack Snyder have been indefinitely delayed if not outright cancelled.
Initially, audiences were very skeptical of Justice League due to being soured by Batman v. Superman. Despite this, interest in the film was fairly high and was improved by the positive reception of Wonder Woman in earlier 2017. Concerns for the movie however became rampant after Zack Snyder left the production followed by reports that Snyder's initial cut was scrapped and that the movie would have a large amount of rewrites directed by Joss Wheadon. The final cut was met with a polarizing reception with most pointing out to the obvious re-shoots and post-production issues as well as the very generic feeling of the final product. The movie was also a box-office bomb, being the least profitable out of all the movies in the DCEU. The general audiences described the movie as "A Frankenstein monster that is neither Snyder's movie nor Wheadon's movie".
Following Justice League's underwhelming performance and several DCEU movies being cancelled in favor of other DC movies not related to it, many fans are questioning the future of the DCEU. Warner Bros. announced that they'll continue the franchise but will move away from the movies prior to Justice League. Warner Bros. later announced that the franchise would be soft-rebooted as "Worlds of DC", in which some elements from the previous DCEU movies such as Aquaman and Wonder Woman will remain canon but most other films will be ignored if not outright retconned out of canon, likewise newer films in the franchise will not focus on crossovers.
Fans of the DCEU have been demanding for a "Snyder Cut" of the movie to be released, but it is currently unlikely to happen.