Back in 2013, Warner Bros. teamed up with DC Comics to re-launch their cinematic journey, with Man of Steel. Now that they have followed up with this year’s release of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, fans are eager to see DC Comics build their movie repertoire to the same dizzying levels of Marvel Cinematic Universe’s own movie powerhouse. In a similar vein to their alleged rivals, Marvel, DC Comics are working towards their own superhero team movie with The Justice League, part one of which is supposed to hit our screens in 2017. In anticipation of the movie’s release next year, I thought I’d get a head start on what to expect from the upcoming blockbuster.
Who is the Justice League director?
As well as directing Man of Steel and Dawn of Justice, Zack Snyder will also direct both Justice League movies, as well as the upcoming Aquaman movie. It’s pretty obvious, thus, that DC and Warner Bros. hold a whole lot of stock in Snyder’s abilities. However, I feel that if I were in their position, I’d be taking the sheer volume of negative reviews – by both critics and DC fans – and reconsidering the Snyder’s position at the helm. I also feel the same way for the writer; Argo’s Chris Terrio, who is writing both Justice League films. Again, Warner Bros. have confidence in his ability to write a decent plot, and while Argo is a cinematic heavyweight, Dawn of Justice didn’t quite hit the spot for a lot of people.
Perhaps I am being overly pessimistic, but I can’t quite imagine that the same fans and critics who responded negatively to Dawn of Justice feeling particularly confident with the aforementioned at the helm of two movies that – realistically – need to hold their own against the already established powerhouse of superhero buddy type movies.
What is the Justice League plot?
At this point, it is still entirely speculation, but I’d reason that the announcement of Justice League part one’s release in November 2017 and Justice League part two being released in June 2019, being released at the same time, indicates that there’s going to be a continuous narrative to the overall plot – although, this cannot be guaranteed this early in production.
Justice League part one should, ideally, establish the team and provide a backdrop for the overall Justice League origin; i.e. how the team forms – with part two being more vague. It may, as I stated, follow a continuous narrative, given that part one creates a plot line that needs to be continued over the span of two movies, or it may follow more standard narratives for sequels and forgo the original entirely.
Who is in the Justice League?
If you aren’t familiar with the Justice League, they are essentially a superhero team made up of some of the most important DC Comic characters. Traditionally, the Justice League are made up of the names that will follow, although their presence isn’t necessarily guaranteed to be in the movie at this point.
Clark Kent and his Superman alter ego are well established staples in the DC comic book canon, as well as within the cinematic timeline. The most recent incarnation of Superman began with Henry Cavill in 2013’s Man of Steel and continued with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice. Given Superman’s sheer importance within the Justice League comic canon, in my opinion, any movie without him would be entirely ruined, so it should go without saying that he is present in Justice League part one.
Even though – in my opinion – Christopher Nolan and Christian Bale’s incarnation of Batman is the undisputed champion, as far as movies/characters go. However, seemingly, Ben Affleck’s Batman has been chosen as the dark knight staple in the DC Extended Universe. His journey began with Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and will continue in his standalone movie, as well as Justice League parts one and two. I also feel like DC are trying to shove him down viewers necks, given that he is making gratuitous cameos in pretty much every DC cinematic universe movie until then, beginning with Suicide Squad in August this year.
Making her cinematic debut in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice earlier this year, we’ll also be seeing Wonder Woman establish her own story in the Patty Jenkins directed standalone movie in 2017, which should set her up for an appearance in Justice League part one.
Wonder Woman, historically, finalises what is known as DC’s holy trinity of most famous superheroes, so we should expect her to have an enormous presence in the Justice League movies – a movie without her would be a tragedy, I’d say.
Martin Campbell and Ryan Reynolds didn’t necessarily do Green Lantern justice in the standalone 2011 movie, failing to impress both critics and audiences alike. However, the emerald knight is still one of the biggest names in DC Comics, and it would be severely disappointing to me if Warner Bros. didn’t acknowledge his importance in the upcoming Justice League movie.
If you take a look at the IMDB page for the movie, there is no actor listed as playing Green Lantern. Although, Tyrese Gibson has been campaigning rather enthusiastically, to play the role, and having seen him playing naturally cock and slightly humorous roles in movies in the past (Fast and Furious and Four Brothers); I’d say that he would be able to pull off a similar character from the Green Lantern Corps. – here’s to hoping that Warner Bros. give him the chance to show what he can do.
While The Flash has always been an extremely popular character in the DC Canon, he has never been given a chance to showcase his abilities on the big screen. While there is a pretty successful TV show featuring Grant Gustin, it’s actually Ezra Miller who has been given the opportunity to play the speedy hero on the big screen.
The Flash made his DC Extended Universe appearance in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Miller will be reprising his role in Justice League parts one and two.
After spending an inordinate amount of time being dubbed as a joke within the superhero realms, the Aquaman comic books seem to have finally found their feet in the DC Comics New 52 rebrand. Aquaman has seemingly been reinvented to become a lot more bad ass, and with Jason Momoa at the helm, it seems that his appearance in Justice League parts one and two, will see him re-established as a truly bad ass character. Let’s face it, he’s looking pretty intense and Momoa himself has promised that his new iteration of the King of Atlantis will prompt no more jokes from comic book fans… he certainly looks pretty amazing.
Aquaman made his cinematic debut in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and there are rumours that he may be making an appearance in Suicide Squad later on this year too. However, if this rumour doesn’t pan out, we’ll next see the king of Atlantis in the first Justice League. Following that, we’ll also be seeing Aquaman in his own standalone movie in 2018.
After the 2011 New 52 rebrand becoming the focus of the DC Extended Universe, Cyborg has become synonymous with the Justice League, where as previously he was primarily a feature in Teen Titans.
Ray Fisher landed the role of Cyborg for Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice and seemingly, he’ll carry the role through both Justice League movies, as well as appearing in his own Cyborg standalone movie way in the future, come 2020.
Who will play the villain in the Justice League?
The internet is pretty rife with rumours about who the main villain focus will be, with rumours of Steppenwolf, Braniac and Darkseid weaving its way through the grapevine with somewhat aggressive vehemence. However, while the villain still needs to be confirmed, I can’t say that either one of the villains would be a disappointment.
Darkseid has been featured heavily in the Justice League stories in the past, and given the main influence on the DC Extended Universe in the New 52, it’s a pretty strong indication that the Lord of Apokolips will be the main villain in the upcoming Justice League movie.
If that’s the case, we’re also likely to see Darkseid’s Pardemon army and military subordinates take on the Justice League team, which includes Kalibak, Desaad and Steppenwolf.
Steppenwolf is the uncle of Darkseid, a member of the Darkseid Elite, as well as the Apokolips. His role in the New 52 comics would make the Justice League movie slightly confusing, though. The Earth-2 and parallel world storyline that sees three of the main Justice League characters killed off.
Plus, his immortality would make it a pretty difficult task for the Justice League team – and would potentially detract from his nephew’s infamy – he would perhaps be more suited to playing a secondary villain to Deadseid, I think.
Brainiac is a supercomputer that is most commonly known as a primary enemy in the Superman comic books. Canonically, Brainiac has also ensured the destruction of Krypton and is renowned for his penchant for shrinking earth’s cities.
In a Podcast, Meet the Movie Press, there was some talk of how Brainiac would make his way to earth – which is pretty interesting. Dating all the way back to the Kryptonian beacon in Man of Steel that brought Zod to earth, it is also alleged that Brainiac heard it too.
Who else could show up in the Justice League?
Because the movie is so early in its infancy, it’s clear that there’s still a lot that needs to be ironed out. However, that doesn’t mean that it’s not fun speculating who could also turn up in the new Justice League movies.
Billy Batson’s trademark yell (it’s Shazam) will be echoing out from cinema screens in April 2019, however, unlike the other DC superheroes that have been given their own standalone movie, he has not been announced as being a part of the Justice League movies.
This lack of acknowledgement may have something to do with the fact that Shazam is not necessarily well-recognised name in the DC Comic canon, which does make sense, especially seen as there will be no backstory or involvement in any of the other DC extended universe movies before his solo appearance. I’m guessing that we won’t see him in Justice League part one, but we may see him drafted in Justice League part two.
The standalone Shazam movie, though, will see him going up against Dwayne Johnson’s Black Adam – but there has been no mention as to whether or not audiences will find out that Shazam is actually a ten year old boy – I don’t know how that could come across in the movie.
J’onn J’onnz was first introduced in the late 1950s and helped found the Justice League. In the years that followed, Martian Manhunter became one of the most beloved members of the team.
However, following the New 52 reboot, Martian Manhunter still has some history with the Justice League; however, his prominence has been diminished a great deal.
With regards to the movie, there has been no mention of Martian Manhunter in the Justice League movie, nor has there been mention of him given his own standalone movie, so I’m going to guess that for the first Justice League movie at least, he won’t be making an appearance.
Back at school, the Justice League animated series was one of the highlights of my post-homework days, and I always said that I would love a live-action Justice League movie. However, the way the DC Extended Universe seems to be going, I’m not particularly looking forward to it, which is pretty sad to say. I don’t know if it’s maybe Zack Snyder, or perhaps the fact that there’s so much uncertainty, but it doesn’t compare to the excitement I’ve felt for other movies – such as Suicide Squad or, you know, any Marvel movie ever.
What do you think of the Justice League movies? Hit me up in the comments!