Why Justice League is a Good Step in the Right Direction for DCEU after Batman v. Superman
I’m going to preface this post with a number of things: First, this post took me three weeks to write because I’m still reeling from a number of personal things. Second, in order to understand waht I’m writing about I have to discuss Batman v. Superman (which I hated for the most part) and Wonder Woman (which I loved for the most part) and not mention Suicide Squad or Man of Steel (if I can at all help it). Finally, the last preface is: THIS WILL BE A LOOOOONNNNNGGGGGGGG post. But if you make it all the way to the end, I hope you’ll leave constructive analysis in the comments or something.
In order to understand the title, we need to understand what went wrong with Batman v. Superman. And there are a million thinkpieces about it, but so far Moviebob’s analysis on Youtube here has been the most thorough and as of this writing Part III has yet to come out. But the first 3 HOURS of the analysis are well worth watching as you see the breakdown in narrative structure and he made me rethink some of the things I actually liked about the film (I.E. Wonder Woman).
I’m not going to rehash it all here, but his analysis is thought-provoking to say the least and I am extremely impressed with the amount of time, energy, and content. So what went wrong with Batman v. Superman? Well, the concept on paper is interesting: having a vigilante in Gotham not like a Jesus-like figure from Metropolis sounds like a good idea if the reasoning is good, but spoiler: it wasn’t a good reason (Martha indeed) and the movie fell flat on its face in terms of narrative structure and overall tone (which was DARK). Zack Snyder has remade Watchmen like 5 times now and I want a DIFFERENT thing.
Okay, so fast forward to Wonder Woman in Batman v. Superman: firstly, though she loosely held the plot together and showed up at the end to help our titular characters, did she have any other role in the film? Not really, other than to set up her own titular movie.
Which was good for the most part. Ares, my god, man. SHAVE YOUR MUSTACHE. But I digress: The point here is that Wonder Woman was a movie that many of my friends wanted and though they had problems with the villain, it was a movie that we could very easily see what Wonder Woman stood for. Also, that No Man’s Land scene was amazing and so was the village fight scene and I will fight you. Importantly, it was the film leading up to Justice League.
Justice League. THERE ARE SPOILERS STARTING HERE.
There were a lot of things in the structure that could have made sense had it been Darkseid, but you know what? It worked for me. I liked that they brought in the New Gods (even though it was a throwaway, but the mere fact that they exist in the DCEU is good enough for me). I liked that they had Superman fight the Justice League, even if the way they brought him back was dumb. I liked that Aquaman was at least fun. I didn’t like Flash, I wish they had gotten Grant Gustin, united the universes and had a bunch of cool stuff happen, but you know what? For what Justice League was? It was a step in the right direction.
Did it help that Joss Whedon stepped in to help with reshoots? Yeah. But honestly, it does feel like an apology for Batman v. Superman and I wish other people would realize it, even if it blatantly ripped off Marvel, but that’s a ball of wax that I will not be getting into here. Maybe soon, but not here.
Justice League had a good concept going with the motherboxes, even if I wish that Cyborg was a fourth one, but on paper the concept sounds great: New God from space comes to Earth, steals a bunch of shit, outpowers all the superheroes, so the heroes band together and use magicky science to bring back Jesus after he died saving the world. Jesus gets muddled and fights the team until his lover shows up and he takes off leaving the rest of the team to fight the New God from space until the final act where he actually SAVES CIVILIANS INSTEAD OF CAUSING COLLATERAL DAMAGE (looking at you Man of Steel) and helps the team beat the New God from space and they agree to be a team when the need arises again.
SOLID foundation of a concept. Was it poorly executed? Yeah. But it was colorful (at least more colorful than Batman v. Superman) and it was somewhat fun. Though Wonder Woman and Superman match each other’s strength, so…
But I digress. Justice League was okay. It was a good step, but not much more than that. Though I did genuinely laugh at a few of the one liners. Specifically, “I’m rich” and the pay off that came with it at the end of the film with Martha getting her farm back.
So where does the DCEU go from here? Hopefully up, but if it doesn’t, maybe using Justice League as a template and improving it wouldn’t be the worst thing.