The reaction to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was divisive to put it gingerly. In the darkest hour of the DC cinematic universe, when things seem bleakest, hope for humanity manages to break through the cracks – and with it, the assembly of the Justice League. This weekend, in an effort to assuage fears and concerns caused by the negative critical response, major players from a few major fan outlets were invited to visit the set of Justice League where they got to see firsthand designs of heroes, villains, and footage. Let’s sum it up.
First, pictures! Here are the logos for the film.
- Synopsis: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
- Justice League takes place several months after BvS with the world recovering from the loss of Superman and Batman assembling the team. After Lex Luthor’s warning at the end of the film (and the deleted Communion scene) Batman is willing to put his faith in humanity once again by trusting his fellow heroes. Justice League is a story about the reason for being a hero.
- There will be a “History Lesson” (that’s literally what they’re calling the scene) on the Mother Boxes, the MacGuffins of the feature. There will be three Mother Boxes for each civilization on Earth: One for the Amazons, one for the Atlanteans, and one for humanity. Zeus will have a part in the Mother Box creation. Generations of humanity are involved in the history lesson. Willem Dafoe plays Vulko, an Atlantean from a different generation than Aquaman.
- The DC universe is filled with bizarre and wonderful concepts, much of which sprung from the ceaseless imagination of Jack Kirby so it bodes well given the news of Jack Kirby’s New Gods material influencing the direction of the film.
- Steppenwolf is the villain but an actor hasn’t closed on the contract. Parademons will from Batman’s Knightmare will play a major role in the film. They’ve burrowed beneath a tunnel connecting Gotham and Metropolis.
- Superman most likely won’t be seen early in the film with potentially no appearance until the second half.
- A locale called Wayne Hangar appears to be the base of operations for Batman as he tinkers for his new gadgets and weaponry. The Batmobile has been upgraded but not shown to the set visitors, although concept art showed machine gun attachments.
- JK Simmons as Commissioner Gordon looks like he’s plucked straight out of the 90s animated series.
- Justice League is shooting on film but not IMAX. Junkie XL is working on the score solo this outing. He will bring back “Is She With You?” from Wonder Woman’s entrance in the Doomsday fight.
- The films in the DC universe will be interconnected from now on by minor connective tissue but will mostly be standalone affairs.
- Ben Affleck is an executive producer because, as he publicly mentions for the first time, he will direct The Batman – title not confirmed but seriously this should be the title. Batman will use his “world’s greatest dective” persona to recruit the heroes, referencing film noir as a major influence on his portrayal and presentation. Batfleck has a script he’s not 100% happy with and will not begin filming until it’s up to his standards citing, “I’ve been on the end of the things when you make movies when you have a script that’s not good yet and it doesn’t pan out.” The script is still being worked on.
- Deborah Snyder notes the reaction to BvS made the team think people don’t want superhero deconstruction stories. The film will appeal to a wider audience, specifically with a younger demographic. Flash and Cyborg help the story embrace levity and lightheartedness. She also confirms Amber Heard is still playing Mera.
- There will be jokes. Repeat: there will be jokes.
- A scene involving Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, eventually Cyborg, and Jim Gordon discussing mysterious “bad guys’ flying monkeys” aka the parademons are abducting human scientists. It’s Batman who says the “flying monkeys” line, by the way. That made me happier than anything.
- Flash off-handedly mentions they won’t all fit in the car given the appearance of Cyborg. Batman slyly responds he has something bigger. Batman has The Flying Fox: a three-story ship able to hold the Batmobile and every member of the League. Batman also has the Knightcrawler: a spider-like automobile capable of maneuvering in ways unfit for cars or planes. Batman will fight parademons in the Knightcrawler beneath the tunnels of Gotham and Metropolis.
- Michael Wilkinson returns to work on the costumes. Flash is described as piecemeal and busy (148 pieces in total), but much more fluid in action. The suit is initially a prototype when we first meet him, with pieces possibly stolen from NASA and Wayne Tech. His sneakers are supposedly going to be a hot commodity if they ever mass-produce them.
- Every other suit is more or less the same, although Cyborg’s suit will be completely CGI.
- Wonder Woman’s costume is 5,000 years old.
- BvS was dark and brooding where Justice League will be lighter in an attempt to rekindle the optimism at the foundation of the characters.
From the sound of it Zack Snyder and company want to make a movie that appeals to everyone. And all these details–the heroes talking together and having a repertoire about room in a car, discussing parademons and descriptions of Mother Boxes.–hint at the DC universe I want. Just because it’s lighter in tone doesn’t mean it needs to be exactly like Marvel. It’s not one or the other, it’s just delivering a good movie. These changes seem like they’re heading towards the proper approach.
Featured Image: Warner Bros. Pictures