Justice League Proves The DCEU Has A Lot More Than A Superman Problem
*** Spoilers Ahead ***
Remember Tim Kring’s Heroes? It had a chance to be one of the coolest shows of all time. Especially after a spectacular first season. It was expertly paced, it featured a central mythology worth exploring and it illustrated the humanity (or lack of humanity) of people with powers.
The story essentially revolved around Peter Petrelli. A man who had the ability to absorb any powers he encounters. As he reluctantly collected these powerful gifts, the villain Sylar was murdering people to acquire his.
The build up to their inevitable encounter was fascinating to watch unfold.
The giant (Read: BEYOND MASSIVE) let down was Peter’s memory loss in season 2 after the climactic final battle. What do you do with someone so powerful who literally stands unopposed? You strip him of his powers and avoid the conundrum altogether. It felt like a cheat. A way to save on the budget. I would have rather explored how Peter’s life evolved with so many powers. I would have preferred a plot to emerge that somehow found a way to make him weaker without removing his powers altogether.
It wasn’t meant to be and the show was never the same. At least, in my eyes.
Peter Petrelli was the first thing that popped into my head when Superman’s role in Justice League was revealed. Here is a powerful being that Warner Bros can’t seem to figure out. So you keep him dead for the majority of Justice League so the remaining members can struggle for a little while…
The death of Superman changed everything in the DCEU. With Superman gone, the world was vulnerable and humanity lost hope. They needed a beacon. Let’s not forget, people’s view of the Man of Steel is the backbone of the entire DCEU.
This is the single greatest disappointment in Justice League. (There are more than a few along the way) When Superman finally does return, he kicks the crap out of the villain and the world is saved in minutes. It was easy for him.
Imagine how much better Justice League would have been if Steppenwolf wasn’t an awful choice for a villain and actually had a plan. Presumably, Steppenwolf could commune with Lex Luthor and learn of Clark’s weakness around Kryptonite. What a twist that would have been for the Justice League to struggle yet prevail in the end. Instead of waiting for Superman to throw a few punches. He cracks more jokes than Parademons.
So now what? Superman had a tough time beating up Batman thanks to Kryptonite. How can a villain like Steppenwolf not consider the possibility of his return. He knows what Mother Boxes can do. He showed up to retrieve the last box so he knows where it was…
Essentially, Steppenwolf was a waste. It should have been Darkseid all along. You can’t play the long game when you’re too busy rushing plot points to catch up with Marvel. I honestly don’t think we’ll see a Justice League sequel featuring Darkseid. What difference does it really make if Superman can turn the tide so quickly? None of this takes into account the eventual appearance of a Green Lantern. Darkseid has no hope.
WB has a big problem now that Superman is back. How can you possibly craft a story featuring an obstacle strong enough to take the Justice League down with Superman on board?
I believe there is a reason no Man of Steel sequel has been announced. It’s the same reason why I think Marvel is thankful Hulk’s solo film rights are tied up. It allows them to use the character sparingly. You can’t do that with Superman. You can’t strip him of his powers. I just don’t know where the DCEU can go from here especially with so many questions left unanswered.
CATCH UP HERE | 10 Batman v Superman Questions Justice League MUST Answer
Re: World Building
Justice League does manage to reserve a decent amount of time to build up Aquaman, Cyborg and Flash but it’s nowhere near enough.
Re: The Tone Shift
The humor works but it’s clunky at best. Batman and Superman just had a brutal fight with a monster and each other. Now we get Flash discussing his confusion surrounding… Brunch. A joke that actually gets referenced multiple times in the film!
Re: Lex Luthor’s Fate
The post credit sequence was cool but what does it setup? If Luthor brings his friends and a little Kryptonite along it still doesn’t account for the rest of the Justice League. How are we supposed to believe they pose a threat after Steppenwolf was disposed of so easily?
Does this reveal also guarantee Justice League 2 won’t feature Darkseid? It’s too confusing. Warner Bros has stated they want many visions of their properties to exist within their universe. Then why spend so much time setting up plot threads that never pay off?
Re: Green Lantern Corps
We did catch a glimpse of an ancient Lantern but where is the next Lantern? Where has the Corps been for the last 5000 years?
Re: The Flash-back
So Lois is the key. Does that mean Lois wasn’t there when Superman was brought back to life? In an alternate future where Superman’s anger remains and he helps destroy the world?
If that’s the case then Flash has the ability to change the past and affect events in the present. So why is it so hard to clear his father’s name? Why was the Flashback not mentioned or even referred to? Bringing Lois to calm Superman down was the key but Superman thought she was dead in Bruce’s vision… Sooooooo what’s up with that?
Re: Mother Boxes
The rumor is, the Mother Boxes apparently contain Steppenwolf’s mother Heggra. Except in the comics, she’s actually Darkseid’s mother and Steppenwolf’s brother. Either way, none of it matters because the actual Mother Boxes are turned into useless ‘artifacts’ that serve the story and the story alone.
Re: Superman’s Return
While his return was convoluted, it was plausible given the previous movies. (They sure are getting a lot of mileage out of that crashed ship.) He returns, he’s confused and angry. Thankfully, Lois is the key…
Re: Clark Kent’s Return
Not mentioned. He’s just out in the world. I suppose it’s a perfect cover now but essentially, Clark and Lois can’t have a normal life until his return is explained. Not glossed over. Explained.
Re: Darkseid’s Appearance
It didn’t happen. Not even a glimpse. A single mention and that’s all we got. For a franchise so committed to planting (Dark) seeds, they certainly dropped the ball on this one.
Re: Superman’s Place In The World
In Man of Steel, people didn’t know how to react to an alien living among them. Batman v Superman dealt with the fallout and explored whether or not the world could trust Superman. Once Doomsday killed the last son of Krypton, the world realized the importance of a figure like Superman.
Yet somehow, he’s just an ordinary hero when the dust settles even though ANOTHER alien invasion was thwarted…
Batman v Superman could have been a fantastic prologue to Justice League. That’s how it felt anyways. A stop gap movie to help establish a huge cinematic event. A team up comic book fans have waited to see on the big screen for decades.
The problem is Justice League doesn’t pay off on the MANY loose threads left hanging in BvS. That movie broke because they were too busy setting up future films. Well… Future films are HERE and they haven’t paid off. I enjoyed Wonder Woman and, to a lesser extent, Suicide Squad but Justice League was too important to screw up.
Fans can’t keep saying ‘they’ll get the next one right’ forever. I had high hopes and even though Superman is back, my hope for the future of the DCEU has faded.
That’s what a crappy villain, a gimmicky rushed plot and a quick resolution will do. I fell like I’ve already forgotten about Justice League. Let’s hope Aquaman rights the ship…