If you thought Zack Snyder wasn’t listening to the criticism of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, you thought wrong. According to set visits to Justice League, Snyder is well aware of the feedback from the film and is changing things up just a bit to address concerns. But that’s not all the information gained from these handy set visits. Indeed, a much clearer picture of Justice League is emerging.
First and foremost, we know who the villain of the film will be: Steppenwolf. No, not the famous rock band (sorry, that joke’s been done a lot) but an evil New God and member of Darkseid’s inner-circle. So while Darkseid won’t be the bad guy right away, they are obviously setting him up to emerge later in the series or maybe even as a cameo in this movie. It comes as no surprise as Darkseid had been hinted at in that bizarre post-apocalyptic fever dream Bruce Wayne experiences in Batman V Superman. It’s only a matter of time before he makes his way to the big screen but it looks like Steppenwolf will get there first. No word on who will play the formidable figure though. Surely some Hollywood actor is ready to grow that beastly goatee.
Revealing more about the story to the film, an official plot synopsis has been released to coincide with these set visits. Here it is:
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.
This sounds like a typical getting-the-band-together story where Bruce and Diana will fly around recruiting their heroes as danger and dread looms. If it follows the superhero movie template, everything will come together with a third act that features Steppenwolf doing battle with the newly-formed Justice League and possibly Superman returning to complete the team. So although Batman V Superman felt like it was setting up a lot, it seems there is still much origin-telling and team-assembling to do. That likely worries some fans and excites others.
As for worrying people, Snyder addressed the issues of Batman V Superman and the scathing critiques from the press and fans alike. In the most Zack Snyder way possible, he promises changes are being made:
Via The Wrap:
“Because of what, you know, fans have said, and how the movie [‘Batman v Superman’] was sort of received by some, we have really put the screws to what we thought the tone would be, and — I feel — just crushed it that little bit further.”
“Just crushed it that little bit further.” That sounds like the promise of a director who is putting his all into the production. Many had hoped the tone of Justice League wouldn’t remain as dour and oppressive as Dawn of Justice and it seems like that hope has been received. Will they pull it off? You have to remember that Justice League production was moving full steam ahead when Batman V Superman burst into theaters. It’s hard to turn a ship this large around so quickly. But Snyder is staking a lot on this film and promises a tone shift. You have to assume he’s trying hard to deliver.
One other important tidbit learned is that this will be a standalone film. It’s not Justice League: Part One, it’s just Justice League. Producer Deborah Snyder said “We were only ever planning, and we are only doing, ‘Justice League’ — just ‘Justice League. One movie.” That’s a smart approach in an era where every film has at least one or two sequels planned. But it also speaks to larger concerns about Justice League. If the film is as poorly received as Batman V Superman or flounders at the box office, Warner Brothers and DC will want to turn the page immediately and rework the franchise from the ground up. Allowing Justice League to stand on its own as one film means that if it doesn’t work out they can move on quickly without having to publicly scrap promised sequels. Of course, if the film is a huge smash you can expect many, many more. This is a cautious and smart call from a studio that isn’t so sure Batman, Wonder Woman and their merry band of crime fighters are a sure thing anymore.