What to know before seeing ‘Justice League’

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What to know before seeing ‘Justice League’

The Justice League | DC Entertainment

The Justice League | DC Entertainment

The Justice League | DC Entertainment

The Justice League | DC Entertainment

Tony Pacheco, Digital Editor

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On Friday, Nov. 17, DC’s greatest superhero team will assemble for their first appearance on the big screen.

Justice League,” directed by Zack Snyder, will bring Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg together to defend Earth against an alien invasion.

However, DC’s superhero team has plenty of experience fighting aliens.

In 2013’s “Man of Steel,” Zod, a former general in the Kryptonian military, invades and attempts to terraform Earth in order to create a new Krypton.

Superman ultimately defeats Zod, but at a great cost.

Although “Man of Steel” would prove to be a financial success for Warner Bros., it was panned heavily by many critics. However, it would be the catalyst for Warner Bros. DC Extended Universe (DCEU), an attempt by Warner Bros. to catch up with Marvel’s own successful cinematic universe.

What started with “Man of Steel” culminated into one of the most anticipated matchups in comic book history in 2016’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Although Batman and Superman have faced each other in the comics and television, “Batman v Superman” was the first time the pair would be pitted against each other on the big screen.

“Batman v Superman” was not without its problems, but it was an important first step for the DCEU. “Batman v Superman” also introduced the feature debut of Wonder Woman. Played by Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman would prove to be one of the more positive outcomes from that movie.

The standalone “Wonder Woman” movie has also proved to be the most popular of the DCEU films yet, due mostly to Gadot and director Patty Jenkins’ embrace of the character and what she stands for.

With Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman set to return in “Justice League,” there are three other founding members of the Justice League yet to receive their limelight.

Cyborg

Ray Fisher’s Cyborg | DC Entertainment

As “Batman v Superman” introduced Wonder Woman to the World, the “Justice League” movie will be the feature debut of DC’s Cyborg, Aquaman and The Flash, though these characters have been teased in previous DCEU films.

Perhaps less known than Aquaman or The Flash, Cyborg is an equally important member of the Justice League. Actor Ray Fisher will be playing Victor Stone, who was seen being turned into Cyborg in “Batman v Superman” with one of Darkseid’s Mother Boxes – living, portable supercomputers that possess power beyond comprehension.

According to the DCEU website, there are three Mother Boxes on Earth, which “Justice League” big bad Steppenwolf is tasked with retrieving: the one used to create Cyborg, one in Atlantis and one in Themyscira.

sentient, miniaturized, portable supercomputers, although their true nature and origins are unknown.They possess wondrous powers and abilities not understood even by their users,

Cyborg was originally a member of the Teen Titans, but later versions of the character would make him a founding member of the Justice League. He possesses superhuman strength, speed, stamina and flight as well as a mechanically-enhanced body.

Aquaman

Jason Momoa is portraying the famous Atlantean, Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman. Depending on the iteration, Curry is generally the half-human, half-Atlantean ruler of Atlantis – the underwater kingdom of the Atlanteans. Although Aquaman is perhaps best known from the cheesy “Super Friends” cartoons of the ‘70s and ‘80s, he is a force to be reckoned with.

Aquaman possesses superhuman strength, can breathe underwater and can survive at the deepest depths of the ocean. He can of course speak to fish as well. However, it is not just simply “talking to fish,” Aquaman is capable of telepathically, or empathetically, controlling most of the creatures under the sea, including some of the largest and scariest creatures of myth and legend.

Oh, and in the “Injustice: Gods Among Us” prequel comic, Aquaman summoned a kraken. Needless to say, he is far from the butt of jokes many perceive him to be.

Aquaman summons the Kraken! | DC Comics

The Flash

Ezra Miller will be playing Barry Allen, a scientist who possesses a connection to Speed Force, the extra-dimensional source of The Flash’s speed powers.

Perhaps the most powerful member of the Justice League, the Scarlet Speedster is able to harness the Speed Force to not only run really fast (top speeds range several times faster than the speed of light), but to travel through time and cross dimensions – or multiverses – as well.

The Flash | DC Entertainment

From what can be gathered from the “Justice League” trailers, Cyborg, Aquaman and The Flash are just at the beginning of their superhero careers, and may not reach their full potential until their own stand-alone films are released.

Although not a new character or member of the Justice League, Superman will have a drastically new look in the new movie.

Black Suit Superman

Although the movie hasn’t come out yet, there is some speculation as to the role that Superman will play in “Justice League.”

At the end of “Batman v Superman,” Superman is dead, killed by Doomsday, the mutated Kryptonian clone of General Zod.

Much like in the comic’s “The Death and Return of Superman” storyline, Superman will not be remaining dead in “Justice League,” as the trailers have already shown his return, with his iconic post-death black suit to boot.

“The Death of Superman” was a 1992 DC crossover event which killed off the Man of Steel. It was an interesting look at a world without Superman.

“Death of Superman” by Dan Jurgens, Bret Breeding, John Kalisz | DC Comics

Of course, Superman wouldn’t stay dead for long, as no one really stays dead in the comics.

That is where the black suit ties in. It is the suit he wore upon his return from the dead. The suit allows Superman to absorb more solar radiation than normal, hastening his return to full strength. This could mean a significantly depowered Superman for the majority of the “Justice League” movie.

How much of that storyline will bleed over into “Justice League” is unknown, but it is safe to say some major things are afoot.

Steppenwolf and Darkseid

Side by side comparison of Steppenwolf | DC Entertainment

Steppenwolf will be the main antagonist in the “Justice League” film. Created by the legendary Marvel writer and artist, Jack Kirby, Steppenwolf made his comic debut in “New Gods” #7 in 1972.

In “Justice League,” Steppenwolf will be played by veteran actor Ciarán Hinds.

From the trailers, it appears that the Steppenwolf’s invasion, which was foreseen in a dream sequence in “Batman v Superman,” will be the catalyst that brings the Justice League together.

As in Bruce Wayne’s dream sequence, trailers have confirmed that Steppenwolf’s arrival will be heralded by swarms of Parademons, the personal shock troops of Darkseid and his generals.

Steppenwolf is the uncle of Darkseid, the tyrannical ruler of the planet Apokolips, and a member of Darkseid’s Elite, the inner circle of Darkseid’s forces.

All you really need to know about Darkseid is that he is known as the God of Evil and Lord of Apokolips, the planet he rules with an iron fist.

Darkseid on the cover of Superman/Batman: Apocalypse (2010) | Art by Clayton Crain

Darkseid – then known as Prince Uxas – killed his own mother and brother in order to gain the power of the Omega Force and seize control of Apokolips.

Also a creation of Kirby’s, Darkseid possesses what is known as the Omega Effect, which is capable of creating a beam of energy capable of eliminating anything from existence. Few beings are capable of withstanding its effects, which can track their target with pinpoint accuracy and capable of turning on a dime.

Darkseid is technically a multiversal being, that is: he does not possess a corporeal form but instead uses avatars in each of the multiverses. However, the true form of Darkseid is unlikely to be seen in any of the feature films.

Needless to say, Darkseid is one of the most powerful beings in the DC Universe, even in his avatar form. Though whether Darkseid will make an appearance in “Justice League” is unknown.

Box Office Numbers

Although it would be safe to say the DCEU hasn’t found the same success as Marvel, their films have proved financially successful. According to Box Office Mojo, “Wonder Woman” had a domestic gross of $412.5 million, the highest for a DCEU film and the highest grossing movie by a female director, and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” opened with the ninth best all-time domestic opening weekend with $166 million.

Wonder Woman | DC Entertainment

In total, the DCEU has grossed over $3.8 billion worldwide.

However, the only DCEU film that has enjoyed critical success so far has been “Wonder Woman.” At 92 percent, “Wonder Woman” is the only DCEU film with a Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Warner Bros. has just the right mix of storytelling and action, with enough wonder to leave us wanting more. Nevertheless, if “Justice League” doesn’t live up to the hype, Warner Bros. could potentially scrap DCEU projects still in development, such as the stand-alone Aquaman, Cyborg and Flash movies.

Warner Bros. has a reputation for rebooting and starting over if their films are not blockbusters. They did it with Superman, Batman and most recently, Green Lantern. This outcome would be a devastating hit for fans of the DC Universe, which would mean waiting years for another iteration on the big screen.

There are still many questions to be answered. However, early reviews have been promising, and if “Justice League” turns out to be a success, fans will be seeing their favorite characters for years to come.

“Justice League” opens on Friday, Nov. 17, with early screenings Thursday night.