The much-demanded and long-awaited release of Zack Snyder’s vision for what was meant to be his 2017 film Justice League. As with the 2017 version, the story follows the events of Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Superman is dead, leaving a vacuum as Earth’s protector. A hulking alien from the planet Apokolips named Steppenwolf comes to Earth to retrieve the three hidden Motherboxes, cubelike artifacts with mysterious, powerful energy, enough to destroy planets when combined. Batman can’t take on such a force alone, rounding up a team of superpowered beings from Earth to stop impending doom -the goddess-like Amazon Wonder Woman, the god-like Atlantean king Aquaman, the turbo-speed demon Flash, and the cybernetic wizard Cyborg. And yet, they will still need the power of Superman somehow.
The prolonged armed raid of the shopping mal reveals a jewelry store used as a front to fence valuable but stolen ancient artifacts brought to the Smithsonian for Diana (Gal Gadot) and her team to identify. That’s where we meet the newly hired Barbara Minerva (Kristen Wiig), a mousy gem specialist with self-esteem issues, particularly around the self-confident and beautiful Diana Prince. In particular, one stands out, a phallic piece identified as the Dreamstone, a crystal of myth once believed throughout ancient history to grant wishes. Cavalierly, Barbara makes her wish to be like Diana, though not knowing that also means like Wonder Woman as a by-product. Diana makes her wish for Steve Trevor to be back in her life to continue the life they never got to spend together.
Overnight, Barbara’s confidence begins to grow, and the men take note of her beauty while she begins to grow in strength and agility. At the same time, Diana is approached by a mysterious strange claiming to be Steve Trevor (Chris Pine). He doesn’t look like him, but after a few words that only Steve might know, she sees the character with Chris Pine’s face and voice henceforth. (This aspect will require audiences not to think too hard about an innocent man whose body will be used nonconsensually indefinitely for Diana to romance, while also having no family or friends in his life to notice he’s completely changed).
Villainy soon enters the scene when Max Lord (Pedro Pascal), a TV infomercial conman who has headed the financially failing oil company called Black Gold Cooperative, enters the scene. Lord discovers they have the Dreamstone, and he’s desperate enough to give it a try, using his charm on Barbara to get his hands on the piece and make his wish – which is to have the stone’s powers. The physical stone disintegrates, and now Max has the power to grant anyone a wish – a power he uses in exchanges for the wealth, power, and fame of others who deal with him directly.
However, what the wish makers don’t know is that there is a catch. Gaining the thing they desire most means losing the thing of most value they already possess. In Barbara’s case, it is her kindness. In Max’s case, it is a good father. And in Diana’s case, it is the superpowers she needs to save the world.
Patty Jenkins directs.
The storyline picks up with Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) just following her dastardly dreamboat, The Joker, breaking up with her, with the spinout of their toxic relationship leaving her in shambles. An oft-unhinged club owner named Roman Sionis (Ewan McGregor), whose alter ego is another powerful villain in Gotham City known as Black Mask has secured a rare diamond worth so much that he could afford to up his protection racket operation to become the biggest crime kingpin in Gotham City. That diamond is stumbled onto and taken by a pickpocket extraordinaire named Cassandra Cain, who ends up swallowing it to avoid having to give it up when frisked by police, making her the most sought after person in the city, especially after Roman places a half-million-dollar bounty on her.
All of this leads to Harley forming a ramshackle team of women with grievances with Black Mask to finally put an end to his murderous ways. That team includes Huntress, aka Helena Bertinelli (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), a Punisher-type mafia princess-turned-vigilante who rides a motorcycle and shoots a crossbow – Black Canary, aka Dinah Lance (Jurnee Smollett-Bell). Leading the case for the Gotham City Police Department is Renee Montoya, played by Rosie Perez, and newcomer Ella Jay Basco portrays Cassandra Cain. Cathy Yan directs.
In this lighthearted DCEU entry, Billy Batson is a trouble-making fourteen-year-old living in a foster home in Philadelphia, having been abandoned by a young mother he’s been searching for since she left him at a crowded carnival many years prior. One day, the sleuthing prankster gets transported after an act of bravery to another realms to meet a powerful and reclusive wizard, who has been on a long-term search for someone pure of heart to pass on his magical powers to. The wizard bestows upon Billy the power to turn into an muscle-bound, adult-bodied, costumed superhero by using his name of “Shazam!” Along with his superhero-loving best friend in the foster home, Freddy, the still adolescent-minded Billy has plenty of fun in discovering his new powers and all of the things he can do with them, from buying beer to giving the school bullies some comeuppance. However, things get serious with the emergence of Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, once past over as unworthy by the wizard and seeking to usurp them from Billy, along with the cabal of demon-like possessors within him, representing the Seven Deadly Sins who plan to come to power with Sivana as their vessel to the outside world.
The setting starts sometime in the 1980s, where we find Atlantean queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) coming up to the surface in the state of Maine to get away from an arranged marriage, seeking a bit of sanctuary and time to heal in a lighthouse run by a human named Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison). The two unlikely partners fall in love, eventually leading to a son, Arthur Curry. The kingdom of Atlantis is not pleased with Atlanna’s apparent defection to the land, sending out their soldiers to claim her back, culminating in Tom being left alone to raise the boy himself as a human, except one with the powers of Atlanteans in his DNA, including an ability to talk to and command all forms of marine life.
We fast forward to Arthur’s adulthood, known to the land-dwellers as “The Aquaman” after a series of public acts of heroism, one including taking down pirates that includes future nemesis Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mareen II). However, Arthur has to become a savior to his adopted people when the current rule of Atlantis, Arthur’s half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson), is looking to mount a war with the land walkers who continue to pollute the oceans, seeking the assistance of King Nereus (Dolph Lundgren), one of the leaders of the ‘seven seas’ needed to approve. Nereus’s daughter Mera looks to recruit Arthur’s assistance in staving off the uprising from his brother’s charge. Arthur must go undersea to make his presence felt, but the opposite of a fish out of water in his new environs in the Atlantean realm, especially when the situation boils down to a mano-a-mano battle between Arthur and Orm on his home turf (or non-turf, as it happens to be).
At last, the Justice league puts together Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash (and Cyborg) into one film. Is it worth all the hype?