The DC movies have been considered by most to be falling short of their competitor, Marvel, but Justice League, more than any of their most recent movies, in my opinion, holds up. It’s not a movie for all kids, but I highly recommend it for families with pre-teens and teens.
by Jen Schlameuss-Perry
The Justice League has always been my favorite superhero group, so I was very excited about this movie. As much as Wonder Woman was acclaimed for being so good it was “practically a Marvel movie,” I didn’t love it. I liked it, but didn’t love it. Justice League, however, was everything I love in a superhero movie. It had backstory into the formation of the League, humor, action, and great moral themes that could make great family (or friend) discussion. This movie, for me, recaptured the joy that I felt was lacking in the DC Universe. Plus, it made Aquaman the awesome hero that I always knew he could be.
Is it appropriate for your kids?
Justice League had some cursing, some scenes that might be scary for little ones, and some characters that could be frightening. Aquaman does some angry drinking and, of course, there’s fighting and battle scenes. A little green alien blood splatters, but it’s not gross. I think that kids that aren’t easily frightened, or aren’t very sensitive would probably love it.
Caution: Contains spoilers.
Hundreds of years after his initial attack and attempt to take over the Earth, Steppenwolf returns to finish what he started. When he tried the first time, the Amazons, Atlantians, and the armies of Men stood together against him and defeated him. In his attack of yesteryear, Steppenwolf left behind three boxes of power that, when united, become “The Unity,” a power that can reshape the Earth into the “hellscape” of Steppenwolf’s home planet. He wants to get this together in preparation for Darkseid to come. The three armies that defeated him the first time each became responsible for guarding one of the three boxes. His first goal is to retrieve the boxes, and then put them together to accomplish his goal. Those boxes also help him get his nasty bug army into the area so that they can help take over the world.
Batman has the first encounter with these nasty bug things, and realizes that he’s not going to be able to handle whatever’s coming by himself. Now that Superman is dead (that happened in Batman vs Superman), the world has sort of lost hope, and isn’t really up for defending themselves. When the box is taken from the Amazons, Wonder Woman responds to Batman’s invitation to league up. He also goes looking for Aquaman, who initially isn’t interested in working together. He comes to call after his box is stolen. Batman recruits The Flash, who is a goofy, cute character and immediately ready to become part of something. He doesn’t relate well to others and sees this as a chance to learn how. Wonder Woman recruits the hesitant, newly created Cyborg, who also only joins after something is taken from him—his father.
Together, they do their best to best Steppenwolf, but realize that they’re still coming up short. Bruce Wayne thinks they should bring Superman back from the dead. Not everyone is sure about that, but they try anyway. It works. With that crew assembled, they become the Justice League and by each using their unique gifts, are able to defeat Steppenwolf and send him back whence he came.
Watch the trailer to get a sense of the visuals.
Some Themes for Discussion
- Each of the heroes of the Justice League have things they must overcome in order to be ready to serve together. What were those things? How did belonging to that group, and having a common mission, help them to overcome it?
- There was a strong theme of self-sacrifice in the movie. The Flash’s dad wanted him to stop working on trying to get him out of jail and just live his own life, Batman went on a suicide mission in order to give the others time to accomplish theirs, and each was willing to die to defend the Earth (even though it wasn’t Aquaman’s first choice). Why do you think they were willing to die to save the world? What does our faith tell us about that?
- The cost of leadership was a heavy burden on Wonder Woman. After Steve Trevor died under her leadership, she was afraid to lead others into battle. The emotional and real cost was too much for her. What changed in her to make her able to become the leader that she needed to be, and that everyone else needed her to be? How would you reconcile that burden?
- Cyborg didn’t choose his new way of life. His father, grieving too much at the loss of his wife, wasn’t willing to let his son die, too, and created him into something new. Cyborg had to come to terms with his new physical form, and to ultimately experience it as a gift. How can you apply this to your life? Have you ever had a change occur in you, or in your circumstances that was out of your control? How could that become a new way of life, or even a gift for you?
- Aquaman didn’t really belong anywhere. He was from two worlds—Atlantis and the people of the land. Because of his lack of identity, he had a hard time committing to anything real. Where do you find your identity? How does it help you to be a committed, giving person?
- When Bruce Wayne suggested that in order to win this battle against Steppenwolf they would need to bring Superman back to life by using the alien technology, not everyone was on board. Aquaman thought it seemed wrong and risky, The Flash thought it was disrespectful, and Wonder Woman felt it was a misuse of science. She said that science without conscience was wrong. Our Church tells us the same thing. We believe that science is a gift from God, but must be used responsibly, with morality governing it. How do you see faith and science work together? What do you think our guiding principles should be when determining what is good science and what isn’t?
- When Superman was raised up, he wasn’t quite himself until Batman brought out the “big guns”—Lois Lane. Love brought him back to his senses and made him remember who he was. How does the love of the people in your family, friend groups, parish, community, help you remember who you’re supposed to be?
- Who are the people in your life that make up your “league”; your group worth fighting for and with—worth protecting and who give you inspiration to do what you need to do?