DISCLAIMER: We do not claim to be better writers than anybody who worked on this film, we are simply stating as fans, our ideas of what may have improved the film, retrospectively.
This is it.
The team-up film fans have been waiting for for years, bringing together the world’s most popular characters and pitting them against one of the biggest bad in the galaxy in the most epic of battles.
And then… Justice League happened.
This film should’ve been one of the biggest films of all time, crushing every box office record imaginable, and soaring past $1 billion without even looking back. That’s a reasonable expectation for a film featuring Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg, right?
But what about this film hit such a sour note with the audience to actually lose money at the box office? There are numerous answers and reasons to that question. Finding a solution to fix the issues are, however, rare. The film was such a cluttered mess that many don’t even know where to begin.
While we are here to try to fix the film in its entirety, we think we found a quick solution that drastically improves the majority of it.
What Went Wrong?
Before we dive into our quick fix, let’s recap.
This movie went through absolute hell during production, primarily due to studio interference (as well as a certain infamous mustache).
Their problem, however, was that Zack Snyder, the visionary behind the entire franchise up to that point, was already heavily underway on the production of Justice League and he did not want to change it.
But then tragedy struck.
Sadly, Snyder experienced an absolute tragedy, causing him to step down from the project during filming (a decision I respect him for making). Warner Brothers now had the freedom to course correct all they wanted and they chose to bring in Avengers writer/director Joss Whedon to rewrite and finish the film.
The film underwent massive re-shoots. The end product was a sloppy and muddled mess. The course correction was clearly felt and fans complained about how rushed the story and VFX were. Among others, Steppenwolf and the third act were the target of a lot of criticism.
So, now that we’re all caught up, let’s get into the solution!
Protect the Box
Every single one of the film’s missteps can be reversed by following this one simple step:
RELEASE THE SNYDER-CUT! Just kidding!
Let’s start with the films biggest issue: the conflict.
Steppenwolf was such a generic, underdeveloped, and nonthreatening villain that it completely sunk the film. However, if we open with his past conquests on Earth (a more fleshed out version of what we see in the theatrical cut), this clearly defines the threat from moment one and leaves the audience with a sense of dread as they await his return.
Then, after establishing the team, pit Steppenwolf against them in order to get to the second motherbox (leaving in the Superman resurrection plot-line). This first confrontation between our heroes and Steppenwolf needs to be a decisive victory for the villain in order to really establish the threat he poses. This makes the third act’s central conflict revolve solely around finding and protecting the final box.
Somewhere in between Steppenwolf obtaining the second Mother Box and making his move to obtain the final box, actually show Steppenwolf’s relationship with Darkseid to give him some much-needed depth.
Now, the third act is much more interesting. The stakes on both sides have been clearly outlined and the goal is crystal clear: protect the box at all costs. Putting the team on the defense forces the group to truly bond and work as a team to save humanity.
Lastly, let’s nail the tone. There’s nothing wrong with being lighthearted, but coming off the back of the overly bleak Batman v Superman, this was such a drastic turn in the opposite direction. Instead, let’s start the movie with that same tone the previous installments had, and then slowly build towards the tone we actually got as the Justice League begins to form and become an actual team.
This should build some connectivity with the other films as it would feel as if the films actually take place in the same universe. By starting off the film in the same bleak tone as Batman v Superman and gradually shifting the tone into something more lighthearted, it allows the film to lead the way into a new direction for the future DCEU films, instead of feeling like a complete shock to audiences.
In order to truly fix Justice League, the entire DCEU needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. However, we believe that just these few simple tweaks to the villain and the tone would go a long way in making the film a more coherent and satisfying experience.
Got your own idea on how to make the story better? Tweet us your version on twitter or leave a comment. We’d love you hear your feedback.