Justice League hit theaters this month, bringing together the biggest team in the DC universe on the big screen for the first time. Aquaman (Jason Momoa), the Flash (Ezra Miller), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) join Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Superman (Henry Cavill) as they battle Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) to stop his attempts to destroy the world -- and it’s definitely one of the DCEU’s better offerings so far.
However, just because Justice League is a step up from Batman v Superman for some, that doesn’t mean that every character is perfect. There are still some flaws with these iconic comic heroes (and villains, and secondary characters), and even some of the best from the movie just don’t live up to the versions from the comics.
No doubt it’s a tall order, but for fans who want to love the latest incarnation of the Justice League, there were several who just didn’t live up to their legacy… and thankfully, several who absolutely blew their comic counterparts out of the water.
We round up the best (and worst) adaptations of these DC heroes, including all the major players in the Justice League, and see who managed to out-shine their bookish inspirations.
With that said, here are the 8 Justice League Characters They Got Right (And 8 They Completely Ruined).
Warning: there will be some Justice League spoilers.
16 Better: Wonder Woman
When Gal Gadot was first cast as Diana Prince, fans didn’t know what to make of it. Before she appeared in Batman v Superman, Gadot was mostly known for her role in the Fast and the Furious franchise, and criticism ranged from assumptions that she couldn’t act to concern that she was too thin to play an Amazon.
Now, three movies in, it’s safe to say that these fears have been well and truly laid to rest. Gadot is one of the brightest spots in Justice League, and is arguably the MVP of the DCEU as a whole (so far, of course).
She brings the comic book Wonder Woman to life beautifully, but she doesn’t just nail the original character, she elevates her. Gadot’s stunning performance isn’t the only thing that makes her an even better Wonder Woman than the comic version, it’s her behaviour off-screen.
15 Worse: Batman
While many are happy with Batfleck, he’s still not the Batman for everyone, or even for most DC fans. He got a few great moments to swoop over Gotham with his cape, but other than that, he was overshadowed by the other characters.
Thanks to some comedic reshoots, Batman got a few one-liners as well, something that didn’t really fit with this version of the character (an older, more grizzled Batman who has been patrolling the rooftops of Gotham for too long) -- especially as he is already talking about stepping down as a superhero.
On top of all that, he’s quite literal when he says that his superpower is being "rich." The great detective work that Batman should be known for is nowhere in evidence here.
14 Better: Cyborg
Ray Fisher may not have had as many scenes in Justice League as Zach Snyder originally planned, but the actor did an incredible job as Cyborg, bringing a presence to the role that was absolutely stunning.
Although Cyborg is a relatively new hero in the DCEU, Fisher managed not to make it feel as though his Cyborg was in any way bumbling or incapable, as he rose to the challenge of his new form.
It’s also nice to see this Justice League founding member get some of the attention that he deserves -- as he rarely gets the same kind of focus that the other major League members do.
His backstory has undergone a few changes, but those are also an improvement, clearing his younger years of the criminal origins he has in the comics, and focusing on his talent and abilities instead.
13 Worse: Lex Luthor
Lex Luthor may only appear in the post-credits scenes of Justice League, and he’s finally rocking his signature bald head, but he’s still not quite the iconic villain of the comic books.
The original Lex is an imposing genius who commands the room. Jesse Eisenberg’s take on Superman’s nemesis is equally brilliant, but lacks the gravitas and strength of the original, replacing it with a twitchy, socially awkward persona that just doesn’t seem to match the strength and position of Superman (especially now that Supes has come into his own in the DCEU).
There’s still space for Lex to come into his own, though, and his one scene on the yacht is building up to the Injustice League, which has some serious potential.
12 Better: Silas Stone
Cyborg’s father, Silas Stone (Joe Morton), was a major part of Justice League -- and someone who got as much screentime as any other character who isn’t in the League themselves.
He also got a much more sympathetic backstory in this version of the DC universe. In the comics, Silas is a research scientist who (along with his wife) experimented on their young son in order to try and make him more intelligent -- a plan that worked, but that led to a troubled relationship between the two.
Eventually, Cyborg got his new body thanks to another experiment; one that killed Stone’s wife and burned Victor badly. In the DCEU, Silas doesn’t seem to have been treating his son like a lab rat, and the part of this origin story that comes through is that Silas lost his wife and nearly lost his son in an accident, and he was willing to do anything to keep Victor with him.
11 Worse: Parademons
The parademons certainly looked the part -- in terms of the basic design, anyway. Beyond that, however, they just weren’t as good as those in the comics.
The terrible CGI that was one of the biggest issues with the movie as a whole is a big part of the parademon problem, but that wasn’t the only issue with these minions of Darkseid.
Of course, in Justice League, the parademons are the minions of Steppenwolf, not Darkseid, and that’s a big part of the problem. The other big issue is that the Parademons get a watered-down backstory as demons who used to be human.
In the comics, there is a much more interesting and complicated backstory to their creation (genetically engineered in Apokolips), but Justice League never gives them anything much but the ability to smell fear.
10 Better: Mera
We didn’t get to see a whole lot of Amber Heard’s Mera in Justice League, but from what was seen in the movie, she’s going to be an incredible new version of the Queen of Atlantis.
She spends her scene kicking some serious butt, taking on Steppenwolf (something that a whole tribe of Amazons struggled to manage), and picking herself up afterwards in order to let Aquaman know that she has no time for his loner ways.
The original comic Mera has long been defined by her relationship with Aquaman - and although she has become much more of a complex character over the years, it’s still fantastic to see the DCEU choosing to make her role in the ruling family of Atlantis one that doesn’t have a thing to do with the man who will (presumably) rule alongside her eventually.
9 Worse: Flash
Flash is one of the more controversial characters in Justice League, as Ezra Miller’s portrayal of Barry Allen was certainly an enjoyable part of the film.
However, for many fans of the comic version of Barry Allen, Miller’s speedster just didn’t feel right. One of the original Flashes of the DC universe, Barry is far from an awkward teen (or early twenties) superhero at this point… or at the point when Batman is the age that Affleck’s Bruce Wayne is in the same movie.
A more appropriate way to balance out the ages of the League in this DCEU offering would be to use one of the younger Flash Family members, like Wally West or Bart Allen, rather than the more recognizable Barry.
8 Better: Hippolyta
Wonder Woman’s regal mother, Queen Hippolyta of the Amazons, gets some more screentime in Justice League, and it’s more of the same phenomenal performance that fans loved in Wonder Woman.
Connie Nielsen balances grace and strength in this warrior Queen, and will undoubtedly become "the" Hippolyta for a new generation of fans. She’s far from a direct adaptation of the comic Hippolyta, from her blonde hair (instead of the more common depiction of her as a brunette) to her position in the DC Universe.
It’s unlikely that this Hippolyta will ever take over from her daughter as Wonder Woman in the wider world, but fans sincerely hope that we will be seeing more of her in the DCEU in future.
7 Worse: Commissioner Gordon
The biggest issue with J.K. Simmons’s Commissioner Gordon is essentially that he doesn’t get much screentime at all in Justice League.
There’s potential here for him to be a great version of the character (as long as fans can get the image of him demanding pictures of Spider-Man out of their heads), but there’s just not enough time to explore it.
It’s possible that future DCEU films will give Simmons the space he needs to really bring this character to life, but with rumors of Affleck already planning his exit, this may be the end of the line for Gotham in the latest DC universe - and that means the end of the line for Gordon, as well.
6 Better: Martha Kent
Like any established comic characters, Martha Kent has gone through a few different incarnations over the years, but the most common version of Ma Kent is as a kindly old woman with white hair.
While Diane Lane may have a few grey streaks in her mane, this version of Martha is much younger and more rounded than the comic version. It’s fantastic to see her developing her relationship with Lois Lane -- and one where they connect over more than just their relationships with the Man of Steel.
She may have had one line that most definitely felt more awkward than amusing in her conversations with Lois, but overall, this version of Martha is stronger, younger, and less stereotypical than the classic old-lady-Ma-Kent that is getting just a little tired.
5 Worse: Alfred
Jeremy Irons’s Alfred is actually a fantastic interpretation of the character, but he’s still not quite living up to the butler from the comics. The Pennyworth from the pages of the original DC universe has grown from being a stiff and simple helpmeet to an incredible character in his own right, and one with a lot of sass.
Given that Justice League underwent some fairly extensive re-shoots in order to bring a little more humor to the film, it feels like a lost opportunity that Alfred didn’t get to enjoy more witty rejoinders.
He also spends his limited scenes behind the computer, often being pushed aside by others, which just doesn’t do justice to the Alfred that comic fans know and love.
4 Better: Superman
OK, it’s difficult for any movie to create a Superman better than the original superhero… but the DCEU has finally introduced a Clark Kent that the fans are really getting on board with in Justice League.
Far from the dour and dark Superman of Man Of Steel and Batman V Superman, the Justice League Supes comes with a technicolor costume and the ability to crack a joke.
This version of Superman has a real desire to be a part of the world, not just to save it from on high, and his relationship with Lois is also looking up, now that he’s back and she’s the one who brings him back to himself.
Not all fans are happy with the CGI on his cape, of course, or his brief time fighting off the rest of his Justice League friends, but he’s certainly a step up for the DCEU.
3 Worse: Steppenwolf
The big bad of Justice League was Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), the soldier of Darkseid. While it was interesting to see the DCEU start the build-up to bringing that classic DC villain on screen, Steppenwolf himself was a letdown.
The biggest issue with the Justice League’s major antagonist was the CGI that brought him to life. Rather than appearing to be a threatening, otherworldy (and world-killing) evil, Steppenwolf looked more like he’d been borrowed from a medium-budget ‘90s sci-fi flick.
He’s also frustratingly easy to defeat with the power of "unity," and his mother boxes felt like a lite imitation of the incredibly powerful weapons from the comics. The horned helmet may be there, but the similarity of the Justice League Steppenwolf to the original essentially ends there.
2 Better: Aquaman
Jason Momoa’s Aquaman does something that long-time DC readers may have thought impossible: he makes the guy who talks to fish look cool. Not just cool, but powerful, wild, and almost a little bit frightening.
This is Aquaman 2.0, and is even a step up from the New 52 version of the character, which went a long way to challenging the dorky reputation that Aquaman has had for a long time.
He may not be blonde, and this tattooed surfer dude is a far cry from the original Arthur Curry’s clean-cut looks and orange leotard, but he’s certainly a step up for the King of Atlantis.
While Momoa was another controversial casting choice (just like Gal Gadot), it’s another one that has paid off, and Justice League has many fans thrilled to see Aquaman next year.
1 Worse: Lois Lane
Once again, Lois Lane (Amy Adams) appears in the DCEU as little more than an addendum to Superman, losing all the energy and strength that defines her in the comics.
At the paper, she is writing puff pieces and has essentially given up on journalism (a reasonable response to grief, but very limiting given her treatment in the DCEU so far).
Lois is the one to bring Clark down from his hero-battling rage when he is returned to life, and this is essentially her entire role in the film. As a character who has so much to offer and who is such an incredible female character in DC comics, seeing her take such a backseat to her boyfriend in this movie is a huge disappointment to Lois fans.
What do you think? Which Justice League character do you think ended up better than their comic book counterpart? Let us know in the comments!
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