Warning: SPOILERS below for Justice League!
In Justice League, the stakes were literally the fate of the world. Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), the End of Worlds and the general of the legions of Apokolips, returned to Earth to finish the mission he began five thousand years ago: to use the power of three Mother Boxes to form ‘the Unity’ and terraform our world into another Apokolips. Back then, he was foiled and banished by an alliance of defenders comprised of Atlanteans, Amazons, Greek gods, the tribes of Man, and a Green Lantern. But in 2017, Earth has far fewer defenders – until Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) formed the Justice League.
As Steppenwolf raced around the world to gather the Mother Boxes, the League scrambled to stop him. Realizing even their combined powers were proving to not be enough to beat Steppenwolf and his Parademons, the League decided to use the power of the third Mother Box to resurrect Superman (Henry Cavill). With Superman taking his rightful place with the Justice League, our heroes faced the alien invaders in a final showdown in a small village in Russia. Steppenwolf was using an abandoned nuclear reactor as his base of operations for the Unity, having acquired the third and final Mother Box while the League was dealing with Superman’s confusion after his rebirth.
HOW THE JUSTICE LEAGUE BEAT STEPPENWOLF
The keys to the Justice League’s ultimate victory were Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and the Man of Steel. The technology that comprises Cyborg’s mechanical body came from the Mother Box, which gives him a unique connection and understanding of it. Even then, when Cyborg interfaced with the Mother Boxes, he couldn’t separate the Unity. Thankfully, Superman was available to lend a hand with his brute strength and his invulnerability, which allowed him to survive the power surge erupting from disrupting the Unity. Superman and Cyborg together broke apart the Mother Boxes, saving Earth from being turned into another Apokolips.
Superman was also the deciding factor in defeating Steppenwolf himself. Steppenwolf was able to hold off Wonder Woman, Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and The Flash (Ezra Miller), but Superman’s Kryptonian might turned the tide. Once Wonder Woman was able to shatter Steppenwolf’s battle axe after it was frozen by Superman’s freeze breath, the alien conqueror experienced true fear for the first time. His Parademon legions prey on fear; once they sensed it in Steppenwolf, they turned on and swarmed on their former master. With Steppenwolf struggling against his rabid Parademons, the Apokoliptian forces Boom Tubed away from Earth. The Justice League won and the world was saved.
The aftermath of the Justice League becoming a unified force defending the world opens up a new universe of possibilities for the individual heroes and the DCEU. The Justice League went their separate ways and returned to their private lives, but their victory also cemented their alliance as a more permanent thing.
Back in Gotham, Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince surveyed the ruins of Bruce’s ancestral home Wayne Manor and made plans into converting it into the League’s headquarters. Bruce envisioned a round table in the center of the Manor’s main hall with seating for six.”But with room for more,” Diana suggested. The fact that Batman, who occasionally rued the very idea of the team he gathered to Commissioner Gordon (J.K. Simmons), not only wants the League to continue but plans to devote his resources to the League’s success is a huge breakthrough for the Dark Knight.
The Batman has been firmly a loner for an untold number of years, likely since the Joker (Jared Leto) and Harley Quinn (Margot Robbie) killed Robin and left Batman the Boy Wonder’s vandalized costume. Bruce smirked when Barry Allen admitted he needs friends, but the Batman has come to the same conclusion about himself. Now that Superman is back (which was largely his doing) and the League is in place, Batman has a newfound sense of hope, which is something his butler Alfred (Jeremy Irons) can take solace in.
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