Justice League may be a lighter, more fun movie than some of its DC Extended Universe predecessors, but the cast hopes people still apply some of its lessons to the real world. Thus far, the unofficially titled DC Extended Universe has been largely defined by the heavy topics it has attempted to tackle, with much of the response - both positive and negative - surrounding its success at delivering on those themes. Man of Steel has clear themes of immigration and a struggle for cultural identity; Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice addresses PTSD, military interventions, xenophobia, and a restoration of hope; Suidice Squad tackles mental illness, questions of morality, and the bonds of family; and Wonder Woman selflessness, empathy, and compassion, even for those who don't seem to deserve it. Now, with Justice League arriving, the cast says it's about different people finding unity despite personal issues and cultural differences.
The big word leading up to Justice League, especially when compared to Marvel's consistent critical and box office success has been "fun." It's no secret that "fun" seems to be the magic word when it comes to Marvel movies, and Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi recently doubled down on that, telling Variety he wants people to "be reminded that movies can be fun, and we do take ourselves too seriously a lot of the time and what's nice is to be able to go and just laugh and forget the outside world for a little bit." While Thor 3 certainly has a number of more serious moments, it's inarguably one of the funniest installments in the MCU, resulting in a very enjoyable movie, but DC continues to differentiate itself by trying to take an approach that does remind people of the world we live in, while possibly offering hope in troubled times.
During the Justice League press Junket in London, the cast took the opportunity to chime in on lessons they hope the world can learn from Justice League, with Gal Gadot starting the group off with a very Wonder Woman-esque response:
"In the real world we don't fight monsters. We don't have aliens attack. It's us creatingthe problem. And I think it would be wonderful if somehow us humans could get together and come together and just be and do good to each other and try to make the world a better place. I'm giving you a cheesy answer, right back at ya, but I mean it from the botton of my heart."
Ezra Miller doesn't shy away from the serious topic, saying he thinks the popularity of superhero movies actually means they have a responsibility to address cultural issues and provide aspirational examples to audiences.
"I think it's important to talk about this, which is that human beings are in an existential crisis and there's no guarantee that humanity will be here in 100 years or 200 years because we are facing real existential threats, and like Gal says, threats come from us, like, we've created climate change, we've created the threat of nuclear war, and we do have to overcome differences in order to get over that, otherwise it's game over on humanity, so I think it's a great time to make superhero movies and groups of superhero movies and actually start addressing in more meaningful and solid ways, but also in the world of fantasy and fiction how we're actually going to accelerate our processes and save our skin."
Jason Momoa agreed with all of the above, simply saying "ditto," but producer Charles Roven elaborated more saying that social relevance is something the franchise always strives for, as it's something that has always been a part of the stories told with these characters:
"One of the reasons that we make these films and these characters have lasted for so long is because they're inspirational and aspirational characters, so if these very metahumans, those who have superpowers and want them, those who have powers and don't want them, those who, they come from different places in life and haven't figured out all their issues, that they can come together and hopefully that will resonate to the world and see maybe they can come together."
To Ray Fisher, who's voiced a number of detailed thoughts on the themes of the franchise in the past, the most relevant topic in superhero movies is the responsibility of power, and how it's important for powerful characters to set clear examples of how that power can be appropriately used:
"It's inspiring to see people with so much power who could go in one, in a different direction, who could go toward the negative side of it, it's great and it's important for us to see people who have power to continue that."
It's clear Justice League won't be nearly so heavy as Batman v Superman, with a lot of the marketing placing a heavy emphasis on the lighter and more fun tone - which Miller says was the plan from the beginning - so the movie won't be a full-blown social commentary, but there's still enough there that the cast hopes audiences can actually take something away from it. Whether these themes will actually resonate with critics and audiences come Justice League's release on November 17th remains to be seen, but with reportedly positive reactions to early screenings, things are looking bright for the Justice League's premiere big screen appearance.
- Wonder Woman 1984 (2020) release date: Jun 05, 2020
- Aquaman (2018) release date: Dec 21, 2018
- Justice League (2017) release date: Nov 17, 2017
- Shazam! (2019) release date: Apr 05, 2019