With a film that had Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg and Superman, Justice League should have done better at the box office. DC’s four previous films each made over $100 million domestically on opening weekend — it's almost absurd that DC's version of The Avengers couldn't do it.
Unfortunately for Justice League, rumors about the expensive reshoots, Ben Affleck's lack of enthusiasm, and the negative critical response hurt this film.
I enjoyed Justice League, but the movie does have its flaws. Here are five major changes DC could have done to improve the film dramatically.
Note: heavy spoilers for Justice League follow.
1. Giving Steppenwolf A Better Story
Steppenwolf was an underdeveloped villain in this movie. Snyder elected to focus more on our heroes and less on the Big Bad. While the action scenes of him fighting our heroes looked pretty good, we've seen this kind of generic villain countless times before. Steppenwolf appeared cartoonish in both appearance and motivation, and we never felt Earth was actually threatened. Which brings us to...
2. Exploring The Fourth World and Apokolips
Although the film dives a little into the Mother Boxes' history, the movie never mentions the Fourth World or the planet of Apokolips, a big disservice to fans of Jack Kirby’s influence on DC’s New Gods. We are never taken to that world of New Genesis.
This could have been a great way to expand the DCEU, showing audiences that there’s more than just life on Earth. Much like Guardians of the Galaxy and Thor: Ragnarok did for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, New Genesis could have been the gateway to DC's outer cosmos, both setting up future films and making this one more interesting.
3. A Look At Darkseid
Justice League would have been a great opportunity to at least show us a glimpse at one of DC’s most powerful comic book villains: Darkseid. Though he's mentioned once, by Steppenwolf, we never get to see him, whereas Thanos appeared in a post-credits scene of The Avengers.
While I’m not asking DC to copy Marvel per se, there was a moment in the film where Darkseid could have naturally appeared. After a tough fight against the Justice League, Steppenwolf is taken back to Apokolips through a boom tube; this would be an incredible moment to see Darkseid express his disappointment with one of his strongest New Gods on his home planet of Apokolips.
4. Seeing Civilians In Peril (Besides That Russian Family)
The stakes in Justice League may be earth-shattering, but it doesn't feel this way because we don't see who's actually getting saved, except for a single family. The Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron showed many citizens in peril and gave us some great heroic moments for our characters to shine — even Man of Steel did a good job of this. Sadly, Justice League did not have these special moments, so the fight didn’t feel important enough.
5. Pushing Back The Release Date
As much as I really wanted to see Justice League this year, pushing back its release date would have been a bold but smart move for DC. With all of its problems behind the scenes, Warner Bros. would have benefited from spending more time on this film. A few months of reshoots were clearly not enough to fix a rushed script and poor CGI. (Nothing could have been more obvious than Henry Cavill’s fake upper lip!)
Had Warner Bros. made the decision to push back Justice League’s release date to early next year, it would've been costly — but not as costly to the overall franchise as the final product in theaters now.
What would you have changed in Justice League? What did it get right? Sound off in the comments below!