WARNING: The following articles contains spoilers for director Zack Snyder’s Justice League, in theaters now.
Earth is safe again, this time from the clutches of conquering aliens. With Justice League, directors Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon deliver a film that starts off grim, but eventually turns toward a hopeful vision for the future. With the Mother Boxes separated by Superman and Cyborg, Earth is no longer in danger of becoming a primordial wasteland. Steppenwolf has been banished back to Apokolips along with his fear-eating Parademons, and the Justice League, for all intents and purposes, has been formed. So, what does it all mean?
Well, for starters, the ending to Justice League is one filled with hope. Superman has been revived and it appears as if the world, and its heroes, are slowly inching back to a place where they can become examples for humanity. After all, when we meet the show’s ensemble cast of metahumans, demigods and altruistic billionaires, they’re all in very bad places.
Batman, for example, is worn down. His fight with the Man of Steel in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice left the Kryptonian dead, saddling the Dark Knight with guilt. His age is starting to show, too. Wonder Woman confronts him about it, and he’s honest with her: They both know he can’t keep up the vigilante shtick forever.
Meanwhile, Diana is in a similar place. She still hasn’t gotten over the death of Steve Trevor in Wonder Woman, which has kept her on the sidelines since World War I. She rises to the challenge when evil rears its head, but she hasn’t been a beacon of hope for a long time.
Cyborg is still trying to figure out his ever-changing body and how exactly he came back from the brink of death. Barry Allen is working minimum-wage jobs and visiting his dad in prison. Barry’s struggle is clear: He wants to help exonerate his father, but doesn’t have the means to do so. As for family squabbles, Aquaman is the rightful king of Atlantis who has yet to take up his kingly duties. Yeah, it’s an all-around bad scene.
Until the very end. Batman and The Flash are perhaps best served in the ending montage. Audiences saw Bruce Wayne return to a rundown Wayne Manor, glimpsed in Batman v Superman, but its abandonment was never fully explored. Bruce and Diana start to make plans for renovations, noting that a roundtable is needed – space for at least six, with “room for more.” It seems that, in the grounded world of the DC Extended Universe, Wayne Manor might find new life as a Hall of Justice, the Justice League’s headquarters, and that future members, like Green Lantern, are always a possibility.
Barry has a surprise for his incarcerated father. Bruce was able to pull some strings that let the speedster net the “worst” job in a crime lab – still a significant success for the ever-optimistic hero-in-training. That inches Barry closer to his comics-accurate occupation as a crime scene investigator and the start of his career as a superhero.
In terms of comic book accuracy, Cyborg also gets some upgraded armor, as well as his iconic logo, positioning him for an arc where he’s able to find a sense of comfort in his own robotic skin and, perhaps, tangle further with the New Gods. Aquaman returns to the sea in a move that sets up his own solo film that will likely see him claim the Atlantean throne. Lois Lane has moved back to hard-hitting journalism, and Superman once again defends our world.
Perhaps the most uplifting part of the ending is Wonder Woman’s return to the spotlight as a crimefighter and role model for young girls, a journey that mirrors Gal Gadot’s own after the success of Wonder Woman. The iconic heroine can be seen posing for pictures in front of a group of robbers who are being compelled by her Lasso of Truth to spill the beans to a pair of cops.
Meanwhile, off in Russia, Steppenwolf’s destruction is taking on a new life, as the tendrils spewed forth by the Mother Boxes start to bloom into radiant, alien flora. In the end, it looks like Earth is turning a new leaf.
In theaters now, Justice League stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Ciarán Hinds as Steppenwolf, Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor and J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon.