After four movies of buildup, the Justice League finally united on-screen. Many fans were very much looking forward to seeing DC embark on the trail blazed by Marvel Studios in creating a cinematic universe. But instead of following the mold set forth by its rival, DC opted to try a different approach. Instead of introducing all of these characters separately in their own movies, we would meet half of them in the ensemble film, before sending them off intro their solo adventures. Although Zack Snyder started work on the film, another director would be brought in to change the tone of the movie.
Joss Whedon was brought onto the production late in the game, to create the film that the WB executives wanted. It just so happens that the movie they wanted was actually a lot like what Marvel had done previously. Although they originally intended to be different, it seems like DC produced a Justice League movie that was very similar to The Avengers in a lot of ways. In fact, director Joss Whedon isn’t the only element that these two movies share. Here, CBR compares both superhero films, to list 15 times Justice League was exactly like The Avengers.
15. BATMAN = IRON MAN
In The Avengers, Tony Stark was the armor-wearing tech genius billionaire who was the face of the superhero team’s roster. He may not have technically been the field leader of the team (that part was reserved for Captain America) but Stark still very much had his say in whatever was happening, and he more often than not was the one taking the decisions in the battle against the Chitauri.
In Justice League, Batman pretty much filled the same role. He was the tech-genius billionaire that took a new armored suit into the final battle, the main fance of the team, and he was the one who essentially made the big decisions while Wonder Woman was more of the field leader. On top of all that, Batman, just like Iron Man, was ready to sacrifice himself if that was what it would come to.
14. MOTHER BOX/COSMIC CUBE
At the center of The Avengers was the Tesseract, a cube-shaped object of alien origin and untold power. It was studied by S.H.I.E.L.D. as a potential energy source, as well as a weapon, and it was the object everyone was after. It was this Cosmic Cube that started the entire conflict – with it, Loki could unleash the Chitauri army on Earth, and getting to the cube was the only way to stop the invasion.
In Justice League, there were three Mother Boxes, cube-shaped objects of alien origin that were as mysterious as they were powerful. S.T.A.R. Labs had one in their possession, and they studied it as a potential source of energy. It was the object that Steppenwolf was after so he could launch his invasion of Earth. And it was only by getting to the Mother Boxes that the League could stop him.
13. ONLY ONE FEMALE MEMBER ON THE TEAM
Both of the Avengers and Justice League rosters were very male-driven. In fact, there was only one female member on each respective team, Black Widow and Wonder Woman. Each would prove superior in many ways to all the men – one with an impressive skill set that proved very useful in questioning Loki, and the other by having important knowledge about the Mother Boxes.
Without each of them, the teams wouldn’t have had all the information they needed to move forward. Then, when the final battle came around, both had to prove themselves to be team players, when they were always used to working alone. While foresight could have allowed Justice League to bring in another female member, it instead followed the route of the Avengers film.
12. AN ARMY INVADING THROUGH A PORTAL
Both The Avengers and Justice League featured the threat of an invading alien army. But what is even more similar than that is that both of these armies arrived through the means of a space portal opened on Earth that led to the other side of the Universe. The Avengers saw Loki use the Tesseract to create a door that would allow the Chitauri to fly through and lay waste to New York.
While the Justice League film could have easily seen Steppenwolf and the Parademons arrive through more conventional means like a spaceship (as glimpsed in the first invasion’s flashback sequence), the movie instead used the Mother Boxes to open a Boom Tube that led the villain and his minions to Themyscira. Essentially, both armies arrived on Earth the exact same way.
11. CAPTAIN AMERICA/SUPERMAN = BIG BLUE BOY SCOUTS
It might take a while for Superman to actually make his presence known in Justice League, but when he arrives as a full-fledged member of the team, he appears as the big blue boy scout he was always meant to be. He’s strong and he’s hopeful, and he inspires confidence in all of the other heroes around him. They are bettered by his presence, and this allows them to win the battle.
In this way, Superman borrowed a lot from Steve Rogers’ presence in The Avengers. Sure, Captain America might be less of a powerful superhero, but he is also very much a big blue scout whose mere presence inspires all around him to keep fighting. Captain America was a symbol for strength and hope, and that is exactly what Superman became after his darker representation in Batman v. Superman.
10. A HERO IS VILLAINOUS FOR A SPELL
In The Avengers and Justice League, both team rosters have a total number of six members. But that’s not all the similarities they share. In fact, there is quite a long while in the first half of the movie where both teams only have five members. Hawkeye is taken by Loki, and he is turned villainous, fighting the other heroes as he leads an attack on the Helicarrier.
In the Justice League film, Superman isn’t part of the original roster because he is dead. But when he is brought back to life, he is initially villainous, fighting his fellow heroes. Both Hawkeye and Superman deal a stunning blow to their teams, but when they are brought back to the side of good, both join up with the others to fight a threat too big for any of them to handle.
9. RECURRING APPEARANCE OF A SPECIFIC CIVILIAN
In The Avengers, there was a civilian waitress who worked at a restaurant that appeared sporadically during the invasion of the Chitauri. We saw her, as well as others, seek refuge and come under attack a few times. Captain America rushed to help the crowd she was a part of, and she was later seen, thankful for the Avengers and Steve Rogers in particular.
There is a bit very similar to this that occurs in Justice League. As the Parademons are unleashed in a small town in Russia, we see sporadic appearances of a family who is holed up in their home, under constant danger. We see this family from time to time during the final battle, and they are finally saved by the Flash. While the family isn’t later seen on television, they are still grateful to have been saved.
8. A BIGGER VILLAIN BEHIND THE MAIN THREAT
Justice League‘s main villain was Steppenwolf, who led the invasion of Earth accompanied by hordes of Parademons. All of them hailed form Apokolips, and they did so with the spectre of Darkseid behind them, their true lord and leader. Steppenwolf was after redemption, trying to prove his worth to reclaim his honor as a successful invader. What he does, he does in the name of Darkseid.
This is actually very similar to The Avengers, which saw Loki lead an army of Chitauri which belonged not to him, but a much bigger villain that stood behind them: Thanos, who we see briefly at the end of the film. Both are big cosmic villains in their respective cinematic universes, and both are teased to be the next big threat coming further down the line.
7. TEAM TENSIONS AT CRUCIAL TIMES
Before the Avengers become a complete and well-oiled fighting machine, they have to put their respective egos aside, and that means having a few heated talks. Viewers might recall a scene on the Helicarrier before all hell broke loose, where most of the Avengers, from Banner and Thor to Rogers and Stark, were in a heated argument. Once the air was cleared, however, the team was ready.
Such was very much the case for the Justice League, as well. Before they head off to fight Steppenwolf, and before Superman joins their ranks, Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince have a very heated argument that threatens the new foundations of the team. But even these two manage to overcome their disputes and emerge as a strong fighting unit.
6. A POWERFUL HERO ARRIVES TO TURN THE TIDE OF BATTLE
In The Avengers, Captain America, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye and Thor begin to try and repel the Chitauri as they begin their invasion of New York. Soon, it becomes clear that the battle is overwhelming, and that they will need even more power if they have any hope of defeating the aliens. In comes Bruce Banner, who arrives just as the battle heats up, to unleash the Hulk.
Justice League features a very similar twist, where Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Cyborg are all fighting the Parademons and Steppenwolf – but these forces of Apokolips prove to be too much for these heroes to handle. It’s only when the true powerhouse of Superman arrives to battle Steppenwolf that the League finally has the upper hand. With the arrival of Superman and the Hulk, both teams were finally united.
5. THOR/AQUAMAN = LONG-HAIRED DEMIGODS
The Avengers have a very powerful, long-haired Asgardian god in their arsenal that could summon the elements – lightning – to destroy enemy ships. Thor proved to be instrumental in the team’s battles, with his superior strength and his mighty hammer Mjolnir. Similarly, the Justice League have a long-haired demigod of their own, one who wields not a hammer, but a trident.
As a half-man and half-Atlantean, Arthur Curry has powers that no mere mortals possess. He may not be able to fly, but he’s incredibly powerful. In Justice League, he arrives at a crucial moment, using his trident to manipulate the elements, deviating a roaring wave that threatens the rest of the League. And just as Thor was destined for the throne of Asgard, so too is Aquaman supposed to become King of Atlantis.
4. TRAVELLING IN THE FLYING FOX/QUINJET
While Iron Man and Thor have the power of flight, the same cannot be said for the rest of the Avengers. To travel from one point to another, Captain America, Hawkeye and Black Widow use a S.H.I.E.L.D. Quinjet to fly in. This ship is actually very useful in getting these superheroes where they need to be, and it has also been shown carrying the full team in Avengers: Age of Ultron, when they all travelled together.
The Justice League also have a few flyers. Superman and Cyborg can fly, and the Flash actually runs so fast that he wouldn’t need any sort of transport. However, the same can’t be said for the rest of the team. To fly around from one point to the next, from Gotham to Russia for example, the Justice League has Batman’s Flying Fox, a ship that the whole team uses as transportation.
3. HEROES GO THEIR SEPARATE WAYS AT THE END
After the main threat of Loki and the Chitauri is dealt with, the Avengers go back their separate ways. Thor returns to Asgard, Captain America rides away on his motorcycle, ready to look for a new purpose, Black Widow returns to S.H.I.E.L.D., Hawkeye heads off on his own, Banner is allowed to go back into the wind and Tony Stark will keep being Tony Stark, no matter where he goes.
Justice League ends in a very similar manner. When Steppenwolf is defeated and the Earth is saved, the various Leaguers are now ready to reach the next step of their respective lives. Barry Allen gets a job, Arthur Curry returns to Atlantis, Superman returns to Metropolis, Cyborg joins his father at S.T.A.R. Labs, Wonder Woman steps into the light of the world and Bruce Wayne looks to the future of the Justice League.
2. PARADEMONS/CHITAURI ARE NOTHING BUT FODDER
In order to see the various members of the Avengers team in action, the movie featured countless disposable enemies in the form of the Chitauri aliens. These aliens were nothing but an invading force, a faceless swarm of adversaries for Captain America to swing his shield at and Thor to blast his lightning on. The overwhelming numbers of the Chitauri worked in making the presence of the Avengers necessary.
To unite the Justice League, a similar threat was introduced, this time in the form of the Parademons, an invading horde of aliens. The Parademons were quite similar to the Chitauri, in that they were just faceless foot soldiers for the various Leaguers to use their powers on. This allowed us to see Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg cut loose, in a much similar way to the Avengers.
1. TWO AFTER-CREDITS SCENE
Before The Avengers, all MCU movies featured one after-credits scene, from the first Iron Man to Captain America: The First Avenger. But the ensemble film doubled down on that tradition, giving fans two scenes: a lighter one that showed the Avengers bonding over a shared meal, and a second scene that revealed that Thanos was the villain behind Loki, signaling a great threat to come in the future.
While Suicide Squad was the first DCEU film to feature a mid-credits scene, Justice League was actually the first to feature two scenes. One of those scenes featured a comedic moment between the Flash and Superman as the two bonded over their shared power of super-speed, while the other featured two villains uniting, indicating that they would pose a real danger in upcoming movies. Once again, this just goes to show that Justice League borrowed a lot from The Avengers.
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