Superman is dead, and the world is mourning – desperately looking for heroes.
Batman, of course, is still fighting crime, but even he can’t stop the imminent threat to Earth: an invasion from a monstrous creature known as Steppenwolf and his army of scary-looking Parademons.
Never fear, though: Our caped crusader has a plan.
“I’m putting together a team of people with special abilities,” he says.
That team will include Wonder Woman but also a motley group of other superheroes: Aquaman, Cyborg and Flash. Together, they will repel Steppenwolf and save humanity from yet another deadly threat. They will be unstoppable … right?
The much-anticipated Justice League (PG-13) is now in theaters, giving us DC Comics’ answer to Marvel’s Avengers series. It stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Ezra Miller as Flash, Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Ray Fisher as Cyborg.
Here’s what parents need to know:
1. It’s not that good. Look, I enjoy superhero movies. I’ve seen every Spider-Man, Iron Man, Superman and Batman movie, as well as the Avengers series and Wonder Woman. And minus a few concerns about content, I enjoyed almost all of them. But Justice League might be the worst superhero I’ve watched. Most of the characters aren’t likeable, the humor falls flat, and the plot is confusing. (It has something to do with “Mother Boxes.”) A mid-movie voiceover from Wonder Woman, explaining the boxes, can’t even save it.
2. It has a moderate amount of violence and language. I counted 10 words: h-ll (3), s–t (2), a–(2), misuse of “Jesus” (2), SOB (1). (If you’re curious, Batman is the one who abuses Jesus’ name twice.) Most of the violence is bloodless, but there’s still a lot of it. The film opens with a villain shooting at Batman. Later, we see villains shoot machine guns. The protagonist is Steppenwolf, a large demonic-looking creature with horns. He has an army of Parademons (they have wings) that are even more frightening-looking. We see bad guys hold several people (including children) hostage. Of course, there’s tons of hitting and punching.
3. The sexuality is (slightly) concerning. I applauded the stand-alone Wonder Woman movie, partially because the camera didn’t ogle her figure – despite her skimpy outfit. But in Justice League, the ogling camera is back. Perhaps that’s due to the former film having a female director and the latter one having a male one. I don’t know. Wonder Woman/Diana Prince also wears a few revealing outfits.
4. It has a few good lessons. Kids and teens don’t care what critics say about superhero films. They just want to watch them. So if you go, there are a few life lessons. We see examples of self-sacrifice (Wonder Woman, Batman, and the others), forgiveness (two main characters late in the film) and reconciliation (a father and son).
5. It raises a major worldview question. That is: Why are we moviegoers so attracted to superhero films? Sure, we enjoy the entertainment value, but I think it goes much deeper. Here’s what I think: We have a natural attraction to things that are otherworldly and even miraculous. We want to believe that a being from outside our world can come and rescue use – and hand out justice, too. We want a being to come save the world. Of course, that can be accomplished only by Christ. And nearly all superhero narratives – whether intentional or not – point to Him.
Entertainment rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars. Family-friendly rating: 3 out of 5 stars.
Justice League is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action.