Reviewed by: Samuel A. Torcasio
Where does the DARKNESS in our world come from? Answer
WHY is the world the way it is—filled with oppression, suffering, death and cruelty? If God is all-knowing, all-powerful, and loving, would He really create a world like this? Answer
Courage / bravery / self-sacrifice
God expects His children to do good for others in His service.
What is Christian love? Answer
What is JUSTICE? Answer
What is the JUSTICE OF GOD? Answer
Who is the true SAVIOR? Answer
|Featuring:||Gal Gadot … Diana Prince / Wonder Woman
Robin Wright … Antiope
Jason Momoa … Arthur Curry / Aquaman
Connie Nielsen … Queen Hippolyta
Amy Adams … Lois Lane
Ben Affleck … Bruce Wayne / Batman
Ezra Miller … Barry Allen / The Flash
Amber Heard … Mera
Henry Cavill … Clark Kent / Superman
Diane Lane … Martha Kent
Kiersey Clemons … Iris West
Billy Crudup … Henry Allen
J.K. Simmons … Commissioner Gordon
Ciarán Hinds … Steppenwolf
Jeremy Irons … Alfred Pennyworth
Jesse Eisenberg … Lex Luthor
Daniel Stisen … Ancient Warrior
Ray Fisher … Victor Stone / Cyborg
Erin Eliza Blevins … Amazonian Warrior
Lisa Loven Kongsli … Menalippe
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Cruel and Unusual Films
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Warner Bros. Pictures
“Justice League” brings together: Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, and Cyborg. It is the DC Universe equivalent of “Marvel’s The Avengers.” The film has an all-star cast including 3 Oscar® winners: Ben Affleck, Jeremy Irons, J.K. Simmons; and 4 Oscar® nominees: Amy Adams, Willem Dafoe, Diane Lane and Jesse Eisenberg. The film is directed by both Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon.
This is the third live-action appearance of the Justice League after the failed TV pilot “Justice League of America” and “Smallville.” This movie was initially going to be split into 2 parts: “Justice League Part One” and “Justice League Part Two,” with an alleged singular continuing story line. But by the time of filming the idea of the film being in two parts seemed to have quietly gone away, and it is now rumored to be two self-contained movies with two related but separate plots. Considering the above, it is interesting that this is one of the shortest DC films to date.
I try to be as spoiler free as possible in this review, but if you are going into this movie knowing nothing about it, be aware this review might give some things away.
I think DC succeeded in giving us an entertaining, visually stunning, action packed film with a straightforward storyline that’s not too complex. Its story isn’t as rich as that of the recent “Wonder Woman” or even “Man of Steel,” but it is a much smoother ride than the very choppy “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
The challenge with a film that has multiple main characters is not making it too clunky, and this film avoids that error. This movie has a really good pace, a simple plot, and fantastic action sequences. The heroes are introduced early on in the film, and, while there is not a whole lot of character development, I think there is enough to suit the film’s purpose. Enough curiosity is generated about characters we don’t know too much about (as far as the film universe is concerned) to make us interested in a solo film for them. Wonder Woman established herself in the last film. And, let’s be honest, we know Batman and Superman, and they need very little introduction.
The interplay between the characters is solid. There is a great dynamic and chemistry, and all of the actors are a nice fit. Ben Affleck, in this film and others, has given us a great take on the Batman, and I hope he will continue with the role. The filmmakers were also smart to only give us one main villain. This keeps the story focused. And the soundtrack is superb. I was so glad to hear Danny Elfman’s Batman theme again. They only give you a little bit, but it’s enough to please fans of the classic 1989 film.
While the plot is smooth, and the characters and visuals kept me glued to the screen, it is not a terribly original story idea. We have seen this before. In fact, there are some striking similarities to the first Avengers film. Aliens from the sky are threatening the world, and a team of super heroes rises to save the day. Now it is by no means an exact parallel, and we already know that there are many parallels between the DC and Marvel worlds. It’s just hard to not point out that it’s a similar film and feels quite familiar. The basic plotline of this film has been done before, so don’t expect anything groundbreaking.
Now, with all that said, it is still a whole lot of fun to watch. And I think DC fans should be satisfied with this first entry into the Justice League series. We get to see Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the crew on the big screen and it’s pretty sweet. We are even left at the end with a little preview of what’s coming next, so I think it’s safe to say there is indeed a planned future for this franchise.
One of the themes of the film is HOPE, as well as the lack thereof. In the beginning of the movie, all hope seems to be lost. A gloomy picture of the world is given. Superman, in these films, is seen as a savior of humanity. With his death, it appears that the salvation of the world died with it. Throughout the film various characters are found lamenting about how the world has changed. Can we not see a parallel in our own day in the real world? With everything going on today, things just don’t seem to be getting any better, and in fact they are getting rapidly worse. So, the film reflects the picture many have of our world today.
Along with that there is also a theme of FEAR. The character Steppenwolf (who looks a bit like what we might imagine the Devil) has extraterrestrial henchmen called parademons who prey upon the fears of others.
So, too, today evil terrorists prey upon the fears of civilians. And the evil one himself, Satan, and his demons continually seek to terrorize humanity and keep people in fear. The devil “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8).
Movies are a reflection of the real world, though they are imperfect reflections and often have a distorted view of the world. The good news in the real world is that the ultimate Hero, the Lord Jesus Christ, God incarnate has come—and, through His death on the cross for sinners, He has defeated—and will one day completely “destroy him who holds the power of death-that is, the devil—and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death” (Hebrews 9:14-15).
I don’t want to ruin the film for those who have absolutely no idea what will happen, but let’s just say that the return of one the characters is the cause for many to get their hope back. No doubt, parallels will be made between this character’s return and the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. In the film this character is even referred to as “god.”
Whatever you make of the analogy, whether good or bad, remember that the world is looking for a Savior. But, there is only one true Savior, and it is the duty of each Christian to tell others His story. And no story can compare to the New Testament’s account of the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! And the best part about it is… it’s true! That is the real and concrete hope for this world today! That is so much better than some kind of demi-god or superhero. We are talking about the Uncreated God taking on humanity to save humanity!
How did Jesus greatly HUMBLE himself for our sake? Answer
There is a compelling quote in the film about true darkness being the conviction that light will never return. And indeed, if we do not have hope that things will get better, we will really be in the dark. Hope keeps us going. But our hope needs to be based on what is true. Hope is indeed real, and He is named Jesus. The Lord Jesus Christ is the true light of the world and whoever follows Him “will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). Only in His light can we see light (Psalm 36:9).
In other words, only by viewing the world through a biblical lens can we see the world as it actually is, and see the hope of the Gospel. The Christian faith is a message of true and solid hope. Our Lord has conquered the grave and rose from the dead.
Reader, have you trusted in Him for the salvation of your soul? Please do. He is the only Way, Truth, and Life (John 14:6; Acts 4:12). True and living hope is only found in Jesus Christ (1 Peter 1:3-5). That is your only hope for everlasting life. Without it, you are surely facing the Final Judgment of God, and after that you will never see hope again.
In this film, the character Steppenwolf claims to offer the truth. Likewise, Satan has always been trying to deceive humanity that his lies are the truth. The reality is only God has the truth. And the truth about God, the enemy, angels, us, this world, and our destinies can only be found in His Word. That’s where we need to go to get the truth.
There is also some discussion of science and debate regarding its ability to save versus its ability to destroy. There are many people in our world that think science (aka knowledge) is the ultimate answer. There is a great deal of science that is only so-called, it hasn’t been proved. But we as Christian believers must always remember that all true science is a gift from God. God made man in His image, and man (even in his fallen state) is capable of achieving great advancements in technology, medicine, space travel and so forth.
But one still has to understand all of this through a worldview. It is God that has given man such abilities, and when man becomes PRIDEFUL, he is falling into Satan’s own sin. Pride comes before destruction (Proverbs 16:18).
Why is HUMILITY so important? and pride so dangerous? Answer
LANGUAGE— • Profanity: “J*sus,” “G*d,” “d*mn” (2), “h*ll” (2) • Vulgarity: f-words (3 or more—but bleeped-out, but it’s clear that’s what the character is saying, and then after those occurrences we continue to see the character’s mouth bleeped out on a TV news program which indicates she is swearing up a storm), “sh*t-hole” (2), “sh*t” (2), “a**-hole,” “a**” (2), “Praise to the mother of horrors,” “Son of a b*tch,” “Stop jerking around”
SEXUALITY OR NUDITY— • Alfred hints that Bruce Wayne may be interested in Wonder Woman for physical reasons. • Diana/Wonder Woman’s cleavage and tight leather pants • Female warriors (Amazons) with bare midriffs and form-fitting tops • Shirtless males • Brief kiss • Flash is briefly shown on top of Wonder Woman, in an awkward moment.
VIOLENCE—There is lots of violence—war, fighting, killing. The parademons hurt and kill people. You can hear snapping of necks. But all remains within the MPAA’s PG-13 restrictions.
ALCOHOL—One of the superheros gulps down a whole bottle of whiskey.
There is talk throughout the film of the “new gods” and the “old gods,” and this is never really developed. One character says “god is back from the dead.” But the most concerning statement is one in which it seems a direct reference is made to the Trinity. Speaking of three extremely powerful boxes that can remake the world as he wishes, the lead villain Steppenwolf (who looks like an artist’s depiction of the Devil) says, “Praise to the unity, praise to the three in one.”
Now, there is much that is troubling with this. First it is said by a devilish-looking character, and further the fact that such an evil character is offering praise to an alternate “three in one” is quite unsettling. Anyone who knows the historic and thoroughly biblical doctrine of God’s Triunity should be disturbed.
To make matters worse, in the next line he utters “Praise to the mother of horrors.” Paralleling the biblical Trinity with the mother of horrors (which sounds like the mother of harlots in Revelation 17!). This is blasphemy at the highest level. Now some may contend that the reference is vague, and that it’s reading too much into it to say it’s the Trinity. But I think the reference is clear enough to warrant concern.
Think about it, if we are concerned about immorality and violence, how much more should we be concerned about God’s Name and Character? The first four commands are all about our direct relationship to Him. God is concerned about His Name, and so should we. We should be especially concerned for our children who are impressionable. We do not want them to become desensitized to this kind of stuff, and we need to be very sensitive to it ourselves. So, I think discussion on this is quite warranted.
“Justice League” is an entertaining film, but not a great one. There is some content to be cautious about. The blasphemy insinuation is the greatest concern, and what causes me the greatest reservation in recommending the film. Believers who see it need to be prepared to interact with some of the content. Especially if you are taking children to see it. Never put your biblical worldview aside, even for a 2 hour movie—for your sakes, and your children’s.
In my view, a film that depicts an evil person saying something blasphemous is not automatically blasphemous itself, UNLESS it agrees with, supports, encourages or praises the blasphemy in some way, or if it takes no position (pro or con) on the blasphemy—thereby indicating no opposition to it. OR, UNLESS the filmmakers threw blasphemy or near-blasphemy into the film flippantly or irresponsibly (sadly, not uncommon in Hollywood)—if so, that does seem blasphemous (or dancing on the edge of it, depending on the specifics).
Playing with blasphemy is an extremely foolish and sinful act in direct opposition to the all-powerful Creator of the universe—and evidence of a great lack of the proper FEAR OF THE LORD that all creatures should maintain.
Christian viewers, let us know how you interpret what was actually done in this particular film.
What is the sin of BLASPHEMY? Answer
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.