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Film / Justice League (2017)

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You can't save the world alone.note 
Diana Prince: They said the age of heroes would never come again.
Bruce Wayne: It has to...

Justice League is a superhero film and an adaptation of Justice League of America, the iconic DC Comics Super Team. The film was initially directed by Zack Snyder; additional post-production material was written and directed by Joss Whedon following Snyder's departure from the project.note  It is the fifth film set in the DC Extended Universe, released on November 17, 2017.

With a restored faith in humanity following the events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) joins forces with Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and recruits three other superpowered metahumans, Arthur Curry/the Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Barry Allen/the Flash (Ezra Miller), and Victor Stone/Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to form an alliance to protect the Earth from a powerful enemy, the New God Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), and his army of Parademons. But to even stand a chance against a threat from beyond the stars, there is still the matter of the return of Clark Kent/Superman (Henry Cavill) after his seeming demise.

A teaser with original footage (released while the movie was still filming) was premiered at the 2016 San Diego Comic Con. A sizzle reel was released following the film wrapping principal photography. The first official trailer can be seen here, the 2017 San Diego Comic Con trailer can be seen here and the final trailer is here.

The film had a notoriously troubled production. Snyder stepped down during post-production after a family tragedy, and Whedon was tasked to deliver the theatrical version on a studio mandate. Whedon oversaw rewrites to the script and shot new scenes meant to give the movie a lighter tone and more humor in an attempt to course-correct from the criticism that Batman v Superman got for its somber tone, all the while scrapping a lot of footage and even entire scenes filmed by Snyder and written by Chris Terrio. Audiences immediately saw the changes from what was shown in trailers (a number of which are detailed on the Trivia page) and from the overall tone heavily clashing with Snyder's previous films. A fan campaign emerged to have the "Snyder Cut" released, spurring debates for over two years on how different this version would be, how complete it was and if it could ever see the light of day.

This campaign ended up succeeding. In late 2019-early 2020, WarnerMedia approved a budget for Snyder to develop a proper Director's Cut, which was eventually released as Zack Snyder's Justice League on HBO Max and home video in 2021. This new film is distinct enough in storytelling, style, tone, length and footage to have a separate trope page.

Justice League provides examples of:

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    Tropes # to D 
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: Superman joins during the Final Battle, and definitely makes up for being late to the party.
  • Aborted Arc:
    • The entire "Knightmare Sequence" from the previous film goes unaddressed, and Batman on meeting Barry Allen doesn't lampshade that he looks familiar from seeing the surveillance footage in the previous film or Barry's face, nor does he mention the similarities of the Parademons from his nightmares to Diana, nor is there any mention of it having influenced his decision to bring Lois Lane as Superman's Living Emotional Crutch as a backup to Superman's Resurrection Sickness.
    • The original script that was scrapped before Zack Snyder even began filming had Darkseid teleporting via Boom-Tube in the Batcave where Lois is sheltered and killing her, making Superman snap and causing his Face–Heel Turn with the Anti-Life Equation, explaining Superman's anger at Batman.
    • Lex Luthor's connection to Steppenwolf, and his involvement in helping the Apokoliptan invasion, and how exactly he came to learn about the other metahumans and unearth their Secret Identity is left unaddressed. In the film, Batman mentions reading up "Luthor's notes" indicating research of a mysterious event in the past tied to Mother Boxes, and Steppenwolf mentions offhand that "the Kryptonian's" death plunged the world into despair and fear, and allowed him and his parademons to return to earth, but it's not made clear if this was a deliberate conspiracy between him and Luthor or not.
    • The final shot of Batman v Superman showed dirt moving around Superman's coffin, indicating that Superman is not really dead, and that his resurrection would follow similar to the original comic, where his corpse was mistaken for dead by Earth science, and was recovered by his robots to the Fortress of Solitude to properly convalesce. In the film, this is more or less retconned with his revival being presented as Superman apparently having died for real at Doomsday's hands, Batman and Cyborg briefly trading technobabble about Kryptonian physiology, and Bruce pitching Superman's resurrection as if it was something that was always possible but waiting for the right technology, before it coming via Mother Box, but it's not made clear what Bruce believed Superman's exact condition was for him to suggest this. It is possible that he was in between life and death.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: Several, but particularly the scene where Flash and Cyborg are digging up Superman's coffin, discussing being the "misfits" of the team.
  • Actually Pretty Funny:
    • When Bruce mentions that Clark is more human than him, he can't help but ironically chuckle at the fact.
    • After saving the day and weathering the feedback loop caused by their actions, Cyborg and Superman comment on how much pain they are in while laughing about it.
      Cyborg: Man, my toes hurt... I can't process the physics of my toes hurting!
  • Adaptational Badass: Oddly enough, in comparison to everyone else, Superman is this to the point that everyone else is almost an Adaptational Wimp by comparison. While neither Aquaman or Wonder Woman are supposed to be quite as strong as him, they are normally able to at least fight him toe to toe. Instead, when he is resurrected and unaware of himself, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Cyborg try restraining him and he easily overpowers all three at the same time. And while the New Gods are typically able to match him in strength, Superman handily tosses Steppenwolf around with little trouble. On a more minor note, Superman is normally supposed to be a little slower than the Flash but seems to be his equal, but this is actually more faithful to the comics than you may think, as this Flash is new and inexperienced, and in the comics themselves they often have races to see who is faster.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The Mother Boxes, in the comics, are essentially doting computers who help out the New Gods. While Darkseid has enslaved several, they try to resist his will. In the film, they're described in purely malevolent terms, though one resurrects Superman.
  • Adaptation Distillation: The film's plot can generally be described as a mix between the backstory of Earth 2 (the person leading the invasion being Steppenwolf rather than Darkseid himself), the origins of the Justice League in the New 52 (an initial encounter in the sewers, Cyborg being a founding member, Batman being the first to really start the league), and The Return of Superman, with some elements from the DC Animated Universe (namely Flash's status as The Heart and comic relief of the team) thrown in.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Aquaman is very blond in the comics, Jason Momoa retains his dark hair but with blond streaks resembling sun or water damage. Similarly, Barry Allen is blond or has light brown hair in the comics, but has Ezra Miller's dark brown hair here.
  • Adapted Out:
    • Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter, traditionally founding members in the early Justice League of America comics and most other adaptations, don't appear in the movie in order to place greater emphasis on the founding members who are present. While Green Lantern is confirmed to appear at a later time in the setting with Green Lantern Corps (Steppenwolf specifically mentioned "No Lanterns" in a Missing Trailer Scene and a Green Lantern fought him during the battle in ancient times), Martian Manhunter has yet to appear.
    • Clark Kent's return is not shown. The Planet had a piece on his death and that he was reportedly killed during the Doomsday attack on Metropolis (oh, the irony!!), but is shown walking down the street, then flying away on the next mission during Lois's voiceover.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Batman is rather keen on bringing Superman Back from the Dead using the Mother Box. In the comics and DCAU adaptations, Bruce generally does not support such deliberate interventionism because of how often the persons concerned Came Back Wrong (Ra's Al Ghul, Jason Todd, to name a few). Here he willingly takes the risk, ignoring complaints about Superman potentially going insane.note 
  • Alien Invasion: The Earth is invaded by the forces of the world named Apokolips, with hordes of Parademons led by Steppenwolf. The Justice League is formed to repel it. Bruce expresses his fear that their real plans are something deeper than a simple invasion.
  • The Alliance: When Steppenwolf first invaded Earth in a bygone era, he was defeated by a joint army consisting of ancient humans, Amazons, the Atlanteans, the Gods of Olympus, and a Green Lantern.
  • Amazon Chaser: Arthur can't help gushing over how hot Diana is (before realising he's sitting on the Lasso of Truth), Barry is visibly Distracted by the Sexy in her presence like any young man his age, while Alfred implies that Bruce isn't as stoic as he's pretending.
    Bruce Wayne: I'm only interested in her skillset.
    Alfred: [smirk] I'm sure you are.
  • Angry, Angry Hippos: Discussed. In the opening scene, a group of kids interview Superman and one of them asks him if he has ever fought a hippo, claiming they're the deadliest animals on the planet.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The movie ends with the heroes moving on with their lives and reaffirming their duties. Superman returns to active duty, Barry gets a job in the Central City Police Department, Bruce, Alfred and Diana decide to build the Hall of Justice and Aquaman returns to Atlantis.
  • Arc Words: The words "Hope" and "Fear" are frequently mentioned throughout the film.
  • Arrowgram: Following Steppenwolf's rampage on Themyscira and him getting away with the Mother Box that the Amazons were guarding, Queen Hippolyta shoots an arrow on fire (with no message attached to it) for Diana to find and it lands in a Greek temple. Diana instantly knows what it means — that a new invasion by the New Gods is coming. She sees the arrow on fire in the temple from a TV in this version of the film.
  • Arrows on Fire: Non-battle version. Following Steppenwolf's rampage and acquisition of the Mother Box they were guarding for millenia, the Amazons shoot an arrow with a magical fire on it to ignite a temple dedicated to the Amazons in Greece in order to warn humanity about the invasion. Humanity has long forgotten about said fire's meaning, but not Diana.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When the Russian family is hiding from the swarm, the father gets a shotgun, the brother gets a crowbar and the little girl... gets bug spray.
  • Art Evolution: The movie switches between the Color Wash used in prior films and a more vibrant color scheme.
  • Artifact of Doom: Steppenwolf attempts to use the power of three combined Mother Boxes to terraform the Earth.
  • Ascended Extra:
    • Following the trend set by the New 52, Cyborg is one of the founders of the League. He is the only member of the League who was included even before having his own solo series (one premiered in 2015), being more of a roaming character between different comics, teams and limited runs.
    • Similarly, Steppenwolf is a prominent character in the New Gods mythology but has had little exposure anywhere else. In the DCAU he had a couple of lines total, and in the general comics his most prominent story was an arc in the Earth-2 comics (an Alternate Universe to the main DCU) post New 52, which is likely the inspiration for using him in this film.
    • Within the DCEU itself, Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg all had Early Bird Cameos in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as a deliberate lead-in to this film.
  • Ascended Fanboy: When Bruce throws a batarang at him you can see the look on Barry's face in Bullet Time as he realizes he is talking with Batman. He also wants to keep the batarang as a souvenir.
  • Ascended Meme: Barry asks Batman what his superpower is. Batman's reply: "I'm rich."
  • The Atoner: Batman is distraught over his poor moral choices in Dawn of Justice, and is pushing forward with the Justice League in order to fix that. This results in a friendlier and more idealistic Batman.
  • Autobots, Rock Out!: The trailers all lean on heavy rock music, with the Beatles "Come Together" being their anthem.
  • Back from the Dead: Superman is resurrected through the overcharge of a Mother Box inside the Genesis Chamber of the Kryptonian ship.
  • Badass Normal: Batman, of course, but following the story of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, he forms the League because he is completely aware that he is outmatched with the kinds of threats that are coming. So he continues to upgrade his arsenal with new vehicles, gadgets and Powered Armor.
    Barry Allen: What are your superpowers again?
    Bruce Wayne: I'm rich.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • In the Batman Cold Open, Batman appears to be capturing a burglar for a High-Altitude Interrogation, but is only using him as The Bait for a parademon. He doesn't even bother handing over the burglar to the police afterwards.
    • Just in case Superman Came Back Wrong, Bruce and Alfred talk of bringing in "the big guns". It's not a BFG but Lois Lane.
  • Beam Me Up, Scotty!: In-Universe, Arthur refuses Bruce's invitation with a saying "The strongest man is strongest alone." and asks if he ever heard of it. Flustered, Bruce tells him that's not a saying, but the opposite of the saying.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Not played straight. Rather, a tabloid, the Metropolis Post, asks the question "DID THEY RETURN TO THEIR PLANET?" and shows three pictures — David Bowie, Superman and Prince, implying they buy into all-too-common conspiracy theoriies that superstars like Bowie and Prince (who both died in Real Life 2016 when the movie was in the first phase of its making) were in fact aliens.
  • Beta Outfit:
    • Barry has his own costume cobbled together from different parts and a 3D printer, tied together with wires.
    • Cyborg has a skeletal form with light coming from a crevice in his chest, but in the epilogue his nanotech body modifies itself with a more defined circular chest light.
    • Aquaman goes into battle in Atlantean armor, evocative of his heritage but divorced from the orange and green costume. The outfit appears in his film Aquaman as kingly garb.
  • BFG: The Batmobile has an artillery piece mounted on it, which Batman uses in the final battle to blast down a tower.
  • Big Bad: Steppenwolf is the leader of the alien hordes and the one driving forward the Evil Plan. He is introduced on his own terms. He mentions Darkseid (which would make him an unseen Greater-Scope Villain) but is never seen taking orders from him.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: A massive, The Lord of the Rings-style battle sequence occurs. What sets it apart from such films is the presence of Greek gods, Amazons, Atlanteans and Green Lanterns fighting against Apokoliptan parademons and hover tanks.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • A bunch of armed men attack the Old Bailey (the Central Criminal Court of England and Wales in London), take hostages and set up a bomb. Then Wonder Woman slide-crashes through the door, makes sure the bomb explodes without harming anyone, and kicks the terrorists's asses.
    • Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Cyborg nearly drown in the flooding tunnels following Steppenwolf's escape. Then Aquaman comes in and holds the flood with his trident's power long enough for everyone to get into the Knightcrawler and ascend to safety.
    • Superman arrives to the climactic fight with Steppenwolf to lend a superhand in punching the guy out.
  • Big Good: Superman is still seen as the greatest of all the heroes, and the fallout of his death in BVS remains tangible. Steppenwolf mentions that without him, the world is defenseless. Fear of crime and chaos spreading throughout the world without Superman's mitigating presence is implied to be what attracts the parademons to Earth as well.
  • Black Comedy: After some Casual Danger Dialogue about being glad he's alive, and saving the day again, Superman laughs off the amount of pain he's in from tanking the energy blast from separating the mother boxes, talking about how he wants to die now.
  • Bodyguard Babes: In the post-credits scene Lex Luthor is shown to have two gorgeous armed women as his closest bodyguards during his meeting with Slade Wilson.
  • Book Ends:
    • In a flashback scene at the beginning of the movie, some kids with a cellphone camera ask Superman some questions for their blog, and Superman happily stops to talk to the kids. At the end, we see Wonder Woman helping to stop a bank heist and she also stops to speak to some children.
    • When talking to the kids at the beginning of the movie, Superman talks about hope, in reference to the S-shield on his chest, mentioning something Jonathan Kent said; "Hope is like your car keys. Easy to lose but usually turns up when you need it." At the end of the movie, Lois Lane writes an article for the Daily Planet about the importance of holding onto hope.
  • Breath Weapon: Superman uses his freezing breath for the first time in the films to freeze Steppenwolf's ax, allowing Diana a chance to shatter it.
  • Brick Joke: Barry suggests doing a fist bump with Victor when the two discover that they both have lab accidents in common, but quickly pulls back when he realizes it's too soon. They happily bump fists after wrapping up the main conflict of the movie.
  • Brutal Honesty: Aquaman starts saying how he feels about the upcoming attack and his teammates, as everyone struggles not to laugh. Then they point out Arthur is sitting on the Lasso of Truth.
  • Bullet Time: Used extensively, not just for the Flash, but also for Wonder Woman and Superman:
    • When Diana takes on the "reactionary terrorists," she has just 20 seconds to deal with the bomb; after which, she stops the leader from machine-gunning the hostages.
    • Obviously, the Flash, when seen from his perspective, like when he catches Bruce's batarang.
    • Superman, still suffering from Resurrection Sickness, takes on Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg, actually turns and tracks, and fights, the Flash. The look on Barry's face shows how shocked he is anyone can keep up with him.
  • …But He Sounds Handsome: Barry tries to play off the footage of him Bruce saw as just another long-haired attractive Jewish boy.
  • By "No", I Mean "Yes": In a scene from the trailers (which ended up a Deleted Scene in the theatrical version), in reference to Bruce trying to recruit Arthur Curry:
    Diana: He said he'll fight with us?
    Bruce: More or less.
    Diana: More 'more' or more 'less'?
    Bruce: Probably more less.
    Diana: He said "no"?
    Bruce: He said no.
  • Call It Karma: After Steppenwolf boasts that his axe has tasted the blood of thousands of her Amazon sisters, Diana is the one who shatters it with her sword (after Superman freezes it with his Super-breath.)
  • Call to Adventure: The Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman are on the receiving end of this.
  • Came Back Strong: By all appearances, Superman is much stronger after his resurrection, able to move fast enough to react to The Flash, as well as gaining a new power.
  • Came Back Wrong: Partially, in the case of Clark Kent's return. Superman's resurrection is achieved by the League using a Mother Box to infuse his cells with new life. This temporarily leaves him unhinged and amnesiac to the point where he nearly kills the rest of the League in a fit of rage and confusion, though he is lucid enough to recognize Batman and remember his fight with him. It takes the sight of Lois to snap him out of it. Barry Lampshades this, noting the difference between Superman coming back as he was and coming back as in Pet Sematary.
  • Cardboard Prison: In a deleted scene from Batman v Superman, Batman informs an imprisoned Luthor that he'll be sending the latter to Arkham Asylum. In the post-credits stinger: in keeping with Arkham's infamous reputation as an easily escapable prison for super villains, Lex Luthor is revealed to have escaped.
  • Cast Speciation:
  • The Chains of Commanding: Diana admits that this is the main reason she is reluctant to step in the limelight and be a leader as Bruce insists she do. She can't handle the idea of asking someone else to risk their life for her cause and her orders, and throughout the recruitment she is more regretful about asking Cyborg, The Flash, and Aquaman because it's more or less asking them to die against Steppenwolf. Batman, who has the death of a Robin on his conscience, understands this, but admits that it's necessary and merely laments how Superman could do it better than them.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Batman figured out that parademons are attracted to fear. Once Superman overpowers Steppenwolf, he begins to feel fear...
    • A literal version appears in the scene where the parademons attack the town in Russia, as the old man grabs a shotgun hanging on the wall...
  • Chest Insignia: The posters emphasize the icon that each character wears on their costume, although with Wonder Woman and Aquaman theirs are on their belts (amusingly, Batman's poster made people think the silver bat symbol was an actual new costume).
  • Clark Kenting: Diana started going back into being an active hero, but it seems no-one has made the connection. As Wonder Woman, she is a character of action with a distinctive costume, unruly hair, a tiara and no make-up. As Diana Prince she is more mild-mannered, wearing fashionable trends with well-kept hair and make-up.
  • Clear Their Name: Barry Allen's father Henry has been accused of murdering his mother. Barry seeks to prove his father's innocence by any legal means necessary.
  • Clothing Damage: Wonder Woman's costume is scarred and dirtied but it isn't ripped.
  • Comic-Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Averted. Arthur Curry and Bruce Wayne are referred to as "the Aquaman" and "the Batman", respectively. Diana also calls Victor "a cyborg"... because he is one. Whether he'll take it as a codename remains to be seen. Superman is also referred to by that. On the other hand, Diana is still not called "Wonder Woman", and Barry never even mentions the name "Flash".note 
  • The Commissioner Gordon: The Trope Namer appears, and uses the Bat Signal to contact Batman so they can discuss a string of plot-relevant kidnappings. He doesn't jump to conclusions when witnesses say they saw a vampire-like thing commit them.note 
  • Composite Character:
    • The Flash is named Barry Allen, but his social awkwardness and Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny! personality is closer to his grandson Impulse (a.k.a., the fourth Flash) and his status as the comic relief and Kid Hero of the team is from the DC Animated Universe version of Wally West.
    • Steppenwolf in the original comics looked more like a medieval woodsman, wearing green, a cape and a long hat. Reflecting the modern Steppenwolf he visually looks a lot more like Yuga Khan, Darkseid's father, with a horned helmet and skull-inspired armor. As Steppenwolf is positioned as the first major threat from Apokolips, this ends up emphasizing him as a precursor to Darkseid.
    • The black-clad terrorist leader (played by Michael McElhatton) appears to be based on two fairly obscure terrorist leaders in the DC Universe: John Charles Collins, who threatened to blow up a major capital building in the first issue of Justice League (1987), and Hyrax, albeit female, had a similar goal to McElhatton's character which involved blowing up a chunk of a city in an attempt to revert it back to a more primitive age.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: In The Stinger, Lex Luthor serves himself some Goût de Diamants ("Taste of Diamonds" in French). It is the most expensive Champagne in the world, around $1.2 million for a single bottle — the alcohol itself doesn't contain diamonds of course, the bottle is encrusted with diamonds. Lex can afford it, of course.
  • Continuity Nod: When Batman is trying to pitch to the team why they should resurrect Superman, he says that if there is a "Fraction of a chance" they should take it, calling back his "1% speech" to Alfred in the last film.
  • Conveniently Empty Building: The climactic battle takes place in an abandoned Russian town (a nuclear meltdown happened 30 years prior, and only recently some people moved in), allowing for wide-scale destruction without worry about collateral damage. Also the underground tunnel where the heroes first battle Steppenwolf, aside from the people the villains kidnapped, is empty because the project was abandoned decades ago.
  • Cool Car:
    • The Batmobile, like always. Reflecting the damage it got in BVS, it has been retrofitted with additional heavy weaponry to better deal with the invasion.
    • The film has a deal with Mercedes to showcase their cars. Bruce Wayne picks up Barry Allen in a Mercedes Vision GT, which wasn't intended for actual production and didn't even have a working prototype. They had to build the car from scratch and even expand the size a little to better fit the very tall Ben Affleck.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: Bruce deliberately blows his cover to blow the cover off Barry's. His attempt to explain the lightning-bolt suit in the room is cut short by Bruce throwing a batarang right at his head. Barry instinctively dodges at super-speed.
  • Cowardly Lion: Flash pretty much admits that his expertise is dealing with insanely small-time crimes and feels ill-prepared to take on alien gods. It's only later when he realizes how god-tier his own powers are.
  • Creepy Monotone: Cyborg speaks like this for the most part, because he's depressed and broody, but softens up at other points.
  • Crimefighting with Cash: When Barry asks Bruce what his super-powers are, Bruce simply replies, "I'm rich".
  • Curb-Stomp Battle:
    • Once Superman steps in in the climax, it's one pummeling after the other for Steppenwolf.
    • Superman's battle with the rest of the League is over quickly.
  • Cuteness Proximity: The movie opens with a video of Superman being "interviewed" by children at the scene of his heroics — as The Cape he has no problem playing along and is quite charmed by it all. The scene serves as a Happy Flashback to when he was alive. At the end of the movie Wonder Woman is shown greeting a group of children who are also recording her — she'd resisted stepping up as The Cape, but is now doing so.
  • Darkest Hour: Two of them:
    • Even before Steppenwolf makes his presence known, the world is recovering from the loss of Superman. Criminal elements are bolstered, and it's implied the events of Suicide Squad was a hint of the power vacuum that was formed. Individual heroes like Wonder Woman and Batman do what they can, but even they aren't sure how to fill the gap. Even the Flash, who has the same potential as Superman, is too shy to make his presence known to the public.
    • Later on, after Superman's resurrection doesn't exactly go according to plan, all three Mother Boxes are in Steppenwolf's possession. Superman goes with Lois to his home in Smallville, leaving the heroes with their tails between their legs as Steppenwolf prepares to make his winning move.
  • Death Is Cheap: C'mon, did anyone really think that Superman was going to stay dead for a franchise he headlines (along with Batman)?
  • Death Seeker: It's implied that Batman seeks redemption from his actions in the previous film by gathering the League and, knowing how badly he is outclassed, sacrifice himself for a bigger cause. In the final battle his intention was to punch through the enemy defenses with the Flying Fox and then divert all parademon attention on him in the batmobile to give the others an opening to reach the center tower to face Steppenwolf. Instead, the other League members follow his lead and protect him as they all make their way to the tower, and he is surprised it worked.
  • Deconstruction: The film emphasizes how, despite his genius and reputation, Batman is still a human being among living demigods. While the usual comic version would easily dispatch several Parademons with well-placed explosive batarangs, this Batman is having trouble with a single mook while the other League members easily defeat multiple threats. The revived Superman even questions Batman's capability to deal with a threat like Steppenwolf compared to himself. There's also a scene where Bruce admits to Diana that he's barely able to physically keep up with what's happening. By the time of the climax, Batman believes the only thing he can do is to sacrifice himself so the more powerful heroes can save the world. Do keep in mind that this Bruce Wayne has canonically been Batman for over twenty years, and his age is catching up to him. This also makes it plausible that Batman's villains, who unlike Steppenwolf are mostly just ordinary criminals with colorful gimmicks, could give him a challenge in any future movies.
  • Dented Iron: Batman has been doing these sort of heroics for twenty years, and it's escalated to where he is dealing with things well outside his weight class. Late in the film, after being manhandled by enemies and other League members alike, Diana notices that he has a dislocated shoulder and some bad bruising on his back. She tells him he can't keep doing this forever and he replies "I can barely keep doing this now."
  • Destructive Saviour: The League manage to save STAR Labs scientists and briefly stop Steppenwolf from getting the third Mother Box, but it comes at the price of massive structural damage at Gotham Reservoir, causing millions in property damage as Jim Gordon notes. But then he also notes wryly that Batman has finally learned to play well with others. So it's not a total loss, or that Joker has terrorized Gotham so often that his sense of humor has rubbed off on his foes.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Alfred lampshades this when Bruce tries to singlehandedly distract every single parademon in the Russian village. Batman sums it up quite well when a parademon tears the Batmobile open.
    Batman: Oh, son of a bitch.
  • Did You Just Flip Off Cthulhu?: It's downplayed on the "Cthulhu" part, but Arthur Curry is still a super-strong humanoid with sundry other powers. Bruce manages to find him and ends up being lifted off the ground and slammed against the wall just for asking questions (having video evidence of what he can do, he knows how powerful he is). He still ends up saying "I hear you can talk to fish" to him in a playful, slightly mocking, tone.
  • Divided We Fall: Referenced by Bruce when trying to convince Aquaman that they need to work together.
    Arthur: The strong man is strongest alone. You ever heard that?
    Bruce: That's not a saying. That's the opposite of what the saying is.

    Tropes E to J 
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • The tactical suit used by Batman in the film's climax was first seen being tested on by Alfred in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
    • During the flashback to how Steppenwolf was first defeated, among Earth's combatants are some Green Lanterns.
    • Deathstroke appears in the second stinger, setting him up as a major antagonist for future films.
  • Epic Movie: Due to the sheer scale, it's deemed to be the biggest film to be based on DC Comics properties yet.
  • Evasive Fight-Thread Episode: As always, the question of who is faster, Flash or Superman, comes up. As always, we don't get to see the end of their race, cutting away soon after they take off.
  • The Face: Wonder Woman has a natural empathy that makes her better positioned to be the team leader and get everyone on the same level. This is why Batman insists that she should be a "beacon" like Superman; she would be very good at it. He himself lucked out with finding Flash, but nearly got into a fight while recruiting Aquaman.
  • Fastball Special: Cyborg does this to Aquaman in midair after catching him.
    Cyborg: Ride ain't over yet.
    Aquaman: My man! [whoops as Cyborg launches him]
  • Five-Man Band: The Justice League, naturally.
    • Batman serves as The Leader, assembling the group in the first place, having the most resources to contribute to the team, and generally calling the shots.
    • Wonder Woman serves as The Lancer, for being a supportive foil to Batman's pragmatism with her inspiration and compassion, and is similarly motivated to form the team.
    • Aquaman is The Big Guy, providing similar levels of muscle as Wonder Woman but with a lot more bravado as well.
    • Cyborg is The Smart Guy, with his technological expertise, pool of knowledge, and ability to interact with machines.
    • The Flash is the The Heart, as the youngest and least experienced with combat, and whose duties as a result focus around keeping civilians safe.
    • Superman takes the role of Sixth Ranger. Out of action for one reason or another most of the time but being The Ace when he finally does take the field.
  • Finger Poke of Doom:
    • Because he is so fast, the slightest movement has major impact, so Flash often finds himself doing precision actions just by tapping something with his fingertips, including helping Diana get her sword back.
    • Even during the fight with Superman post-resurrection, he causes Supes to stagger backwards (slightly), even though most of the energy bounces him backwards into the monument.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Superman returns and leads the Justice League in battle against the bad guys; the promotional material for the movie does not make any attempt to hide this. The question is when, where, how, and why that will happen.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • The footage showing Silas Stone trying to rebuild Victor with cybernetics contains the name "Choi, Ryan", a.k.a. the third Atom.
    • When the camera pans across the newspaper machine, the headline reads "Did They Return to Their Planet?", the three pictures are David Bowie, Superman, and Prince.
  • Frontline General: Steppenwolf commands an elite parademon army, but is not afraid to get personal in the fight. Zigzagged in the climax, though, where he just lets his parademons fight the Justice League while he stays with the mother boxes. When Diana finds him, she calls him out on it. Then he starts to fight back.
  • Fruit Cart: A racist thug kicks over a Muslim woman's fruit stall For the Evulz.
  • Funny Background Event: When Diana shoves Bruce into a scaffold, lightning is seen. This is because Barry, who was standing on said scaffold, moved off of it at the same time.
  • Godzilla Threshold:
    • Steppenwolf was so dangerous that ancient tribes of mankind joined forces with the Amazons, the Atlanteans, the Gods of Olympus and at least one Green Lantern to fight his invading army. Bruce and Diana note that such an alliance would be impossible nowadays, given that the Amazons and Atlanteans have isolated themselves to their own realms while mankind is too ignorant of Steppenwolf's threat.
    • It's also likely that Steppenwolf overpowering the League was enough for Batman's decision to resurrect Superman and risk him coming back wrong.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: In what feels like a Shout-Out to the Trope Namer, after Steppenwolf takes the Amazon's motherbox Hippolyta fires a flaming arrow from Themyscira into an old Amazon temple in Greece, which ignites a bonfire. It was part of a system intended to alert the world that Steppenwolf had returned, but is so ancient the modern world wouldn't know what it means. They does it primarily as a means to inform Diana of what happened.
  • Good Feels Good: Flash confides to Batman that he is concerned with getting into a big fight because he is not experienced in that arena. Batman tells him to just save one person and not worry about fighting, and after that he will know what to do. After he rescues one person, he realizes how simple it actually is and proceeds to evacuate everyone to safety.
  • Good Samaritan: Aquaman provides an Icelandic coastal village with fish every winter, which is how Bruce finds him.
  • Greater-Scope Villain: Steppenwolf mentions his master Darkseid, but the latter never actually shows up. It's not even clear if Darkseid ordered him on this mission.
  • Ground-Shattering Landing: Steppenwolf makes his appearance on modern Earth this way, with a stone floor cracked from him dropping out of a boom tube.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be: A few parademons gets sliced up by Diana, resulting in this.
  • Heroes Unlimited: When setting up a Home Base for the League (the Hall of Justice most likely), Diana suggest Bruce to leave "room for more" than six, suggesting the trope.
  • Heroic Build: The entire male cast are built like tanks (Cyborg almost literally so). Everyone is tall and powerfully built — even the skinny Ezra Miller was noted to pack on muscle for the role.
  • High-Five Left Hanging: When Barry discovers that he and Cyborg have something in common, in that both gained their powers through a lab accident, he offers a fistbump, but quickly pulls back when realizing that Cyborg isn't in the mood.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Steppenwolf's parademons turn on him the moment he shows fear.
  • Holding Out for a Hero: Most of the world and the Justice League themselves are lamenting Superman's death and Batman out of both guilt, remorse, and desperation at facing Steppenwolf, turns to the Mother Box to revive Superman.
  • Hostile Terraforming: Steppenwolf intends to use the Mother Boxes to transform Earth into a copy of his homeworld. The climactic battle takes place in the beginnings of the hellscape he intends to make. After it's over, vibrantly colored alien flora begins growing in its place in the affected region.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Some background Amazons seen in the movie are shown in armor that exposes more of their body, armor designs that were not present in Wonder Woman. A controversy was spread that ALL Amazons were dressed more skimpily in Justice League, which isn't true. Most Amazons in the film are seen in comparable full armor. Wonder Woman also showed a number of background Amazons in what amounts to leather skirts and bras as casual or training wear. It should also be noted the skimpiest-dressed Amazons are the very muscular ones guarding the vault entrance, so the choice may involve showing off female Heroic Build instead of just female skin.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: It's implied that even before Steppenwolf causes trouble, humanity has no problem destroying itself after Superman's demise.
    Bruce: Humanity likes to pretend that the Doomsday Clock has a snooze button.
  • Hypocritical Humor: When meeting with Commissioner Gordon, the team pull a Stealth Hi/Bye with his back turned, a Batman tradition, except Flash also didn't realize they stepped away and was standing there alone. He comments on how rude it is to just vanish like that, and then does the same thing with a Flash Step.
  • I Can't Do This by Myself: Bruce has reason to believe Earth is about to face a threat even greater than Zod, and immediately scrambles to find people powerful enough to stop it.
  • If I Wanted You Dead...: A more benign example. When Cyborg hacks into the Batcave and Wonder Woman tries to arrange a meeting, he asks how he can trust her. She points out that she could have said something when he was spying on her and Bruce earlier in the film. This gets him to agree to the meeting.
  • I Have a Family: What a hapless worker who's being lifted by Steppenwolf says to him during a Neck Lift.
  • I Know You're Watching Me: As per her skills in Batman v Superman, Diana knows when she's under surveillance, being fully aware that Cyborg was watching them at the lake. Cyborg in turn had picked up the electronic trail of Batman's search for him.
  • Imagined Innuendo: Bruce says he's only interested in Diana's skillset. Alfred smirks and says, "I'm sure you are."
  • Impossibly Cool Clothes: Barry's suit is apparently 3-D printed so that it conforms specifically to his body, and is made of cutting edge material to help him better handle the side effects of his powers. The production noted that the costume was made up of 148 pieces, which was actually not that difficult to put on as each piece snapped together easily.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: How far is that Greek temple from Themyscira, and how strong is Queen Hippolyta, who shot the arrow? Surely there's only so far an arrow will fly before gravity, wind resistance, and its own parabola bring it down.
  • Informed Flaw: Batman accuses Wonder Woman of hiding herself instead of all the good she could do. But before this, we saw her stop a bank robbery very publicly. Nothing suggests she is trying to hide in any way.
  • Informed Judaism: Apropos of nothing, Barry Allen brings up the fact that he's Jewish, and it's never mentioned again.
  • Innocent Bystanders: Civilians living in the city near the Russian nuclear powerplant Steppenwolf chose as his base of operations to start his terraforming with the three Mother Boxes combined are directly threatened by the Parademons and said terraforming. Most notably, a Russian family shows up in three scenes in a row. The family ends up being brought to safety by the Flash, and Superman lifts and carries a whole building full of people to safety.
  • Inspirational Martyr: Superman is the primary motivation to form the League, as more specifically Batman is trying to live up to the ideal that Superman set. They even say that Superman did more than just rescue people, but he inspired others to be better.
  • Ironic Echo:
    • Batman talking about "fear" on two instances, echoing "Breathe it in, that's fear!" The first happens when he captures a robber to lure a Parademon at the beginning and the second happens when Superman and Wonder Woman destroy Steppenwolf's ax, making him feel fear and turning his own Parademons against him.
    • Upon his resurrection, Superman neck lifts Batman and asks him "Do you bleed?"
  • Irony: While the Amazons and Atlanteans hid their Mother Boxes in guarded fortresses, the tribes of men just buried theirs in the woods and forgot about it over time. Steppenwolf claimed the Amazon and Atlantean Mother Boxes with relative ease, while the third eluded him for a large portion of the movie.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Diana tries to take Bruce to task over his survivor's guilt regarding Superman. Bruce responds by pointing out that she spent the better part of a century in self-imposed exile for the same reasons. He also points out that Diana, as Wonder Woman, has the potential to be as much of an inspiration as Superman. Granted, Bruce was more of a douchebag than he had to be, but you can't fault him calling her out for hypocrisy. It was implied later on that he confronted her that way because he really wanted her to step up as the leader of the group. Cyborg invokes this when he seconds Batman's motion to use the Mother Box to resurrect Superman: he was "crunching the numbers" while Batman was "busy being an asshole".
  • Jumped at the Call: The Flash immediately agrees to join Batman's team because he wants friends... and he's a fan.

    Tropes L to R 
  • Large and in Charge: Steppenwolf towers over everyone by at least a couple of feet. Two of his mooks would have to stand feet-to-shoulder to be eye-level to him.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Anyone who didn't see Wonder Woman prior to this film may learn a major plot twist by seeing David Thewlis's face on Ares.
  • Later-Installment Weirdness:
    • Bar Wonder Woman's theme (briefly reprised with violins), Danny Elfman didn't reprise any of the Leitmotivs introduced in Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, instead opting to reference the John Williams' 1978 theme for Superman and his own 1989 theme for the Batman.
    • As mentioned below, Superman is portrayed with a much jokier and more optimistic personality in the film, which, despite being how he's usually depicted in the comics, doesn't quite gel with how he acted in Man of Steel or Batman v Superman.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • Bruce reminds the audience why Aquaman isn't as beloved as his other teammates...
      Bruce: Arthur Curry. I heard you can talk to fish.
    • Also, Jim Gordon echoes the utter exhaustion some fans have for "superhero fights against another superhero" plots:
      Comissioner Gordon: [to Batman] It's good to see you playing well with others again.
    • It could also be a reference to how Batman's previous cinematic incarnations had him in stand-alone continuities where no other heroes unrelated to his comics exist. In the Schumacher movies, Batman was assisted by Robin and Batgirl. In The Dark Knight Trilogy, Batman was on his own. DCEU Batman, however, breaks from that as he exists in a Shared Universe with other heroes, whether they are associated with him or not.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: After coming back from the dead, Superman... isn't himself for a while. Cyborg's defence systems automatically target him, and he starts tossing all the other future Justice League members around for a while until he comes back to his senses.
  • Lighter and Softer: Writer Chris Terrio describes the movie as being this in comparison to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which itself was Darker and Edgier than Man of Steel. In general, the movie is more hopeful, humorous, and heartfelt than the other two movies Zack Snyder directed, and features a less complicated plot with a greater amount of action. The posters even reflect this, with MOS and BVS posters generally being very serious, featuring things like Superman in handcuffs or the characters ready to fight in a warzone, the Justice League posters are more straightforward and feature the characters standing on a mountaintop with the sun rising behind them.
  • The Lost Lenore:
    • Superman's death still visibly affects Lois and Martha. It also affects Batman to an extent.
    • Steve Trevor also haunts Wonder Woman after all these decades and Bruce disrespecting his memory makes her violently push him in anger.
  • MacGuffin: The humans, Amazons, and Atlanteans each have a Mother Box from a conflict with Apokalips long ago. They possess a multitude of mystical abilities, including the creation of portals connecting Earth and Apokolips. One was glimpsed briefly in Batman v Superman, as it is tied in with the origin of Cyborg, and Etta Candy, Sameer, Chief and Charlie went on a mission to obtain it after the end of World War I in the DVD post-credits scene of Wonder Woman. Representations of three of them were shown to Lex Luthor when he was communicating with Steppenwolf before he was captured by Federal forces in the Doomsday aftermath. The conflict of the movie involves Steppenwolf coming back to Earth looking for them.
  • Magic Pants: When Superman comes back to life, an explosion of energy destroys his shirt and shoes, but not his pants.
  • Male Gaze: When Bruce and Barry get off the jet to meet Diana, the camera is focused firmly on her behind the entire time until she starts speaking to them. There are a number of other shots showing her legs, "upskirt" (thanks to her Lady Legionnaire Wear), or just full body shots of Diana striding along in tight leather pants. A number of her non-costume shirts also feature an Impossibly-Low Neckline.
  • The Magnificent Seven Samurai: Snyder likens the story to this trope. Coincidentally, the font for the logo is similar to that of the Magnificent Seven remake released in 2016.
  • Meta Casting: Jason Momoa as Aquaman was not the most intuitive casting, but fans grew to love the choice because Aquaman is often portrayed as a Barbarian Hero (mainly thanks to Peter David's reinvention of the character in The '90s) and Momoa has played largely just that. Even he admitted he was caught off guard by the offer, but realized the ingenious idea of casting someone like him because of his Pacific Island heritage, as their culture is filled with water gods. He also says in one of the iTunes extras that he identified with Aquaman's Fish out of Water identity crisis, himself being born in Hawaii and raised in Iowa, which are as different culturally as one could find.
  • Modesty Shorts: In certain shots Diana appears to be wearing tiny blue shorts under her Lady Legionnaire Wear skirt. Other times, she isn't.
  • Monumental Damage: The War Memorial of the Battle of Metropolis gets destroyed. Again.
  • Mook: Parademons, armored and sometimes Winged Humanoid shock troopers of Darkseid. They blend the line into being Mecha Mooks, being genetically modified using Apokoliptan technology.
  • More Dakka: At least two more guns have been added to the Batmobile. It is undoubtedly useful against the Parademon invasion. The Knightcrawler is basically just a cockpit with legs and lots of guns.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black: Aquaman's battle armor is certainly darker than in the comics, but manages to retain its gold and green color scheme. Flash's costume is primarily bright red armor but has a black undersuit that shows through between the segmented pieces. Cyborg has an emphasis on his dark silver armor with glowing red eyes, while in the comics he typically has some blue highlights. Superman was supposed to wear a black costume for a portion of the film, but all those scenes were left on the cutting room floor. In an inversion, his and Wonder Woman's costumes are brighter than they were in Batman vs. Superman.
  • Mr. Exposition: Or in this case, Miss Exposition. Diana recounts Steppenwolf's first attempt to take over the world; she mentions The Amazons, The Atlanteans and "The Tribes of Men", most likely because 5,000 years ago, that was human society of the time.
  • Mugging the Monster: Batman repeatedly gets in the face of super-powered beings throughout the film as a Running Gag. He gloats to Aquaman about how he can talk to fish and gets a Neck Lift in exchange from a superpowered Atlantean; then, he goads Diana by pushing her buttons, making her shove him back angrily to an installation, and upon Superman's resurrection, Bruce's very appearance pushes Clark's buttons, since he remembers him trying to kill him in the last film as well as their first interaction where Bruce issues a death threat to the Kryptonian ("do you bleed?"), and he gets casually shoved to the ground when Lois arrives, as Bruce planned. This is Played for Laughs for most of the film and intended to take Bruce down a peg from his last film, but it gets played for drama when Diana sees how injured Bruce was from Superman casually manhandling him, and by implication from her earlier in the film, noting that given his advanced age, he can barely keep up with the rest of the team.
  • Mythology Gag: Has its own page.
  • Neck Lift:
    • The resurrected Superman does it to Batman, except he lifted him by his face during his Curb-Stomp Battle against the titular team.
    • During the climax, Steppenwolf does it to Cyborg before ripping him in half.
  • Never Speak Ill of the Dead: Superman gets this treatment, going from being a polarising figure in life to being idealised in death. Possibly justifying this change in attitude was the revelation that Lex Luthor's attempts to defame Superman had become public knowledge, leaving only his heroic deeds to be remembered.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: While it didn't make it into the this version of the film, the scene on the farm between Clark and Lois where Clark noticed the engagement ring he planned to give Lois was on her finger wasn't a dream like the final trailer implied, but part of their reunion after his return.
  • New Meat: Flash is definitely the kid of the team. The other members are more seasoned in combat scenarios while he, in his own words, has "just pushed some people and run away."
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: This film introduces Superman's signature ice breath, which doesn't have any explanation or buildup for its use in the plot compared to the rest of his powers.
  • No Name Given: The Russian family's members are unnamed, save for Yuri (the son).
  • No-Sell: One of the courtoom attackers hits Wonder Woman In the Back of her head with the butt of his rifle. To no effect, of course.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: As part of an evolution from Man of Steel, the existence of aliens, gods and magic have altered the world into something far more fantastical than where it started. Alfred even says "I don't recognize this world."
  • Now It's My Turn: In a Missing Trailer Scene, Batman is chased by Parademons shooting at him, then jumps into the Knightcrawler and shoots back at them.
    Batman: My turn!
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Lois feels ashamed when Martha talks of how her son admired her Intrepid Reporter qualities. Lois is suffering a Heroic BSoD after Superman's death and no longer has her drive for Going for the Big Scoop.
  • Oh, Crap!: Flash gives a pretty spectacular example when an amnesiac and confused Superman gives him a withering Death Glare that follows him mid-Bullet Time.
  • Ominous Cube: The Mother Boxes are three alien cubes that, when united, are capable of terraforming a planet into a Death World like Steppenwolf's homeland.
  • Only Mostly Dead: Bruce's whole plan on resurrecting Clark is that Clark's metabolism is constantly renewing his body, even if his heart stopped.
  • Outside Ride: Aquaman climbs on the Batmobile for a ride, then jumps on Parademons.
  • Place Worse Than Death: Aquaman usually hangs out in a fishing village in the ass-end of nowhere, but he still sees it fit to comment on how much of a hellhole Gotham is.
  • Plucky Comic Relief: The Flash fills this role, being actually excited to save the world and adding an air of optimism to the movie.
  • Police Are Useless: Largely Averted.
    • In the opening scene, cops are shown arresting a pair of racist thugs who are harassing a shop owner, although they're unable to keep one of them from getting in one last kick.
    • Comissioner Gordon takes notice of the Parademon activities and works with Batman to investigate them.
  • The Power of Love: What gets the resurrected Superman to snap out of his confused rage? None other than Lois, his One True Love, tearfully pleading for him to stop.
  • Precursor Heroes: The alliance of humans, Amazons, Atlanteans, Olympians and Green Lanterns that defeated Steppenwolf in the distant past are described by Diana as heroes from the The Time of Myths, and in a sense they do represent the Justice League's predecessors in more ways than one.
  • Present Absence: Superman's absence has a profound effect on the world at large and the individual characters, most obviously Lois and Bruce.
    Batman: The world needs Superman. I made him a promise.
  • Prodigal Hero: Aquaman is from Atlantis but he's mostly fled the palace and state and working as a free range hero. Mera calls him out on this when he comes back to try and stop Steppenwolf from taking the Mother Box. She insists that he follow after Steppenwolf and stop him as his mother Atlanna would have done.
  • Product Placement:
    • The film had a deal with Mercedes-Benz to showcase their vehicles. Diana drives a prototype E-class convertible. Bruce Wayne drives an AMG Vision Gran Turismo, with automated gull wing doors. It was a concept designed purely for Gran Turismo and the physical model shown at car shows was non-functional without even an interior, meaning they had to build the car from the ground up.
    • In The Stinger, Lex Luthor serves himself some Goût de Diamants ("Taste of Diamonds" in French), a very expensive champagne.
  • Race Lift:
    • Iris West as played by African-American actress Kiersey Clemons, following the lead of The Flash.
    • Aquaman is usually a blonde Caucasian man; Mamoa has a mixture of Caucasian, Native American and Native Hawaiian blood.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: In an interesting contrast to the comics, where the League was made of the greatest heroes, the best of the best, the movie shows that the Crapsack World has made them outcasts (Aquaman), cynics (Batman), untested (Flash), exiles (Wonder Woman) and freaks (Cyborg), and of them only Batman is a well-known figure (and certainly not well-liked). Superman was controversial at times, but he made that leap as a public superhero and had an innate goodness that makes the rest of the team try to live up to his ideal. Part of their efforts to work as a team is a reminder that they are holding themselves back. Other adaptations play up some of their personal problems, but they were still well-established heroes before joining the League.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • A less-than-happy-to-be-revived Superman gives one to Batman: "This world needs me. But does it need you?"
    • Subverted with Bruce giving one to Diana in regards to him telling her how she basically shut herself down for decades after Steve Trevor's death and stayed in hiding as opposed to becoming a symbol for justice and hope like Superman was. Turns out to be a Batman Gambit to coerce her into getting fired up enough to lead the team he feels he can't.
  • Red Is Heroic: Many of the League have red elements. Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Superman wear red as at least part of their costumes, and Cyborg has his usual red eye and chest-light.
  • Red Sky, Take Warning: The League's all-out assault on Steppenwolf's army takes place under a red sky.
  • Refusal of the Call:
    • Completely averted with Flash, who gladly accepts Bruce's proposal without even asking questions, mainly because he needs friends, and is likely a fan of Batman.
    • Cyborg declines to join the other heroes at first, but changes his mind when his scientist father (of STAR Labs) is kidnapped by the Parademons.
    • Aquaman outright rejects membership when Bruce comes knocking. He also changes his mind when Steppenwolf attacks Atlantis.
  • Relocating the Explosion: Wonder Woman throws a terrorist's bomb into the sky right before it explodes.
  • Remake Cameo: The Jimmy Olsen actor from the Christopher Reeve Superman films, Marc McClure, plays a Metropolis cop during Superman's resurrection rampage in a deleted scene of the original version of the film (which can be seen in the first trailer). He also appears in a Whedon scene, that of Barry Allen waiting at the Central City prison to see his father, as a cop who's in charge of checking the people who come for visits.
  • Required Secondary Powers:
    • Flash's costume is explicitly made from NASA grade material to accommodate the high stress and friction from his Super-Speed.
    • Flash's speed, and the accompanying super-strength (due to momentum), gives him the power to actually move Clark back slightly, even though Clark is basically an immovable object; even so, most of the energy is reflected back into Barry, sending him flying.
  • Resurrection Sickness: Superman suffers from Laser-Guided Amnesia (forgetting about the Doomsday battle and Martha Kent's rescue when he head-butts Wonder Woman and neck lifts Batman, only retaining memories of the latter's hostility — "Do you bleed?!") and a bit of Power Incontinence (his X-Ray Vision is unfocused once again, making him see skeletons and organs) upon being resurrected. Lois helps him put the pieces together afterwards.
  • Retcon:
    • Not only does Superman suddenly have a happier, warmer personality after returning to life, but the film seems to suggest he's always been like this. A major plot point revolves around the idea that he was seen as an inspirational figure by the people of Earth, and that his death subsequently caused mass despair and has driven the world to the brink of chaos. This seems at odds with the previous movies, that very much made the DCEU seem like a Crapsack World, and Superman himself was portrayed as somewhat brooding and angsty. In fact, whether or not he could be considered a symbol of hope or a walking example of Beware the Superman waiting to happen was heavily discussed In-Universe.
    • Cyborg's origin also gets a major change. A line of dialogue states that he was formed by the Mother Box in his father's possession on the night Superman died, but in Batman v Superman, the video showing the event happened some time before, and was recovered by Luthor, and shared and exchanged by Batman and Diana well before the event happened.
    • The Flash's origin is different as well. Here, Barry gets his power before becoming a Police Scientist. He doesn't start working for the crime lab until the end of the movie.
  • Rummage Sale Reject: The Flash's initial costume is very much kit-bashed together. Batman helps him put together something more form-fitting and efficient.

    Trope S to Z 
  • Sacrificial Lion: A Green Lantern is shown being slain by Steppenwolf in the previous invasion of Earth to emphasize how big a threat Apokolips's forces are.
  • Sad-Times Montage: The opening credits features a series of shots showing how things are worse without Superman, set to a cover of Leonard Cohen's "Everybody Knows". (Interestingly, though the footage was made up of snippets filmed by Zack Snyder, the song choice was Joss Whedon's.)
  • Scenery Gorn: The Russian city is so covered in fire, rubble, and red smoke during the Parademon invasion that it looks like something out of Dante's Inferno.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: How does Bruce get the bank to rescind the foreclosure on the Kent farm at the end? He buys the bank.
  • Secret Identity: While trying to get Superman back to normal, several people keep referring to him as "Clark", while in full view (and earshot!) of some of Metropolis' finest. Likewise, Bruce Wayne's identities are somewhat freely spoken amongst the fisher folk of the village where Aquaman frequents. Batman himself when interrogating the mook at the start and using him as bait to lure Parademons openly addresses Alfred by name on his commlink in visible earshot of the mook.
  • Self-Plagiarism: The gag of the Flash faceplanting into Wonder Woman's cleavage was previously used by Joss Whedon with Bruce Banner and Black Widow in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • Bruce Wayne and Diana establish a Home Base for the League within Wayne Manor.
    • A big one in The Stinger. Lex Luthor is free, and recruits Deathstroke to form the Legion of Doom.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • Steppenwolf looks almost nothing like his hologram from the Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
    • The reshoots created at least two continuity errors, both concern Cyborg.
      • Cyborg states that the Mother Box his father possesses activated itself for the first time after the death of Superman. The trouble is that it was clearly activated to create Cyborg's cybernetic body before Superman's death in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as shown in the stolen "metahumans" footage Diana watches before taking part to the battle against Doomsday.
      • On the footage Diana watches before being contacted by Cyborg, the latter looks nowhere near the critical condition shown in Batman v Superman (basically just half of his torso, his head and arm stumps remained). In the Justice League footage, the accident doesn't seem to have been that crippling.
  • Serkis Folk:
    • Cyborg is primarily CG. Ray Fisher wore a motion capture suit on set, while still wearing some physical prosthetics for his head, glowing red eye and chest piece.
    • All the parademons are done with mo-cap. Steppenwolf was a little different, given his extreme height Ciaran Hinds wasn't actually on set with the other actors or perform the action sequences but he did do performance capture.
  • Ship Tease: Unsurprisingly, Bruce and Diana get a few moments between each other. Alfred appears to be a Shipper on Deck trying to get him to give her a call, ostensibly to bring her in to the team but comes across like asking for a date and it's clear he wants Master Bruce to settle down. She also helps him with a dislocated shoulder in a scene with Intimate Healing undertones.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Batman's tactical suit includes goggles, looking rather similar to Nite Owl from Snyder's own Watchmen, who was something of a Batman expy to begin with.
    • The posters for the movie have a very distinctive Alex Ross look to them; very heroic and regal group shots with everyone looking the same direction with minimalist poses and expressions. Taken to the extreme in the posters released for Comic Con 2017, where it is nearly identical to several specific Ross paintings with Cyborg instead of Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter.
    • In a deleted scene, Alfred is alerted to Superman approaching him by seeing vibrations in his glass, a famous image from Jurassic Park.
    • The ending is overcut with Lois Lane penning her next article. Final Crisis, another story that opened up with the death of an alien hero and focused on the invasion of the New Gods, ended on the same note.
    • The way Superman is resurrected is very similar to how The Vision was created in Avengers: Age of Ultron. The one having the idea is the Badass Bookworm millionaire (Batman / Iron Man), using the Imported Alien Phlebotinum (Mother Box / Mind Gem), with help from another genius who understands the needed technology (Cyborg / Bruce Banner), and the final step involves applying a massive electric shot at the right moment (The Flash / Thor). Plus the one objecting the most to this plan is the group's veteran soldier (Wonder Woman / Captain America).
    • When Superman comes back from the dead, kicking ass without his iconic costume and shirtless to boot, he's a dead ringer for Hugo Danner, one of the very first legitimate superheroes in all of media and who is often said to have been an inspiration for the character.
  • Shrouded in Myth: Bruce addresses a crowd in a remote village in Iceland by relating a local legend of a man who shows up "on the king tide" and brings fish to help feed the village in winter. As it turns out, he was tracking Aquaman.
  • Sinister Surveillance: Cyborg can access virtually every computerized system on Earth and eaves-drop on the people around them. This is how he spots the conversation Alfred and Bruce have about him, and how he contacts Diana to meet her.
  • Sir Not-Appearing-in-This-Trailer: Superman doesn't appear until the last trailer, and then only in what was edited to look like a dream sequence (the Kent farm scene with him and Lois is not a dream in the actual film). This was done to keep the nature of his resurrection and newfound confident persona a secret.
  • Sixth Ranger: Superman is the last person to join the team, in a Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • Slasher Smile: Superman of all people puts on one, when he’s suffering from Resurrection Sickness and asks Batman if he bleeds.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Superman's absence from the main story is a big part of the movie, and his eventual resurrection becomes a vital piece of the plot; as such, despite limited on-screen time and interaction with the other characters, the movie is still about him more than any individual member of the League.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Wonder Woman is the only female founding member of the League.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Silas Stone survives in the theatrical cut, whereas his death was a crucial component of Cyborg's story in the director's cut and the original script that preceded it. (Notably, the "Look up in the sky..." monologue at the end of the film was originally his speech, delivered to Cyborg in an archival recording that he made before his death.) He's last seen giving his son some upgrades after the two have reconciled.
  • Spider Tank: One of the Knightcrawler's modes. One has to wonder what Kevin Smith must think of the presence of a Giant Mechanical Spider in a movie with Superman, to say nothing of his friend Ben Affleck being the one piloting it.
  • Stealth Hi/Bye: Batman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg all pull this on both Commissioner Gordon and Flash... at the same time. And they leave Flash behind. He promptly hangs a lampshade on it.
    Flash: Oh, wow! [looks around in confusion] They really just vanished! Uh, oh... [beat] That's rude... [runs away at high speed]
  • The Stinger:
    • According to Zack Snyder, the Steppenwolf scene from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice that ultimately was deleted was meant to serve as one in that movie to lead into this movie, but it was taken out due to it taking place earlier from a chronological standpoint, and to avoid accusations that they were copying Marvel. It was instead released online while the movie was still in theaters as a way of standing apart.
    • This film itself has two post-credits scenes. One with Superman and Flash competing in a friendly race. The other features Deathstroke having a meeting with Lex Luthor to form a Legion of Doom.
  • Symbolic Baptism: Superman's resurrection via Motherbox involves immersing him in water.
  • Take Up My Sword: Batman and Wonder Woman form the Justice League following Superman's death, inspired by his heroism. Luckily for them, Superman is Only Mostly Dead and will be coming Back from the Dead to help them, even if they don't know it at the time.
  • Tank Goodness: A new Batman vehicle called the Knightcrawler features prominently, with modular legs allowing it more versatile terrain climbing. Apparently it was based on a prototype designed by Thomas Wayne.
  • Tattoo as Character Type: Aquaman is covered in tribal tattoos, reflecting his Pacific Islander heritage and being close to nature. Amusingly, Momoa's own tattoos are integrated into the design, specifically on his left forearm.
  • Team Title: The film is about the formation of the eponymous team. Interestingly, they are simply called "a league" in the film.
  • Thanks for the Mammary: A mild version, Flash tackles Wonder Woman to get out of the way from falling debris and ends up on top of her with his face against her chest. He does a Flash Step to get off her with a sheepish look on his face, and she responds with a bemused smirk.
  • Theme Music Power-Up:
    • Subverted when Superman is resurrected. As he stands in front of the League, you hear the first notes of John Williams' Superman theme... but then the next few notes are in a minor key as the League realizes there is something wrong.
    • Then played straight when Superman joins the fight against Steppenwolf. As he introduces himself, you hear the same slow, tentative intro as before, before it rises into triumphant French horn when he punches Steppenwolf and knocks him clear across the room.
  • The Team Normal: Batman is the only member without any powers, having to "make do" with martial arts training, technology, his intellect, and billions of dollars.
  • Technopath: Cyborg can interface with machinery on a nanotech level. He is also constantly online, accessing information on secure servers (including the Batcave) with little trouble.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Being not great with people, Batman is not the best person to get everyone working together. Cyborg and Aquaman have their own issues and concerns. Lucky for him Wonder Woman is already on his side and Flash Jumped at the Call.
    Gordon: It's good to see you playing well with others.
    Aquaman: [sees Bruce in costume] Dressed like a bat? I dig it.
    Batman: [to Gordon through gritted teeth] May be temporary.
  • Teleportation: The Boom Tube of a Mother Box is seen for the first time, when Steppenwolf teleports himself on Earth using the Mother Box the Amazons were guarding on Themyscira.
  • Terraforming: Of a different nature than that of Zod in Man of Steel. Steppenwolf used the power of the three Mother Boxes combined to summon gigantic purple crystalline tentacles that tear the ground apart and turn the sky red.
  • There Are No Global Consequences: Back in the "Age of Heroes" (roughly the Bronze Age), Human cavalry knights fought against alien monsters, alongside Amazons, Atlanteans, other aliens, and even Physical Gods. Even with the ultimate fate of the motherbox unknown, such an event alone should have had a profound impact on human culture... and yet, somehow, it didn't, as everyone was properly surprised about aliens, amazons and the narration of this event. It's probably a case of Legend Fades to Myth, as the humans buried their Mother Box in a secret location instead of guarding it.
  • This Cannot Be!:
    • The terrorist's reaction when he opens fire at full-auto on a group of hostages, only to find that Wonder Woman has blocked or pushed the hostages away from every single round.
      Black Clad Alpha: I don't believe it! What are you?
      Wonder Woman: A believer.
    • Steppenwolf's reaction to be defeated by the League.
  • Time Skip: About two years has passed since the apparent Heroic Sacrifice of Superman.
  • Tron Lines: Steppenwolf's ax glows red and leaves red streaks while swinging it around.
  • Truer to the Text: The movie's version of the Flash when compared to the TV version. Here he's seen operating solo prior to joining the League, whereas in the series he has "Team Flash" to help him. Also for a character nicknamed the "scarlet speedster" this version's costume fits better, as overall (barring the fingerless gloves) it's closer to a true red while the show's suit is maroon/burgundy instead.
  • Uncertain Doom:
    • Several Amazons try to hold back Steppenwolf's Parademons inside Themyscira's dome to ensure Hippolyta flees with the Mother Box. Its not unclear if they survived or not as Philippus was among them, yet she is not seen again with the survivors when they alert Wonder Woman.
    • At the end of the movie, Steppenwolf is being pounced by his own Parademons just before being summoned by a Boom Tube. It's not exactly clear what became of him, but he was presumably brought back to his homeworld so that Darkseid can punish him for his failure.
  • Unknown Rematch Conclusion: A variation. A newly resurrected Superman curb stomps the entire Justice League before being returned to normal. A mid-credits scene has Superman and Flash engaging in a race, with the scene ending before the winner is shown.
  • Use Your Head: When Superman fights the League after being resurrected, he grips Diana's wrist to prevent her from doing a bracelet smash and then headbutts her. She recovers quickly and returns the favor (which is the only moment anyone is able to actually harm Superman even a little). He gets angry, flies a few feet in the air and then headbutts her again, smashing her into the concrete.
  • Variable Terminal Velocity: Averted. Barry is able to super-speed along the inside of the cooling tower, basically defying gravity, but when he loses contact with the wall, gravity takes hold again, and Batman saves him with a bat-rope. Barry responds with a timid, but grateful, "Thank you."
  • Visual Pun: When Wonder Woman appears in London, she looks down from the statue of Lady Justice.
  • Walking Spoiler: A rather odd case in Superman. The marketing team has made it absolutely no secret that he'll be a part of the movie (and neither has the director, though he's also tried to play it off as an Ambiguous Situation), even after the character's death was shown in Dawn of Justice. The trailer released makes it clear that he won't return until a good portion into the story: the spoiler-y part, of course, is how he comes back, when that happens, and what impact it will have on the story.
  • Western Terrorists: The hostage takers that Wonder Woman takes down in her Batman Cold Open.
    Black Clad Beta: [in Lasso of Truth] We're a small group of reactionary terrorists. We know that sin has brought on this plague of aliens.

    Black Clad Alpha: [opening his suitcase to reveal an Incredibly Obvious Bomb] This is man's best hope. Down with the modern world, back to the dark ages and the safety of holy fear.
  • Wham Line: The final one as now freed Lex Luthor talks to Deathstroke on how to handle this new band of heroes.
    Luthor: To put it plainly... shouldn't we have a League of our own?
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Much drama is put into the Mother Boxes, and how the world will be destroyed if Steppenwolf were to ever control all three of them and combine their power. The heroes are successful in separating the Mother Boxes and nullifying their destructive power but we are not shown what happens to them at any point afterwards. It's fair to assume that the boxes were left behind when Steppenwolf is recalled home, and each faction reclaims their box again for safekeeping once more.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Super?: Batman and Alfred seem to angst about how the world has so thoroughly changed to superpowered threats and beings that it makes their kind of crimefighting irrelevant. Alfred notes that he doesn't recognize this world. When Superman is resurrected, he rushes to Batman in fury. Batman tells Superman that he brought him back because the world needs him, and Superman replies, "Does it need you?" Later while healing from injuries, Diana looks at his wounds compassionately.
    Diana: You know you can't do this forever.
    Bruce: I can barely do it now.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Batman will never hear the end of how he tried to kill Superman. Diana calls him out for this, and further objects to digging up his body at an attempt for a resurrection. Batman in turn calls Diana out for her self-imposed exile for a large part of the century, sitting out while humans waged wars and conflicts throughout the world and not doing anything until Superman dies.
  • Window Love: The second trailer shows Barry Allen visiting his father in prison, with their hands separated by the glass.
  • Withholding the Big Good: Superman doesn't appear until halfway through the movie. Justified, what with him having died in the previous film, necessitating a reason for him to get better. Still, he doesn't show up to the final battle until it's pretty thoroughly engaged.
  • Wolverine Publicity:
    • Traditionally, Batman is the most reluctant to join the League, being the most secretive member, with Superman being the man who forms the League. Here, Batman is the instigator of the league's formation, as part of his contrition for letting his cynicism blind him to Superman's true motive, and for his dread of the vague-yet-dire portents he's received. The Watsonian reason is that Superman is kinda-sorta dead right now. The Doylist reason is that people would be more inclined to say "Yes" to Superman, making it more interesting having Batman make the sales pitch. It helps too that Batman's film and cross-media adaptations have been more successful commercially.
    • After the rousing success of Wonder Woman's solo movie (especially when compared to the negative critical response to past DCEU films), WB's been playing up her role in the marketing. She gets a Batman Cold Open to herself in the second trailer, and she's pretty much The Leader of the team. Even the home releases made sure to give her the most prominent spot on the cover.
  • The Worf Effect:
    • The movie has Superman effortlessly trounce the rest of the League to show just how much more powerful he is.
    • Steppenwolf manages to be on both ends of this. The first time the League encounters him nobody but Wonder Woman can even stand up to him. This is what convinces Bruce that they need to revive Superman. Then, halfway through the final battle, when Superman returns, everyone, especially Superman except for Batman and the Flash lands one decisive hit after another as a way of demonstrating how well the League works as a team.
  • You're Insane!: Aquaman to Bruce Wayne when they first meet.
    Aquaman: Dress like a bat. You're out of your mind, Bruce Wayne.
    Bruce: Doesn't mean I'm wrong.

"But these heroes were here the whole time to remind us that hope is real. That you can see it. All you have to do is look up in the sky..."


Video Example(s):


Aquaman - Justice League

Aquaman Saves Fisherman - Bar Scene - Justice League (2017)

How well does it match the trope?

4.77 (13 votes)

Example of:

Main / GoodIsNotNice

Media sources: