We are less than a week out from the eagerly anticipated DC superhero team-up film, Justice League. Much of the talk up to this point has been about the heroes, and how this film will set up the DC cinematic universe for the future, not so much on the villain. The marketing itself has been rather conservative, opting not to show much of Steppenwolf, and instead focusing on the heroes who will anchor WB’s universe. This is a stark contrast to the Doomsday reveal in the Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice promotion. But these heroes must be brought together to face a common threat and Wonder Woman actress, Gal Gadot, explained why Steppenwolf is the perfect villain for Justice League.
When you simplify a story, especially the ones we’re exploring in the Justice League, where there’s so much going on with the villain and the end of the world and the fact that we’re introducing three new characters, I think it was a smart call to limit the villain to just one person.
While this doesn’t give us too much insight into the character himself, it does speak to the more simplified approach this film is taking. With a cosmic and world-ending threat to face, and Superman currently deceased, it is best to go all-in on Steppenwolf instead of having multiple villains, or spending half the movie planting seeds for future foes. This should allow Steppenwolf to really own his role in the film, and with veteran actor Ciarán Hinds portraying the New God, he should come off as a compelling and very real threat. It also should give the new heroes, Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg room to be introduced to the audience and for the super friends to develop as a team.
Gal Gadot’s words to The Toronto Sun also reflect the approach WB is taking with Justice League and their willingness to learn from the past. Overstuffing villains into a film and focusing too much on world-building has weakened superhero films from all the studios who have made them. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice shoehorned in metahuman files on a computer, Spider-Man 3 had three villains and did none of them justice, and Avengers: Age of Ultron was too concerned with setting up the future that it neglected the present. WB is clearly aiming for a fun and tight film, given the runtime, so choosing to focus on one villain is the smart approach. End-credits scenes, which Justice League has, are for teasing the future.
The early reactions are in and it seems that Justice League continues down the path laid out by Wonder Woman and proves to be a tonally fun film with breakout performances. Justice League opens in theaters on November 17th, so don’t forget to pre-order your tickets for opening weekend.