Cast: Ben Affleck, Amy Adams, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jeremy Irons
Director: Zack Snyder
Genre: Action, Adventure
Running Time: 120 minutes
Synopsis: From Warner Bros. Pictures comes the first-ever Justice League big screen epic action adventure, directed by Zack Snyder and starring as the famed lineup of DC Super Heroes: Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, and Ray Fisher as Cyborg.
Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes"Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash"it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
Release Date: November 16th, 2017
You Can't Save The World Alone
'There's an attack coming from far away," Bruce Wayne warns.
'Not coming, Bruce," Diana Prince counters. 'It's already here."
In 'Justice League," Earth is in the sightlines of the most malevolent alien force ever, an ancient enemy preying on the vulnerability resulting from the Son of Krypton's death. If mankind is going to stand a chance of survival, Batman and Wonder Woman must convince her fellow metahumans"Cyborg, Aquaman and The Flash"to unite, and to fight, in defense of humanity.
Picking up shortly after we last saw Bruce and Diana go their separate ways, the story reconnects these two characters who may not always see the same road toward their shared goal. But it's their shared motivation"to do right by the sacrifice Superman made"that allows them to find common ground very quickly in order to face Steppenwolf, an eight-foot-tall warrior from the nightmare world of Apokolips. He seeks the power to conquer the world and transform it into his own. He is no ordinary villain, and it will take an extraordinary force to defeat him.
Zack Snyder states, 'Just the idea of getting the Justice League together on the same playing field, taking their place in the cinematic landscape as a team and embarking on an amazing adventure…the mere concept of it was awe-inspiring."
Charles Roven, who has produced more than half a dozen films in the genre, says, 'One of the reasons I produce these movies is because it's so rewarding"honoring the canon, finding new ways to reinvigorate it, reinventing it for a different medium and creating additional lore as you go. Hopefully the result is something for everyone, fans old and new. And now, with all these characters coming together for the first time, we're able to introduce a few new characters for movie audiences to get to know…and to follow in the future."
In the film, the loss of Superman"of hope"is the catalyst for everything that happens, on both sides. But there is little time to mourn, and even less time to take action. Earth is vulnerable, primed for attack because of that void. And because the hero who stood for hope and justice is gone, the League must unite in his stead, to fight for the world he saved.
Producer Deborah Snyder adds, 'These characters all have such unique personalities, and such different powers and abilities, and the chance to pool them together to see how powerful they can be as a unit was such a thrill. Not to mention the urgency of their mission. There's no time to practice. It's game on from the moment they come together, because this is an extremely formidable enemy."
To form the League, the story takes us to the ends of the Earth and beyond: from a gritty Gotham to Central City, the populous Paris to the frozen wilds of Iceland, from Themyscira to Atlantis, and from buzzing Metropolis to the serenity of Smallville. If Bruce and Diana can succeed in recruiting the others for this larger-than-life battle in which all their worlds are at stake, they will come together as the greatest team of Super Heroes in the DC universe.
Wisdom, compassion, courage, strength, super-speed, superior cybernetics, and some seriously stealth Bat-transports. Even combined, will it be enough to save the world from the epic threat that has risen?
With age comes experience, especially if you're Bruce Wayne, who has been suiting up as the vigilante Dark Knight for more than half his life. He's seen it all…or so he thought. Mastery of the martial arts, extreme strength and endurance, high-tech suits, highly weaponized gadgetry, a brilliant deductive mind, and vast personal resources"all this at hand, all this he's fine-tuned so he could go it alone.
That Bruce Wayne is reaching out to others is a reflection of the side of himself he takes pains to hide, but which is at the core of his personality and his popularity. Ben Affleck, who also executive produced the film, suits up for his third turn as the character who serves as a bridge, the actor believes, between humans and metahumans. Now, Batman will have to build a bridge between heroes"himself included.
'Batman still really resonates because on the one hand he's a Super Hero, but on the other hand he is just like us," Affleck states. 'He feels vulnerable; he bleeds if you cut him. He is a real person on the inside and yet he is -super.' There are all kinds of contradictions inherent in that, which makes for interesting storytelling."
The Batman comics, he continues, 'are mystery stories at their root. Mysteries of the self, of character and identity, as well as the mystery that man is, and always will remain, to a certain extent, to himself."
Now, following the loss of Superman, Batman must take it upon himself to dig deep, to find a way to not only accept help but actively seek it. For once, Batman will have to engage with others, and to do that, he'll have to be…engaging.
Roven notes, 'You'd never call Batman endearing, but now, in this particular story, Ben makes him so because the character is struggling to come out of that darkness, to find a way to actually inspire others to work with him. And it's so wonderful to watch Ben play a completely different kind of tone with that character. He can still get dark in the role, and he does. This is Batman, after all. But he's also got a sense of humor that comes out of this effort he makes that's completely like a fish-out-of-water scenario for him, and Ben is just great at it."
The first person who in fact seeks Bruce out is one he has already formed something of a friendship with"Diana Prince. Bruce once told her he feels there's some imminent type of attack coming. When it comes to Batman's sense of impending danger, he's usually right. However, 'Bruce was wrong about Superman, and it cost him his first real ally, and the world so much more," Ben Affleck says. 'He won't make that mistake again."
Too late, Bruce realised that Superman, an alien, was in many ways better able to connect to humanity than he himself can. 'The fact that we can be alien even to ourselves really made a big impression on me and on the way I looked at the Batman character going forward into this film," Affleck continues. 'As Bruce says, -Superman was a beacon to the world. He didn't just save people, he made them see the best parts of themselves.' That's something that Bruce never considered before, I think, and it was a fascinating way to grow the character into a team player."
Deborah Snyder observes, 'Bruce Wayne was really touched by Superman's sacrifice; it gave him faith in humanity. But he also feels he let Superman down, so he decides he has an even greater responsibility to protect the world from the danger he was warned about, and to do it in memory of Superman so his death wasn't in vain. So, Bruce asks Diana to help him put a team together."
If Batman has years of experience to draw on, Wonder Woman has the wisdom of the ages, with countless years of training behind her before she ever stepped into man's world. Along with her mastery of all forms of combat, she wields her Lasso of Hestia, which compels anyone in its grip to speak the truth, wears bullet-deflecting wrist gauntlets, carries an impenetrable shield, and dons her beloved Aunt Antiope's treasured headband.
Never afraid to head into battle covertly"she's been doing so since she first fought for and alongside man in World War I"Diana Prince has been fighting for justice, as Wonder Woman, whenever called upon. Just such a call came when she aided Batman and Superman as they faced off against Doomsday. In winning that fight, Superman was lost, sacrificing himself for the greater good. It's an act Diana can understand all too well. But already an even greater evil is threatening, and she must join forces with Batman in order to face it.
Gal Gadot, who had barely finished filming 'Wonder Woman" when she started 'Justice League," found it easy to slip back into character, but she was nevertheless unprepared for the joy of seeing the League come together.
'Wearing my costume felt like the most normal thing because I had been doing it for six months before," Gal Gadot states. 'But seeing everyone else wearing their own costumes was wonderful. I remember the first three days, I kept looking at all the guys and me in costume, and I just kept laughing because it felt so surreal. So many Super Heroes, standing together. It was really great to be shooting this movie."
Before the team comes together, they have to be found. All that Bruce knows of most of their various whereabouts is what he confiscated from the LexCorp files and the dossiers Amanda Waller gave him. But he's kept tabs on Diana, and just as he attempts to reach out to her, she shows up. 'The first hero Diana connects with is Batman"more specifically, Bruce Wayne," says Gadot. 'They challenge each other, and although Batman is usually a dark, weary character, and Diana is pure and optimistic, they also have a lot in common: both have been trying to isolate themselves from the world in some way."
'Wonder Woman is the greatest warrior," declares Gal Gadot. 'She has such amazing strength, but at the same time she can be very, well, human. She cares so much for people and she just wants to make the world a better place because she sees the world as very special. Life is so complicated and we forget about the simple things, but she always remembers them: love, hope, do good in the world. And I think that's something that everyone can aspire to."
Like Batman, Wonder Woman has to learn to step out of the shadows, to join forces and eventually take the lead again, on a bigger scale than even she's ever known.
Zack Snyder says, 'Like her onscreen counterpart, Gal Gadot is a force to be reckoned with, and a joy to work with on and off set. She takes no prisoners, and at the same time has the biggest heart. She is Wonder Woman."
When Bruce recruits Barry Allen, it's experience meets enthusiasm, but what else has the younger man got? Unlike Wonder Woman's or Batman's years of fighting all manner of enemies, Barry admits he's never actually done battle, stating nervously, 'I've just pushed some people and run away."
Of course, he can run"to call him fast is, according to Barry, an oversimplification. To say the least.
An excessively energetic student attending Central City College, Barry studies criminal justice with the hope of one day freeing his incarcerated father. More than eager to team up with the crime-fighting icon Batman, Barry's quick mind is surpassed only by his ability to move at hyper-speed.
Ezra Miller, who plays the dual role, is himself a longtime fan of the comics, the character, and the physics behind him. 'The Flash is a scientist in the sense that a scientist studies the natural order of things, makes observations and performs experiments," Miller explains. 'But Barry's inherently interested in quantum mechanics because he's literally running into them.
'When we first meet Barry in the film," Ezra Miller continues, 'he's just awakening to his powers. He hasn't really tested them out, he's not yet breached the event horizon, as it were. But he's starting to feel there's an opportunity waiting for him."
That opportunity comes in the form of none other than Bruce Wayne. Initially resistant, when Barry realises it is actually the Batman who is asking for assistance, he is unable to contain his excitement, a feeling Miller expects the audience will share. 'The Flash is a gateway character," says Ezra Miller. 'He's like any of us would be, a spectator excited about being brought into the game. He's giddy and delighted, bemused and confused…and admittedly really scared."
As portrayed by Ezra Miller, Barry's youth and naiveté only add to his charm. But the molecules whirring about within Barry give him a nervous energy and a rapid-fire conversational style that could wear on his more world-weary counterparts were it not for his genuine enthusiasm and complete willingness to join the League. A League which numbers, according to Bruce… 'Not enough."
According to Deborah Snyder, Miller made a huge impression on his fellow cast mates and the crew. 'Ezra Miller is just really, really funny," she says. 'We often found ourselves cracking up on set because he got so into the character that sometimes he would depart from the script and ad lib, and it was always something hilarious and totally unexpected."
Roven adds, 'Ezra Miller's a very unique kind of actor. He engages you in so many different ways. Besides being tremendously funny, he's extremely warm. And as The Flash, within that wit and sarcasm, you get this sense of vulnerability about him that was perfect for the character and the story."
Despite his natural levity, Ezra Miller felt the weight of joining the League when he stepped onto the set among the other Super Heroes. 'It was that feeling when you look at someone you know, at real people, but you suddenly see an Alex Ross painting in front of you. And you're in it, too!" he exclaims.
In the modern world, many people"millennials, especially"can find it hard to unplug, to leave the internet and its constant stream of information behind for a day, or even for a few hours. But what if you are the internet? What if you are what's 'plugged in," with a continuous, 24-hour cycle of information cycling through you?
Victor Stone was once a star college quarterback at Gotham City University, but a horrific accident nearly cost him his life. His father, scientist Silas Stone, saved his son, but at a price. Now half-man, half-machine, Victor spends his days and nights in an attempt to understand his new biomechanic body parts that have him tapped into everything. So much so that he knows Bruce and Diana are looking for him almost before they do.
'Cyborg became the very technology that was used to rebuild him," explains Ray Fisher, who plays the newly minted metahuman. 'The technology his father used was alien and it imbued him with super-abilities. He has super-strength. He can fly. He's a technopath, which means he can interface with anything technological. He has worlds of information at his disposal, not just from our galaxy but also from other universes. But it's all pretty new, so he struggles with it. It begs the question, -How deeply should you allow yourself to become entrenched in the idea of who and what you are?'"
'Cyborg has a really interesting journey because he has to come to grips with the fact that the alien technology responsible for him being alive is the same Apokoliptian technology that threatens the Earth," Roven states. 'Will his humanity be able to master the alien tech, or will the alien tech ultimately win out? An actor that can make you believe both aspects of his dilemma, that is a testament to his talent."
Cyborg prefers to stay hidden, still unaccustomed to his new body and not yet in control of his abilities, but for Fisher, joining the League was a no-brainer. 'Being part of this cast feels like coming full circle," he says. 'I grew up with Batman. I grew up tying a towel around my neck and jumping off my porch like I was Superman"that sort of thing. Now here I am. I couldn't have imagined my life unfolding the way it did."
Fisher felt like that kid again when he stood among the rest of the League members on set. 'The day we were all up on this wall, together for the first time, it was like watching my eight-year-old self's dreams come true. When I watched the playback of this beautifully sophisticated camera movement that Zack and Fabian choreographed, I almost shed a tear. I held it together pretty good, though!" he laughs.
Holding firm to his belief that a strong man is strongest alone, Arthur Curry is a wildcard. When Bruce tracks him down in a remote Icelandic fishing village, it's seems a safe bet that no amount of persuading will induce the Aquaman of lore to forego his solitary good works, or his self-imposed solitude.
In other words, Arthur is not a team player. The offspring of a human father and a royal mother from the legendary underwater city of Atlantis, Arthur has never felt truly at home either on land or at sea. But in the frigid outland he calls home, the man with the wild hair, hulking body, and piercing eyes has discovered some semblance of peace, and he isn't interested in leaving the fringe community he protects, and that protects his anonymity in return.
Elaborating on the character he plays, Jason Momoa says, 'He's the heir to the throne of Atlantis, but he's not the king yet. So, as always, he's between worlds. But here at the frozen ends of the earth, he has a purpose. Arthur is a good man, he helps people who genuinely need him, and he's found a place where they accept and respect him. He can take off his -mask' here."
Momoa himself could be considered a somewhat untraditional choice for the character, as the actor doesn't quite look like typical illustrations of Aquaman, from any era. But it's an example of Zack Snyder's tendency to think outside the box"or, perhaps, to look deep inside. 'For me, Jason embodies the spirit and heart of the character," he offers. 'He has a rugged energy and is incredibly smart. This was not a hero we wanted to have a lot of polish, and Jason's got that little bit of rock n' roll that makes Aquaman relatable and cool, but at the same time, like all DC supers, aspirational."
Similar to Wonder Woman's status as a demi-goddess, Aquaman's half-Atlantean heritage gives him an ancient, mythical quality, which, in his case, is only further enhanced by his intuitive understanding of Earth's vast and still largely untapped oceans and the mysteries they hold. But while Diana grew up on the stories of Amazon history"and has worked out her own feelings on that score"Arthur has yet to begin that personal journey, making him still feel somewhat alien to his place in the world. But when the proverbial wolf is at his own door, joining the League becomes inevitable.
'When he finds he has a place in the Justice League, that's when he begins to think he could fit in somewhere," Momoa observes. 'And he can really put his skills to good use." Those talents include wielding a gleaming, powerful Trident that can part the sea, exceptional swimming speeds and the ability to breathe on both land and under water.
Roven observes, 'It's interesting to me that all these metahumans"and even Batman, who doesn't have superpowers but has essentially lived as someone who does"all have, somewhere in their history, a sense of alienation or abandonment. It's what unites them, in a sense, and why it makes sense for them to come together."
In the film, what ultimately unites them is a need to save the Earth from certain destruction at the hands of an alien enemy, Steppenwolf, and his army of parademons. But what sparks the mission, what causes Bruce Wayne to bring these heroes together, is a promise he made to another, to a fallen hero: Superman.
'There's nothing quite like playing Superman," says Henry Cavill, for whom the third time in the role is just as sweet as the first. 'It's still surreal."
Add to that the presence of five other DC heroes around him. Cavill remembers, 'There was a moment where I was really tired near the end of a long day, and I was thinking -I'm hungry and I'm looking forward to getting to bed.' And then I realized I had Cyborg, Aquaman, and Wonder Woman all standing in front of me, and they were in costume and it looked so fantastic. And all of a sudden, my fatigue went away. I just wanted to live in the moment and appreciate that I'm doing the thing that I wanted to do as a kid, but as real as it gets as an adult. You become very thankful for that kind of thing."
Superman personified a higher calling to truth and justice and a deep respect for all humanity. The absence of this idol, whose sacrifice stunned the world, inspires the formation of the Justice League. But there are others who struggle to right their worlds, without the immediacy of a mission.
While the world laments the loss of its protector, Lois Lane and Martha Kent are grieving a more personal loss. 'Martha is seeing everyone mourning this Superman character, but she's mourning Clark, her son," says Cavill. 'And she can't tell anyone that Superman was her son. It's a terrible loneliness and pain for her to go through. It's excruciating for both Martha and Lois to see all these people mourning a man that none of them truly knew."
Diane Lane returns as Martha, and Amy Adams reprises the role of Lois Lane. Adams surmises her character, once a dogged reporter and crusader, has lost her sense of purpose. 'She's now Lois after Clark," says the actress. 'She's not the same person that she was, and she definitely feels the absence of the hope that he had brought into her life. It feels devastating, so she's isolating herself." Instead, she writes fluff pieces for the Daily Planet, because, as Adams observes, 'she can't go back and face the world again just yet."
Along with Lane and Adams, Jeremy Irons returns as the indispensable Alfred Pennyworth, without whom it would be hard enough to be Bruce Wayne"and near impossible to be Batman. 'Wouldn't we all want an Alfred?" Irons posits. 'He's uncomplaining, keeps the vehicles running, does a bit of cooking, is a good advisor, and a calming influence. I mean, he's not a Super Hero, but in some small, retiring way, I think he could be regarded as a hero"with a small -h' perhaps."
Of course, one of Alfred's primary functions has always been to look after 'Master Wayne," including questioning his actions or motivations, when necessary. Having served the rather unsociable figure for so many years, Alfred is understandably skeptical when he brings some 'friends" home. 'Alfred's not sure how much of a team builder Batman is," Irons notes. 'He's not even sure how much of a team player he is. But hopefully he's learned from past mistakes. And Alfred is loyal to him, regardless."
Batman's other longtime partner in crime fighting is Gotham City Police Commissioner Jim Gordon. J.K. Simmons plays the role, and readily admits, 'Being part of this world, joining the DC universe, is a real treat for an actor. And to play Jim Gordon is an honor."
If openly working with a known vigilante is breaking the rules, Gordon has long been the kind of man who knows when the rules aren't working so well. Simmons offers, 'Vigilantism is a two-sided coin, and obviously it's an essential element of the DC Universe. Gordon is the Police Commissioner, so supporting and even working alongside Batman"and now others"has never been exactly a politically correct move for him. But, with Gotham City falling apart at the seams, and with the new threat from Who-Knows-Where, he really needs his old ally. Gordon knows how to handle himself; he's a pretty tough guy compared to most, but Batman (and friends) make him pretty puny by comparison. The alliance just makes sense."
For these heroes to corral the extraordinary forces against them will be no easy task; they'll have to draw on their individual powers"and work together to combine their many and diverse strengths"as they confront an escalating enemy to the far corners of the globe, and beyond.
It is a herculean effort for the characters, and no less so for the massive cast and crew considering the scale of the production. However, according to Affleck, the upbeat tone and cheerful camaraderie that permeated the shoot lay at the feet of Zack Snyder. 'Zack has a lot of energy, enthusiasm and passion. He was 100 percent dedicated to the work every day, and he has this boyish energy where he's just psyched to be at work, which naturally makes it feel a lot less like work."
A number of noted actors joined the ensemble, including Joe Morton as Silas Stone, Victor's father and the head of STAR Labs, whose groundbreaking work on alien technology may be invaluable, but is most certainly dangerous. Connie Nielsen returns as Diana's mother, Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons and the first to warn her daughter of the gravity of the looming threat. And Amber Heard is Mera, an Atlantean who attempts to protect her world from an attack by Steppenwolf, played by Ciarán Hinds.
Zack Snyder attests, 'It's really great to have such incredible actors in every role. Because each performance is so good, it elevates each scene and makes these characters we know from the pages of comic books feel very real."
To help define the look of the characters as they make the jump from the page to the screen, costume designer Michael Wilkinson was once again given the opportunity to bring depth and dimension to illustrations known the world over.
As always, Wilkinson and his team sought a balance that provided room for their own creativity while respecting the legacy of the original artists. His designs had to take into account practical matters such as stunts and weather, while also, he says, 'infusing it all with a modernity that makes them relevant and relatable to audiences today. When I design these big superhero films, I really put pressure on myself to use new technologies that might not have been available even a year or two ago."
To that end, Wilkinson relates, 'We used 3D rendering programs to create the illustrations of my designs, and then also used 3D digital technologies during our manufacturing process. We scanned our actors so we could apply the designs directly onto them, either as full-size mannequins or in the computer, and used 3D printers to make elaborate costume elements and molds. We cast costume elements in urethane, which we discovered can be made super rigid or super soft, depending on which part of the suit it's being used for. We embedded the urethane elements in a stretch base fabric, and so we created a new type of fabric onto which a variation of colors and textures can be painted. Everything was pretty much sculptured from head to toe."
Wilkinson was responsible for the design of the iconic Wonder Woman costume, first seen in 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice," and seen again recently in 'Wonder Woman." 'In between our two contemporary films, you have the 'Wonder Woman" standalone film, set in World War I, designed by Lindy Hemming," he says. 'Lindy and I spent a couple of weeks researching the world of Wonder Woman and coming up with a visual language for the Amazon race, so there would be a clear unity of vision between the films. Of course, because we are both creative people and have our own interpretations, there's a slight difference in the look of the Amazons in the two films. And 100 years have passed between the period of that film and ours, so that needed to be reflected."
Wilkinson's Wonder Woman costume is essentially the same in all three films, and there is definite visual continuity. 'The costume changes very slightly in each film; there are tiny shifts of color and proportions," notes Wilkinson. 'In -Justice League,' it's a little bit more vibrant compared to -Batman v Superman,' and has a little bit more glow, but the main iconic elements"the star and tiara, her lasso, the rig for her sword and shield, the eagle across the chest plate, and the WW in the belt"are all exactly the same."
Fans will see a new Batsuit in the third act of 'Justice League." Referred to as the 'tactical suit," it was designed, says Affleck, 'for Batman to wear for the higher-level battle, when we have to get more serious and deadlier. The suit is more armored and more tricked out."
It was also the toughest costume to make. Wilkinson notes, 'Because of the physicality of the Batman character, there was so much that Ben and his stunt doubles had to do…and to do it while creating this hulking silhouette that Zack was after, this tower of muscle and brawn. To achieve that and make the costume comfortable"not too hot, not too claustrophobic, and very flexible"was super-challenging."
For the look of Arthur Curry, Wilkinson found inspiration in the actor himself. 'My starting point was actually Jason's own tattoos," reveals Wilkinson. 'He has quite a few, but the one on his forearm is particularly fantastic. I was inspired to fashion a new graphic language, and designed a unique tattoo that covered his entire body. It created this interesting connection between Jason's own background and that of his character."
Aquaman's armor then became a sort of 3D version of the tattoos. The 'scale mail" was then infused with the colors of ocean lifeforms. 'The paint work on the finished product has almost a bioluminescence," Wilkinson says, 'a lovely, iridescent quality that catches the light. But at the same time there is a sense of incrustation, that it has been underwater for so many thousands of years you could almost imagine plankton and small barnacles living on the armor."
Unlike the other Super Heroes, whose costumes were inherited from their clan or are the product of wealth, The Flash has neither money nor heritage. He is just coming into his powers and struggling to adapt. Nevertheless, Wilkinson notes, 'he's extremely intelligent and great with technology. I had to think about how he would protect himself from the high speeds that he's traveling and the resulting high temperatures. Barry's young, a nerd; he would likely go online, research perhaps what NASA is doing, or look into vehicle and plane design to see how things move through space very quickly. He would probably have stolen a 3D printer to build his own parts. So, his costume has this fantastic blend of high technologies, like heat-resistant materials and prototype aerodynamic shapes, mixed with his grassroots skater punk aesthetic."
Over 100 pieces were handcrafted to create the costume. 'It's made up of innovative new materials, but they're scratched and busted-up, some of the panels are missing, or they've just got the undercoat. Then on top of that you have a complex system of wires that crisscross the body to create this incredible sort of matrix across the surface of the costume," the designer expounds. 'Zack really wanted it to feel like a prototype suit, the very first manifestation of The Flash putting together a look."
Cyborg's costume, too, would be a first. 'As soon as Zack and I started talking about this character," recalls Wilkinson, 'it became clear pretty quickly that his costume would have to be a CG thing. Cyborg's technology is extremely alien; if we had had to make the suit, then inevitably we would have had to resort to hinges and screws and ball sockets, things that we've seen before."
Wilkinson and his concept artists came up with an immensely detailed 3D model of Cyborg, defining the graphic language and textures of the alien world. They then handed it over to the visual effects department, who continued to develop Cyborg's look under Snyder's direction and guided by the actor's performance. For the shoot, it was simply a matter of Wilkinson's team sewing together Ray Fisher's 'pajamas": the blue-dotted performance-capture suit that the skilled VFX artists would digitally replace, under the supervision of visual effects supervisor DJ DesJardin.
Wilkinson also turned his attention to Superman's suit, marking his third go -round. 'This time, you're going to see a Superman that's a little more lustrous," says Wilkinson. 'We developed an extremely beautiful metallic chromed under-suit that Henry wears, using materials and processes that weren't available for previous versions of the costume. And for the over-suit, we created a mesh that's a slightly bolder blue than the last film, so he really jumps off the screen in such a heroic way. And Zack had the fantastic idea of incorporating some Kryptonian scripts throughout the suit, so we wove some of that language, which we'd developed for -Man of Steel,' through the S, across the bicep, through the belt, and in the cuff details. It adds that extra layer of meaning and detail for the audience."
The suit was created by screen-printing a dimensional print onto a thin mesh that is itself the latest in fabric technology. 'It's even more sheer and beautiful and lustrous than what you saw in -Batman v Superman,'" Wilkinson asserts, 'but super strong so that it didn't fall apart when it was stretched tight. We also found amazing new printing inks that make a very dimensional, high-raised surface, and new paints that make it appear almost chromed. All of these little tweaks add up to a bolder, more impactful costume."
Techniques aside, perhaps the newest territory for the 'Justice League" costume department was in housing the entire costume crew under one roof. Normally on a film of such scope and scale, each main character's costume is made by a different manufacturing company, under the direction of the costume designer. But this time, the filmmakers did something they'd never done before.
'We did it all in-house," Deborah Snyder explains. 'We had hundreds of amazing artists and sculptors right there at the studio, so we could walk by and see what they were doing at any time. It gave Michael a huge amount of creative control, and, practically speaking, we were able to quickly repair something if it was damaged during a stunt."
The enormity of the task of manufacturing every costume in-house becomes more apparent when you consider there are six Super Hero costumes, each requiring multiples for stunt work and different scenes, as well as costumes for their six civilian alter-egos, plus more than 180 named characters, and 3,000 extras who appear in the film.
Having the ability to immediately address any costume issues came in handy for Wilkinson, due to the changing physiques of the main cast members. All trained extensively for their roles, building up more muscle as shooting progressed. Some of the actors gained as much as ten percent in body mass during production. This meant Wilkinson's team had to keep the tape measure out and constantly adjust the costumes throughout filming.
Finally, Wilkinson's costumes also had to withstand the 'tuning forks." First developed for use on 'The Matrix Revolutions," they were introduced to the filmmakers by stunt coordinator Eunice Huthart. The device resembles a huge tuning fork, hence the name. The actor is strapped into the middle, and there is a counterbalance that enables him to mimic weightlessness, like being underwater, for example. Not only can he be rotated forward and backwards, but also on the y-axis. Just as Superman can fly, Aquaman can float.
What used to take up to seven stunt crew to operate, strides in technology"namely, high-speed robotic arms developed for use in the auto industry"significantly reduce the effort. Special effects supervisor Mark Holt assured the cast that the robots were not only safe, but actually safer than their human counterparts; in fact, the same software is used for robotic surgeries.
'In the old days, we would make a bespoke piece of equipment for every job," admits Holt. 'Now we can use these robots, literally called Safe Robot, which are so accurate that they can repeat a move every time within 0.2 of a millimeter."
For Batman, whose wealth is his superpower, his weapons include a fleet of high-powered vehicles, and one of the greatest in his arsenal is the Batmobile. The vehicle has earned its reputation as the apex predator on the mean streets of Gotham City. The car's imposing defense capabilities, supported by appropriated Wayne Industries technologies, have been combined with the latest in covert military grade armaments, stealth and active protection systems. Powered by an unmatched hybrid of prototype military and civilian performance technologies, it has been estimated to reach speeds of up to 205 MPH.
Fundamentally the same vehicle from 'Batman v Superman," the Batmobile, like Batman's suit, was fortified with a little extra armor for this film. 'We're battling aliens now," says production designer Patrick Tatopoulos, 'so this thing needed to be pumped up. But when you look at it, you'll still know it's that car. And that's the thing: we didn't want to reinvent the Batmobile completely, because it was designed in such a way that aspects of it could be transformed, changed, or upgraded. For example, it was designed in the last project to be able to raise and lower itself, but it never had to because the car traveled on regular roads. But in this movie, we have some serious off-road work, and so we finally get to see all the car can do."
'One of my favorite things to film was when I jumped on the Batmobile"that was badass!" grins Jason Momoa. 'I was like, I cannot believe I'm surfing the Batmobile right now!"
Batman's latest machine, the hybrid electric Knightcrawler"essentially a four-legged tank"was specifically designed to navigate through tight, dark and unpredictable terrain, and is among the most advanced of Batman's vehicle fleet. It can tackle almost any topography; however, when the tank treads reach their limit, it's the independently functioning mechanical appendages that allow it to perform such gravity-defying maneuvers as scaling vertical walls. In addition, it is equipped with a full arsenal of weapons – from a front-tow missile launcher to rear rocket launchers and more.
While much of the machine was made in post, a practical skeleton was built for stunts. Each version of the Knightcrawler featured a steel frame made from a jig, with aluminum sheathing 'skin," and an interior made of a honeycomb foam called F-Board. These kept the crafts lightweight but as strong as possible. In the middle was a seat for Batman, and on either side were gull-wing doors that could be opened as needed. Lights and other dressing were added, and then all was mounted onto a heavyweight robot that could move a metric ton of cargo at an astounding two meters per second.
When your archenemy is holed up halfway around the world, though, you also need a way to transport your weapons, along with your fellow superheroes. The largest vehicle in Batman's mobile arsenal, The Flying Fox, is a hybrid aircraft with the capability of a bomber and the maneuverability of a jet fighter. Reaching speeds of nearly 1,000 miles-per-hour, with an attack altitude of up to 50,000 feet, it also has vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities. The Flying Fox consists of three large-scale levels and can even carry the newly augmented Batmobile inside.
The whole of The Flying Fox interior was built on a soundstage, with the exterior built in post. Tatopoulos admits it was his favorite set. 'On every movie, there's a little thing that gets me pumped up. This is the one that I really got excited about on this film. It's a bomber but I wanted it to look like a jet, with the cockpit very far back and a very long front nose like you see in WWII fighter jets. In fact, I was very much influenced by the Spitfire. I've always been fascinated by those planes; I love how the pilot is way back and it's almost like you're sitting on the biggest engine on the planet and you're flying that thing. A much more modern approach to jets is to have the cockpit in the front, but I think the more traditional design works with Bruce Wayne and his classic sensibility. And if you look at the elements of the jet, they look like they were collected together and articulated; it's a very similar language to the car. So, it's something new but without losing the Batman aesthetic."
When Batman isn't commanding the Knightcrawler or the Batmobile, or flying around in the Fox, he's driving his stylish new Mercedes-Benz AMG Vision Gran Turismo. Zack Snyder saw the stunning electric, remote-controlled concept car and wanted it for Bruce Wayne. The only problem was the car, as a real, functioning vehicle, didn't exist. The concept unit was also slightly too small for 6'4" Ben Affleck and the demands of filming a vehicle interior. The logistics could have swayed the filmmakers in another direction, but they didn't.
Mercedes agreed to build another unit, ten percent larger and with a working interior and doors to accommodate the needs of the filmmakers. It still wouldn't have an engine, drivetrain, or chassis, but picture vehicle coordinator Alex King had a solution for that: for the car without an engine, he and his team would build an engine without a car. More specifically, they would custom build a rig to 'drive" the car. King put a front-wheel-drive engine in a 'power unit," which could then be mounted via a tubular chassis to the rear of the VGT, while the driver pod controlling engine and steering could be mounted anywhere on the rig.
The team didn't stop there. King recalls, 'We were knee-deep in the build, which involved a huge amount of engineering, when it seemed crazy not to have a platform that we could put on the back of the power unit. Why not produce everything we would need in a tracking vehicle for cameras and crew and cranes, and all the other bits and pieces that are involved, and without the weight restrictions and other limitations of rigging?"
The answer was a lightweight, super-strong, modular rig designed from scratch. The rig could be lengthened, shortened, or widened as needed, with the camera placed anywhere the director wanted, and the engine, drive unit, and crew moved about. 'It meant that we could take the vehicle on the road and shoot hero closeups of vehicle and actor, without the car being on the road, while also having the crew and lighting and camera all onboard. It was an amazing thing to be a part of," King says.
To The Batcave
To build and house his private fleet, Bruce Wayne utilizes his secret high-tech workshop, the Batcave. The set from the previous film had been dismantled, but not before it was scanned in its entirety for use in later films in order to help maintain continuity. In 'Justice League," portions of the physical set were recreated, then extended in post by DesJardin's visual effects team.
The same technique was used to replicate the Kent farm. Cavill notes, 'We had a version of the Kent farm over in the UK. They did some very clever stuff with something called an EnviroCam, so it actually looked like we were in the same place where we shot the original. It was a fantastic experience. It really looked and felt like the Kent farm, only a lot colder since we were in England."
To house the enormous Flying Fox, the hangar set had to be one of the film's largest: approximately 100 feet long and 23 feet high. Visual effects then extended it to a scale of about 400 to 500-feet long and up to around 80-feet high. The practical set had a very industrial feel; it was built on solid concrete that took three pours to achieve, and the walls were constructed with steel pipes. But that meant the set could handle the heavy weights of the vehicles and other structures.
To dress it, Tatopoulos says he found inspiration 'on the side of a locomotive engine from the 1920s. I was in Detroit last year and I saw this incredible locomotive. The walls are basically a reproduction of what that looked like, with all those pipes. I thought it was an incredible look. There's soot everywhere, and we added the sheen that you see on an oily engine. I think it made the set a bit more alive."
Illuminating the sets was the purview of director of photography Fabian Wagner. His team shot on film, as is director Zack Snyder's preference, which was a change for Wagner, who had been shooting digital for the past five years, joking that he had to dust off his light meter. He also had to adapt to Leica lenses, which he hadn't used before, because they proved the best choice for the spherical shoot with which Snyder was experimenting.
While the majority of the film was shot over six stages at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden just northwest of London, there were a few crucial location shoots. One notable site was the infamous Old Bailey in London, where Wonder Woman foils an attack. The biggest location shoot by far, though, was in the fishing village of Djúpavík in northwest Iceland, where principal photography wrapped.
In the middle of nowhere in Iceland's western fjords, there were few accommodations: one hotel with perhaps fourteen small rooms. The production numbered upwards of 200 people, so they brought in hundreds of campers, effectively building their own small town out in the stark but beautiful landscape of the country. To capture the required sequence, they shot 1,000 feet above the village, using three helicopters to airlift approximately 36 cast and crew to the top, along with the necessary equipment, including a crane.
In the film, Bruce Wayne heads to the remote village in search of the Aquaman, beseeching him to join the team he is building to address the coming threat. What Bruce doesn't know is who or what that enemy will be, or why it has set its sights on Earth. It's only Diana who will later explain to him that everything revolves around the Mother Box"three of them, as a matter of fact.
The first props Tatopoulos designed for the film were the Mother Boxes, and as we learn from Diana, these devices don't create power, they are power. Time is running out for the League, who may or may not be powerful enough to defeat this enemy. It will take everything they have"and maybe even something more"to succeed.
Release Date: November 16th, 2017