In JUSTICE LEAGUE, the world is afraid because Superman is dead, but Batman fears the worst is yet to come. He doesn’t let fear stop him from reaching out for help and encouraging other heroes like Wonder Woman and the Flash along the way. Join us as we discuss these Christian themes and so much more on this episode of the Finding Christ In Cinema podcast.
For your convenience, you will find each podcast segment at the time referenced below:
- 00:00:00 – Introduction and Previous Episode Recap
- 00:01:45 – Movie Discussion
- 00:28:40 – Christian Themes in JUSTICE LEAGUE
- 00:55:30 – More Christian Themes in JUSTICE LEAGUE [Podcast Only]
- 01:27:00 – Listener Feedback and Well-Mannered Frivolity [Podcast Only]
Whenever you have about ten minutes to spare, click here for personal video update from Brenden:
It’s hard to tell whether or not, after some time has passed, Justice League will still be perceived as a lukewarm experience like it is now by some critics. They argue that when Zack Snyder left the film (under the most dreadful of circumstances, no less), an irreconcilable rift stunted the film’s growth into what could have been one of the best superhero movies ever made. Again, that’s only what some critics say.
Michael and I, however, as well as several others (and the number is steadily growing), see it differently. We think Justice League is a great film even if it does contain a few hiccups. We further expound on this notion in the podcast, so please listen to it for those opinions and discussions if you haven’t already done so. What I can tell you now, though, is that we have found some deeply enriching Christian themes in Justice League that will encourage you like it has encouraged us.
To better understand those Christian themes, let us first consider Justice League through a framework of fear and hope. If one were to rewatch the film and keep a tally of how many times they heard either of those words, they wouldn’t even get through the first few scenes without realizing that those terms are woven into every piece of the Justice League tapestry.
It’s important to remember, though, that fear is not a bad thing. Speaking from my own experience, I (Brenden) was raised to believe that being afraid was a sin. If I had fear, I thought, then I didn’t have faith. What was really meant by fear in this context was timidity – the outward expression of fear that remains stagnant, unprocessed, and ultimately isolating. This is a skewed understanding of one of God’s greatest gifts that, unfortunately, scares more people away from Him than endears them closer to Him,
You heard me right: fear is a gift from God that lets us know we are in danger and that we need help. Fear isn’t the opposite of hope; it’s the predecessor. Fear leads to hope because fear, when processed correctly, turns into faith and wisdom. Solomon even says it himself: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”
This only happens when we respond to fear with the right process of action. Yes, there is a process for handling fear properly, and we see it in Bruce Wayne. He is no stranger to fear; it’s what led him to become Batman in the first place. The first step of the process is reaching out for help, and Bruce Wayne is familiar with this first step as well. The character of Batman is built around the idea of reaching out for help when in danger.
Consider Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. As Gotham’s great watchman, Bruce sees the dangers coming in every situation, and he reaches out to everyone he knows that can help. His butler Alfred Pennyworth, his lifelong friend Rachel Dawes, Lieutenant-turned-Commissioner Jim Gordon, public defendant Harvey Dent, cat-burglar Selina Kyle, and the rookie police officer John Blake all rush to Bruce’s side when he calls.
This is no different for Justice League. Bruce’s primary mission is to build the team he believes can defeat Steppenwolf. He doesn’t even fully comprehend Steppenwolf and his plans, but he knows enough to fear for his life and the lives of everyone in the world. In his fear, Bruce does what he is wont to do and reaches out to those who can help. He cries out for “Wonder Woman” Diana Prince, “Aquaman” Arthur Curry, “The Flash” Barry Allan, and “Cyborg” Victor Stone, and they all gather ‘round (even if reluctantly at first) and lend a hand.
(In the Podcast-Only segment “More Christian Themes in Justice League, Michael and I have a discussion about how he also reaches out to Superman and the risky repercussions of that action. It kinda opens up a new pocket of conversation, but I’ll save it for the segment.)
One of the surprisingly hesitant members of the League is Wonder Woman herself, Diana Prince. At first, Diana wants nothing to do with being a popular hero. She takes a small job in a museum where she can restore works of art from ages past (there’s your dramatic irony) and mainly keeps to herself. When Bruce Wayne reaches out to her, he encourages her to take up her mantle once again as the hero we know and love who’s also a leader, a servant, and a motherly protector. In the episode, Michael connects Diana to Gideon, Esther, Deborah, and Phoebe.
So, the next time you watch Justice League, keep track of these things. Note the fear the Bruce Wayne experiences and how he responds, and compare his response to that of the rest of the world. And keep an eye on Diana’s transformation. Both characters are heroes for a reason, and when viewed through a Christian lens, they both can be very inspiring.
Finding Christ In Cinema is the show where we discover Christian themes in movies past and present. Join us and together we’ll dig deeper into the silver-screen classics of yesteryear as well as the box-office hits of today. Brought to you by the Great Commission Transmission Network. View the complete show notes – including links to articles discussed – by clicking here.
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