By Craig McElvain
In a film era drowning in excessive style and bloated special FX, it seems unlikely that one of the billion superhero flicks currently playing would buck the trend, yet that is exactly what occurs in Zach Snyder’s franchise oﬀering—Justice League. I must confess, I did not enter the film arena filled with optimism for a “message” film. In fact, I assumed another evening of monster explosions and over-costumed decadence. What I got instead was a superhero film stating that the world cannot be saved from the demons we currently battle by ordinary human heroes. Batman (who in the previous oﬀering, Batman vs. Superman, kills the man of steel), realizes that the only hope of holding back the demonic forces in the world is to bring Superman back to life by any means necessary. He acknowledges that only a “supernatural” hero (not from this world) is able to defeat their current foes. Theologically speaking, this was the same point St. Anselm of Canterbury made in his famous 11th century treatise Cur Deus Homo? (translated: Why the God-man?) . Both the treatise and the film argue that the death of a mere human was insuﬃcient to overcome Satan’s stranglehold on guilty humanity.
I want to make sure to give a caveat to the literalists in the crowd. IF YOU PUSH THIS ANALOGY TOO FAR, then you will find a plethora of holes in the film’s narrative. It also isn’t a great work of art; but as Plato was fond of saying—art must both TEACH and ENTERTAIN. I, for one, feel like the pendulum of American film has swung way too far in favor of entertainment only. Therefore, I found the simple point of Justice League a welcome respite from the gobs and gobs of entertainment fluﬀ we are force fed from the studios. Whether you were entertained or not by Justice League, I pray the reminder that humanity’s evils will only be overcome by a Risen God-man will cause some to ponder.