Justice League’s Most Heroic Moment Feels Like a Classic DC Throwback

Let’s light this shit up, Barry.
Let’s light this shit up, Barry.
Screenshot: HBO Max/Warner Bros.

Who would’ve known a callback to one of the best DC movies ever was sitting on the cutting room floor, just waiting to be resurrected in Zack Snyder’s Justice League?

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Over the past five years, the internet has discussed the “Snyder Cut” so much that watching the film was almost like running down a checklist of every rumor or revelation that had already made it online: The Black Superman costume. Martian Manhunter. Victor Stone’s football career. Deathstroke. Darkseid. The Knightmare. Jared Leto. The list goes on and on. So, to be honest, while it was great to finally see it all put together, there weren’t many surprises.

Though one scene, in particular, stood out.

Illustration for article titled Justice League’s Most Heroic Moment Feels Like a Classic DC Throwback

It comes near the end of the movie as the now fully formed Justice League is battling Steppenwolf and his minions. Its been established that in order for Ray Fisher’s Victor Stone (Cyborg) to enter and destroy the Unity, Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen (The Flash) will have to touch him with a catastrophic energy surge to break through its defenses. To achieve that, he’ll have to run faster than he ever has before.

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Victor and the Unity
Screenshot: HBO Max/Warner Bros.
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Victor touches and begins to interact with the Unity, Superman returns and kicks the crap out of Steppenwolf, and the last step is for Barry to energize Victor. He’s been circling the city and building up speed for a while and warns everyone that he can’t maintain it. He calls for Victor, pleading with him to hurry up. Just as Victor is about to finish, Barry is shot by a parademon, knocking him out of his run.

“Barry, where are you?” Victor pleads as the Unity is seconds away from syncing. But the Flash has lost all the momentum he built up, has a huge, painful injury, and says he needs a second to catch his breath. A second is too long—the Unity syncs, Darkseid arrives, and the Justice League loses.

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Welp. We didn’t see that coming.

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Not so fast.
Screenshot: HBO Max/Warner Bros.
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Starting at the Unity, destruction begins to explode out into the world. Most of the Justice League die instantly. As the explosion reaches Barry though, he starts running towards it. Barry realizes he has to go far beyond the speed of light to make everything right again.

“You’ve gotta break the rule, Barry, and you gotta break it now,” he tells himself. The music on the soundtrack suddenly sounds more heroic, and as Barry speeds up, the film slows down—the world around him begins to rewind. First, chunks of dirt. Then buildings. Light posts. As Barry runs faster and faster than he’s ever run before, he begins to think of his dad and how proud he’d be. He thinks of the passage of time and how the future and past are all “right now.” The closer Barry gets to the Unity, the more everything comes back together. We see bodies start to reconstruct—Superman’s bones and veins pop back together—then the metal on Victor reforms and Barry taps him on the shoulder. He did it.

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The scene is epic in scope and powerfully made. Watching it instantly made me think of Richard Donner’s 1978 classic, Superman. In that film, Margot Kidder’s Lois Lane is killed and Christopher Reeve’s Superman breaks his own rules and flies so fast around the planet he reverses the rotation of the Earth, reversing time, and bringing Lois back to life.

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Was Snyder purposefully paying homage to that film? It seems probable. And either way, the scene shows Barry in such a new way, it completely changes his character. Not only is he fast and resourceful, but he also has abilities the other heroes could never even imagine. Abilities he’s barely begun to explore. At first, he may have seemed a little intimidating, but the Flash is a worthy, necessary member of the Justice League after he saves them all, and the world itself.

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And here, we, go.
Screenshot: HBO Max/Warner Bros.
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Not to mention, the scene helps pay off the mysterious moment from 2015's Batman v Superman where another version of the Flash (one who appears in the epilogue a few minutes later) appears to Bruce Wayne to warn him about Lois Lane. By seeing Flash actually time travel as part of this scene, not only is it an exciting, powerful moment, but it informs other stories around it.

While I enjoyed the expansion and backstory of Cyborg, new glimpses at Atlantis, the extended Themyscira sequence, Darkseid, and more, it’s that Flash moment that really brought it all together for me. What were your favorite moments in the film?

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Entertainment Reporter for io9/Gizmodo

DISCUSSION

noreallybutwait
NoReallyButWait

I guess they needed something to set up the scene, but getting shot by a Parademon was really dumb. He’s the fastest man alive going at super speed, and a lone unremarkable Parademon is able to pinpoint his future location with enough accuracy to hit him point blank? Tough to suspend disbelief on that.

I would have bought it more if a Parademon just shot randomly with one of the errant shots hitting Barry. At least that seems like a real thing that coulda happened. Not a Parademon with reflexes better than the fastest man alive.