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As the second entry in the DC Extended Universe, there was a lot riding on Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice earlier this year. While the movie managed to do well for itself financially, taking in over $873 million worldwide, unfortunately for Warner Bros, it earned a lot negative reviews from critics. Justice League is the next direct follow-up to Batman v Superman, and according to producer Charles Roven, moviegoers don't need to worry about the superhero team-up epic being as dark. As he put it:
We knew we were making a very serious, compelling, driving film with Batman v. Superman. Now the bell has been rung and the whole tone of the movie is lighter.
In an extensive interview with THR, Charles Roven talked about how some of the upcoming DC Comics movies will be different from their past projects. For Justice League, this means striking a different tone from the one felt in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Now that the DCEU has handled "very serious," they're free to move on to something lighter. This isn't the first time we've heard about Justice League easing off the darkness. For instance, DC Entertainment president Geoff Johns mentioned that Justice League will be filled with "hope and optimism," while also noted that the DC franchise as a whole would be changing course in terms of tone.
Whether you liked Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or not, the overall reception definitely wasn't what Warner Bros was hoping for, so if this lighter tone move can help improve the movie's chances of success while remaining faithful to the comics. Still, I can't help but wonder if this is a "hindsight is 20/20" situation. In other words, if Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice had been a rousing success among critics, would Justice League's tone still have been lighter or would it have been equally as dark and gloomy? Screenwriter Chris Terrio said that he wanted Justice League to feel lighter simply to provide a little redemption for telling such a dark story with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, but it's also plausible that some last-minute changes were made to Justice League right before shooting began following the Batman v Superman backlash.
Regardless, with principal photography concluded, Justice League's lighter tone is practically etched in stone now. One of the ways this will be accomplished is through Ezra Miller's Flash, who we briefly saw in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad. Barry Allen's interaction with Bruce Wayne in the Justice League Comic-Con trailer alone indicate he will be a major, if not the primary, source of lightheartedness. However, keep in mind that just because there will be extra lightness does not mean the movie will be a comedy. After all, fighting Steppenwolf and his Parademon forces isn't a joking affair.
Justice League will be released in theaters on November 17, 2017.