Monday, October 15, 2018

JLU Scene-by-Scene: Justice League Scene 11

This episode of the Justice League Universe podcast focuses on Scene 11 (Diana sees the news of invasion) of Justice League.

  • Initial framing with foreground and background
  • Diana's juxtaposition with the statue
  • Connections to BvS and Wonder Woman
  • New report about the Temple of the Amazons
  • "Invasion" and tension mounting
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Bonus Content

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<Transcript below>
Welcome, fans of the Justice League Universe. My name is Sam. In this podcast, we analyze the Warner Brothers films that are part of the Justice League Universe, also known as the DCEU. This episode was written by myself with Alessandro Maniscalco, Rebecca Johnson, Sydney, and Nick Begovich. You can find us all on Twitter and you can follow the show @JLUPodcast.

Now that we have finished up our Wonder Woman coverage -- and by the way, it was really great to hear from people in the final Wonder Woman retrospective episode, so please check that out if you haven’t yet -- it’s available in our podcast feed and also on our YouTube channel. But with Wonder Woman completed, we can proceed further into Justice League and Scene 11, which features, you guessed it, Wonder Woman. This is the short scene where we see Diana at work and then she sees the message from her mother in Themyscira.

So the scene opens up with an interesting camera angle looking down in a sort of museum workshop or restoration center. Diana is in the foreground with a large Roman-looking statue of a woman, and in the background are two men working on some paintings. So it’s an interesting framing as the man in center frame starts the dialogue, asking Diana what she did this weekend, but he is out of focus and turned away from us. Our attention is actually on Diana, which is kind of nice because we get to see her try to play it cool, even though we as the audience know that she was centrally involved in stopping a terrorist plot in London. She says, “Nothing very interesting,” which is an implicit connection back to Scene 4, but then this scene is going to shift her forward into the main plot of the film.

And by the way, the first moments of this scene not only connect back within Justice League, but they also connect back to Batman v Superman and Wonder Woman. In those films, Diana’s elegant costuming was similar and she always had on metallic necklaces or bracelets as an homage to her Wonder Woman bracelets. And here, she again has on a gold bracelet. And her red lips really stand out against the white of everything else in the scene, just like she stood out even amongst the posh crowd at Lex’s party.

Also, we saw before that Diana worked as some sort of art and antiquities dealer and, in particular, she is based at the Louvre in France. So this scene continues on with those aspects of her day job as Diana Prince. And from those films, I tended to think that she was on the business end of things -- making connections, chasing down leads on valuable pieces or artifacts, and maybe verifying the authenticity of certain things, and spotting fakes such as the supposed Sword of Alexander. I didn’t think of her on the technical side of things, actually cleaning and restoring statues. But I’m not an expert in this area, so maybe it’s all part and parcel to the trade.

Either way, I still think it was a very smart call in this cinematic universe to have her in the antiquities business because it’s a nice juxtaposition with her background as a person with an extremely long lifespan and a familial connection back to the Greek gods themselves. Having her around things like this Romanesque statue are a good reminder of her origin and background. And although we haven’t yet seen much about the ancient Greek goddesses, who often get quite a lot of attention in the Wonder Woman comic books, there is still hope that at least one of them could surface in the sequel film coming out next year.

Anyway, the scene continues with the man, still out of focus, turning toward Diana and saying that evasive answers like the one she gave are all she ever tells them. So they’re cordial but clearly Diana remains quite private about her personal life, which makes a lot of sense given what we know about her true situation. Diana continues to play it off casually, saying, “I’m not that exciting,” which is a small bit of irony given the amazing display of powers that she had in her previous scene.

We mentioned before that the depth-of-field and the framing was good at the start of the scene. Well, it also pays off here in terms of blocking because the TV is placed in the opposite corner from where the man was, so now when Diana hears the news report about the “shrine of the Amazons,” the positioning of the scene allows for a good dramatic turn. Diana pulls around toward the TV and is no longer playful -- she has a very concerned look on her face.

There are three male conservationists also looking at the news report, with the news reporter saying that the large bonfire has people baffled. In the background of the scene, we can see a poster for some ancient Egyptian artifacts and a stained-glass window with a character that might be Mary, the mother of Jesus. If so, that would be another goddess or holy feminine connection to Diana.

Although the report is saying that the meaning of the fire is unknown, and just as Menalippe predicted, the men don’t know what it means, Hippolyta was right that Diana will know what it means. She says to herself, “Invasion.” So that line not only verbalizes the main threat of the film but it also serves as a connective link because now Bruce and Diana are aware of the threat. And Diana actually knows more than Bruce does about the history of Steppenwolf and the motherboxes, so it’s important for her to be brought into the mix early on.

And it’s not clear, but I wonder how specific that bonfire warning is. Is it something that Diana knows would only happen in the event that the motherbox were retrieved by Steppenwolf or someone else from Apokolips? Or is it a more general warning fire -- something that could be lit in the event of any sort of invasion or incursion on Themyscira? Based on Diana’s reaction, where her line about “invasion” seems to refer generally to the world being in danger, I tend to think it’s the former. That Diana knows that this fire must mean that the motherbox, long guarded on Themyscira, has been retrieved.

So this scene, although short, contains an important shift, from the casual Diana who is going about her daily life and content with playing coy about her weekend heroics, to a very concerned Diana who will be putting all her attention toward stopping Steppenwolf. It builds upon the danger that we saw so vividly on Themyscira in the last scene, and it takes that danger and spreads it out to Diana, so that she will be motivated to join Bruce in forming the league.

Unfortunately, that ratcheting up of tension and danger is about to be terribly, embarrassingly undercut by the next scene.

End of Episode
That’s our analysis of Scene 11 of Justice League. Next up is a somewhat feisty discussion between Rebecca and me about the next scene -- Lois and Martha at the Daily Planet.

And speaking of Rebecca, we all want to give a big congratulations to our colleague on the 200th episode of Supergirl radio. That’s a really amazing accomplishment, and it’s a nice way to celebrate the return of Supergirl in her fourth season, premiering this weekend. But well done, Rebecca, and the rest of the Supergirl Radio family! It’s a great podcast and we wish you continued success.

And on behalf of the JLU Podcast team, thank you for listening. If you’d like more in-depth content related to DC Films, then be sure to check out our Patreon page at If we get just a couple more patrons, then we are probably going to start up a full Man of Steel analysis. So if you’re a fan of Man of Steel, then even just one dollar a month can make that happen. That’s at

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