The film opens with camera phone footage of Clark Kent/Superman (Henry Cavill) recorded by two kids. They interview him just after one of his heroic missions. One of the kids asks Superman what his favorite thing about Earth is. The footage cuts off before he gives his answer.
It's now months later in Gotham City. A man on a rooftop has just committed a robbery. He sees Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) perched on a gargoyle before he leaps over and fights the man. Batman dangles the man over a ledge, using the man's fear to lure out a creature known as a Parademon. Batman fights the Parademon until he traps it in a net. The creature explodes moments later, leaving behind three boxes burnt on the wall. Alfred (Jeremy Irons) sees this through the monitor. He tells Batman it's time to round up his team.
People all around the world still mourn Superman after his death. Martha Kent (Diane Lane) has moved away from her home while Lois Lane (Amy Adams) feels more alone.
In London, a team of robbers stage a heist in a bank, taking hostages in the process. Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) heads down to stop them. The leader of the robbers plans to use a bomb to bring the city back to the Dark Ages, but Wonder Woman manages to fight back and throw the bomb into the sky as it explodes. The leader then tries to shoot all the hostages, so Wonder Woman runs and deflects all the bullets with her gauntlets. She then clashes the gauntlets together to defeat the leader.
Bruce travels to a small town in Iceland to find Arthur Curry, AKA Aquaman (Jason Momoa). Bruce finds him in a tavern and offers him money to go with him, but Arthur declines and heads into the ocean to leave.
Bruce goes home to discuss matters with Alfred. After not having luck getting Arthur on the team, his other options are Victor Stone/Cyborg (Ray Fisher), who is presumed dead, and Barry Allen/The Flash (Ezra Miller).
Barry visits his father Henry (Billy Crudup) in prison after he was locked up for allegedly murdering his wife when Barry was a child. Henry wants Barry to live his own life and to stop visiting him, because he doesn't have any hope that he will ever get out of there.
On Themyscira, the Amazons are guarding a cube known as a Mother Box. A beam comes down on the Box, and a swarm of Parademons descend with their leader, Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds). He attempts to take the Mother Box, prompting the Amazons to fight back. They kill a number of Parademons, but Steppenwolf swings his axe down to kill some Amazons. Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) tries to get the Mother Box away from Steppenwolf, but he succeeds in taking it for himself. Hippolyta then tells her general they must ignite a fire in a temple, because Diana will know what it means. Hippolyta fires the burning arrow, and Diana sees it on the news.
At Star Labs, Silas Stone (Joe Morton) is leaving his job and goes home to Victor. Victor is hiding after everyone thought he died, and he is worried that his new appearance will have everyone see him as a monster.
Diana goes to find Bruce. They walk by a lake as she tells him the history of Steppenwolf and the Mother Boxes. There are three Mother Boxes, and if brought together, Steppenwolf would create The Unity, which destroys planets and reshapes them into the hellscape of Steppenwolf's home planet. Long ago, the Amazons, Atlanteans, and Green Lanterns all joined forces to fight Steppenwolf and his army, sending him away and driving him mad. The Amazons kept one of the Boxes, and the Atlanteans kept another, while the third was kept hidden in secrecy by man so that nobody may be tempted to harness its power. As Bruce and Diana walk away, Cyborg is watching them from nearby.
Bruce locates Barry's hideout in Central City. While he knows who Barry really is, Barry denies it until Bruce throws a batarang, which Barry quickly catches. Realizing Bruce is Batman, Barry agrees to join him. He flies them back to meet with Diana.
Cyborg contacts Diana through Bruce's computer in the Batcave. They agree to meet up in an isolated location for Diana to try and convince Cyborg to join them, but he flies away before agreeing to anything.
On the ocean, a fisherman is caught in a terrible storm. Arthur rescues him and brings him to the tavern for some whiskey. Arthur notices green goo on the glass bottle. He leaves the tavern and heads back down to Atlantis. Before he returns, however, Steppenwolf and the Parademons come down and take the second Mother Box while killing some Atlanteans. Mera (Amber Heard) tries to intervene as Arthur comes down, but the Mother Box is gone.
Commissioner Jim Gordon (JK Simmons) is alerted to a series of civilian kidnappings. He sends out the Bat Signal to contact Batman. Joined by Wonder Woman and Flash, and then Cyborg, Gordon tells them what has happened, and the four head off to save the civilians.
Steppenwolf and the Parademons are trying to press their hostages for the location of the third Mother Box. One of the hostages is Silas, who had actually used the power of the Mother Box to revive Victor after his accident. Cyborg initiates the attack against Steppenwolf while Flash gets the hostages out of there. Flash rejoins Wonder Woman and Cyborg as they battle the Parademons while Batman gets his Nightcrawler to shoot at the creatures. Steppenwolf gets away and cracks open the tunnel beneath Gotham City Harbor. As the water comes down, Aquaman comes in and stops the water from spreading.
Back at Bruce's home, Cyborg reveals that Star Labs was keeping the Mother Box. Bruce comes up with the idea to use the Mother Box's power to revive Superman so that he may help defeat Steppenwolf. Diana disagrees with the plan for fear that Superman may come back the way Zod came back as Doomsday. Despite this, they decide to give the idea a shot. Barry and Victor go to the cemetery to dig up Superman's grave.
The League goes to the Kryptonian ship with the Box and Superman's body. Flash runs from a distance to charge the box as it hits the water. It works and Superman comes back to life. However, he doesn't seem to remember who he is. He flies out of the ship, and the others go after him. He scans them with his x-ray vision while Cyborg's defense system activates on its own. He fires a blast at Superman, leading him to attack the others. The League tries to defend themselves as he comes close to killing them. They are stopped when Lois is brought to the scene. Superman calms down and flies away with Lois. To make things worse, Steppenwolf takes the last Mother Box from the ship.
Clark and Lois are outside his old childhood home. He still feels overwhelmed after being brought back to life, but Lois convinces him that the other heroes and the rest of the world need him. Moments later, Martha drives up and runs up to embrace Clark.
Steppenwolf brings all the Boxes together to begin The Unity. Everything around him starts to burn and decay. The League shows up to begin the final showdown. The Parademons go after them, but they get slaughtered by the League. Cyborg tries to separate the boxes, and Steppenwolf tries to tear him apart. The Flash takes care of a nearby civilian family that nearly gets caught in the chaos by speed-pushing their car to safety. Superman arrives and joins the fight, helping Cyborg pull the Boxes apart. Enraged, Steppenwolf tries to finish them off himself, but Superman uses his ice breath to freeze Steppenwolf's axe, allowing Diana to shatter it with her sword. Now weakened and bewildered, the Parademons sense Steppenwolf's fear and begin to tear him apart as they are sent back to their world.
Later on, the heroes return to their homes. Barry gets a job with the Central City forensics department and he lets a proud Henry know about it. Victor works with his father at Star Labs. Arthur returns to Atlantis to fulfill his role as king. Bruce, Diana, and Alfred look into an abandoned building to establish the Hall of Justice. Lois then writes an article stating that there is once again hope out there. The last thing we see is Superman flying into the sky above Metropolis.
Mid-Credits Scene: Superman and Flash start a race to see who is faster, with a bet placed that if Flash loses, he has to invite the others to brunch, and if he wins, he gets to tell everyone he beat Superman.
Post-Credits Scene: Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) has escaped prison and left a decoy in his cell. On his yacht, he is visited by Slade Wilson/Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello). Lex proposes an idea to Slade that they come up with their own little team (the Legion of Doom).
*CUT TO THE CHASE*
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Bruce Wayne/Batman wants to gather a team of people with incredible abilities following the death of Superman. With the help of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, they get Arthur Curry/Aquaman, Barry Allen/The Flash, and Victor Stone/Cyborg to join them when a villain called Steppenwolf plans to get the Mother Boxes together to destroy the world.
The League uses the third Mother Box to revive Superman, but he goes nuts when he doesn't immediately remember who he is. With the heroes distracted, Steppenwolf takes the last Box.
After being convinced by Lois Lane, Superman joins his friends to battle Steppenwolf and stop his plans. Steppenwolf is killed by his own Parademon minions when they sense his fear after the League defeats him.
The League goes back to their own homes until they are needed again. Meanwhile, Lex Luthor and Slade Wilson/Deathstroke are planning to organize their own team (Legion of Doom) to battle the Justice League.
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