Review: Justice League at Six Flags Great America
The new-for-2016 Justice League: Battle for Metropolis at Six Flags Great America introduces a much-needed 4D interactive dark ride to the Chicagoland amusement park’s arsenal of attractions.
The ride opened to the public in late May, and I had the chance to try it out last weekend. I rode St. Louis’ version last year, so I had high expectations for Great America’s iteration.
According to the park, Justice League: Battle for Metropolis riders “engage in a full-sensory journey as they battle alongside Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, The Flash, Supergirl and Cyborg against Lex Luthor and The Joker and his henchmen.”
“This is the most innovative and multi-faceted attraction that this park has ever built,” stated Hank Salemi, Six Flags Great America park president. “The advanced technology…surrounds the riders throughout the course in non-stop action from start to finish.”
And he’s not exaggerating.
Justice League: Battle for Metropolis at Six Flags Great America is sandwiched between the park’s County Fair and Southwest Territory areas. It anchors the newly formed “Metropolis Plaza.”
The park’s Southwest Amphitheater was razed to make room for the attraction’s show building.
While the ride’s facade is well designed like the other Justice League: Battle for Metropolis attractions, the new “Metropolis Plaza” area leaves much to be desired.
Aside from a small concession stand and the ride’s entrance arch, there’s little in the area that suggests an urban Metropolis locale.
While I wouldn’t expect Six Flags to build a mini Metropolis from the ground up, adding a few more planters, perhaps a themed concession stand along with other streetscape enhancements would add some needed life to the area.
The outdoor section of the queue line is cordoned off to the left of the ride’s building (if you’re facing the entrance). The block of switchbacks isn’t shielded from the sun, so beware if you’re waiting during the heat of the day. There are some misting fans, though. Hopefully the park will eventually install some sort of cover.
As of this posting, Justice League: Battle for Metropolis does feature a single-rider line, which can shave off a huge chunk of your wait time if you are willing to separate from your party (or are actually a single rider). I only waited 10-15 minutes to ride while the standby line’s wait time was posted at one hour.
Fortunately, none of the gripes I have with what’s outside the building have any effect on the awesomeness of what’s inside the show building.
The first room of the indoor queue is relatively simple with Justice League buzzword banners displayed on the walls. The heroic music playing prepares and motivates you for the battle ahead.
The second half of the indoor queue near the loading platform is more immersive.
Guests are brought up to speed on the crisis at hand via video screens featuring the cast of superheroes and villains, the latter of which are led by none other than the Joker and Lex Luthor.
Cyborg greets and debriefs guests as they wait to board their vehicles. It’s an impressive animatronic and helps pass the time as you wait to embark on your mission.
So what’s the basic storyline? You join the Justice League’s “Reserve Team” to help battle the Joker and Lex Luthor, hopefully thwarting their evil plans.
The ride itself is a product of Sally Corporation, a leader in the world of immersive dark-ride attractions. Riders travel in custom-designed, six-seat motion-based vehicles that can spin and tilt in almost any direction.
Each seat is equipped with a “stun gun,” which can “incapacitate” the villains and their evil henchmen.
I donned my 3D glasses and set off on the battle to save Metropolis.
The vehicle follows a singular rail, zipping surprisingly quickly through the course, rotating and tilting to match the on-screen action.
Most of the ride’s special effects were working with the exception of the fire seen in the promotional photo above. I won’t ruin every twist and turn for you, but you’ll experience a smorgasbord of special effects throughout the ride.
The ride transitions well between the physical set pieces and 3D video scenes. And in a world where physical sets are becoming secondary to huge video screens, the tried-and-true physical set pieces are a breath of fresh air.
The ride’s finale features a still-cool-to-me “virtual loop” achieved by the ride vehicle tilting to match the on-screen loop. The finale as a whole is fast-paced (as is most of the ride). Think of it as the final battle of your favorite superhero movie.
There are plenty of targets to shoot at throughout the course of the ride, so the hardcore video gamers in your group will get a kick out of that.
Unfortunately, I did not achieve the top score during my ride on Justice League. I think I need to fine tune my eye-hand coordination.
But I also found myself so immersed in the video and scenery that I forgot I was also competing against my fellow riders in a shoot-em-up game. Next time I’ll remind myself to stay focused on the mission at hand.
After returning your glasses and exiting the vehicles, you’ll exit the show building through a gift shop packed with Justice League merchandise (DC comic book and superhero fans beware).
Overall, Justice League: Battle for Metropolis at Six Flags Great America is a unique addition to the park’s selection of family friendly attractions. While the ride is no Goliath or X-Flight, it’s without a doubt one of the most thrilling non-coaster dark rides I’ve ever ridden.
It’s one of the most immersive dark rides you’ll find at your standard amusement park. It even rivals the big dogs found at Disney and Universal parks.
Sally Corp. (the ride’s manufacturer) has created an amazing attraction, and I’m glad that Six Flags is building more of them.
Have you ridden Justice League: Battle for Metropolis at Six Flags Great America? Share your thoughts about the interactive dark ride below.