Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists newfound ally Diana Prince to face an even greater threat. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to recruit a team to stand against this newly awakened enemy. Despite the formation of an unprecedented league of heroes — Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash — it may be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
Zaid Lagardien (Guest Hooligan)– Justice League (JL) is the latest addition to the DCEU directed by Zac Snyder who still retains directing credits despite the tragic news, regarding his daughter, led him to step down mid-production. This led Warner Bros to bring in Joss Whedon, of Avengers notoriety to step in and complete production. You can definitely see Whedon’s influence with some of the comedy being classic after-the-fact Whedon. There are times, however, where this shows especially where the transitions seem a bit messy but considering the circumstances I think credit should be given where it’s due; it’s more cohesive than expected. It still feels like and ultimately is a Zac Snyder film but I’d love to find a big rock, find the person living underneath, stick em in a theatre and see if they notice.
It’s no secret that the DCEU has had its ups and downs. Trying to compete with an MCU, which kicked off all the way back in 2008 with Iron Man (I personally don’t count The Incredible Hulk #teamruffalo), was always going to be a tough task for any studio. Man of Steel didn’t break new ground, BvS and Suicide Squad were mostly panned by critics and divided fans. Wonder Woman was a much-needed win for Warner Bros. On the first impression, JL has its flaws but is generally a step in the right direction.
The movie picks up after the events of Batman v Superman with Bruce Wayne (Batman) and Diana Prince (Wonder Woman) recruiting a team to combat the impending threat in the form of Steppenwolf, the films main villain, who is coming to earth to do villain things. “Villain things” as apt a description as any as those looking for a complicated and deep antagonist should look elsewhere. Steppenwolf is a generic CGI villain that serves more as a plot device to bring the team together than a character. He is a potentially world-ending threat that requires our titular heroes to band together, play nice and defeat the big baddy. It’s not movie breaking, and I suspect it’s tied to Warner Bros mandate to keep the movie to under 2 hours but it is worth mentioning. There’s one scene where our heroes are, let’s say “interacting with one another” and Steppenwolf just appears out of nowhere in a CGI sky beam and then leaves. I suspect there was a scene in there somewhere but due to runtime restrictions, they had to cut it out? I suspect when the Snyder cut hits Blu-ray we will get to see a lot more, which I’m looking forward to. Though I should not have to wait for an extended edition or directors cut to fill in plot holes or fix pacing.
Where the film really comes into its own is showcasing the heroes and introducing them to each other and, to be a bit meta, the DCEU. Batfleck was arguably the best thing to come out of BvS and Ben Affleck continues to impress as the world’s greatest detective. I liked that we get to see a bit more Bruce Wayne and as Batman, he is a lot less broody and more self-aware probably driven by the guilt of all the Snyder murder and carnage committed by his hand in BvS. Gal Gadot is great as Wonder Woman. We get some reference to the Wonder Woman movie and how it has affected her current state as a hero which was interesting. Cyborg has a surprisingly large amount of screen-time. I suspect because he is one of the least known or popular JL members so they did a good job at showcasing him coming to terms with his new powers and, well, being a robot man. Aquaman seems more like Aquabro if anything. This is perhaps a reflection of the more light-hearted tone comic-book-y tone and isn’t a bad thing. He is a likeable character with a few comedic interactions throughout the movie. An absolute standout is Ezra Miller’s Flash. He is the rookie in the team trying to figure out his place in all of this and is definitely the films comic relief. Seeing your favourite DC heroes interact with one another on the silver screen is just an all-around fun experience. There is even a heartfelt moment between Batman and the Flash in one scene that is surprisingly effective and shows character growth. The new characters all got their own quick intros and backstories. All the heroes got to interact with one another, however briefly, and each one of them had a heroic moment.
To end, Justice League accomplished what I believe it set out to do: bring together all our favourite heroes and bring together the Justice League to kick ass. Bringing together 5 heroes, introducing them, setting up their origins, foreshadowing future events and pleasing fans, IN ONE FILM, was always going to be an imperfect execution. However, I found myself leaving excited to see the upcoming Aquaman and Flash movies. Again, it wasn’t without its flaws. As I mentioned the Villain is forgettable, the plot is all over the place and there are some terrible pacing issues. At some points, I was taken aback and began questioning the timeline of the DCEU given some moments in the film. The CGI was mostly good though, whenever I find myself outright saying “oh that’s so CGI” is usually a break in the immersion which ultimately steals from the enjoyment. As a film, I expect it won’t hit the right notes with critics or those new to the comic book genre. Fans are likely to enjoy it with many great nods to iconic comic book moments that might fly over casual moviegoers heads but leave readers of the source material grinning. Marvel Studios won’t be frantically running scared and there is still a way to go but I can safely say I left with a smile on my face and optimism for the future.
Not really a huge fan of ratings since I think they try to codify the nuance of filmmaking and viewer enjoyment. The film is a ton of fun and I guarantee enjoyment value, if at the very least, to see your favourite heroes do awesome things. Though as someone who enjoys film, the flaws can’t be ignored. As such I would rate Justice League a 6.5/10!