“Justice League”- Movie Review
When it comes to cinematic universes, DC has struggled to find its footing. For one, it had to play catch-up to Marvel, which kick-started its franchise back in 2008 and has had room to evolve ever since. Second of all, it needed a clear identity. It needed to establish one fast. Man of Steel was a solid magnum opus for the DC Extended Universe. Batman v Superman was a jumbled slog to get through. Suicide Squad, while colorful and more humorous than the others, didn’t make things better. Wonder Woman was the one that changed the game, at least in my opinion. And now we have Justice League, the ultimate payoff to everything that’s been built up over the years. Is it another disappointment, or does it show promise for the DCEU?
Not much time has passed since the death of Superman (Henry Cavill), and things are yet again looking grim for the people of Earth. A tyrant hell-bent on taking over the world by the name Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciaran Hinds), arrives with his army of mutant bug people to destroy humanity. Knowing this won’t be an easy fight, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) and Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) put together a super team along with the Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Mamoa), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) in order to put an end to the looming threat.
Justice League is messy and brimming with flaws, but it’s nowhere near the cinematic disaster most critics are making it out to be. In my opinion, it’s proof that the DC Universe is slowly but surely heading in the right direction. For one, the film is thoroughly entertaining. I was never bored, and it never lagged. Despite having two directors- Zack Snyder and his eventual substitute, Joss Whedon, who was kind enough to take over while Snyder dealt with a family tragedy- the film feels cohesive. Their different style mesh very well, and the whole film feels like it was crafted from a singular vision.
Once again, Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck are incredible as Wonder Woman and Batman. Jason Mamoa, Ray Fisher, and Ezra Miller make great new editions, and the comradery they share with the heroes we already know and love is what makes this movie. They’re all likable, they all have a unique sense of humor, and, most importantly, they’re all cool. You take just one look at any one them, and there’s no question that they are the Justice League, a team of the strongest DC heroes.
The backstories of each of the characters are explored, and while it does give us a sense of who they are, they’re told so fast that if you blink, you may miss something important. The one advantage Marvel had was that the majority of the Avengers had already had their own solo films prior to the first team-up. So they had more time to flesh out their stories. For Justice League, the only two members who’ve had solos are Wonder Woman and Superman. So the film tries cramming in as much information as possible. As a result, several scenes feel rushed and exposition-heavy.
And nothing screams exposition than the film’s villain. Don’t let his cool design and booming voice fool you. Steppenwolf is pretty much every war-hungry, “humanity-is-weak-therefore-they-must-be-destroyed” villain you’ve seen in the superhero genre. The CGI on him isn’t necessary. He could’ve easily been motion-captured. But overall, he just wasn’t a compelling foe to go up against. And that’s a shame, seeing how DC usually has the better villains.
Justice League is by no means a great superhero movie. The story is convoluted and the villain is very paint-by-numbers. Though the characters are the highlights of the film. Seeing them fight alongside one another is what makes this film work well. Again, it isn’t enough to make it spectacular, though it is enough to help make a good, fun superhero film.
Cosmic Grade: 3.5 out of 5 Stars