Film Review: Justice League
Written by Cameron Hoover on November 19, 2017
Director: Zack Snyder
Studio(s): DC Films, RatPac Entertainment, Atlas Entertainment, Cruel and Unusual Films
Cast: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher
Release Date: Nov. 17, 2017
I have a love/hate relationship with the DC Comics Extended Universe.
Of the first four films in the franchise, I thought Wonder Woman was the only good one.
“Man of Steel” is a drab borefest because Superman is the dullest character of all-time. “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad” go toe to toe in my mind as some of the worst superhero movies of the decade, close to “Daredevil” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”
In “Wonder Woman”, Gal Gadot and Chris Pine’s on-screen charisma and chemistry made for a fun, surprisingly human movie. It wasn’t without its flaws, but it was one of the most genuinely entertaining movies I can remember from this summer. It gave me hope for the upcoming “Justice League.”
I was still skeptical heading in though. “Batman vs. Superman” was so horrible partly because DC clustered two and a half huge characters (Wonder Woman wasn’t in that movie nearly enough.) with so little backstory that none of it made sense, and no one really cared when Superman got kaboomed to death with Doomsday.
How would DC and Zack Snyder handle throwing even more characters into the fray with little to no explanation and backstory?
They handled it really well.
I am so happy to say that. I love DC Comics. They have the best heroes, the best villains, the best settings, the best TV shows, the best video games. But their movies have fallen painfully short, minus Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy.
It seems like DC is starting to get it together, and if that’s the case, watch out.
The film opens with Batman (Ben Affleck) doing reconnaissance by dangling a man over the edge of a building. Classic Batman. After successfully giving the man a heart attack, he does battle with a parademon, setting off the main conflict of the movie.
Superman (Henry Cavill) is still dead. After the final scene of Batman vs. Superman, it was unclear whether he would be or not, but I assure you. He’s definitely dead.
Because of this, the world is overcome by fear. Steppenwolf fulfils his promise and returns to Earth to hunt down the three “Mother Boxes,” cubes of power that, when combined, basically will destroy all life on Earth.
Batman and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) team up with the Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Aquaman (Jason Momoa), along with another familiar face to take on Steppenwolf and save the planet.
Surprise: That familiar face is Superman, brought back to life about halfway through the movie.
This movie definitely paid attention to the lighter, more playful tone from Wonder Woman as opposed to the sad, monotone grey feel of “Batman vs. Superman” and “Suicide Squad.” This movie made me laugh quite a bit, mostly because of Miller’s Flash. Some jokes landed like a brick on asphalt, but most of them at least got a chuckle.
There are some genuine human moments here, my favorite involving Superman. This movie finally starts to figure out Superman as a character and makes him far more relatable.
The action sequences are the highlight of this film by far, with some of the best a comic book movie has ever seen. The Flash’s fight scenes are phenomenal, particularly the one right after Superman gets woken up.
This movie isn’t perfect. Some jokes flat out sucked, and Batfleck still rubs me the wrong way. He’s old and slow, but he’s most likely going to be giving up the cowl to a new, younger actor soon, which will lend itself to some good, “I’m-too-old-for-this-shit” storylines.
The sound design is an assault on the ears at times, mostly pertaining to Steppenwolf’s parademons. Every time one of those little menaces came on screen, I battened down the hatches and waited for my ear drums to explode.
With all its flaws, Justice League is a damn good movie. Factor in Wonder Woman and a post-credits scene promising a better future, and DC fans finally have something to be excited about when they go to the theater.