Justice League Review

If you’re any­thing like my­self, and if you’ve ever read a comic in your life, you’ve prob­a­bly al­ways wanted to see the Jus­tice League on the big screen. It did­n’t work so well back in 2008, when George Miller’s pro­ject did­n’t go any­where. But now we’re in a time where any source ma­te­r­ial will see the light.

With a year filled with some of the most mem­o­rable su­per­hero movies “Jus­tice League” could prob­a­bly be the best film to close out this year. And if you’re a true DC Comics fan, it might feel like heaven see­ing your fa­vorite he­roes to­gether.

Fu­eled by his re­stored faith in hu­man­ity, and in­spired by Su­per­man’s self­less act, Bruce Wayne (Ben Af­fleck) en­lists new­found ally Di­ana Prince (Gal Gadot) to face an even greater threat. To­gether, Bat­man and Won­der Woman work quickly to re­cruit a team of metahu­mans, in­clud­ing Aqua­man (Ja­son Mo­moa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cy­borg (Ray Fisher), to stand against this newly awak­ened en­emy.

Ben Affleck, Jason Momoa, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, and Ray Fisher in Justice League (2017)

It’s clear that the DC Ex­tended Uni­verse (DCEU) has­n’t got­ten the best start. A cou­ple of the lat­est films did­n’t live up to po­ten­tial, mostly be­cause these char­ac­ters were never given the right story to fol­low through or just a lack of fun. But af­ter the crit­i­cal and fi­nan­cial suc­cess of this past sum­mer’s “Won­der Woman,” maybe “Jus­tice League” might just sig­nal a new di­rec­tion for the cin­e­matic uni­verse.

My ex­pec­ta­tions were about as high as they could get. This was my fourth most an­tic­i­pated movie of the year, and I’d waited a long time for this movie to fi­nally hap­pen. I grew up with the Jus­tice League and I watched the car­toon in my spare time as a kid.

So, af­ter fi­nally com­ing out now, is this the best DCEU movie? No. Is it the worst? No. But should it have been a lot bet­ter, es­pe­cially with ex­pec­ta­tions be­ing so high? Ab­solutely.

Jason Momoa, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, and Ray Fisher in Justice League (2017)

For those who don’t know, di­rec­tor Zack Sny­der left dur­ing post-pro­duc­tion, af­ter his daugh­ter com­mit­ted sui­cide. So, he hired Joss Whe­don (who gets cred­ited as co-writer with Chris Ter­rio) to come into han­dle ex­ten­sive reshoots and rewrites.

You can some­times tell that the film was di­rected by two dif­fer­ent peo­ple. There are times where it’s easy to spot which scene is a Sny­der scene and which is a Whe­don scene. But this was­n’t a huge prob­lem.

Af­fleck still shines as Bruce Wayne/​Bat­man, as well he should. He was un­doubt­edly the best thing about “Bat­man V. Su­per­man.” In “Jus­tice League,” his char­ac­ter gets the chance to evolve with this team, mak­ing him the leader this time around. If he leaves his role be­fore his solo film, as the ru­mors are say­ing, I would be very up­set.

Gadot as Di­ana Prince/​Won­der Woman was once again fan­tas­tic in al­most every scene she’s in. I ab­solutely loved her in her solo film, and she was my fa­vorite through­out the en­tire “Jus­tice League” film. She’s still the strongest out of every­body, and we get to learn even more about her here. Se­ri­ously, how awe­some is she? The chem­istry be­tween Gadot and Af­fleck was well han­dled. Some of the con­ver­sa­tions they had with each other cre­ated those emo­tional mo­ments that lend to a great film.

Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, and Ezra Miller in Justice League (2017)

Some will be very split on Miller’s por­trayal of Barry Allen/​The Flash. For me, he was the per­fect cast­ing choice. He plays the en­er­getic, nerdy teen very well. He’s also def­i­nitely the comic re­lief, de­liv­er­ing some of the film’s fun­ni­est lines. I’ve only seen a cou­ple episodes of the tele­vi­sion show, but I re­ally en­joyed the film’s ver­sion of Flash. Also, the speed force and the vi­sual ef­fects used when­ever he uses his pow­ers was amaz­ing.

For a long time, Arthur Curry/​Aqua­man used to be a joke for a lot of peo­ple, in­clud­ing my­self. But when Mo­moa was an­nounced to play him, I was cu­ri­ous to see his take on some­one who’s been as­so­ci­ated with talk­ing to fish. But he was to­tally awe­some as this surfer-type Aqua­man, with his cocky at­ti­tude and tri­dent. Why must we wait un­til next De­cem­ber to see his movie?

New­comer Ray Fisher as Vic­tor Stone/​Cy­borg was a sur­prise. Cy­borg’s the one who’s still dis­cov­er­ing his pow­ers and feels like a freak com­pared to every­one else. He was the most de­vel­oped out the newest mem­bers, but I wish he was given more to do.

Quite pos­si­bly the eas­i­est as­pect to screw up with a movie in­volv­ing the Jus­tice League is the team dy­namic. Luck­ily, that was eas­ily the best part about it. All of them showed the kind of team work out that we’ve come to ex­pect as they worked to­gether. It kept me in­vested, even when some mo­ments took me out briefly.

Jason Momoa in Justice League (2017)

The ac­tion se­quences were pretty cool to watch as we fi­nally get to see these he­roes fight along­side each other to stop evil. Some of them weren’t quite amaz­ing, es­pe­cially the be­gin­ning with Bat­man and some el­e­ments of the third act, but other than that, it was im­pres­sive.

Every­body knew that Su­per­man (Henry Cav­ill) was go­ing to ap­pear in this movie, be­cause it’s the movie about the team, plus, he ap­peared in the first photo with them. Not sur­pris­ing at all. With­out spoil­ing any­thing, as I’m think­ing about it more and more, this is per­haps the best Su­per­man I’ve seen yet. The way they brought him back felt a bit like a cop-out at first, but as the film goes on, you fully un­der­stand the cir­cum­stances.

Quick side note: Danny Elf­man’s score is a mixed bag on my end. If you lis­ten care­fully, you might hear nods to some other clas­sic su­per­hero themes.

The plot does get to be a lit­tle bit messy and in­co­her­ent; it felt like a story that’s been done be­fore. The first half was start­ing off rocky, in my opin­ion, but it be­comes steady once it reaches the half hour point. The in­tro­duc­tions to the char­ac­ters went by way too fast and were eas­ily not enough time to re­ally get the chance to know more about them. “Jus­tice League” goes for a much lighter tone than the other DCEU films, which was both a pos­i­tive and a neg­a­tive.

There was never a mo­ment where I was re­ally bored. But still, this movie re­ally felt rushed. Warner Bros. man­dated for “Jus­tice League” not to be over two hours long, be­cause “Bat­man V. Su­per­man” was al­most three hours. For me, that was a prob­lem. It does­n’t give us enough time to know some of the char­ac­ters’ back­sto­ries and view­points. I mean, we were in­tro­duced to them very briefly in “Bat­man V. Su­per­man,” but in the dumb­est way pos­si­ble. This would’ve ben­e­fited from be­ing longer; I could tell there were a lot of scenes that were cut to make the run­time shorter. Though I’m not one who cares about ex­tended edi­tions of films, see­ing an ex­tended cut of “Jus­tice League” would­n’t be bad.

By far the biggest prob­lem with “Jus­tice League” is Step­pen­wolf (voiced by Cia­ran Hinds). He is, with­out a doubt, the de­f­i­n­i­tion of a weak vil­lain. There was noth­ing about him that was men­ac­ing or threat­en­ing, to the point where there should be a to­tally dif­fer­ent vil­lain for the team to beat. I mean, they have to de­feat this guy? C’­mon. Hinds is a tal­ented ac­tor, but he’s wasted be­cause he’s just a CGI an­tag­o­nist that does­n’t bring be­liev­able mo­ti­va­tion to his ul­ti­mate plan to take over the world with the Mother Boxes. There were times where I com­pletely for­got he was in the movie. When is the DCEU go­ing to have a great vil­lain?

Justice League (2017)

Speak­ing of the CGI, it was pretty ter­ri­ble. As you’re watch­ing it, it’s very no­tice­able with the ac­tion scenes, Cy­borg’s suit, Step­pen­wolf, etc. and I could­n’t get past it. You can clearly tell that there’s a lot of green screen with some of these scenes, and it’s a lit­tle pa­thetic. An­other in­stance of ter­ri­ble CGI is that they dig­i­tally re­moved Cav­il­l’s mus­tache, be­cause they could­n’t shave it off be­cause of his role in “Mis­sion: Im­pos­si­ble 6”.

Some of the hu­mor felt a lit­tle forced and did­n’t land. Still, the stuff with The Flash and Aqua­man was un­ex­pect­edly hi­lar­i­ous. But there are times where the jokes just aren’t that funny. Maybe that’s on Whe­do­n’s part.

Some­thing that the Mar­vel Cin­e­matic Uni­verse has done well is hav­ing each hero have their own stand­alone movie, lead­ing into The Avengers, which was bril­liant. That’s an is­sue that the DCEU has­n’t ad­dressed; we haven’t got­ten the chance to know more about Aqua­man, Cy­borg or the Flash in their own movie be­fore “Jus­tice League.” Those who don’t read the comics don’t know each char­ac­ter’s back­sto­ries, thus leav­ing them clue­less as to what’s be­ing men­tioned in the film. Though we’re get­ting these stand­alone films in the fu­ture, it would be nice to see some ori­gin story for them now.

Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, and Ray Fisher in Justice League (2017)

In the end, “Jus­tice League” is­n’t as bad as peo­ple are say­ing it would be. There are some things I en­joyed about it, and things I found ir­ri­tat­ing just think­ing about it. It prob­a­bly is­n’t go­ing to be in the con­ver­sa­tion as one of the best su­per­hero movies of all-time, but as some­thing that needs to be im­proved on. I think the DCEU is head­ing in the right di­rec­tion, even though this was­n’t per­fect. At least it was leagues bet­ter than “Bat­man V. Su­per­man” and “Sui­cide Squad”, re­spec­tively. But if you’ve been a fan of all of these he­roes for a long time from read­ing the comics and watch­ing any form of en­ter­tain­ment, it’s worth check­ing out.

My Cur­rent DCEU Rank­ings: “Won­der Woman” “Man of Steel” “Jus­tice League” “Bat­man V. Su­per­man: Dawn of Jus­tice” “Sui­cide Squad”

Though it’s def­i­nitely flawed with the rushed sto­ry­line, “Jus­tice Leagueis still a fun ex­pe­ri­ence, wit­ness­ing DC’s great­est he­roes fi­nally fight­ing to­gether.

Grade: B-

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