Justice League Movie Review
Shortly after SUICIDE SQUAD, fans of the DC cinematic universe began to temper their expectations. Those expectations led to the explosion of WONDER WOMAN, which was a legitimately decent movie, but amplified by those reserved hopes. So now comes JUSTICE LEAGUE, a movie with plenty of lead-up talk about how there were behind-the-scenes problems, tonal disarray and creative incompetence. JUSTICE LEAGUE isn’t righting the DC ship, but it’s certainly not the last rat on a potential sinking ship.
In a marathon race with Marvel, DC is sprinting frantically in the hopes of keeping pace. That’s seen in the first 30 minutes of JUSTICE LEAGUE as we play catch-up. The aftermath of BATMAN V. SUPERMAN still permeates throughout Metropolis, Gotham and the world. Crime is on the rise and demonic looking flying creatures are kidnapping people on a daily basis. Batman/Bruce Wayne (Affleck) suspects the death of Superman/Clark Kent (Henry Cavil) is about to give birth to an unworldly threat. Wonder Woman/Diana (Gadot) suspects the same.
Batman, who continues to keep secrets close to the chest, begins to scour the globe for other superheroes to create an alliance to stop whatever impending doom is on the horizon. Batman finds The Flash/Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) scrounging for pennies and doing side jobs. The plucky young man nearly steals the movie as an apprehensive young adult simply wowed by the scope of it all. Batman also unsuccessfully finds Aquaman/ Arthur Curry (Momoa) who’s saving stranded fishermen and pounding drinks at the local pub. Wonder Woman is left to find the final piece, Cyborg/Victor Stone (Ray Fisher).
The gathering of heroes is choppy, sometimes struggling to find joy and intrigue in the mad dash to get everyone on board. The obvious here is that DC is quickly patching in characters without legitimate concern for an emotional connection with the audience. Although The Flash may be instantly relatable because this is the second time in 2017 a young aspiring hero is being flung into a world he might not be mature enough for (SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING).
One thing different from previous Snyder films with DC is the action. The action is a lot more fluid because of the near non-existent use of slow-motion. It may not seem like much to drop it’s usage, but it allows for JUSTICE LEAGUE to highlight each member of the team during battle, giving everyone a specific role in the fight. It makes for a lot of fun, especially when the Flash gets a little competitive, and when Cyborg and Aquaman are sizing each other up.
As I suspected before heading in, Snyder and Joss Whedon’s visual and storytelling styles clash multiple times. Snyder may have laid the groundwork, but Whedon helped tweak some of the more essential moments of the film. Whedon’s light-heartedness tries to shed a little light on Snyder’s brooding atmosphere. But the transition between both leaves us yearning for something better, but in some ways, makes us appreciate both styles in a film that probably couldn’t handle too much of either.
What JUSTICE LEAGUE lacks in a compelling narrative, it makes up for in amusing camaraderie. Some characters need a little bit more backstory and emotional backbone behind their punch to make them remotely enjoyable, but sometimes they leap off the screen with witty dialogue. JUSTICE LEAGUE is a mess, but when compared to its predecessors, it’s certainly a baby step in the right direction. DC in 2017 could provide further hope for fan boys that Warner Bros. has averted a complete disaster with this shared universe.