DC Comics Goes All In With Justice League [Movie Review]
Let me start this off by stating that I am a hardcore comic book fan and the DC Universe is my favorite fictional world to delve into. Going into this review, understand that I love these characters and the most important aspect to me is seeing them done justice (pun intended). There are some bumps along the way but ‘Justice League’ clearly understands these characters. This movie treats the classic Super team with the respect it deserves.
The movie opens with what is quite possibly my favorite cinematic Batman moment ever. After that the movie quickly introduces us to the characters and their motivations without getting bogged down by overt exposition. The movie treats the audience like they are smart enough to put together the origins of these well-established pop culture heroes without being spoon-fed with flashbacks and tedious narration. Most of the individual backstories are fleshed out in small bits of dialog that provide enough information to get the movie rolling along. The newcomers to the Justice League are recruited by Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince to save the earth from an incoming invasion. With the death of Superman the world is left unprotected and invasion is imminent. The invasion is led by villain Steppenwolf who is the uncle of the infamous DC Comics villain Darkseid. Steppenwolf’s character design was nothing special but his army of parademons looked fantastic. I wish that his motivations and relation to a higher power were explored more in the movie but he was serviceable as a threat to bring the team together. I am glad they decided to save Darkseid for further down the road.
Batman and Wonder Woman serve as mentors and leaders in the movie and it absolutely works. The performances remain solid by both Affleck and Gadot as they provide a sense of heroicness that was needed in the DC Cinematic Universe. Newcomers Aquaman, Cyborg and Flash were welcome additions to a hopefully further expanding universe of characters. I knew from the trailers that I would enjoy Jason Momoa’s performance as Arthur Curry, but he has some amazing moments in the film that took me by surprise. I was not initially sold on Ezra Miller as the Flash but it was established early in the film that this was a young and fresh Barry Allen. He is gawky and unsure of his place in this team of superheroes, but is also immediately likable and sympathetic. He provided most of the films humor and several inspiring moments as he figures out his role. There is a scene where Flash is anxious about his ability to be effective in battle looks to Batman for guidance, and it leads to one of the most remarkable superhero moments I have seen in a movie. I have never been the biggest Cyborg fan but Ray Fisher’s performance really showed the depth and complexity of that character. Unfortunately his CGI suit is a way too busy and doesn’t look convincing enough. Ideally he will look a lot better in an upgraded suit for the follow up film. Suit aside, Cyborg was one of the highlights of this movie. Cyborg is struggling to
come to terms with his new life and new abilities and gain some control over the suit. He finds his place on this team and becomes an inspiring hero and an obvious asset. There is also another “Super” hero that joins the team and it is incredible to finally see him portrayed as a true beacon of hope.
Like many comic book movies these days, some of the CGI environments in the action scenes look more like a videogame than a big budget movie. It lowers the stakes when the characters are obviously in a completely green screened environment. Luckily this was only distracting in a few scenes and it didn’t take me out of the movie. Some major moments in the film seemed to be wrapped up very quickly and I am assuming a lot of footage was cut to slim down the run time. I know audiences and critics alike had a hard time with the length of ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘Batman V Superman’ so I understand why the decision was made to keep it at 2 hours. I am sure we will be getting an extended cut when it comes out on DVD and Blu Ray. I really think this movie would have been helped out by adding at least an extra 20 minutes, but I also didn’t mind the quick pacing.
I am eager to see what is next for the Justice League. I feel like the groundwork has been laid out nicely for this team. I would love to see the addition of new team members and the promise of an ever expanding DC Cinematic Universe. I am sure this will all depend on if this movie turns a profit, but I do think this is a step in the right direction. I give ‘Justice League’ 8 out of 10.
Oh, and don’t leave until after the credits!
Justice League [Movie Review]