“Justice League” Review
The heavy hitters of DC have united on the silver screen in the latest chapter of the DCEU. “Justice League” brings together Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Godot), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Mamoa), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher). While the team may be super, their first outing is more of a mixed bag.
The world is still reeling at the death of Superman after the DC Trinity’s battle with Doomsday. Bruce Wayne looks to assemble a team of fellow heroes to combat an inevitable threat to our world. The threat comes in the form of Steppenwolf who sees Superman’s death as a prime opportunity to invade our world. He seeks three “mother boxes” that can help shape the world into chaos. The Justice League is all that stand in his way.
The action in the film is fun to watch. Much like the Chitauri in “The Avengers,” Steppenwolf’s parademons give the heroes endless fodder to show off their powers and skills. The action scenes also give off a few standup moments for the audience. While Steppenwolf is a good way to lead into the inevitable showdown with DC villain Darkseid for comic fans, a lack of character development in the villain may hinder casual movie fans. This lack of development also comes for the heroes not named Batman and Wonder Woman (possibly the Flash too). While comic fans may be familiar with these characters, most of the audience just saw some short clips of them in “Batman v Superman.” Solo movies are planned for them, but will interest from a general audience still be there a year or even more down the road?
Danny Elfman’s score is a welcome addition. The inclusion of elements from his classic Batman theme really added to the caped crusader’s scenes and brought back a lot of nostalgia. The score really added a more adventurous feel to the League’s first outing. The overall tone has changed from the criticized “dark and gloomy” of “Batman v Superman.” This film has a more hopeful feeling by the end of the film, and is overall a lot more lighter in tone. There is also a little more levity and comedic element thrown in. However, while a lot of the humor works there are times where it felt forced or shoehorned in. It almost felt like the forced elements were there to try and satisfy critics or to have a “there we did it” moment.
The actors do their best with what they have. Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne/Batman character has become more accepting that he can’t always fight alone, while Gal Godot’s Wonder Woman continues with the hope and optimism she brought from the previous film. Ezra Miller’s version of The Flash brings most of the lighter moments in the film. His amazement and wonder with working in the Justice League could be a good representation of what we would feel if we were brought into this world. Jason Mamoa’s version of Aquaman is that of a badass with a heart. He really works to show he is not just “someone who talks to fish.” Ray Fisher’s Cyborg is new to much of the audience. Fisher works to try and bring an element of adjusting to a difficult situation.
With a run time of 120 minutes everything feels very compressed. If the studio was going for a decent popcorn movie, then they succeeded. However, with the rich backstories of the characters and epic scale they were going for, it could have used at least another 30 minutes to tell its tale. There must be plans for an extended/directors cut of the film in the works.
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