Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill,
Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher
For so many years, fans craved a movie where super heroes could meet and team up in the same universe. With the launch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we achieved this goal with spectacular results at launch, with (objectively) some staggering results as years go on. For so long as Marvel Studios raked in the money, DC Comics, the largest competitor to Marvel in terms of comic books struggled to compete in a cinematic way. With Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy proving to have no plans for an expanded universe, plans were made by DC Entertainment to begin their cinematic universe. Beginning with Man of Steel starring Henry Cavill as the red, blue blur Superman, critics and fans seemed to struggle with their opinions on the movie. With the follow-up Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, even worse of a divide was created amongst the superhero cinematic landscape. We won’t even discuss Suicide Squad…However with the release of Wonder Woman earlier this year, fans finally seemed satisfied with a DC Universe movie. Could the movie to bring everyone together be as great as one of its key members? Well yes despite what critics say.
From the beginning of the movie, we see that Ben Affleck’s Batman has gone over an aggressive overall since his appearance in BvS. Which is perfectly fine. Bruce Wayne has patrolled the city of Gotham for so long that after the events of Man of Steel and BvS leaving him with a sense of enlightenment and a new goal to strive for, he is able to be a coordinator and bring this team together.
Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is easily the Captain America to Batman’s Iron man. She is said to be the field leader of the team which is a respectable choice because of Batman sometimes needing to come off harsh and grim. Diana Prince (Wonder Woman) goes in a great direction that I was honestly hoping for after the ending of her movie where it seemed ambiguous of where she could of been for over a century, and the solution given is a great one that plays on elements from the her movie. The moment in the film where she has to come to grips with her past is a phenomenal display of emotion from Gadot and proves that she can represent a culture of women that struggle for a voice in superhero culture.
Jason Momoa’s Aquaman is easily the sleeper hit of this movie. With his gruff demeanor and immediate lone wolf approach as Arthur Curry, Momoa is able to make people finally shut up with their hatred for the DC hero. With his brief interactions with Atlantis and Mera, we get a glimpse of what to hope for in 2018 with his solo movie, and with his performance here, you can definitely be excited for more of the guy who talks to fish.
Ezra Miller’s Flash is definitely….interesting. Which is not a bad thing. Barry Allen in this movie is sort of in an in between period where he’s trying so hard to find not only himself but the truth behind his mother’s murder, that he’s not a fully functioning adult. He’s almost what you would call spastic and hyperactive. Almost as if his super powers subject him to these traits. As I watched the movie, I couldn’t help feeling him more reminiscent of the Justice League animated Flash, Wally West who in comics is the bearer of the mantle after Barry Allen, and maybe this would of helped differentiate for fans of the Flash CW tv series but otherwise, Miller’s take on the Scarlet Speedster was very enjoyable and added levity in places and even taking the slow motion super speed trope from the X-men movies and utilizing it without doing it beat for beat
Finally of the heroes we can speak on, Ray Fisher’s Cyborg is honestly, my favorite of the heroes in this film, and that’s from the Aquaman fanboy. Victor Stone aka Cyborg goes through his natural growth as a character fluidly in the comics. From the struggle of coming to grips with the transformation he’s overgone and hating his father, to learning to be apart of a team and be the hero he was meant to be. While the CGI effects used to portray Cyborg can be stiff at times, Fisher makes up for it with his understanding and display of this underrated DC hero. Some critics were quick to say that he was too grim in the beginning and it smelled of writing on Zack Snyder’s partm but anyone can watch this movie and see the inner battle Victor goes through with the fate that has befallen him and has to grow and become a better person and be more man than machine with a very well placed “Booyah”.
The final character worth discussing in detail is the villain. Steppenwolf, well known in the comics as a disciple of the true Superman/Justice League villain Darkseid, decides he’s tired of playing second fiddle and attempts to take the whole movie for himself, and he does…okay? From his fight scenes with Atlanteans, Amazons, and the League twice, Steppenwolf is made out to be a reasonable threat. Where he’s lacking though, is his background. With the movie having to focus so hard on developing the Justice League members while also telling a compelling narrative, Steppenwolf’s entire backstory that is easily an entire Jack Kirby’s New God’s omnibus in size, is glossed over just enough so the audience can follow along. Which leaves him as an average and ultimately a serviceable villain
- Characters and the development they go through as well as the almost perfect balance of all 6…oops…i said 6…members of the Justice League
- CGI was great…the majority of the time
- Nods to DC Comics Lore that builds on future films or just fun easter eggs
- The story overall that services the characters and the threat needed to bring them together.
- A great balance of humor and seriousness that some other superhero films of late have struggled with (I’m looking at you Thor Ragnarok)
- Great emotional pull at scenes that left you on the edge of your seat.
- Villain lacked depth and was there as team up fodder
- CGI tending to dip in places
- Shifts in tone that were noticeable but weren’t the worst thing ever and did not impact the movie on a grand scale as some are saying but are nonetheless a con
At the end of the day, this movie was without a doubt, amazing. If you are an average run of the mill fan who somewhat liked Batman v Superman, a DC Comics fan, or a movie goer with an open mind, you’ll love this movie. If you go into this movie with a mentality of it sucks before your rear end his the chair, and the popcorn is in hand, you’ll not like a single frame of the film. Justice League does what many of us fans have wanted for a long time, brings together some of the most legendary heroes in all of comic books and has them join together against a common threat. And with the cannon fodder out of the way, the next villain…or villains…can make Justice League 2 an enjoyable action packed thrill ride just as much as this one was and more. I highly recommend this movie and emplore you to see it for yourself rather than listen to the negative and non objective critics.