DC’s version of The Avengers, Justice League finally hits theaters and stars Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller, Jason Mamoa and Amy Adams.
The plot revolves around a team of super powered beings who must gather forces and defeat Steppenwolf, an alien being hell bent on destroying the earth.
It’s safe to say that DC has been having some difficulty with launching their own cinematic universe. While Man of Steel was a great start and kicked things off in the right direction, it was immediately sidestepped by Batman V Superman, which does have fans (I’m not one of them) but was mostly negatively received as well as Suicide Squad (which is one of the worst motion pictures I’ve ever laid eyes on). Wonder Woman while not perfect, was a step in the right direction and now we have Justice League, which is the culmination of everything DC has been building towards. If this movie fails, then their cinematic universe fails.
Lets start with the pros. The team. The characters, while not perfect, are much more well realized than in Suicide and BVS, and the team functions much better and they actually have chemistry with one another. Gal Gadot is again here the best part of the DCU and is the best casting decision WB has made. She’s a strong female character that stands on her own and has good chemistry with everyone on the team. Ben Affleck is also great again as Batman (Affleck is my third favorite Batman after Bale and Keaton) and he has renewed faith in humanity after Superman’s sacrifice and has become a lighter Bruce Wayne and Batman, which works for this film and is a welcome change of tone from his character in Batman V Superman. Henry Cavill has also become a slight lighter Superman and is again the best Superman we’ve ever had although the return of Superman, wasn’t handle well. While it’s great to see him come back, he’s not enough in the film and how he comes back is extremely lazy.
Newcomers Jason Mamoa, Ezra Miller and Rey Fisher are all good integral members of the team but most of them need more screen time and more things to do in this film, which leave us to the negatives.
The movie was trimmed down to 2 hours, and it shows. Scenes don’t have time to breathe. There is absolutely no context for the mother boxes. Where do they come from? How old are they? Who created them? Why leave them unguarded? How do our heroes know about them? If you haven’t read a single comic in your entire life (which is the case for 98% of the target audience of this movie), then you won’t know the answers to these questions.
This movie was directed by both Zack Snyder and Josh Whedon after Snyder had to step down after a horrible family tragedy, and Josh Whedon’s input certainly helped the film and injected his own flavour and dialogue. You can absolutely tell which scenes we’re Snyder and which we’re Whedon and they’re styles do fit together well but unfortunately this movie feels rushed and badly edited.
The CGI in this movie is painfully awful. At least the movies made by Zack Snyder had great CGI and I get that WB ran out of time, but that’s no excuse. Just hire the right people for the job. You had an insane budget and there is no excuse that the special effects of Justice League, no less, are unfinished. Steppenwolf, who is a terrible villain, has horrible CGI and is a lifeless antagonist that has no motivation and his face expressionless and you can really tell how horribly animated he is. He is a boring villain and while he does pose somewhat of a threat to our heroes, the story is extremely similar beat for beat to The Avengers. Marvel did it first and did it better. Justice League has the unfortunate disadvantage of coming out second and we’ve seen it all before. The story is nothing new and it feels painfully uninspired.
The movie also keeps cutting back to one family that is stuck during the final confrontation (which looks abysmal) in a Russian town for no apparent reason. You don’t care about them even if the film desperately wants you too.
Saying that Justice League isn’t terrible, is probably the biggest compliment I can give it. It’s not Suicide Squad. But it’s far from The Dark Knight and that movie concentrated on being a great film rather than set up an entire universe. WB should have took their time to build their universe by doing movies for every individual character. As it stands, Justice League is a very subpar film that does entertain at times but is very far from being a masterpiece.