Justice League Might Not Be a Masterpiece, but It’s a Big Step in the Right Direction
If you’re like me, then Justice League was a long-awaited movie that was going to prove that the DCU had what it takes to take on Marvel. Unfortunately, Justice League wasn’t able to live up to those expectations and I’m not going to be able to go around shouting “in your face” to Marvel fans left and right. However, it’s still a film that I feel sets up bigger and better things to come and proves that the DCU is only getting better and better.
Tragedy surrounded the filming of Justice League as Zach Snyder had to step down from directing duties and hand over the reigns to Joss Whedon. I’ve never been much of a fan of Whedon, but it’s easy to tell where he had the biggest impact in the movie. While I’ve heard that his vision only affected about 20% of Justice League, it’s hard not to notice a bit of inconsistency throughout. Then again, it’s probably all the more obvious because Justice League travels at a breakneck speed, jumping from scene to scene nearly as quickly as the Scarlet Speedster featured in it. This is the films greatest downfall, it tries so hard to do so much that it never gives fans a moment to catch their breaths. In a lot of ways, it feels like a team building montage setting up Justice League 2.
The pacing and rushed plot are probably the films only true weaknesses because let me tell you it is absolutely spectacular. Getting a chance to see newcomers Ezra Miller as The Flash, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, and Ray Fisher as Cyborg is exhilarating. Each of them manages to bring something to the team, and I’m not just talking about their powers. Aquaman brings this swashbuckling attitude that borders on arrogance, certainly a character that could do with some humbling in order to become more kingly. Then there is The Flash who see the world with wide-eyed enthusiasm, even if he’s underprepared to be the hero he wants to be. Then there’s Cyborg who is haunted by the abilities that he never wanted and is forced to be a hero. They round out the returning world-weary Batman (Ben Affleck) and the heroine that turned her back on man (Gal Gadot). Altogether, it makes for a team composition that is going to go far once they get a chance to do those trust fall exercises in the next film, and the performances are all dead on.
The real power in Justice League though comes in its spectacular visuals and action sequences. Their enemy Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciarán Hinds, not the musician) does things in a big way. By this, I mean that he invades entire countries with an army of parademons swarming around him. So, the league has to respond in a big way as well. Batman gets some new, spectacular toys that he manages to destroy every chance he gets. Wonder Woman establishes herself as the most fearsome fighter on the team, especially when Aquaman backs her up fighting the 10 foot tall Steppenwolf. Then there’s the Flash who uses his abilities to race around the battlefield helping in any way he can. Justice League is absolutely jaw-dropping when the movie is doing what it does best. Everything that fans loved about the previous movies is pushed harder and further this time around.
As I said earlier, Justice League might not meet the high expectations I had for it. There are definitely some issues when it comes to the pacing and plot issues. But when it comes to the characters and the heroics, there is more than enough there to make it a film worth seeing in theaters. It’s probably the most visually spectacular film of the year. Even more so than Thor: Ragnarok. It’s a bit of a mess in that way too though, because it’s so uneven behind these discrepancies.
What I will say is that Justice League is the proof we need that the DCU is going to be a powerhouse in the future. It’s got all the pieces it needs to be the success fans want, it just needs to do a better job of fitting those pieces together. However, the two after credit sequences prove that DC is taking its fans seriously and wants to do right by them. This humility is one of the reasons I am still a big fan of their movies. Wonder Woman and now Justice League just go to show that they are climbing that hill (even though I enjoyed both Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad).
The final verdict is that Justice League is well worth seeing, but temper your expectations beforehand.