Justice League Movie Review by MarcTheLoneGamer

Posted in Action Adventure, Movies, My Stuff on November 16th, 2017 by thelonegamer

DC’s iconic heroes come together.

It’s finally freakin’ here. Justice League by Zack Snyder brings together the iconic heroes of DC Comics in an enjoyable cinematic superhero romp that makes me excited for the future.

MILD SPOILERS AHEAD!

Set some time after the events in the controversial Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League sees a world (well, we assume its the whole world though mostly scenes we see are in the US) in mourning and depression since the death of Superman (or The Superman). As set up in the previous film, Bruce Wayne AKA Batman (Ben Affleck, whom I see as the best Bats since Michael Keaton) is trying to put together a team to fight a vague coming threat from ‘far away’. Alongside him is the Amazon Princess/demigod Diana Prince AKA Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot, radiant as usual), who has thus far been fighting crime as well but keeping even more secretive than even Batman (unless there’s some French gendarmes looking for a super mademoiselle behind the scenes). There are three prospective candidates- Arthur Curry AKA Aquaman (Jason Momoa), a mysterious seaborne benefactor of some isolated island communities, Victor Stone AKA Cyborg (Ray Fisher) a cybernetically-enhanced son of a scientist, and Barry Allen AKA The Flash (Ezra Miller), a super-speedster. Against them is the monstrous Steppenwolf (a CG character voiced by Ciaran Hinds), an otherworldly warrior who is seeking to bring together the three ‘Mother Boxes’ that will reshape the Earth into a living hell for his (as yet unseen) master, Darkseid. With the recent death of Kal-El AKA Clark Kent AKA Superman (Henry Cavill), does even the hastily-gathered heroes of Earth stand a chance against this alien invasion?

First off, if you have been watching showbiz news online or elsewhere about superhero films, you’ll know this film has had a rocky history coming to screen. The DCEU films haven’t exactly been tearing the aisles up like their rivals in Marvel, with flops like Green Lantern and controversial hits/misses like Suicide Squad and Batman V Superman. It all kinda changed with Wonder Woman, which wowed both critics and audiences (and this reviewer) and set a new tone for the previously monochromatically-toned DC films- Yes, DC, not ALL your superheroes need to be gritty like Batman.

Even more, there have been behind-the scenes events such as Zack Snyder having to depart the film due to personal tragedy, extensive rewrites by former Marvel films director Joss Whedon, reshoots and all sorts of hooplah.

You know what? THROW ALL THAT CRAP OUT.

Come into this film with no baggage, and you’ll enjoy yourself. I did, and I LOVE the flick immensely.

Justice League is a pretty solid live-action version of the much-beloved DC animated series of the same name. You have an Alien Threat that is bigger than any of Earth’s heroes individually, which requires them to come together in a team. Each member comes in with their own personal ghost or issue to deal with as they strive to work as one. Affleck’s Batman is still wracked by guilt with his role in Superman’s death (although it was clearly the Cave Troll AKA Doomsday that killed him) and must also overcome his usual ‘I work alone’ modus and be a leader. As the single member who actually has no powers (but he’s RICH), Batman is still prepared to give his all- perhaps even more.

Wonder Woman, the one woman and herself rivaling Superman in power is the team’s heart and moral compass. Conceivably she can lead the boys herself, but chooses not to due to her own personal demons- something that has also kept her in the shadows for decades. Cyborg was given a new life by the alien Mother Box (a change from the comics), giving him his abilities and a link to the enemy- something that makes him feel that he’s a monster himself. Aquaman is a loner and has his own personal struggles beneath the seas in Atlantis. Finally, Barry Allen is a friendless youngster who is still trying to find his footing (ha), dealing with having a father in prison. How they all face and overcome their issues and become a team, interacting with each other makes this film as interesting as the actual battles with alien Para-demons.

The film’s casting is pretty spot-on. Of course, that is already obvious with Affleck and Gadot (and of course, Henry Cavill). But Ezra Miller’s Flash is a refreshingly earnest, giddy and humorous take on the character, very much like Spiderman: Homecoming’s Peter Parker in his wide-eyed amazement at all things superheroic that he’s seeing. Almost everyone else is a veteran, but Flash is once again the audience’s eyes, and the film’s welcome comic relief for the most part.
Ray Fisher as Cyborg is given one of the harder roles- his character is a second-tier hero, not usually affiliated with the Justice League in comics. However, he has a central role in this story given his link to the Mother Boxes. Fortunately, the actor gives a fine performance and keeps up with the rest as the one with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. Still, fans of the Teen Titans series will enjoy him as well as his final line.
Jason Momoa’s Aquaman looks incredibly different from the comics, but I find the redesign, the look and the character as tonally perfect. He’s badass and strong, but he gets to give in some comedic moments that show off Momoa’s timing quite well. He and Wonder Woman take the brunt as the team’s muscle, and he has a couple of awesome scenes (which unfortunately are pretty much spoiled in trailers).

There has been much talk in other reviews about Steppenwolf, the film’s CG-only antagonist. As usual, many critics point to him as being another weak villain. I can’t totally disagree, as Steppenwolf is definitely one note and pretty much just a big brawny boss in terms of videogame terms.

However, I think he works. Steppenwolf isn’t the Big Bad in the big scheme of things- he’s a herald, an envoy. He’s a taste of things to come. Heck, even in the Avengers the Chitauri aliens were just goons with guns. Steppenwolf at least is an imposing figure, and he takes up a big body count before the film is done. Steppenwolf doesn’t need to be deep- he just needs to feel like a threat, and he certainly is. I think that Ciaran Hinds’ voice work is solid, although I guess more could have been done to give him more depth (humor even?)- perhaps we could have seen more personal motivations? His true thoughts of his master/nephew Darkseid? But then, this film was cut down to under two hours. Maybe in the extended cut we’ll see more sides to our Monster of the Movie.

Finally… SUPERMAN.

Yes, SPOILER ALERT… Superman comes back in this flick. I won’t spoil how or when. But when he does, he makes an impact. I’ll go to say that Cavill’s Clark Kent in this film is even BETTER than any of the animated versions of Superman, or even the live-action versions with respect to Christopher Reeve. Cavill’s Superman IS THE Superman, here in this movie.

FINALLY he comes back seemingly without any more of the mopey emo BS he had in BvS, and I hope they continue with that. Superman needs to be awesome, and here he finally IS.

The action in this flim is pretty great, with some setpiece action scenes that are pretty marvelous- Steppenwolf’s attack on Themyscira is amazing, although I wish the Amazons really got better weapons by now (bows and arrows versus lazer guns?), or at least were shown to be superhuman in skill relative to humans. The flashback battle of the Ancients versus Steppenwolf’s first invasion was near LOTR scale in epicness. Plus every encounter between the League and Steppenwolf was pretty cool- as well as the final minutes. BADASS.

As I said, forget all the side crap, the preconceptions, the biases and even any negative reviews. Justice League is grade-A, First Rate Superhero Fun, in my book just as good as The Avengers as a team flick. It’s not perfect, but then what is? It’s good and solid, optimistic and light but with enough gravitas to make you feel. Most of all, and perhaps most importantly, it makes me excited for what’s to come in the DCEU’s future. They way they end it, they could conceivably end it right there (although the end-credits scene already looks to a sequel) nicely, but I say this film deserves to hit and hit big.

Because I want more Batman. I want more Wonder Woman. I want more Man of Steel. The Aquaman and Flash movies, even the Cyborg movie. Bring them on. I WANTS IT ALL.

Movie Rating: 4 of 5
If you don’t go in hating this flick or expecting to hate it, you’ll like it. Jokes and levity are hit and miss, but overall it’s good, solid, classic Superhero team-building fun with the DC heroes at their best. Oh, and don’t leave until the end of the credits to not miss the two extra scenes.