With all the less than promising opinions and controversies I’d heard about Justice League I still managed to arrive at the screening with an open mind. Albeit a slightly biased open mind due to the fact I have been a lifelong super fan of Superman and Wonder Woman. Whether you are Team DC or Team Marvel, or like myself, both, you should dismiss all the bad opinions and simply enjoy the film for what it is…a superhero comic book fantasy. Too many people seem to forget that these comic book movies are aimed at a certain crowd. Not everyone enjoys out of this world plot lines and scientifically inaccurate characters but then comics aren’t for everyone. If you go to the cinema expecting to watch it for exactly what it is, then you should enjoy it.
Although production was marred with problems, setbacks and re-shoots it never once came across in the end product. There has been an awful lot of uncertainty to the point potential audiences, including myself, were expecting a bit of a disaster. Yet it is anything but! I spent two wonderful hours re-living my childhood in absolute awe. Not once did I feel something was ‘off’ or ‘not quite right’ nor did I feel it was in any way subpar to Marvel. In fact, quite the opposite! It had a different feel to Marvel. I find Marvel very repetitious, regurgitating the same story (i.e. Spiderman and Hulk) with nothing really new or different from their predecessors other than different actors. It was quite refreshing to see a story on screen that we hadn’t actually seen before other than in a comic book.
So, the plot. It’s your basic staple ‘hero wants to save the world from a baddie’ scenario. And I’d have been sorely disappointed if it wasn’t! After all it doesn’t need any other filler, it’s a comic book story and not intended to rewrite the genre. Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) are alerted to an ancient alien invader called Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds). Steppenwolf is hell bent on modifying planet Earth to resemble his own world and destroying anything and anyone in his way. They both set about recruiting the reluctant Cyborg (Ray Fisher), an eager and willing Flash (Ezra Miller) and the slightly obnoxious Aquaman (Jason Momoa) to help. As with all great hero stories the path never runs smooth. Wonder Woman uses her more human powers of persuasion as well as personal therapy to coax a certain hero into moving on from his past. Something which she is still trying to accomplish herself since the death of her boyfriend. But, predictably, and expectedly, all turn up when it really matters to save the world.
The film is laden with heavy CGI but it really didn’t matter, I was sucked in and believed every little thing was real. There were a few laughs along the way courtesy of The Flash and Aquaman – albeit Aquaman was under the influence of Wonder Woman’s lasso of Truth. I had wondered how sharing the limelight between all the characters would play out but I must say it was done very well. Each hero was given the opportunity to shine and show us a bit of their individuality and personality which I am sure will be built upon in the future stand alone films. The moments of interactions between the smaller characters played out very well.
The only thing I would criticize are a few plot lines that were just glossed over too quickly and the fact that a family were introduced and set up only to not really have a pay off. I felt they were added merely to support the main characters. As a scriptwriter myself I couldn’t help but identify that early on and hoped I was wrong, but I wasn’t. By the end of the film the families whole reason for existing was to have someone to interact with .
Affleck projected a more hardened Batman than we are used to, as well as an indication he may have alcoholic tendencies. Gadot had an equally big role playing Wonder Woman – to me, the team leader. I really wasn’t too impressed with her in Batman Vs Superman but that may have been because she didn’t really get time to shine. But in Justice League she was my favourite character and outshone all the others.
Even though Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg were the lesser characters they by no means came across that way. Cyborg and Superman interacted well and raised a few laughs. I would like to see where they go with this in future DC films. Momoa may not resemble the Aquaman we recognise from the comics, but he brings a rough edge to the film that works well. He’s no meek merman – in fact, quite the opposite. Cyborg is initially the Debbie Downer of the bunch but then he has suffered immense trauma and continues to come to terms with it. Miller brings a welcome sense of humanity to The Flash. He has great comedy timing and is eager to please and impress the others even though he is a bit scared. Henry Cavill’s performance as Superman didn’t disappoint as expected. For you Superman fans out there, he features heavily in the plot even if he isn’t always present.
I feel the film had to pack lots in but given the time they had they managed it well, if not a bit rushed, but with more movies to come from DC I am sure there is plenty of time to tell all. On the whole the film was everything I’d hoped it would be and more. It was non-stop action with some visually amazing scenes including some with the Amazons and Atlanteans. In fact I’d go as far to say it’s now my favourite comic book hero movie of all time and I can’t wait to watch it again…and again!
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