If you haven’t been into the latest films from DC Comics, that’s fine they’ve not been the best superhero films to ever grace the screen big or small. However, this is actually one of the better ones if you don’t mind Henry Cavill’s moustache to have been digitally removed in almost every scene – so it looks like it’s someone else’s mouth slapped on his face.
With three films now released in the world of Bruce Wayne and his band of really strong and advanced human misfits. Batman vs Superman, the film so few enjoyed and Wonder Woman, plagued by terrible CGI. Justice League manages to finally find its feet in the DC universe and provide an action packed and low and behold good character interaction. The latter no doubt helped by the talents of step in Director Joss Whedon, more about that later. But while Justice League is the better film so far, they still have a long way to go before this DC universe is churning out quality super hero films.
Justice League has come too soon for there to be any major relationships built with the characters. Batman has been around and everyone knows his deal, he’s rich and knows some good karate moves. But after the Christopher Nolan series it’s hard to adjust to this dull and underwhelming Superhero played by Ben Affleck. Superman has been around just as long if not longer and everyone understands his mission on Earth. While Henry Cavill’s portrayal of Superman is pretty good, his stand alone films haven’t been that entertaining. Wonder Woman was the last to be introduced and aside from being an exceptionally good fighter, she’s got some pretty snazzy arm shields to push you away. Wonder Woman was the first film in the lead up to Justice League where we haven’t really gotten to know her character as much as the previous two. Despite the movie being received well, it is still rather juvenile in its development.
But there are still three characters audiences haven’t met to build relationships with prior to the band getting together. First is the much hyped Aqua Man played by Jason Momoa. It’s hard to see Mamoa as anything but his character from Game of Thrones, however his stand alone film due out in 2018 should be a winner. Second is Ray Fisher’s character Cyborg who is a dead pan, angry, part man part robot. This character in particular wasn’t given enough time to showcase his story and history which made this the hardest character to associate or connect with. And finally there is the big screen version of The Flash played by Ezra Miller. Of all the new additions to the league this is the character with the most relatable personality. He’s new to his powers and is still uncomfortable and awkward.
With such major players in the DC franchise it would make sense to build up to the first League movie so their backstory and value is understood. Rather you have a group of misfits with no understanding of where they’ve come from and why they are together. Aside from the obvious point that Bruce Wayne found them to save the world he just found out is about to get taken over by Steppenwolf.
The story goes something like this: Superman is dead and the world has fallen into a slump filled with fear. From this fear an old enemy is awakened, Steppenwolf, who is collecting three boxes that combined give him an amazing power to suck the life from Earth. With this news Batman and Wonder Woman team up and recruit what becomes the Justice League. Wonder Woman’s Amazons try to protect one box which has lay dormant for thousands of years. Aquaman and his fellow Atlantis colony try their best to protect the second box. But despite being underwater, Steppenwolf manages to acquire that as well. Finally there is the box hidden by man which was used to help create Cyborg and also to bring a certain super man back to life. With Steppenwolf in possession of the three boxes the Mother Box comes into power and only Cyborg who has its technology in him can manage to save the day with the help of the strength of Superman.
A fairly good story line and a relatively well executed visual adventure, Justice League seems to feel really disjointed. This may be in part to the fact that Director Zack Snyder had to step away from the production for some terrible family circumstances. From this point, Director Joss Whedon stepped in to finish it off. However Whedon needed to make some changes and had some reshoots which resulted in this film that going from dark and dry to comical and somewhat filled with life. Whedon used his skill in creating great chemistry on screen between actors and reshot a great deal of “connective tissue” which gave the film a great element for the audience to connect with the characters. While this completely works it’s this that also gave it the disjointed feel.
While for the most part the all-star cast worked their magic, there were two worthy of mentioning. First is Ben Affleck’s adaptation of Batman the fifth actor to tackle this character. And while the last cinema Batman was in 2012 it’s hard to not compare Affleck him to the Christian Bale version. They are two very different portrayals which is really noticeable in Justice League. Batman is a dull character who doesn’t do a whole lot and tends to whimper in regards to the other superheros. The best way to describe this is when The Flash asks him exactly what his super power is to which Bruce Wayne replies, “I’m rich”.
On the other hand there is Barry Allen or The Flash played by Ezra Miller who steals every single scene he is in. This is the one character that stands out and happens to give life to an otherwise dull film. The audience tend to get more of an understanding of this character than the others despite the short amount of screen time. He is learning to understand the full potential of his powers, he’s fun and cheeky and while he’s clearly the younger more inexperienced of the team, it feels like he brings everyone together. This is a perfect case of great casting.
While the film is disjointed, Cavill’s mouth isn’t real and it feels like three random characters have just been plonked on screen it’s still worth watching on the big screen. The CGI isn’t the best but it certainly would be worse watching it on a hand held screen. The soundtrack is just as punchy as the action and even though Steppenwolf doesn’t look or seem as frightening as he should be, he’s more like a ghoul from a Scooby Doo adventure, Justice League is the stand out in this DC series so far. Give it time to build a relationship with the new League members and the next Justice League should be one hell of a movie.
Review by Jay Cook