THERE BE SPOILERS HERE!
For those who don’t know me, I am a big comic book fan. I have been for many, many years, before the massive overload of comic book based movies and the MCU brought everything into Pop Culture. Needless to say, I have been absolutely thrilled watching these comics come to life, and, Marvel mainly, they have been very good adaptions. But beyond The Punisher, my favourite comics have been from DC, with Green Lantern and of course, Batman being my favourites. So when Warner Bros decided to jump start a DC movie world to copy Marvel, I was excited. Then they released Man of Steel, which was okay but not great. Batman vs Superman and Suicide Squad (god I hate that film) derailed it but Wonder Woman was really good. Better than it should have been. All of this was to rush to a Justice League film. And guess what? It was rushed.
I believe we hit the peak of comic book movies with Civil War. Whilst it was great fun, it lost itself in nonsensical plot holes but was sort of the payoff for all the other movies. Marvel had done plenty of movies to build their characters and then we got to see them go at it. It was the film equivalent of a child emptying its toy box and slamming their action figures together. Since then, the best comic book films have surprisingly been from Fox, with Deadpool and Logan setting a new standard. Because they offered something different. Sadly, Justice League offers nothing different. It’s all been done before, better in most cases, but it was a perfectly okay film. It was serviceable. It didn’t destroy the DCEU, but it didn’t do much to get me excited for it.
The stand outs are The Flash and probably Aquaman. I say probably, because as brilliantly looking as he is, Jason Mamoa gets next to nothing with regards to character. He’s a bad ass who may or may not have been to Atlantis? From the brief visit to the lost city, it is eluded to that he had never been there before? But on the wall of the local fishing pub, there is a mural of him and the 3 Mother Boxes? Plus, Amanda Waller had files on him and Lex Luthor had that little video. I digress. Apart from a funny scene with an accidental seating, his character is basically a surfer dude who screams ‘YEAH!’ as he beats up monsters.
Ezra Miller stole this film for me. I enjoy The Flash TV show, and Grant Gustin plays Barry Allen very well, in a more Buffy kind of vibe. Here, Miller gives us a socially awkward Allen who isn’t heroic by nature. He has a number of great lines and the effects of his speed are fantastic. For a film that has VERY ropey CGI, they absolutely nail Flash in the speed force. Apparently the next big DCEU film will be focusing on Flashpoint, which is a phenomenal storyline. With Miller leading the line as The Flash, I am all for it.
The other highlight of the film is….SPOILER…..the return of Superman. The worst kept secret was that Superman would be resurrected, which happens quite unsettlingly. When he does return he is like a Terminator, attacking the Justice League in a pointless scene (although Superman matching The Flash for speed and scaring him was great). For the first time since they began, the DCEU give us a positive, cheesy, smiling Superman who actually brings joy and hope as he should. This bodes well for the next Superman film, as MoS and BvS have made Superman an appallingly dull hero.
The okay parts of the movie are Wonder Woman and Cyborg. There is pretty much no development for Wonder Woman, just more of the same from her own movie. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just doesn’t make her really stand out. She slams her bracelets together, says encouraging things and gets slammed into walls a lot and doesn’t get hurt. Cyborg has the potential to be interesting, but despite his CGI being better than feared, I didn’t think he was terribly interesting. I can’t see a solo movie having much appeal. (Definitely the Hawkeye of the group)
Right…..onto the bad. Steppenwolf sucked! Why the hell do big budget movies keep giving us bad CGI Villains? Green Lantern – Parallax looked like a big, flowing space shit. In Batman vs Superman, Doomsday looked like a Lord of the Ring reject. Even go back to I Am Legend with Will Smith and the terrible CGI ‘vampires’ completely ruined the film. Steppenwolf looks cheap. Like a terrible boss in a bad video game. It’s such a shame as Ciaran Hinds has a great, evil look. Why didn’t they just give him a costume and use the CGI to cleverly enhance him? Here, his face has ZERO emotion and some of the CGI was just bad. Also, his motivation wasn’t really explored. Why did he want to unite the Mother Boxes again? What was his link to Dark Seid? How did he summon the boom tubes? (I know this as a comic book reader, but the film gives us nothing!)
Another bad part of the film is Batman. When Affleck was cast, everyone hated it. Then, when BvS came out, he was the best thing about it. Sadly, he is the worst member of the Justice League. They try to make him too light hearted which doesn’t really work and compared to the other members, he really isn’t very interesting. The worst thing is, there doesn’t seem to be any logic to why he is so pro-Superman. His reasons for hating Superman in BvS were stupid and idiotic, but they just gloss over it and make him a Superman fan boy. (There is literally a moment where Batman fanboys Superman fighting). It’s a shame, but Batman, unless well written, isn’t that interesting compared to the larger than life characters.
My other problem with the movie are the Parademons. They look great, but I didn’t fully understand how their attraction to fear worked. If they can sense fear (which is hammered home as it’s how they defeat Steppenwolf), then how did that family in that small house survive when they were clearly terrified? Or, when Flash tells Batman about how he is scared and doesn’t ‘do battle’, did they not sense him? It just seems a little forgotten about. Like the film was rushed.
There were obviously very sad circumstances for why the director left and Joss Whedon came on board and the film has clearly been chopped and cut up to hit as many of the Marvel success points as possible. It’s passable. It’s 6/10 and will keep the DCEU alive at least for a few more films. But I wouldn’t rush to watch it again.
(Make sure you stay till the END of the credits for an extra scene that got probably the most excitement of the entire film)