Justice League is one of the most anticipated movies of the year, but not because you get a DC team-up film. The anticipation comes because most people were wondering, “Will they finally get these characters right?” That, of course, was the big question going in–so much so that Rotten Tomatoes delayed their Tomatometer for the film because they claimed they wanted to debut a new show and get more in-depth. In reality, they received heat from the studios, complaining that they were ruining the box office numbers (umm, bad films do that–not a Tomatometer). The DCEU has only one good film in its four-film roster, and that one came out earlier this year. They hitched their wagon to Zach Snyder to create this universe; the problem has been that Snyder wanted to make it in his own vision and that doesn’t always work with established characters.
So, with all that said, is Justice League a good film? Well, it’s not bad, but it isn’t great. It is a generically okay film that is hurt by its short run time and average plot. Everything felt rushed and incomplete, so it was hard to actually believe that the team came together so flawlessly. Outside of an argument over an unethical (it really was if you think of it) decision, there was no real tension of strangers who are flawed coming together. However, when the film took its time to slow down (I will assume those were the Whedon reshoots), it gave us a glimpse of what a fleshed out story could give us. Action-wise, it’s nothing new we haven’t seen from Snyder. I do have some problems with the CGI and some other things that will be discussed in a future spoiler-filled podcast.
Ben Affleck is probably on his way out of playing Batman, but I will say that he is a good Bruce Wayne and an above average Batman. He moves slow for the Dark Knight, but then again, he’s portraying a much older and seasoned character, so that could be the reason. What he nails a little is the strategist Batman who is a reluctant leader. Even with a team, he thinks about himself as a solo act, all the while pushing team members to discover themselves.
Gal Gadot is the showstopper once again. Her Wonder Woman is most definitely a beacon of light. She’s the first character in the DCEU that was nailed perfectly first time through. In this film we see her grow as a heroine and see how great she really is. There is one complaint I have…but I won’t spoil it here.
Ezra Miller is the bright humor that the DCEU has been lacking. Besides the flaws in CGI (when they slow down, his running looks very abnormal at times) Flash was well done. If you grew up watching Justice League the Animated Series, Miller personifies this version of Flash.
Jason Mamoa as Aquaman was just meh. In an attempt to make Aquaman look cool and badass, he surprisingly came out very flat. I really didn’t think he meshed well and when he was off-screen, I didn’t miss him.
Ray Fisher as Victor Stone/Cyborg was an interesting character. He and Flash were my two favorites (besides WW, of course), only because they showed the most growth. Even though mostly cybernetic, the human element in him shined and he grew to be the hero of the story.
Ciaran Hinds, as Steppenwolf, was your generic bad guy. Like almost all of Marvel’s villains, he is forgettable. We’ve actually seen him and his story arc before…in Guardians of the Galaxy baddy Ronan the Accuser. They are literally the same character bent on doing the same thing, albeit for different reasons.
As I said above, when Justice League slowed down and gave us meaningful moments, the theme of the film shined: basically, just get over it! It’s a bit harsh to say it like that, but it is a hard truth. We can’t avoid hurt and pain and loss in this world and in our lives. However, we can’t let those things control our present and future. In the midst of all the darkness, we have to search for that glimmer of light, grab it, and let our strength be renewed. Hope isn’t found in a person. It is an ever flowing river that can guide us to be better, do better, and love better. Love and Hope snuffs out darkness, and in the world we live in, Justice League does get that right.
Justice League is definitely better than the 40% rating the Tomatometer shows. I give it a 6/10. It could and should be epic, but it falls short in time, story, and villain but makes up for it in message and some of the characters.