The modern DC universe has been met with nothing short of criticism over the years. Man of Steel, Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad were all met with a large number of negative reviews. It’s tough, especially when the bar has been set so high with the MCU. However, Wonder Woman, released earlier this year, received much more positive and praising reviews than its predecessors. Regardless of the reviews of the DCEU thus far, I’ve enjoyed all the movies for the most part. I mean Batman fought Superman last year… and I enjoyed every part of that film. Though, the reviews of the DCEU have been largely split – you hated the movies or loved them.
Coming into the Justice League, I was excited to get to see the next chapter in this franchise and see where they take it. Directorial credit for this film goes to Zack Snyder (with Joss Whedon playing a key role in re-shoots). Ben Affleck returns as Batman and Gal Gadot returns as Wonder Woman. And we get to meet a few new heroes (at least partially new, they were hinted at in Batman v. Superman) with Ezra Miller as The Flash, Ray Fisher as Cyborg and Jason Momoa as Aquaman. The movie picks up where Batman v. Superman left off for the most part. We see many familiar faces attempting to find normalcy again, while the world is becoming corrupt.
Following Superman’s death, the world has been seemingly falling apart. Many people have lost something to believe in. As criminal activity rises, we soon find out that much more trouble is heading for Earth. This threat turns out to be a villain by the name of Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) and his army of Parademons who’ve returned to the universe to take over through the use of the three Mother Boxes.
Realizing the threat, Bruce Wayne quickly forms a team. He brings back Diana Prince, who helps enlist Cyborg, and Wayne brings in The Flash and Aquaman. To be expected, there was some hesitation from the new recruits, but eventually they band together, become the Justice League, and face Steppenwolf. The team even gets the help of a familiar face.
I realize that my summary isn’t very long, this is because that truly is the plot of the film. It’s a straightforward and simple superhero film. The movie is more so focused on building the team, rather than actually telling a heroic story.
Affleck is back as Batman and he did a great job. I didn’t see the same enthusiasm for the character as in the previous film, but nevertheless, very entertaining. He really helps to hold the team together, and in many ways, helps to carry the film. Better yet, the team dynamic carries the film. The Flash was hilarious and appeared to be having a great time. His interactions with the rest of the team were comical and well timed.
Aquaman was much different than you might have thought. Jason Momoa’s interpretation has a rebel-like grit and relatability. Fisher’s Cyborg was understandably dark, considering the fact that he lost his mother as well as his humanness. It was fun to see a few new heroes in the mix and I was happy to see them actually work.
Wonder Woman was key to the formation of the Justice League as well. I saw a lot of growth on her part, especially in regards to departing from the past and embracing the team dynamic.
This film also made a much greater effort (than the previous DCEU films) to use humor. We’ve come to know DCEU movies as dark and brooding… not humorous. But this film found a way to make it work; mainly with the help of Batman and The Flash. The humor was added tastefully and made the heroes more likeable.
The team’s fun dynamic was the best part of the film. Though, the film is not without it’s faults. The storyline of the film (as you can see from my summary) is rather short and dry. I understand that it is the origin story, but I think the plot could have been better developed.
Additionally, the villain (Steppenwolf) was not the type of villain I expected to be facing the Justice League. This character was not very sinister and was a little boring.
Lastly, as with all the Snyder films, it’s visually beautiful. The movies in this series were all shot well and this was no different. The actions sequence were very enjoyable and engaging. I particularly like the darker tone the DCEU films offer, but was pleasantly surprised by the humor in this film.
Pros VS. Cons
The Defining Factor
As a fan of the last few movies in this series, I was excited for this film and it mostly lived up to my expectations. The team was engaging and their chemistry helped keep the tone consistent. The action sequences were spectacular and the humor was a nice touch. Though, the lacking plot and villain hold the film back.
With that being said, this is certainly an entertaining and worth watching film. It’s a nice change from the Marvel movies. It certainly meets the threshold for superhero films. With that being said, the defining factor of the film was the team dynamic of the Justice League. Certain heroes, like Wonder Woman, were hesitant to assume leadership, but eventually did. The movie pushes the idea that major hardships can be conquered with the proper teamwork.
This film may not be as good as Batman v. Superman, but it is certainly worth catching in theaters for the experience alone. The issues in the film aren’t distracting enough to ruin a fun movie going experience. With that said, I give this film a 3.75 / 5 stars.
Be sure to sit through the credits. There’s a mid-credit and after-credit scene!
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, J. K. Simmons, Ciarán Hinds
Directed By: Zack Snyder
Release Date: November 17, 2017 (USA)
Production Company: DC Films, RatPac Entertainment, Atlas Entertainment, Cruel and Unusual Films
Distributed By: Warner Bros. Pictures
Film Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 2 hrs