Justice League is now in theaters. Let’s be honest, you’re probably going to see it or already have. Rather than give a full in-depth review, let’s just cut to the chase and look at what worked, what didn’t work, and how the movie was overall. It is a good movie. It’s an improvement over Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Man of Steel. How good was it? Let’s discuss that.
There will be some minor spoilers below dealing with basic story elements and character development.
Batman v. Superman gave comic fans a taste of what they have been waiting for. Seeing DC’s Trinity on the big screen was one of the redeeming aspects of the movie. In Justice League, we now have them and more characters together in one movie.
The movie’s two-hour running time was a concern when first announced. The film has to introduce and flesh out the newer characters, set up Steppenwolf as the villain/big threat, bring the League together, and somehow get Superman back to return from the dead. While it might feel a tad rushed at times, the pacing does work to some degree. The movie dives into the threat and, before you know it, Bruce and Diana have managed to contact the other super-powered individuals.
There are some minor changes made to some characters, but their portrayal helps lighten up the mood during a bleak time. Ezra Miller as the Flash was fun to see. Many are used to Grant Gustin’s portrayal as Barry Allen on The CW’s show, but Miller adds a new perspective to this Cinematic Universe–he’s young and inexperienced. It’s easier to relate to a superhero that isn’t quite sure what he’s fully capable of.
We’ve seen the nearly all-powerful Superman and a Batman that has been fighting crime for a couple decades. Jason Momoa, as Aquaman, is fierce, brash, and boisterous. This should change the usual image some have of Aquaman being a lame character that simply talks to fish.
Throwing in Cyborg as the other hero caused by an “accident,” it allows him and Flash to be a little at ease during the crisis and also adds a means for the others to figure out what they need to do.
Throughout the film, Bruce and Diana are allowed to grow as well. The fate of the world is on the line. They realize that despite their experience, they still need to change the way they approach things in order to make the League work as a team. They have to make choices they aren’t necessarily comfortable with for the sake of trying to win the battle.
What Didn’t Quite Work
There is way too much CG in the movie. It is expected to see computer generated battles and superhero abilities in these kinds of movies. Some moments felt rough and rushed. Cyborg was distracting at times since he was pretty much all CG except for parts of his face. When he walked, it looked awkward and a little uncomfortable. That could be intentional since he basically has a robotic body, but it just didn’t look right.
The pacing may have allowed for the action to amp up quicker, but there some questionable moments. Time is take to allow Bruce to make a slow journey to the small village Aquaman has been seen. Since they were on a time table, it would have made more sense for him to use a quicker mode of transportation. It could be argued he was trying not to freak out the small village, but he could have used something other than a horse. With Cyborg, he went from a person that didn’t want to step out into the world in his new body yet he immediately seeks out Bruce and Diana when he learns they want to locate him.
Steppenwolf wasn’t an appealing villain. The CG aspect comes into play again. He almost looked like Supreme Leader Snoke (from Star Wars: The Force Awakens) wearing a helmet. His motives didn’t make him a compelling foil for the heroes. Apparently he’s been waiting around for centuries for the right moment to be called to Earth? His power level also seemed to fluctuate. He would struggle against one hero at times and then be able to fend off three with ease moments later.
Wonder Woman felt a little de-powered at times. She was able to fight Doomsday and Ares. It was great to see her jump right into battle against Steppenwolf, but when she fought against another character, when they first made their appearance, she should have been able to hold her ground better. This character also should not have been so powerful given the circumstances of their arrival.
Finally, what was up with that civilian family nearby where Steppenwolf was laying out all his plans? I kept expecting them to have some sort of secret role in the outcome of the battle. It is appreciated having innocent people shown during an insane battle (something Man of Steel lacked a little bit), but they felt out of place and became an interruption in the action.
Justice League is a good superhero/comic book movie. It may not be a great one, but it is fantastic to see some of our favorite DC Comics characters come to life. Being entertained is what truly matters by the time the credits start rolling. Some moments are a little rough, but it’s an enjoyable film. There’s a nice mixture of drama and action with a little bit of humor thrown in. This movie makes you want to see more of this Cinematic Universe. It’s exciting to think of what the upcoming movies might have to offer. If you can see beyond the heavy CG and allow yourself to become immersed in this world of superheroes, you’ll find yourself having a great time.
And, of course, stay until the very end to catch a final scene.