DC’s Justice League movie has been a long time coming. While the current DC Extended Universe may have only started in 2013 with Man of Steel, we have all grown up watching or reading about these characters and couldn’t wait to see them together in a live action film. Unfortunately, last year’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice left a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouth (myself included), which resulted in everyone recalibrating their expectations for Justice League. But if, like me, you are worried that this movie will be disappointing too then I am here to tell you that it’s not.
Starting with the good things, I liked all the characters they had in this one. Granted, this is not the full Justice League experience but for what it’s worth, I think they have all the important people in right now.
Starting with Batman, they did a good job of continuing the dread he had at the end of BvS for the upcoming threat and his aggressive insistence that they all must come together. You can see that he does care about the world and think that it is his responsibility to save it while also carrying this guilt in the back of his mind that he was responsible for Superman’s death. He is also well aware of the fact that he is getting older and is completely outclassed in current company and against upcoming threat, so he does what Batman does and use his immense wealth and intelligence to always find a way. This was the first time he had to team up with others and you can tell that he only begrudgingly agreed for the good of mankind. Ben Affleck as Batman is once again excellent and his is, by far, my favourite portrayal of this iconic character on screen.
After a spectacular origin movie, Wonder Woman was once again seen in full form in Justice League. She really carries a lot of the movie and you could probably tell the studio wanted more of her after WW’s success. She is badass, no doubt, but after three movies I feel like she does not have a lot more to offer in terms of surprises and action sequences with her tend to be more of the same after a while. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is once again an absolute treat to see.
As for the new characters, I quite liked what they did with both, Flash and Aquaman. Unfortunately, neither get much of a backstory and I feel like they really want you to see their upcoming solo movie for that. What it means for this movie is that their characters are kinda reduced to the ‘Guy Who Runs Really Fast’ and the ‘Guy Who Swims Really Fast???’ for the first half of the movie but as it goes on you do get somewhat of a better understanding of them. Both have some great scenes in the movie and the Flash in particular has some terrific looking sequences where he runs in full speed around the room, the Speed Force crackling around him in the air. I also liked how both of these characters felt like fish out of water (unintentional Aquaman pun but ayoooo), particularly the Flash who had never fought with anyone before and ended up mostly helping the other guys rather than actually doing any fighting himself. It did a good job of showing that just because these people have abilities doesn’t mean they are natural born fighters. Both Ezra Miller and Jason Momoa were great in their respective roles and I do look forward to their movies.
The Cyborg doesn’t yet seem to have his own movie, which probably explains why he got a lot more character development in this movie over the other two newcomers. Still, they only really covered the basics and left a lot of questions lingering. While not bad in particular, his was the least impressive character in this ensemble. He doesn’t do a lot except for interacting with things and I felt like they gave him that one big task in the end that only he could do only so he would have something to do.
Justice League has a bunch of big action sequences, all of which are done quite well and are really exciting to watch. One particular encounter that I wasn’t expecting at all just completely blew me away. I won’t say what’s it about but it pretty much made the movie for me.
I also liked what they did with the tone of the movie. Previous DC movies were criticized for being too dark and brooding. I think they have taken the feedback and made some really positive changes on this one. Justice League definitely feels more lighthearted than BvS or Man of Steel and a lot of the scenes have genuinely funny moments. What I liked best was the balance they maintained and instead of doing the typical Marvel fuckery of having a punchline for every sentence regardless of what’s happening at the moment, the humor in Justice League was generally well-timed, leaving the more serious scenes to remain serious and maintain their effectiveness. I think this is a good change and they should maintain this balance and not try to go too aggressive in either direction.
As for the bad things, the editing is really choppy. The first half an hour of the movie rushes through so fast and jumps around so much that it feels extremely jarring. Even later scenes just abruptly switch between one another with zero finesse. I’ve read that the movie had to be shortened to fit WB’s two hour mandate and it really shows as a lot of footage seems to be left on the table. This is one movie that could benefit tremendously from an extended or director’s cut.
I also found some of the dialogues quite stilted. Some of the conversations feel somewhat expositional or dramatic and doesn’t feel like something normal people would say in that situation.
Also, there are end-credit scenes now. As if it wasn’t bad enough that Marvel was abusing this shit, Justice League has a mid-credit and an end-credit scene. Both were good but let’s be clear here, it’s a stupid fucking trend that needs to go away.
Lastly, and I almost forgot about him, but the main bad guy in this movie is really lackluster. You even forget about him while watching the movie when he’s not on screen. He just serves as a big target for everyone to punch or shoot at and to get the band together. He’s almost Marvel movie level boring otherwise.
Overall, I found Justice League to be quite entertaining with some really great moments. The flaws are there, yes, and I do wish the editing was better and some of the characters had better backstory and more than two lines of introduction. But I did have fun watching it and I do plan on watching it a second time. If you still have BvS hangover, this should cure it.