Justice League (2017) Review
The fourth installment in the DCEU has recently released in theaters. While fans should be jumping out of their seats to see this, the box office is still mediocre at best, but how is the movie?
Justice League was directed by Zach Snyder and stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Ezra Miller as The Flash, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ray Fisher as Cyborg and Henry Cavill as Superman. The film tells the story set up so poorly in Batman Vs. Superman about a bunch of heroes teaming up to fight for the world Superman died protecting. I will try my best not to express my disappointment with BvS during this review but I will admittedly have to make some connections since BvS was essentially a movie length trailer for this.
The conflict of the film involved Steppenwolf, as teased in the extended edition to BvS, which I did not watch. Steppenwolf wants to find these powerful Mother Boxes, which have been divided amongst the different races on the Earth, in order to basically rule the world. Steppenwolf is a perfectly average villain. I don’t think he was among the worst in superhero films, but he was far from the best. He’s your typical big CGI monster that wants to rule the world, nothing deep or meaningful. Certainly nothing charismatic and brilliant like Loki or Heath Ledger’s Joker. I won’t spoil the origin of Steppenwolf and the Mother Boxes, but I will say that if you watch the opening to the first Lord of the Rings movie, you know the entirety of it. Yeah, I’m convinced the writers took the script from Fellowship of the Ring and replaced a few key names and terms.
The plot itself is as simple as the villain, though it does try to be deeper when it goes into Superman. I think the marketing for the film was completely idiotic for pretending that Superman wasn’t in the movie, as if a Justice League movie can be made without him. I won’t go into how he returns, but I will say that it contradicts that teaser at the end of BvS, so take that as you will.
The characters were fine. Wonder Woman is the same as she was in BvS, which means she was the best part. That being said, she didn’t get to flourish as much as she did in her own movie, since she had to share screen time with the boys. Aquaman was probably the best of the newcomers, he was funny and badass. He’s very different from the source material, but I’m excited to see what his solo film is like. The Flash was just not for me, I didn’t think he was charming at all. His jokes just fell flat every time. There’s this scene (which is in the trailer) where he first meets Bruce Wayne in his little house. The scene has a Blackpink music video playing with the audio blasting in the forefront, and a Rick and Morty episode playing on another screen. As hilarious as that is, I could not focus on the actual dialogue between Barry and Bruce, since I was way more interested in the fact that a Kpop group got into the Justice League movie! Cyborg gets nothing to work with, he’s reduced to the exposition packmule of the film. Any inkling of story he has is just him moping around saying he’s a monster and he wishes he was dead. I would have loved the charismatic and fun Cyborg everyone knows and loves, but I guess everyone has to be depressing these days. Oh and imagine the worst use of Booyah, that’s probably better than how this film uses it.
The worst of the worst is Batman. I don’t think it’s the fault of Ben Affleck, though I doubt he’s doing the movie any favors. This Batman is just so far from what the character is, it honestly goes against the entire being. This isn’t Batman, it’s someone dressed like him. The first fight involving Batman is against a common thug, and it takes him nearly 2 minutes to get the job done. He gets his ass handed to him constantly until Alfred sends a gun or weaponized tank his way. Here I thought Batman hates guns since a gun took his parents from him? There’s a joke in the film where Batman says his power is being rich. It’s a joke, of course, but I think Zach Snyder actually believes it! There is no indication that he is brilliant, tactical, any of the classic Batman traits. In fact, all those traits seem to belong to Wonder Woman!
The best character is by far Superman. I can’t say much about him to avoid spoilers, but they finally got him right. The opening scene alone does the character a justice owed to him 2 films ago. His initial appearance is not great, but after that it’s nothing but gold from him.
And that’s about all I can say for Justice League. It’s not great, it’s not terrible. It’s worth watching for Superman, and to further the universe that we pray will get good at some point. If you liked Wonder Woman like I did, you’ll want to see her again. If you’re not all that interested in superhero movies, or if you didn’t like the last few DC films, you can go ahead and skip this one. So, to me, the DCEU has Wonder Woman, and that’s about it. Hopefully Aquaman picks the baton back up.