Justice League Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
Justice League surprised many by the sudden change of tone in the DCEU. It is funny, clever and has a lot of heart, yet it suffers from a few flaws.
Genre: Action / Fantasy / Sci-Fi
Director: Zack Snyder (Joss Whedon)
Cast: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ciaran Hinds, Amy Adams, Joe Morton, J.K. Simmons, Jeremy Irons, Connie Nielsen, Amber Heard, Diane Lane & Henry Cavill.
Run Time: 120 min.
US Release: 17 November 2017
UK Release: 17 November 2017
German Release: 16 November 2017 Should I be asked were the DCEU stands now, I would answer that it finally has its footing on solid ground - solid but shaky. I liked Man of Steel quite a bid, it took the tale of Superman and modernized it for cinema audiences. Batman v Superman was a narrative mess, at least the cinematic version, but I enjoyed it nonetheless and Ben Affleck gave a fantastic rendition of both, the Dark Knight and his alter ego, Bruce Wayne. The Ultimate Cut of BvS, released on Blu-ray, was a hell of a step-up story wise but a little too long for my taste. And then there was Suicide Squad… what a crock of horse manure it was, and why WB decided to hire a trailer company to make the final cuts on a big scale theatrical movie and even thought of it as a good idea, is beyond me. So until then, it didn’t fare well for Warner, DC and their cinematic future. This all changed with Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman this summer! The heroine’s solo debut film was fun, had a nostalgic touch and opted to send the right message for a strong female-led superhero flick. Simply put, I loved Wonder Woman! This blockbuster, though, is another calibre that tries to cram five superheroes into one sitting and with all the media criticism it obtained behind the scenes, the change of director due to Snyder's family tragedy and all the reshoots that had been going on, I was worried a lot! But Justice League, as it turned out, is a good and entertaining superhero team-up story. Inspired by Superman’s (Cavill) selfless act and with the world in danger of falling into the hands of the powerful alien Steppenwolf (Hinds), Bruce Wayne (Affleck) sets his path on finding more Metahumans to form an alliance and protect Earth. With the help of Diana Prince (Gadot), the strong Amazonian warrior known as Wonder Woman, Bruce finds Barry Allen (Miller) a.k.a. The Flash, Victor Stone (Fisher) a.k.a. Cyborg and Atlantean Arthur Curry (Momoa). But are they enough to stand against their new enemy and his army of Parademons? As far as the structure of the story goes; for a movie that went through extensive reshoots and was written and directed by two different people, it has barely any inconsistencies. The tone has changed drastically when comparing it to the darker and grittier atmosphere of the previous films, and the humour has been amped up. Yes, that’s right, Justice League is genuinely funny and has more of a light-hearted tone but it suits the narrative. The dialogues contain a good amount of jokes, most coming from Barry Allen, that feel most often natural. However, the biggest compliment I can give it is that it has a heart at the centre of its story and respects the source material. Sadly, it also has some narrative issues. Not all of the jokes land and some feel forced. Then there is also the fact that for a blockbuster of this magnitude, two hours are not enough. I perceived it as too short and rushed and could have definitely done with a little more of the Justice League on screen. The last act is a mixed bag, while I enjoyed watching the team fight as a group, it never really crossed my mind that any of the heroes are in immediate danger, which took out some of the third arc’s tension. The main characters that construct the League are all very well portrayed. Affleck gives once again a grand performance as Bruce Wayne (Batman) and his growing relationship with Diana Prince (Gadot) a.k.a. Wonder Woman is a central focus point. Out of the newbies, it is Miller’s Barry Allen (Flash) and Fisher’s Victor Stone (Cyborg) that get most of the screen time. The respective actors play both heroes very well. Allen is obviously the quirkier one, making him the comedic anchor of the group. Aquaman, portrayed by Jason Momoa, is the bad boy and obtained some good one-liners. The down part of having this mammoth of a story told in a two-hour screening, is the fact that Aquaman’s story was left sitting on the bench. You don’t know anything about the character, except that he is a badass. Same goes for the villain Steppenwolf, played by veteran actor Ciaran Hinds. Putting it mildly, he was uninteresting and a little bit lame! The cinematography for Justice League is mostly good looking and the action scenes are a lot of fun. Each hero and his city obtained a different colour filter, which made the DCEU world look big and diverse. There are at times shots included that were taken from strange angles, to enhance the 3D effects that distracted a little bit from the film itself. The CGI is good enough, although there are times when you can tell that Cyborg is 90% computer generated and even the background doesn't always sync in as well as it should, especially during character close-ups. My personal highlight though was the inclusion of Danny Elfman’s original Batman theme being intermixed with a more modern soundtrack. Perfect use of fan-service there!
Verdict: Justice League is more than I expected and deserves far more than what critics are giving it. The production might have been a mess, with director Zack Snyder dropping out and Whedon replacing him, the re-shooting of a lot of scenes, as well as the demand from Warner to hold it at a two hours maximum run-time. Nevertheless, the film itself turned out well, with likeable and interesting characters, a solid story and fun action scenes. Snyder, as well as Whedon, respected the source material, the acting is great - even though the limited time does not offer full character development for all our heroes. The weakest aspect this movie has is the villain. All in all, I was very pleased with Justice League and will give it a 7.5 out of 10. Do me a favour and go watch it in cinemas if you are interested, because it is struggling at the box office. You won’t regret it! Thank you very much for reading.