Justice League Review: Avengers Who?
Finally, we’ve made it to the release of Justice League. It has been a long wait since San Diego Comic-Con and fans are eager to see the team on screen after their explosively fun introduction at Comic-Con. In Justice League, we are living in the wake of the death of everyone’s symbol of hope, Superman. As the world mourns and has seemingly lost all faith, the world is in grave danger as Steppenwolf seeks to invade and destroy the Earth. Bruce Wayne is working to combat the invasion but cannot do it alone. He decides he must unite a team to battle Steppenwolf and his army. As he works to find and recruit his new members, Steppenwolf is getting closer to destroying Earth. It is a race against the clock to find the recruits and convince them to work together for the common good. Diana is eager and helpful in tracking down Victor Stone / Cyborg (Ray Fisher) who she sympathizes with as he shuts himself off from the rest of the world. Bruce travels far to track down Arthur Curry / Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and has to put in little effort to convince Barry Allen / The Flash. Finally, after all his work, the team agrees to work together. Once they realize they aren’t enough to defeat Steppenwolf, they need to get one final member. With the risk of spoiling too much, I will stop there.
Justice League is superb in its handling of multiple storylines and characters, some of which marks their first appearance in a film. The casting of the film is spot on and leads to the perfect chemistry between the characters. They work so well bouncing off one another and giving and taking at the appropriate moments. There is a harmony between the characters and their purposes. While we have a dark and brooding Bruce Wayne, we have the lighthearted and socially awkward Barry Allen to balance it out. Each character plays a role in making the film a joy to watch. Ezra Miller as The Flash is the highlight of the film for me. He perfectly nails the awkward gawkiness that makes his interpretation of The Flash genuinely memorable. Gal Gadot reprises her role as Diana / Wonder Woman and is again a force of nature. She commands attention every time she is on the screen and gives this role her all. Jason Momoa and Ray Fisher are spectacular additions to the film as well. The villain, Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) was decent, but not the strongest DC villain, but it didn’t hurt the story in any way.
The action scenes in the film are exciting and keep the audience engaged and interested. Each character has a role to play in the fight scene, and each is given their moment to shine. In no way is this a Batman movie with friends, it is undoubtedly established itself firmly as the Justice League film. There is one scene in particular where they are fighting Steppenwolf, and they each take their shots at him while working seamlessly together as a team.
Where DC succeeds so admirably is in their stories, we always can feel a real darkness and reality to the film speckled with humor. They are grounded in reality and never let the audience forget that, while you’re laughing, there is a world happening out there. The beginning of the film shows the world in mourning without their Superman. We see the reality of homelessness, crime, and desperation. This harsh reality establishes a world and emotion that is almost tangible and continues throughout the rest of the film. The gritty nature of the world of DC is worth the price of admission.
While Justice League is phenomenal in many ways, there are a few issues with the film. There are some holes in the story that begged to be answered, but you have to consider condensing such a huge story into a film requires the omission of some aspects of the story. What I found to be a bit distracting is toward the end in a big battle sequence, they go REALLY CGI heavy and the result is a little jarring. There are moments in the film where it almost feels like a video game because of the effects. It is not that they aren’t spectacular looking, but they have this otherworldliness to them that distracts from the film slightly.
Justice League is a force and leaves us wondering what is next for our newest superhero group. The chemistry between the characters combined with a realistic lens into the world of Justice League leaves the audience begging for more. With a nearly perfect two hour runtime, the film leaves the audience hungry for more assuring us there will be a long life ahead for the team. Justice League is bold, exciting and a darker superhero team that is as unapologetically honest as it is fiercely entertaining, leaving us asking “Avengers who?”