Justice League Review: Avengers Who?

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. 

Justice League

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?”

Written by
Ashley Menzel is an avid film lover and lives in Los Angeles, CA. She loves foreign films and dramas and reading books that have film adaptations. Her favorite movie of all time is One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. She loves Doctor Who, Supernatural, iZombie, and Grimm.

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  1. Awesome review which is on the nose. And shared.

  2. The whole of this review was humorous, but this really hit me:
    “you have to consider condensing such a huge story into a film requires the omission of some aspects of the story”

    I try not to be a jerk on the Internet, but this review shrieks “give me free passes next time!” or ” I have no concept of what a number rating means.”

    How huge is the story? CGI thing wants MacGuffin. And the thing about DC being “real”, no, it has an exxxtreme filter to insure isn’t real. It’s a world where sunlight is grey. No DC movie has been a tenth as real as, say, Close Encounters. Many other movies to choose. They come across as rock videos for pre-teens.

    if you like them, that’s totally fine by me, but attaching pretensions to then bug the hell out of me.

  3. This was my exact review score for this film (8.5/10) after seeing it both at the Esquire Imax theater in Downtown Sacramento (at a free screening the Monday before it opened) as well as at the Century Theaters in Folsom (the Friday that it actually opened). And my reasons for doing so were exactly the same. The film, while not strictly speaking perfect, is still a very good film. Could it have been even better if Warner Brothers had not mandated a two hour running time? Absolutely. There are so many obvious scenes that were cut from the film, as evidenced by the trailers (i.e. Victor Stone playing football in the snow; Barry Allen breaking a window with his finger while using The Speed Force; Clark’s adorable recognition of the fact that Lois accepted his proposal by wearing the ring he gave her before he died; Bruce discussing the Apokoliptian threat and “something darker” with the league, only in costume). But was the film itself a complete and utter dumpster fire, like other critics would have you believe? Not even close. It just needed to be done according to Snyder’s original vision and Warner Brothers, still being in the same release-and-react mode that they have been in ever since Man of Steel started receiving negative reviews back in 2013, robbed the man of that just because he had to step away to tend to his family in the wake of his daughter’s tragic suicide. I’d be damn near shocked if he and his wife even produced anymore of Warner Brothers’ DCEU films, let alone directed any. Regardless of what Snyder says to the public, I can tell you with almost a hundred percent certainty that Snyder didn’t want Whedon to screw his film up and that Warner Brothers made the decision to actually hire Whedon in Snyder’s absence to retool almost the entire film in the eleventh hour. That intro sequence with the emo song almost took me out of the film and I knew it was all Whedon’s doing right from the second the song started playing and the homeless person’s cardboard sign saying “I tried” was displayed. Snyder likes classic rock and similar music. He doesn’t strike as a fan of watered down, generic covers.

    If an absolute disaster-piece like Iron Man 3 can yield 75% positive reviews, then Justice League should have at least yielded between 85 and 88% because it was leaps and bounds better than Shane Black’s bloated mess. And don’t even get me started on The Avengers or The Avengers: Age of Ultron. That none of Marvel Studio’s yes-men fans even so much as acknowledge a single one of their films many glaring flaws, yet nitpick the everloving s*** out of DC’s every chance they get speaks volumes about how badly Marvel Studios has brainwashed the movie-going masses. More’s the pity.

    The reason Justice League- much like Batman v. Superman and Man of Steel- received bad reviews is that DC’s films, in the wake of the Nolan-helmed Dark Knight Trilogy, have been unfairly held to absurdly high standards. These, by the way, are standards that no Marvel Studios film has ever been held to. Not a single one of their films has a “rotten” review percentage and that’s due exclusively to the fact that critics have been on Disney… whoops… I meant to say Marvel Studios’ nuts since day one. The one and only through-and-through good… nay… great film that Marvel Studios made was the first Iron Man and not surprisingly that film still holds the Marvel Studios’ record, almost a decade after the fact, for highest review percentage and is tied with The Dark Knight. That and Marvel Studios was bought out by Disney the very next year, hence the fact that every film from that year on has been front-loaded with humor/moments of levity as a glorified substitution for laughable character development, phoned-in performances and third act non-resolutions/deus ex machinas that even a first year film student/screenwriter could call out on a moment’s notice.

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