Justice League Review: The Most Fun You Will Have at the Movies all Year!
DC’s Justice League has been one of the most talked about releases of 2017 and was one of my most anticipated films of the year. Justice League picks up shortly after Batman V. Superman and shows a world in mourning after the death of Superman. We see that Bruce Wayne is distraught by Superman’s passing and continues to blame himself for his death. As Batman continues to fight crime and protect his city, he learns that a new supervillain named Steppenwolf plans for global destruction. Now, Bruce with the help of Diane Prince must work together to assemble a league of superheroes to stop Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons.
2017 is the year of DC! Wonder Woman blew everyone away back in June, and Justice League is easily the most fun that I had at the movies all year. DC and Warner Brothers have found a way to balance the dark tone of the DCEU by adding in the perfect amount of light-hearted moments and humor into the mix. Justice League is a well-crafted film that is geared towards older superhero fans, and yet it is still wildly entertaining and a ton of fun from start to finish.
Unlike a lot of superhero movies, there is actual depth and emotion built into the story being told. We see how Superman’s passing has affected the world and how it has changed because of it. As for the members of the Justice League, we get some more insight into how they are feeling. We see Diana is still struggling with the loss of Steve Trevor while Bruce is still conflicted about his role in the death of Superman. Victor Stone a.k.a. Cyborg, who is one of the newcomers to the DCEU, is incredibly well-rounded as a character. We get some insight of his backstory and understand his pain and anger as an accident has forced him to live his life as a machine rather than a man. Arthur Curry (Aquaman) and Barry Allen (The Flash) are given brief backstories that are just enough to get you onboard and leave you wanting to see more of them in a stand-alone film.
Another thing that Justice League does incredibly well is that it knows how to balance the screen time amongst all of its characters. A lot of people don’t like to admit this but one of the biggest problems with Marvel films as of late. Those films have way too many characters, and a lot of them barely get their time to shine. This isn’t the case with Justice League at all. The film’s pacing and story perfectly shape the amount of screen time that is given to Cyborg, The Flash, Aquaman, Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman. What makes this even more rewarding is that each one of our heroes has their moment to shine in-between all of the scenes where they are working together as a team.
Regarding the cast, I don’t think you could assemble a better cast than the one in this film. I remember being in Hall H at San Diego Comic-Con back in July when Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, and Ray Fisher took to the stage. These actors just bounced off one another with such ease and had so much energy. That chemistry and energy is captured remarkably on the big screen and is without question, one of the primary reasons that the film works as well as it does. The way that these actors interact with one another just feels natural. It doesn’t feel like actors playing characters but rather a group of real-life friends getting together. They don’t always see eye to eye, but they talk and argue about things like adults. Don’t worry the conversations are not always serious as they often joke around and poke fun at one another. There’s a great scene where Aquaman shares his thoughts about the members. This scene ends up being one of the funniest moments in the film.
As we already know from earlier this year, Gal Gadot makes a great Wonder Woman and gives the character a lot of heart through her committed performance. Gadot is just as good this time around, and I love the relationship that the film creates between Diana and Bruce that was hinted at during the final scene of Wonder Woman. There is some real raw emotion coming from each of them especially after an argument that occurs about midway through the film. The scenes where Diana fights are just as bad ass as they were in the Wonder Woman stand-alone film, however, let’s be honest, nothing will top her springing into action during that no man’s land scene. It is still to this day one of the most memorable scenes of the year.
Ben Affleck is on par now with Michael Keaton as the best version of the Dark Knight. Affleck gives Bruce Wayne some emotional weight, and we see him struggling with his shortcomings. I like how Affleck how plays this role, not only as Batman but as Bruce Wayne. He knows he doesn’t have superpowers compared to the others. I love the line where Barry Allen asks him about his powers and Bruce responds with “I’m rich.”
Jason Momoa is an excellent choice for Aquaman, and I’m so curious to see what James Wan does to develop his character. You can tell that out of all the members of the Justice League that Aquaman’s backstory wasn’t as fleshed out, but there is a good reason for that since his stand-alone film is next in line. I do think the film is an excellent setup for that film and gives the audience a bit of early insight into Aquaman’s world and personality. The film also gives us a tiny glimpse at some of the other characters from his world including Amber Heard’s Mera.
Ray Fisher as Cyborg is an interesting character and one that I will openly admit that I don’t know much about even though I was obsessed with Batman throughout most of my childhood. I feel like Cyborg’s stand-alone film is going to be very different from the rest of the DCEU films because there seems to be a lot going on with his character and how he became Cyborg. This film hints at various aspects of Victor Stone’s life, but you can tell there is a lot more to it then what is said in this film. How Diana learns about Victor makes for a solid introduction to the character and one that peaked my interest quite a bit.
Henry Cavill, in my opinion, has always made a spectacular Clark Kent/Superman and his appearance in Justice League only continues to confirm my viewpoint. Ever since Christopher Reeves, I felt like everyone has tried to do their own thing with Superman, but I never felt like it was as good. While it is nearly impossible to capture the magic that Reeves brought to the role, I think Cavill comes close. He fits the bill look wise and knows how to play the character. He isn’t in the film as much as the others for obvious reasons, but he gets some great moments including a scene where he and The Flash join forces.
This leads me to the character of the Flash. Ezra Miller nails it, and I’m sorry Wonder Woman, but he steals the show whenever he’s on-screen. Miller has this natural energy and excitement to him. You can tell he was truly honored to be cast as the Flash and brings that enthusiasm to the role. He’s awkwardly funny and has great facial expressions that reminded me of ones that comedic greats like Jim Carrey and Steve Carell often make. He is the Flash, and after seeing him in this role, I get why they cast him for the part. He adds a childlike sense of humor to a mix of characters that are all very different from one another. Arthur Curry might be a sarcastic smart ass, but Barry Allen is this nerdy, awkward guy who has the brains to back up his fears. The Flash fits perfectly into this group and will more than likely be the fan favorite of the film. I can safely say that after seeing Ezra Miller in this role, I want that Flash movie right now!
Director Zack Snyder deserves a ton of credit for making this film such a success. He has been the man behind casting these actors and his vision for this world has finally come full circle. The film looks great with plenty of wowing visuals but rarely do the visuals outshine the actors. Snyder could have very easily made this about the effects rather than the characters and their development, but he didn’t do this. He made this film character-driven first and visuals second. It’s a smart decision on his part. I think Snyder has poured his heart and soul into this project and it shows.
Now, what type of critic would I be without finding something to criticize? There is too much CGI in certain spots, and it can be a bit distracting. It’s interesting because while I understand the need for some of it, I think Snyder and Whedon went a bit overboard with it especially during the final fight scene with Steppenwolf where it was just so incredibly apparent that nothing was real. A lot of the CGI is beautiful and fits into the film but like I said there are only a few moments where it becomes a bit overwhelming.
There are a few plot holes in the plot, but I’ve grown to accept that because every superhero film has some holes in it. I stopped complaining about this because most of them end up being explained in later films. Also, the villain Steppenwolf is surprisingly generic. DC usually knocks it out of the park with their villains as they are generally just as memorable as their heroes. What’s strange about Steppenwolf is that he feels like a Marvel villain rather than a DC one. This didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the film since this is typically the norm in a Marvel Movie, but it’s a bit surprising since DC is known for their bad ass and super memorable villains.
With all that being said, Justice League is everything that a comic book fan could want in a superhero film. It is an absolute blast from beginning to end. Everyone involved brings their A-game, and the ending will leave you begging for more. All these things combined make Justice League one of the most entertaining and fun superhero films of all time. I can’t wait to see where these characters go next.
Scott ‘Movie Man’ Menzel’s rating for Justice League is an 8.5 Out of 10
P.S. Be sure to stay during the credits as the scene at the end is well worth the wait. It’s not like some silly inside joke that is usually at the end of Marvel films but rather one that will make fans squeal with delight.