Film review: Justice League

The latest offering from the DC Extended Universe, Justice League looks to be an action-packed blockbuster full of well known comic book heroes. Does it deliver on its promise? Read on to find out…

After mixed and largely negative responses to Henry Cavill and Ben Affleck’s performances in 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justiceit was somewhat of a relief when Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman film finally showed that it was possible to produce a decent film from the DC universe. After the failure of Green Lantern in 2011, DC adopted a more dour approach to its films in an attempt to be grittier and less comedic. The end result was unfortunately too self-pitying, with both Superman and Batman becoming less likeable.

Happily, DC’s first ensemble film has dispensed with the grinding and depressing feel for a thoroughly more light-hearted adventure. Justice League sees the world coping after the death of Superman, whilst Batman and Wonder Woman chase leads of other “meta-humans” (super powered people) in order to face supernatural alien warrior Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciaran Hinds).

Justice League introduces Cyborg, The Flash and Aquaman.

Cue introductions for Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher), brought together to team up against the threat of Steppenwolf, who is searching for three magical artefacts on Earth known as “Mother Boxes” to grant him immense power. Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Diane Laine as Martha Kent and Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth (as well as a certain Kryptonian character) all make returns, with a few excellent lines going to the latter which are delivered with Iron’s suitably dry humour.

Unlike Marvel’s Avengers series where the characters had their own solo films before joining up together, Justice League needs to briefly give some backstory on Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg before things can really kick off. This leads to a certain amount of character and plot exploration being left on the cutting room floor in order to keep the film in the two hour bracket. This is especially evident in the choppy nature of the editing in the first 40 minutes or so, but thankfully the good performances by the cast help to paper over these cracks. Although Ezra Miller’s Flash is somewhat reduced to a comedic sidekick, and there are more than a few scenes where the point seems to be to unsubtly show off Gal Gadot in tight leather trousers, the general plot moves along better than the treacle-slow pace of Batman v Superman. Even Ben Affleck’s Batman has a few quips to make!

The CGI for towering baddie Steppenwolf could have been a little better and greater character development all round would have added a bit more substance to the film, but on the whole it looks like DC is heading in the right direction with things. Input from Avengers director Joss Whedon (after Zack Snyder left the project due to personal tragedy) is pretty evident in the more light hearted tone of the film, and in some ways you could justifiably assume that most of the tone, comedy and zippy pacing of the film is a direct response to correct the mistakes and negative feedback that people had over previous DC films.

Providing you go into the film not expecting lots of exposition and just enjoy the energetic action sequences and brief introductions to the characters, you’ll end up enjoying the beginnings of DC’s new team. Now that the franchise is on a more even footing, the way is paved for the aforementioned character’s solo movies (as well some heroes that have not yet been seen). They can really stretch their wings now, and with the wealth of source material to draw upon, should be able to match what Marvel have achieved over the last decade or so.





Author: Steve, Bristol store