Review of 'Justice League'

justice_league.jpg “Justice League” picks up from where Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice left off. Shame I haven't see it yet. Anyway, was able to pick things up as it goes on but I am not sure I would recommend this (do yourself a favour and see “Batman v Superman” first if you are going to see this one) though, admittedly, figuring out what happened in the previous film is the most challenging part of watching Justice League.

Superman is dead leaving Batman (Ben Affleck) to pick up the pieces. Thousands of years ago the demon “Steppenwolf” (voiced by Ciarán Hinds) put together three “Mother Boxes” that gave him incredible power but was defeated by the combined armies of the humans, Amazons and Atlanteans who hid each of the boxes against his return. Now Steppenwolf has returned to earth with his army to get his revenge, seeking out the three boxes, starting first with the one left with the Amazons. Batman and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) seek others to help them battle Steppenwolf: The Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), himself fashioned using the energy of the Mother Boxes, and Aquaman (Jason Momoa). Will they be able to act as a team to defeat the unholy terror that now faces the planet? Or will they need another…?

Fairly enjoyable, though fairly simple storyline, standard though not amazing effects and uninspiring performances from the leads. Affleck has never convinced me as Batman and here he only reinforces that opinion. His lack of any facial expression beyond bland (with a slight smirk) and very little in the way of bodily expression is quite boring to watch. On the other hand, Gadot puts on another fantastic performance as Wonder Woman with nuance and subtlety to her performance that puts the others to shame (also nice to see her as the nominated leader). Fisher as Cyborg is suitably morose as the hero struggling to overcome his self-pity and become what he needs to be. Momoa as Aquaman is a macho figure that likes to think he is invincible but seems to keep getting kicked around. Definitely not the intellectual of the crowd Aquaman is pretty one-dimensional. Miller as the Flash is, well, the comic relief with his complete lack of self confidence taking the character to an extreme not even seen in the television series or comic books. This is often rather grating and certainly belittles his character (heading in the wrong direction, etc, etc).

The story here is about the formation of the Justice League rather than about the threat to civilization. So those expecting a massive battle may be somewhat underwhelmed here. As an aside: The odd focus on a family that is under seige by Steppenwolf's minions seems rather excessive - We don't just see the same thing in the same family once or even twice but throughout the film (yeah, we get it, big baddies, do we really need to see the horrifying looks on the same family as they look out of the window…many, many times?). Perhaps they ran out of material? In a way this is a symptom of the problem with this film: Nothing much seems to really happen except a lot of brooding and the occasional fisticuffs. As far as character development is concerned: Nada. As far as story: Yeah, there is a bit here but this is exchanged for more brooding. I can just imagine the production crew “Shall we linger another 30 seconds on Batman staring into the distance or should we spend those 30 seconds providing a bit more complexity to the story”…I know which argument won.

The effects are passable but only shine in one or two places. The undersea scenes in Aquaman's domain were always going to be difficult and these are some of the weakest here. On the other hand, the battles scenes are quite good if slightly difficult to follow (as you might expect).

It is fun, I will give you that. But certainly not as involved and well polished as the Marvel films, which is a bit unfortunate. There seems to be none of the intrinsic weaknesses in these heroes - Even their secret identities are treated trivially. What I would give for some character depth…BTW, don't expect a lot of laugh out-loud moments except perhaps for Flash and even these are pretty much all given away in the trailer.

Buy popcorn, watch Batman v Superman THEN this film, and, for goodness sake, don't think too much about it all.

Rating: “A bit better than average”

Review Date: 2017-11-22

Directed by: Zack Snyder

Studio: Atlas Entertainment

Year: 2017

Length: 120 minutes

Genre: Action/Adventure

Other reviewed films by Zack Snyder: