Justice League (2017)
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Written by: Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon
Starring: Ben Affleck, Billy Crudup, Ciarán Hinds, Ezra Miller, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Jason Momoa, Jeremy Irons, JK Simmons, Ray Fisher
Superman (Henry Cavill) is dead. Batman (Ben Afflek) knows of an extra terrestrial threat heading to Earth, and now that the god-like son of Krypton is no longer around to protect it, invasion is imminent. With the help of Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) he sets about recruiting a team of metahumans in hope of warding off this menace. Much like another cinematic superhero team up we were treated to a few years ago, proceedings start with us catching up with what each hero is up to. Batman is prowling the roof tops of Gotham, investigating the alien threat. It may be a brief glimpse of the infamous city, but it harks back to the towering, imposing gothic city scapes of Burton’s films, and if this is a glimpse of what is to come with Matt Reeves’ The Batman, it’s an exciting prospect indeed. Wonder Woman is also on the look out, however it seems to be dealing with the side effects of the alien presence, in an ass kicking introduction where she takes on a group of fanatics.
From here we have origin story lite. Brief scenes of exposition fill in the back story of the other heroes we caught brief moments of in Batman V Superman. Aquaman (Jason Momoa) is pretty much established in a few lines of dialogue, however we get a little more of a story with The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) as they are both newbies to the world of superheroes and still getting to grips with their new found abilities. We also get a look into their personal lives, but this doesn’t slow down the pace. The same can’t be said for the the horrendously saggy second act, as things seem to grind to a halt after the first dust up with antagonist Steppenwolf, who again much like Avengers Assemble, is after a cube with terrible power (or in this case, three cubes). There’s lots of brooding and seemingly forced in-fighting, as they try to come up with a plan to save the world, and to say it drags is an understatment. This is aleviated with an entertaining finale that picks the pace up again and keeps things exciting. Everyone gets their moments of fun too. The Flash pretty much serves as comic relief in the film, as the wide eyed newbie, overwhelmed by everything that’s going on, as well as trying to stay on his feet (in some cases literally), but Ezra Miller does a cracking job as the socially inept fledgling speedster, and a Flash solo movie cannot come quick enough. Even the dark knight gets in a one liner or two.
The mood has been lifted somewhat after the rather dark Batman V Superman, and having Danny Elfman on scoring duties has definitely changed the tone. Whether this is for the better is debatable, as say what you want about the previous films, Hans Zimmer did an incredible job with the music, which gave the films an extra layer which just feels missing from Justice League. Despite nods to the more popular Batman and Superman scores it feels like it has lost some of its impact. That’s not to say this change in direction is bad, but perhaps it’s too much of a heel turn at this point. Nevertheless, Elfman does a good enough job with what he’s got. The visual effects are pretty much what you expect from a contempory superhero blockbuster. An over reliance on CGI and some glaringly obvious green screen can make it a bit jarring at times, but let’s face it, if these things get in the way of your enjoyment at this point, you should be asking yourself what you expect from these movies at this point.
Justice League is a very entertaining film, but is let down in parts by some scenes that feel shoehorned in, and when the team don’t get on, it doesn’t feel anywhere near as natural as when they do. The lull in the middle is a drag but otherwise it’s a decent debut for the first cinematic DC team up, and a great setup for further movies with this roster of fantastic characters.