I think it’s fair to say that many of the DC films thus far have been fairly divisive, with Wonder Woman being the first that was pretty much universally loved. And now Warner Bros and Zack Snyder are following it up with their first Avengers‘ style cross over event film, Justice League.
If you’re a fan of DC comics, and these fantastic characters, then you will be delighted to see the likes of Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg coming together. And all of these characters, and their interactions are wonderful, and clearly the highlight of the film. Wonder Woman, The Flash, and Cyborg in particular have brilliant personal journeys in the film. Gal Gadot has firmly established herself in the character now, so it was no surprise to see her give another inspirational leading performance. But Ray Fisher and particularly Ezra Miller are great, and really carry their journeys from insecure young metahumans to heroes.
The other new addition is Jason Momoa’s Aquaman. For the most part he acts as a comic relief character, and he’s used pretty effectively in that role. On top of that there’s no denying Momoa’s charisma in the role. The performances and directions they all took their characters has to have you excited for the upcoming solo films. Ben Affleck’s Batman has clearly moved on from the super intense, at war, version of the character that we saw in Batman v Superman, although some may find this new iteration too far in the humorous direction. Indeed his best scenes are ones where he is able to be a little darker, and butts heads with some of the other Justice League members. It has been announced that Henry Cavill does return in the film as Superman, I don’t want to spoil the amount of his involvement, but this iteration is a little closer to the more traditional version of the character.
The actual story itself, whilst a little more coherent than previous films such Batman v Superman, actually has the opposite problem. It is a ridiculous and virtually nonexistent plot. It involves the villain Steppenwolf (played by Ciarán Hinds) who, along with his army of Parademons, is seeking to take over or destroy the world, it’s never made entirely clear, so that he can appease his master Darkseid. It involves him collecting three mother boxes and unifying them. The overall story of the film isn’t Justice League‘s strongest aspect, Steppenwolf is a one-dimensional villain and the Parademons are the clichéd mass CGI army, instead it is the smaller individual moments within the story that stand out in the film.
The interactions between the central characters are fantastic. All of the Justice League characters get moments to shine and these are genuinely wonderful. The overall action in the film is superb, and the way the characters are used within these scenes showcases the distinctive way the characters can be used because they are all so unique. Snyder utilises the different locations, where we get to see more of the Amazonians and our first look at Atlantis for a lot of different style action set pieces. And there has never been any doubt over Snyder’s ability to shoot action, and once again he delivered in Justice League.
There are some other issues outside of the story, particularly with some of the CGI. Cyborg’s suit is never the greatest looking piece of visual effects ever. Even with the high budget on the film it doesn’t look as good as many other smaller budget films. But even worse than that is the digital removal of Henry Cavill’s moustache that was present during reshoots. It’s obvious in a good number of Superman’s scenes, and can be quite distracting as it makes his mouth look incredibly unnatural. But when you consider the production problems that the film underwent, with the personal tragedy that befell Zack Snyder and him stepping away late on, you can understand why the CGI doesn’t look polished.
On the whole Justice League is far from perfect, but much like The Avengers it is the moments and coming together of these characters that stands out. The cast is great and brings so many classic characters to life. Justice League will definitely leave you excited for what comes next, but this particular film may be a little more divisive.