a critiQal film review Justice League (2017)

Plot: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne (Affleck) enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince (Gadot), to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes, it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

738 words (Est. Reading Time 3m 41s)

While we are still behind in our Marvel movies, we decided to change up the pace a bit, and give Justice League a try. Would this continue the positive turn in the DC Universe that Wonder Woman (2017) showcased? Or would Justice League be more of a return to Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016)?

There is a bit of continuity, as Ben Affleck returns as the Dark Knight, with Gal Gadot by his side as the gold-cuffed one. Ben Affleck doesn’t seem quite as invested in the role of Bats in Justice League, and his constant warring over his actions in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) is more annoying than moving. And, sadly, that’s about all the character development we get for Batman, who seems to be due for some.

Gal Gadot continues her standout performance as Wonder Woman, and her sequences are easily the best part of Justice League. She’s like a breath of fresh air among the doldrums of her dour cast mates. At the same time, however, her presence in Justice League can’t help but make the viewer wax nostalgic for her recent solo pic. And that comparison isn’t favorable for this pic.

Unlike Marvel, which eased into its big team-up by introducing most of its characters in solo flicks, Justice League has fast-forwarded past all that character building, and thrusts several new characters upon the viewers. As expected, the film can not handle all of the new faces with the development they deserve, and instead gives just brief moments to each new character. Jason Momoa’s Aquaman gets the best treatment, and his high-spirited glee when going into battle gives the viewer a cautiously hopeful outlook on his upcoming solo movie. Ray Fisher’s Cyborg is ill-used, and looks like nothing more than a walking, talking computer. Ezra Miller’s Flash is forced and not nearly as funny as he thinks he is, paling in comparison to the current small-screen version of the character on The CW’s “The Flash” (TV).

And then there’s the bad guy of Justice League, Steppenwolf. While Ciaran Hinds is hiding somewhere in there (his voice is commanding and spot-on), the CGI wannabe that’s on-screen just isn’t worth the viewer’s time. With a plot of world domination that is never really explained (involving three cubes that look the Lego version of Marvel’s Tesseract), and motivations that are never made clear (he’s a harbinger for Darkseid, but why does he want to change the planet?), he’s an awfully poor excuse for these superheroes to team up. The viewer can’t get behind the heroes plans to stop the bad guy, because it seems like there isn’t really a reason for the team-up.

And that’s really the big problem with Justice League. While Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) was pretty bad, it did do one thing that Marvel had yet to do – kill off one of its superheroes. Unfortunately, everyone knew that wasn’t going to last, and Supes was going to return in Justice League. And that, really, is what Justice League is all about. It’s not about getting a dream superhero team-up. It’s just about getting Supes back so he can beat the bad guy – the same bad guy the rest of the team together can’t cope with…and Supes can do it without even breaking a sweat.

Incongruous and too dour for its own good, there’s very little to redeem Justice League. It’s obviously just Warner Bros. attempt to follow along in the Marvel formula to rake in some big box office, but it’s as if they haven’t been watching the Marvel movies at all. The team-up seems pretty worthless (especially after accomplishing their goal of raising the dead), and the characters themselves already seem too tired for the franchise.

Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman continues to shine, but the rest of the team lacks a lot of the character development that Gal can bank on. With their solo pics still yet to arrive, this team-up seems like it has been rushed into production too early, and without much thought. It’s sad to watch DC fail so miserably in its attempt to give Marvel some competition, and with this latest botched attempt, things are looking dour for the future of eh DC Universe on the big screen.

If you’re looking for a good superhero team-up, stick with Marvel. With their latest, Avengers: Infinity War (2018), set to break all sorts of records the end of this month, you won’t have long to wait at all.

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