Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice left a polaziring ambience among the comic book film scene, with fans supporting Zack Snyder’s vision and critics obliterating the director. This film left the fate of the DCEU in question, with WB having multiple rewrites on Suicide Squad and the many confusing films announced. Luckily, out came Patty Jenkins to the rescue and directed Wonder Woman, a film loved by many due to how opposite it is from BvS and even Man of Steel. Now fans are expecting that Snyder takes note of WW‘s success and implement it in his new film: Justice League. Did it deliver?
Justice League picks up right after Batman v Superman with the world mourning over the death of its beacon of hope: Superman (Henry Cavill).
His death has also spread throughout the galaxy as the Mother Boxes suddenly activate, and the planet conqueror Steppenwolf arrives on Earth in order to claim these boxes and wipe out the human race. The only people who can stop him? The Justice League. Batman (Ben Affleck) teams up with Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) in order to track down The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to defeat Steppenwolf and save the Earth from the invasion.
From left to right: The Flash, Superman, Cyborg, Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman
Straight away: This is a very fun film. It’s a different tone from Snyder’s previous film and is more lighthearted. That’s not to say that it’s a bad thing. Most fans are tired of the broody mood Man of Steel set out, and they said a change had to be made. While I’m a huge Man of Steel fan and I enjoyed BvS more than others, I do appreciate the changes made. After all, Wonder Woman‘s success is due to it being more charming – both story wise and visually – than the rest of the DCEU films.
Seeing some of my favorite childhood heroes was amazing! Affleck as the Bat Vigilante is still spot on and Gadot as the Amazonian Warrior is badass and loveable as ever. Cyborg, while lacked some character development, was a great addition to the team. Mamoa as Aquaman was the definition of badass. The trailers led me to believe that he was to be the Aquabro everyone seems to be looking forward to, but he was more than that. Ezra’s Flash was hilarious and fun; very reminiscent of Barry Allen from the comic books. All of these actors put so much effort into their characters, and audiences end up with a very likable, but still powerful ensemble of heroes.
Commissioner Gordon (J.K. Simmons), Wonder Woman, Batman, Flash
Now, I know that people are mostly waiting for one specific character: Superman. I don’t want to get into details of how Superman returns (pun intended), but I do have to admit first that it felt rushed and sort of anticlimactic. I would’ve love a HUGE reveal, but what happened to make him come back made sense. But there is a positive to this, and it’s that Snyder listened and delivered (Those who saw the movie will understand).
A plus side to his return is that Henry Cavill had a chance to redeem the Man of Steel from his previously hated moody attitude, and he successfully did. It felt like him coming back changed his character in a positive way. Without giving too much, fans of Superman will be pleased with this change and fans of Man of Steel will accept it. I would’ve like to see more of him, like the aftermath of his return to the world, but Cavill brought something “fresh” to the character that I really appreciate Snyder went with it.
The visual effects are a polarizing subject, but I honestly thought it was handled great. I liked seeing the League fighting Parademons left and right. The real winner in this department was Flash’s abilities. Seeing him run while channeling the Speed Force – this living, breathing force – is something that sets itself apart from the CW’s take of the Scarlett Speedster. The score by Danny Elfman is marvelous too, with him even using some of his Batman theme and even John William’s Superman theme into the mix. I will miss Han Zimmer and Junkie XL, but Elfman delivered throughout.
While I had fun with the movie, it isn’t perfect. As WB ordered that the film must have a two hour runtime, they had to make some cuts, and this is very noticeable. This is my biggest issue with the film, with some scenes feeling either incomplete or rushed. Many shots from the trailer didn’t appear in JL. Snyder had to leave the project, so Joss Whedon had to go in and finish the project, and his fingerprints are shown. These cuts makes the film a little inconsistent sometimes, but not too extreme, and an extra 30 minutes would’ve given the film more meat to the plot as it is fairly simple.
Aquaman, Batman, Cyborg, Wonder Woman
I would’ve loved to see more of Cyborg, The Flash and Aquaman’s backstories fleshed out more, like why isn’t Aquaman in Atlantis or the life of Victor Stone before the accident that made him a walking quantum computer. I also would’ve love to see more of the team dynamics. Their discussions on a certain issue felt natural and interesting, but it takes a toll in order to progress the plot – even though you’re expecting to see how these characters react to each other in a film called Justice League. Again, this is probably due to the two hour restriction WB made to Snyder. I’m betting that an Ultimate Cut will fix some of these mistakes.
Steppenwolf is also a downside of the film. While appearing in a deleted scene from BvS, his character isn’t really fleshed out. It was obvious to me that he was gonna be the typical “bad guy who wants to rule over the world because he’s just like that” kind of villain and a set up for Darkseid in a future DCEU film. While cool to see the League fight this monster, his motivation wasn’t clear and the stakes weren’t really that high.
Again, this isn’t a perfect movie. I wasn’t expecting this to be The Avengers level of greatness. Its flaws are stuff that could’ve been fixed during their extensive reshoots, and WB should’ve negotiated to a two and a half hour runtime in order to give the movie more time to breath. That said, I REALLY enjoyed this movie. For context, some of my favorite Marvel films have huge flaws, but I still like them. And while the film suffers in Rotten Tomatoes (with a 37% as I write this review), I firmly believe it deserves a higher rating. Due to the classic Critics v Audience dispute, it still works as a superhero ensemble. Justice League is simple, fun, and gives me hope for what the DCEU can be. This might be Snyder’s last DC project, but he has given the footsteps of what Warner Bros. can achieve if they’re up for it.
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Written by: Christian Quiles