Normally I don’t review superhero movies because I forget to review them. I had forgotten to review Batman vs Superman Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad, Wonder Woman, Captain America Civil War, Spiderman Homecoming, and a few other superhero films just because of sheer forgetfulness. This doesn’t mean I disliked any of these movies, outside of Batman vs Superman I enjoyed all of these films (I am a little annoyed Suicide Squad got the oscar for makeup instead of Star Trek Beyond still).
One of the reasons I don’t review superhero films too often either is that I normally don’t see them within the period of time of relevance. With the exception of Batman vs Superman I saw most of these movies a good three to four weeks after the hype died down. I do also actively watch the DC Arrowverse on the CW, I have been working on a Supergirl essay for a while.
I honestly did like the movie though, it is nice to see how far the movie came from last year’s Batman vs Superman (I’m not going to continue on with Batman vs Superman, a lot of other people on the internet have done that for me already).
No I won’t be talking about fan theories and potential foreshadowing either, I’ve tried that before with Star Wars Rebels, not too many people care to read those reviews.
Possible spoilers from this point on, and some comparison to the Marvel Cinematic Universe from a storytelling standpoint.
As stated above this movie was a huge step up from Batman vs Superman, not as good as Wonder Woman was earlier this year, but better than Suicide Squad. My main issue with the movie is some nitpicking on Wonder Woman’s character and how her actions (and the ending to her movie) more or less contradict the events of Batman vs Superman and how the writers tried their best to merge the Wonder Woman who had given up hope on humanity in Batman v Superman and the Wonder Woman who had a sense of duty to defend any and all in need at the end of Wonder Woman with her optimistic views and compassion.
One of my complaints about Batman vs Superman is that someone DC and WB knew that they were behind Marvel in their big awesome cinematic universe that had been going since 2008 with at least two to three movies released per year (I’m guessing all that money from Disney helps build a cinematic universe a little faster). So to make up for this Batman vs Superman decided to introduce the whole Justice League via cameos for everyone except for Wonder Woman. This went as smoothly as anyone would expect.
In continued comparison I do actually like the DC approach to what is happening in their universe compared to the Marvel Cinematic Universe ; where the Marvel Cinematic Universe became a very well crafted and detailed universe with massive amounts of foreshadowing, tie ins and references to their other pieces of work, and the occasional break from the main plot of The Avengers to do something like Guardians of the Galaxy or Doctor Strange it was nice to see something like Justice League.
Because there is no foreshadowing or any sign of something big going down soon nearly all DC Cinematic Universe (DCCU?) all the movies can more or less be seen as stand alone and you don’t have to see each movie (except maybe Batman vs Superman) to know what’s going on. You can watch Suicide Squad one night and Wonder Woman the next and not have to care about continuation or making sure all the dots are connected.
A final comparison I will make before I continue on with the review is the tone of our heroes; while all of the Avengers are heroic or feel the call to heroism, only about 2.5 of the Justice League feel the call to heroism with Superman being dead for a portion of the film and Wonder Woman and Batman actively fighting against crime and the Flash being around to stop local crime via ‘pushing a badguy out of the way’. Aquaman does very small time heroics around low populated areas on earth and Cyborg is laying low out of fear of what he is now. A big step away from Iron Man flashing his cash around, Captain America being a legend, and Thor having some news about himself while Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the future members are still very small time in comparison.
I do like the characterization of our heroes in this film too; we see a very new side of Bruce Wayne that hasn’t been seen since the Batman Beyond animated series; Bruce has been doing the Batman stick for about twenty years in this universe and it’s getting pretty obvious that his body can’t keep up with his vigilante activities as it once did. This may also tie into how (allegedly) in real life Ben Affleck has cited playing Batman is very physically demanding with Affleck not being as young and physically capable as he once was when he filmed Daredevil. For those who want to but in and say Robert Downey Jr. is over fifty and still playing Iron Man with no complaints, do remember that most of Iron Man’s fight scenes are cgi with Down’s voice recorded and inserted in or his head just filmed. I am hoping that with this age and realization that he can’t continue on being Batman that the DC Universe will introduce Terry McGinnis the main protagonist of the animated series Batman Beyond.
Wonder Woman is still the badass of the bunch, saving and defending the innocent with grace, compassion, and kicking ass in all her finery. As I mentioned above they do try to merge the two attitudes of Wonder Woman from the previous two films and it is sloppy at worst which isn’t a bad thing. She too has been at being a hero for a while and while she still has a sense of heroism at the end of Wonder Woman, we still don’t know what happened between the end of that film and the start of Batman vs Superman that could have disillusioned her a little, there is even a hint of disappointment she has for herself because she acts in defense as a reaction to evil happening rather than proactive offense. We probably won’t find out since Gal Gadot and some of the writers admitted that was a bad direction to start Wonder Woman off with.
But Wondsey does show more of her compassionate side with Cyborg and is the reason he joins up with the team. She is also still the best fighter of the bunch (she is a godslayer after all), and puts up the best fight against our villains and brief Pet Cemetery minded Superman.
Aquaman is a loner, he’s kind of like a toned down Lobo, except instead of being a total jackass, he’s more interested in solitude. He listens to classic rock, helps an isolated community by bringing them fish, and doesn’t care to much to becoming king of Atlantis. He has a bit of arrogance, but it is welcomed in a team primarily composed of brooders.
Cyborg is a far stone’s throw away from his most popular portrayal from the animated Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go tv series for children. He primarily broods, not from the fact that he is no longer fully human, but out of fear that he could easily turn against mankind and be their downfall. He does liven up a little around Flash and slowly begins to be a happier person.
I’m not going to talk about Superman because that would take this review into a new strange direction, but it is so nice to see Henry Cavill shirtless for fifteen minutes. Other than that I don’t really like what is done with him in the film in terms of being ‘overpowered’.
I LOVE THE FLASH! At first I was concerned because Ezra Miller was announced as the Flash after the tv series The Flash premiered (kind of like a middlefinger to the tv series in terms of how much hope the WB has for it). Ezra Miller got the role down very well, and the Flash is our comic relief and the closest thing to a normal person in this whole fiasco. While Bruce Wayne is the only non super powered member of the group, he has seen all kinds of weird stuff, the Flash is more or less just a kid doing what he thinks is right and got pulled into a world of crazy. He doesn’t know how to fight, doesn’t have a team supporting or training him, he just pushes a bad guy out of the way and discovers that he too can do a plethora of heroics in his own way that doesn’t involve getting directly involved with the combat.
He is a nice compliment to our Flash on the CW, where he’s just making things up as he goes along and does good for the sake of being good. I will say I’m not too fond of his costume since at times it looks more armor based, but it grew on me. I may try to cosplay as him later.
Our villain is…dull. He’s big, intimidating, can take on the whole Justice League, and the first time he was defeated it took the entire combined efforts of Atlanteans, Amazons, and every man tribe on earth (and even some outside help from the Green Lantern corp). The macguffin of the Mother Boxes is confusing at worst, despite one of the benefits of the DC universe being that there are no ties between films beyond characters, some of the bigger things like the Mother Boxes will be lost on regular people who don’t read the comics that these movies are based on.
With the film itself, the pacing was significantly better, the fight scenes were great, I will admit some of the cgi usage got a little annoying to the point where it looked they were using footage from one of the more recent Batman video games with scenes involving Ben Affleck. I did like the film overall and look forward to future films in the DC universe to see what else they will bring to the table now that it looks like things are on track.
I give Justice League four cool costumes out of five.