Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill
After a great Man of Steel, a good but flawed Batman vs Superman, a dreadful Suicide Squad and a step in the right direction from Wonder Woman, it all came together finally with what we were waiting for… the Justice League.
To be honest, my expectation for Justice League wasn’t extremely high. From the past few films, it’s been proven that DC struggle with having multiple characters in one sitting, something Marvel has no problem with and does very well. DC has also shown that their villains are quite minor (I’m only taking into consideration the films leading up to Justice League and not Christopher Nolan’s Batman saga etc). Having said this, I went into watching Justice League with a lot of hope, hoping the film would deliver as Wonder Woman had potentially set the bar. I also wanted Justice League to be great because I want them to give Marvel a run for their money. If you’re reading this and you’re new to my blog, I’d like to inform you that I’m a massive Marvel fan, but I like competition. I love superheroes in general and I want all superhero films to be great!
Carrying on from the death of Superman in Batman vs Superman, alien forces are on the move to attack a now vulnerable earth. Steppenwolf (the main villain) has come down to retrieve three ‘Mother Boxes’ which are hidden on earth. Knowing this Intel, Batman assembles a heroic team to come together and save planet earth. Unfortunately, this kind of story is old news, it was just too close to what the Avengers have already done and it can’t be helped but to compare the two. You could also feel the Joss Whedon tone to it (as he had to take over from Snyder after a family tragedy). It was much lighter than the other instalments, but then again, we were dealing with alien forces and massive bug like figures. Again, I just didn’t find the villain interesting, he was just really powerful (and no spoilers but how he gets defeated was one of those moments where you think, “couldn’t they had done this earlier on?”). He had a purpose, a valid reason for being present, but I didn’t find him intriguing enough to care about him.
Let’s put aside Ben Affleck as a person for a moment as I know there are a lot of people who aren’t very fond of him. Affleck makes a great Batman. Present Batman is supposed to be older, worn out, beat up and tired and Affleck plays this type of Bruce Wayne/Batman very well. I think it was made obvious that he’s not actually supposed to be the moody Christian Bale portrayal of Batman when Alfred mentions “Those were the days… where one’s biggest concerns were exploding wind up penguins.” In fact this is more in the direction of Tim Burton’s Batman. In any case, Affleck makes a great Batman and he has a great onscreen relationship with the Flash.
The Flash bounces off everyone so well, he’s funny, he shows his youth, he was just a joy to watch and really brought it all together. It does bring the question of, if he wasn’t in the film, would it have been as entertaining as it was?
Cyborg was another joy to watch. I wasn’t too keen on the CGI work they had done by the time the trailer had been released, but he looked much better during the film. He was a great character and it felt like there was a massive nod to Terminator 2: Judgement Day as his father was played by Joe Morton (who also played Miles Dyson in Judgement Day). Cyborg really gelled with the crew once he joined.
My disappointment now lies with the other 3 characters, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Superman. Aquaman wasn’t that great, I had high hopes for Jason Momoa playing this character but he was just ok. He had a couple of good one liners and a very funny scene with Wonder Woman but other than that, he was just a side character for me. I think this may lie with the fact that he became a “Jared Leto Joker”, meaning he had a lot of scenes cut out. This definitely impacted the film and his character.
We’ve seen how strong Wonder Woman as a female lead can be in Batman vs Superman, and we’ve seen her soft spot and vulnerability in her stand-alone origin film. In Justice League, it felt like she had taken a step back to her origin film. She wasn’t written very well for this picture, she wasn’t the hard hitting, strong dominant female. She was just quite moody and pined too much for her first love. What happened!? She needs to move forward, not backwards.
Superman is my favourite DC superhero and I am totally pleased with Henry Cavill as Superman. He is another character that wasn’t written that great in Justice League. His fight scenes were great but after his initial comeback, he just came off a bit too cocky and smug, not like the Superman we’re used to. His scenes with Lois Lane (who I’m still not happy with as Amy Adams, even though I love her to bits) came across a bit too mushy. Also it has to be mentioned… the CGI on Cavill’s lip looked dreadful. You can see it from the very first scene Superman is present.
Overall, I think the film was too short being an assembly film with only 2 hours to do so. It felt rushed and not a lot actually happened. Half of the Justice League was written quite well and the other half not so much. It was entertaining as always to see all these characters on screen together and there was a lot of humour, but there are flaws that can’t be unseen and the story wasn’t meaty enough to hold up.
Want to read more? See what I had to say about Henry Cavill’s first performance in Man of Steel!