Movie Review: Justice League (Spoilers!)

Finally, after years of waiting, and after everything that went on behind the scenes in the making of this film, “Justice League” has finally been released. There was definitely a lot riding on this film, as this was the first time that viewers would finally see the League assembled and working together as a team; and because of how the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) films have been received so far. Of course, this all changed with “Wonder Woman”, and it seems like “Justice League” is another step in the right direction for this cinematic universe.

This movie has definitely gone through the ringer, with director Zack Snyder dropping out in May of this year due to family matters, and with Joss Whedon being brought in to write scenes for reshoots. In the end, Snyder received the director’s credit, while Whedon was credited as one the screenplay writers. However, during the film itself, I thought that that transition was pretty seamless. Despite this, fans of Snyder and Whedon can definitely pick out what each director did. Stylistically, the film was very Snyder-esque, and some moments and dialogue were definitely very him. The character interactions, banter and the humor, though, is very Whedonesque. Despite this, it still felt as if one director did direct this film.

Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, and Connie Nielsen reprised their roles as Batman/Bruce Wayne, Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, Clark Kent/Superman, Lois Lane, Alfred Pennyworth, Martha Kent, and Queen Hippolyta respectively. There was a whole slew of new additions to the cast such as Ezra Miller’s The Flash/Barry Allen, Jason Momoa’s Arthur Curry/Aquaman, Ray Fisher’s Victor Stone/Cyborg, Amber Heard’s Mera, J.K. Simmons’ Commissioner James Gordon, Billy Crudup’s Dr. Henry Allen, Ciaran Hinds’  Steppenwolf, and Joe Morton’s  Silas Stone.

Gadot and Affleck were consistently great in their roles, and I did like the character arcs that they went through, as well as their banter with each other throughout the movie. Cavill was alright as Superman, although I did have some issues with how they dealt with some of the Superman plot points in the movie. However, I did like the fact, sans the weird CGI stuff on that mustache of his, that his portrayal of Superman was closer to what I expect out of the character.

I only knew very little about Cyborg, but I thought that what they did with the character was interesting. However, according to my younger brother, who is a fan of the 2003 “Teen Titans” cartoon, he felt that this wasn’t the Cyborg that he wanted to see as he knew Cyborg to be lighter and more comedic. However, with what they did with him and how connected he was to everything going on, I can see why they took his character in a different direction. I did like Fisher’s performance though.

Miller was great as the Flash. Here, it seems like he’s definitely a younger and more awkward version of Barry. Most of the comedic elements fell on his shoulders, and he did pull it off most of the time. I had heard that Miller was a stand out in this film, and I agree. I also like the fact that he does bring something different to the Flash as compared to Grant Gustin, who I do love as Barry Allen on the TV show. Sure, there are some elements in his story that are the same because it’s integral to his overall character, but I didn’t mind it at all. I am actually quite excited to watch his stand alone film when it comes out.

I really didn’t expect to be super intrigued by Momoa’s Aquaman, especially as I don’t know much about him. However,  what Momoa brought to the table and that quick glimpse of Mera and Atlantis, was enough to pique my interest in him and his upcoming stand alone film.

I also thought that the chemistry between all the main characters were good, and that they somehow all balanced each other out.

The villain, Steppenwolf, is pretty much a generic CGI villain, with not much character motivation. But,  honestly, I really didn’t mind it as what I was there for was to see the League itself in action.

There were definitely some action sequences and moments that I really loved, and some things that I wasn’t so fond of in this film. However, I can definitely say that this movie was enjoyable, that it did feel like a DC film even though it was much lighter than its usual fare, and that it’s probably my second most favorite movie in the DCEU to date, with my favorite being “Wonder Woman”. Also, this is definitely a step in the right direction for the DCEU, and it wonderfully sets up what’s about to come in the sequel, and in the upcoming stand-alone movies.

Now, you know the drill, from here on out, there will be spoilers!

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As I mentioned  earlier, this film was definitely much lighter in tone, and I loved the character interactions and banter that they had with each other. Aside from that, I did like the character arcs for Batman and Wonder Woman,

I really liked the fact that Batman was sort of acting as the de facto leader, and how he confronted Wonder Woman about why she spent a century in the shadows while going below the belt by mentioning Steve Trevor’s (Chris Pine) name, causing her to push him forcefully away. I also liked that scene afterwards in which they talked about it and reconciled. I like how these two characters do have mutual respect for each other, to the point that Diana also knows what he was trying to achieve by saying those things to her.

Batman, on the other hand, was trying to fix the mistakes he made during “Batman v Superman”, which becomes the driving force for him wanting to revive Superman. It was also interesting how he recognized the fact that Superman, although he is an alien, is actually more human than him at times. I also like the fact that he’s thinking several steps ahead from everyone, because that’s what he does. It was also nice to see him opening up to Wonder Woman, and accepting the fact that he will not be working alone when it comes to big threats like this, in the scene when he presents a venue for the future Hall of Justice to Diana in Wayne Manor.

Barry’s character arc wasn’t really as blatant as the others, but I also like the fact that he was inspired enough by these heroes and by what he did to help save the world that he ended up moving forward in his life by getting a job at Central City Police Department, which nicely sets things up for his stand alone film.

Aquaman’s also wasn’t as prominent, but his story arc was more along the lines of deciding to help out instead of not caring about things at all.

Cyborg’s was the more emotional one, as he had to deal with coming to grips with his “new normal”, and him discovering that he can use the motherbox technology in him for good.

Now, as much as I liked the fact that Superman here was how I expect Superman to be, I wasn’t really so fond of how they revived him, and how he only came to his senses because of Lois. I did think that they would use some comic book story arc for his return, and drawing out the whole “evil Superman” thing for a bit longer. However, I did love his fight sequence with the rest of the League members, and how he came and helped pummel Steppenwolf.

As mentioned earlier, Steppenwolf was your run of the mill CGI villain, whose backstory I really didn’t care for, and I didn’t like how he was calling out “mother” all the time. However, I did love that Lord of the Rings like epic battle sequence in the flashbacks, and I think Zeus was in it as well; and believe it or not, despite the fact that I don’t know much about the Green Lantern Corps, I kind of got excited when I saw them in the battlefield.

Oh, and that last post-credits scene? It was awesome.

Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor looks great, and I got weirdly excited for Joe Magnaniello’s Deathstroke, and the fact that it looks like they are forming a version of the Injustice League of some kind. I’m a big fan of Deathstroke in “Arrow”, so I can’t wait to see what Magnaniello will bring to the role. I kind of got really excited, though, when I saw Deathstroke appear.

Elfman’s music was great, and probably, aside from Steppenwolf the CGI villain, the only criticism I have with the CGI is the same as everyone else’s- that Cavill’s upper lip looked pretty weird in the film.

All in all, this is the second best film to date in the DCEU, and it does properly set up and tease the stories for the stand alone films of the members of the Justice League, while setting up things for a sequel. Given the history that this film has gone through and the fact that DCEU has been having a hard time to get a hold of its footing, I can say that “Justice League” is definitely a winner in their books.

Up next, I’ll be returning with my reviews of “My Little Pony”, and will be mixing it up with reviews of the upcoming films “Coco” and “Murder on the Orient Express”.

So, how did you like “Justice League”? What did you like and what didn’t you like in the film? What did you think of the team itself, the Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman? Let me know what you think in the comments below!

 

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