a JUSTICE LEAGUE musing
Considering the long, crazy road to a JUSTICE LEAGUE movie was, it’s a minor miracle this even exists. Tracing the lineage of versions and the problems that have plagued the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), of which JL finds itself a part of, can be an overwhelming task. Through all the behind the scenes trouble and overall negativity towards the DCEU, JUSTICE LEAGUE manages to find great moments undercut by a pedestrian story, but paves the way to a brighter future.
Coming off the success of the incredible WONDER WOMAN (WW), JL has to re-establish characters originally introduced to us in WW and BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE (BvS). It’s an extremely rocky start, with exposition-filled scenes not exactly pleasing to sit through. It’s a necessary evil when introducing three new characters.
Of the three, Cyborg (Ray Fisher) has the best arc and character, as Fisher underplays a lot of his scenes and gets more emotion out of them. A badass Aquaman (Jason Momoa) has the most clunkiest introduction, underwater effects not withstanding. Ezra Miller gets to play the ‘dialed to 11’ Flash, whose scene with his father couldn’t be more cringeworthy (although it is sort of redeemed later), and his banter can get tiresome, but really hits at some points. This is really where the movie could have benefited from a bit more breathing room (i.e. longer running time) and standalone origin movies from these three.
Ben Affleck seems to enjoy playing this darker Bruce Wayne/Batman, while Gal Gadot continues to shine as Wonder Woman. The movie uses her character to great effect, knowing the audience already loves her, and develops her more. Bringing the five of them together is hard to sit through because of clunky dialogue and weird/choppy edits. But once they do unite, it’s comic book movie royalty.
Similar to THE AVENGERS, Marvel’s team-up movie, there’s a world-conquering plot assisted by portal demons driving the story. But in JL, we don’t get an interesting villain, nor any real investment in the antagonist’s “plan”. At least JL gets its characters together, albeit in a very rushed, burdensome manner. Even though there's not much really at stake (since the villain doesn't really do much), they succeed at providing exciting battle scenes, especially the Themyscira battle.
JUSTICE LEAGUE is a jumbled mess (look for a really odd cough to motivate an extra’s movement in an early scene…), but really finds its stride when focusing on its members. It’s a big disappointment coming on the heels of WW, but a step above BvS and leaps and bounds better than SUICIDE SQUAD. It’s great to see the DCEU headed in a better direction now.
RATING: DIDN’T WASTE MY TIME
(Refer to my rating system HERE!)