Justice League Movie Review
It only took several tries, but DC finally did what it should have all along: it copied Marvel. Justice League, the newest and presumably last DC movie to be directed by Zack Snyder, is amazingly, surprisingly, shockingly… fun.
“Fun” is not a word that has been associated with DC’s movies in quite some time—even Wonder Woman, as good as it is, plays things pretty straight. But “fun” is exactly what Justice League is—it somehow completely (well, pretty much) sheds the darkness and anger from Batman v. Superman and, despite being a direct sequel helmed by the same director, injects some personality and color into the experience.
Justice League isn’t stellar—it isn’t nearly as cohesive as Wonder Woman, nor does it feel as planned out or intentional as most any Marvel movie—but it addresses many of the flaws fans have been raging about for years. The heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Aquaman, Flash and, yes, Superman—banter. They argue, they fight, but they also joke. They laugh. They work together. They save civilians. Aside from a serious lack of coffee in one scene, Henry Cavill finally becomes the Superman people have wanted for years—even if in almost every scene the bottom half of his head has been CGI’d to eliminate a beard he was forced to keep during reshoots.
The movie is uneven, likely due to the fact that Joss Whedon (director of The Avengers) stepped in to finish the film after his pal Zack had to exit due to personal matters (one has to think, in spite of the tragic circumstances, Warner Bros. breathed a sigh of relief). Justice League still has the good and bad that Snyder brings to his movies, but the noticeably lighter tone presumably comes from Whedon. The marriage isn’t perfect, the end product a bit schizophrenic, but given the low expectations set by Batman v. Superman (and even more so by Suicide Squad), schizophrenic is better than bad.
Justice League boasts some solid action scenes and a fast-paced if vanilla story (a generic CGI villain set on destroying the world with some power cubes forces a team of superheroes to band together). But the movie thrives on its characters. Gal Gadot turns heads once again as Wonder Woman, despite bland dialogue; Jason Momoa makes for a badass Aquaman, even if his character isn’t given a ton to do; Ben Affleck is fine as Batman; Ray Fisher is pretty forgettable as Cyborg, but if there is any character who needed his own origin story before this movie, it is him (that said, I can’t say I’m asking for a Cyborg origin movie).
The scene-stealer is Ezra Miller, however. While the Flash may not compare to Evan Peters’ take as Quicksilver in Marvel’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, Miller delivers as a neurotic dork who just happens to be able to run really fast. He plays off just about every actor/character extremely well, and Snyder/Whedon also give him some good situational comedy (watch for the little moments, like Flash falling on top of Wonder Woman and in a split second retreating, embarrassed).
Justice League has plenty of flaws, but unlike in last year’s DC movies, the flaws aren’t fatal. Fast, fun and entertaining, Justice League has enough punch to make you want to give it a second watch—which is more than can be said for its predecessor.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.