This movie was not what I was expecting it to be. After being slammed for Batman vs. Superman and praised for Wonder Woman, DC movie fans didn’t know what to expect going into Justice League. Production was plagued with negative rumors, rumors that were fueled by the departure of director Zac Snyder and the the introduction of Joss Whedon for the post-production period. The result of all this uncertainty was a good but flawed movie.
Wether you loved Batman vs. Superman or hated it, the 2016 entry to the DCEU left an impression on people. It set a tone to the cinematic universe and mostly slipped in multiple easter-eggs as a way to promote what is to come in future installments. However, if I had to summarize the tone and main objective of this movie in a word, I would say “Departure”. It was a huge departure from the tone of BvS and more precisely there was no continuity in some areas. I was sitting there and wondering where are the scenes teased in the marketing campaigns. Henry Cavill, who plays Superman, posted a picture of a black Superman suit but it was nowhere to be seen. Also, most of Justice League’s posters had the slogan: “Unite the Seven” but counting Superman with the other members of the league they amount to 6 and not 7. Adding to that, the “He said you’d come” line from the trailer was cut, which leads me to believe that a 7th member (Green Lantern maybe) was scraped completely from the movie. But the biggest departure was from the last scene from BvS where the dirt on Clark’s coffin starts to levitate hinting that he’s still alive. However, a significant chunk of the movie was dedicated to a resurrection mission lead by the league.
Justice League begins with Bruce Wayne in his Batman suit trying to catch a parademon lurking in Gotham. The alien invasion Lex Luthor was talking about in BvS is finally here and the leader of the parademons, Steppenwolf, is trying to collect three objects called “Mother Boxes”, which once united could lay waste to the planet and reshape in the image of Steppenwolf’s home world. Batman is desperate to recruit metahumans to ward off the invasion and he sets his eyes on Barry Allen (The Flash) , Arthur Curry (Aquaman), Victor Stone (Cyborg) and Wonder Woman herself.
The studio brought in the best of the best from their DC canon and by god these characters were portrayed brilliantly. Ezra Miller, Jason Mamoa and Ray Fisher did an amazing job with these superheroes. Despite not having any solo movies, they made us feel that we’ve known and are accustomed to them. However, the introduction of the league left other characters lacking much deserved screen-time. J.K Simmon’s Commissioner Gordon and Amber Heard’s Mera also saw their debut in Justice League but despite their importance in the DC universe their roles here could have been omitted easily. Amy Adam’s Lois Lane was not used as much as she should have, especially since a scene in BvS teased her importance, a scene that I think is now being ignored by producers.
Superman is resurrected at some point in the film and his return is not what the league expected. A brilliant fight sequence between the league and Superman ensues adding another action sequence to the film that is well choreographed and sublimely filmed. But here lies the big problem with some of these DC movies. They focus on the action and the esthetics and forgo the plot. They are still taking small steps, which were made by Marvel 10 years ago and which audiences are tired from by now. What DC really needs now is a Winter Soldier entry to their cannon. A movie that takes everything you know about the universe and flushes it down the toilet. And what they desperately need is the introduction of a brilliant villain. Steppenwolf was a good addition but he is irrelevant in the bigger picture. He did not add anything to the universe and his actions did not affect the heroes in any way beyond the movie.
When all the fighting is done and Superman claims his place in the league, it does transpire to the audiences that these characters have tremendous chemistry with each other and that each of them brings something to the screen the others can’t. This is a team in my opinion that can be much more successful than the Avengers but a team that was introduced a bit early. If some of them were introduced in stand alone movies before Justice League, this movie could have developed its plot much better.
In the end, Justice League is a good addition but good is not enough in a market that is oversaturated with superhero movies. It should have either been postponed or made longer than 2 hours.
Score: C+ (Borderline Worth the Popcorn)