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Justice League (2017) - Movie Review

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Justice League - Movie Review

3 starsAs a lifelong reader of DC Comics, this newest entry into the DCEU should be a momentous occasion: the first film ever to depict all their marque characters together on the big screen. Having left the movie a couple of hours ago, if I had to sum up Justice League in one word, it would be: reactionary.

Allow me to elaborate.

Justice League opens at a cracking pace with Batman using a thug as bait to ensnare a creature that indicates a big problem is about to befall the world. Wracked with guilt over the death of Superman, the Bat moves in earnest to unite a small group of ‘meta-humans’ to fight back the oncoming invasion and destruction of their world. Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg eventually unite to face off against a demi-god by the name of Steppenwolf, but even their unique abilities aren’t enough to stop this dictatorial douche with horns. Their solution to this problem requires thinking outside the box… or the coffin, if you will?

This movie flies along at a breakneck pace, flitting with extreme brevity through multiple character’s arcs, establishing back stories of the new heroes and the villain, and unseen parts of the DCEU that will inevitably come in future movies. And for the most part, does it well. There is a vast amount of information for the audience to digest and most of it is accomplished in entertaining and digestible ways. Having said that, because of the sheer amount of characters this film has to service, some of their potentially moving moments are over before one has time to enjoy them. The overall story is so simple and predictable because it had to be to service all the character centric moments. It’s ironic, seeing some have complained previous outings were bloated and too long, that in this reviewer’s opinion Justice League needed another 30 minutes to truly resonate.

All the performers are well cast, and really do make their mark quickly, enjoyably and effortlessly. There is a really successful banter between the main players that makes them a delight to follow. That, above anything else, is Justice League’s greatest success.

Not so successful elements, at least for this reviewer, are the villain—a hackneyed well-trodden archetype that doesn’t instil any real sense of threat or revulsion. The visual effects, which in some scenes are breathtakingly bad: Cavill’s CGIed moustache in the opening shot of the film is laughable. Some of the battle scenes look like a ten year-old computer game, and some compositing and lighting is brutally inconsistent and sticks out like dog’s balls. And sadly the score by the legendary Danny Elfman is crap. It’s just uninteresting and the few moments where he shoehorns in his old Batman theme and some of John Williams’ Superman theme is an insult to both fine works from the past and don’t belong in the DCEU.

There is conscious effort throughout to lighten the DCEU up, both in the score, the colour palette, the writing, and the performances. And although some of those efforts aren’t as successful as one might hope, on the whole it works. These are character on mass that make it a rollicking good ride for a couple of hours. There are also multiple set ups through the film that promise more in the coming years, without sacrificing a conclusion which it most definitely has.

So this is a reactionary film because Warners are obviously reacting to the criticisms from previous entries. They have lightened the already established characters up. They have shortened the running time. They have taken away the dour and gone balls out for thrills. There are some profound flaws throughout, but one may suggest the bones of this film were already in place (before the reactions of the world were known). This reviewer can’t say for a fact, but thinks extensive rewriting and reshoots were done, colour timing and many of the core elements were amended. There is enough in Justice League to give us hope. If Warners can cement a direction, and not have to rethink their approach on the fly from now on, the ingredients for a truly great set of films is there. But this one has to be filed under good, not great.

Justice League - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action.
Runtime:
120 mins
Director
: Zack Snyder
Writer:
Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon
Cast:
Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa
Genre
: Action | Adventure
Tagline:
Justice for all.
Memorable Movie Quote: "Arthur Curry. I hear you can talk to fish."
Theatrical Distributor:
Warner Bros.
Official Site: http://www.justiceleaguethemovie.com/
Release Date:
November 17, 2017
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available.
Synopsis: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

No details available.

Justice League - Movie Review

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