Movie Review: Justice League
The latest installment of the DCEU, Justice League, officially hit theaters last night. While Zack Snyder directed the majority of the film and received the directorial credit, Joss Whedon took the helm during reshoots. Also, the story was conceived by Snyder and Chris Terrio with the official screenwriting credit itself going to Terrio and Whedon. The film picks up after the death of Superman with Batman and Wonder Woman uniting enhanced individuals to fight against Steppenwolf and his parademons. Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, and Henry Cavill return for their heroic roles. The rest of the team of superheroes is introduced with Ezra Miller as The Flash, Jason Momoa as Aquaman, and Ray Fisher as Cyborg.
The film begins with Batman taking down a criminal in an effort to illicit fear and draw out an unknown creature. He is successful, but the killing of the creature only leaves more questions for Bruce Wayne. Meanwhile, it is established that the world has become a much darker, hopeless place since Superman’s death. Each character has their own struggles, and the film introduces each member of the team to us in a unique way. When an ancient signal is activated, though, Wonder Woman and Batman realize that they must unite this motley crew if they have any chance of stopping this new threat, Steppenwolf, and his parademons.
While Justice League may be sitting just below forty percent on Rotten Tomatoes, I will say that I actually enjoyed watching the film. There were some pretty glaring issues, which I will get into in just a moment, but I do want to say the film was highly enjoyable. The tone was significantly lighter in comparison to some of its predecessors, and with that lighter tone came some fun character moments. There were actually some great one-liners throughout the film, which was a pleasant surprise. The introduction of Barry Allen was perfect, and his character was one of the greatest highlights of the film.
So, while I enjoyed the film immensely, there are still a fair share of issues I had with the film. The most glaring issue for me was the villain, Steppenwolf. Not only was the CG work for him fairly terrible, but I found his character to be lacking overall. He was supposed to be this huge, overpowering villain, and while he has some menacing scenes in the beginning, his overall threat level seemed to dissipate as the film continued. With that being said, I think some of his scenes suffered because so many scenes were cut. I could have benefitted from another 20-30 minutes of screen time to fill in some of these moments that felt choppy and rushed, and there were a fair share of those moments. With that said, I’m sure I’ll enjoy the extended cut of this film more than the theatrical version.
Outside of that, the other complaints seem relatively small in comparison. I could definitely tell where they reshot scenes with Henry Cavill because the CGI removal of that huge mustache made all of his facial movements awkward. I also still didn’t care for the CG work on Cyborg, although his character development was great. As always, I think that they choose some weird moments for slow motion shots, but that is usually an issue I have with Zack Snyder’s DC films. I was also wanting a little more from Aquaman in this film, but I also understand they are saving a lot of his moments for his standalone film next year, which I’ll be looking forward to quite a bit.
However, the real star of this film is the chemistry of the team. Gal Gadot continues to shine as Wonder Woman and be the one who brings out the best in her teammates. Ben Affleck’s performance as Batman is one of my favorites, and I enjoy the different perspective he has in regards to what he does and why. Ezra Miller as Barry Allen was undoubtedly one of the best parts of this movie, and he perfectly captures this young, innocent attitude that reminds me of Peter Parker and Quicksilver. Fisher brought a lot of gravity to Cyborg’s story, and for the first time, I can say I would actually be interested in his standalone film. Momoa’s performance as Aquaman was solid, although he wasn’t as prominently featured as I was expecting, and while a little different, I still enjoyed Cavill’s performance as Superman.
At the end of the day, Justice League has its fair share of problems; however, this film is still enjoyable. The chemistry between all of the team members is what makes the film, and even with the plot holes, you can appreciate their struggle to come together as one force. They also continually float the idea that none of them can be successful on their own, which I thought was a nice theme for the film. Also, the two end credit scenes are fantastic and cannot be missed. If you are a comic book fan, then this is a must-see in the theater. However, even if you’re not, I think you can still enjoy the theater experience and laugh along at the fun parts with the rest of the audience. So, I suggest you make Justice League your moviegoing experience at some point this weekend.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.