GAGE SKIDMORE/CC BY-SA 2.0 Justice League features an ensemble cast that includes actors like Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot.
Almost everyone our age grew up with Saturday morning cartoons. You remember, don’t you? You’d wake up (relatively) early, get your bowl of cereal and sit down to watch an episode of Batman or Superman on Kids’ WB. It was the thing you’d look forward to after a long week of school.
Even if you never read comics, you knew Superman, Batman, The Flash; these were things that were never unknowns for anyone. So when Marvel first released the Avengers way back in 2012, it felt inevitable that we’d get a live action version of Justice League.
Except it didn’t happen as quickly as we thought. Warner Bros. (WB), which owns the rights to DC characters, was able to get Christopher Nolan to finish his Dark Knight Trilogy in the same year, and you were left wondering if we’d see Superman somewhere.
We didn’t, obviously, but the conclusion of this trilogy allowed Warner Bros. to open up the doors to the comic lore that they had.
We got Zack Snyder to deliver us Man of Steel, a modern version of the Superman that not everyone loved. Man of Steel isn’t a perfect film, but it’s far from terrible.
It’s not Christopher Reeve’s Superman, but was Christian Bale’s Batman anything like Michael Keaton’s?
Man of Steel was neither a financial hit, nor was it praised by critics. However, with Marvel basically monopolizing the superhero film industry, WB had no other choice but to try to keep pace. What better way to get some more seats in the theater than to include Batman and Superman in the same film for the first time?
With Snyder at the helm once again, we got Ben Affleck as Batman, and the end product left a lot to be desired. The theatrical cut of the poorly titled Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was an incoherent film in which Snyder’s vision was in full effect. It certainly didn’t match with anything you’d expect a film featuring Batman and Superman to be.
That being said, the extended cut — which adds 30 minutes to a two-and-a-half-hour film — makes it easier to follow the story, but doesn’t change the characters.
With Justice League, expectations were low. Both the previous two films had already done poorly, critically and financially.
Suicide Squad was one of the worst things to have ever been distributed, and although Wonder Woman was a step in the right direction, could you really trust a studio that had hit on one out of five of the films it was trying to use to create a universe?
Well, I’m here to tell you that we can! Justice League is another step in the right direction for a studio that couldn’t afford to take a step back. It’s hard to say how much can be attributed to Joss Whedon’s inclusion of reshoots, but this is still very much Snyder’s film or, at the very least, a more edited version of his vision that originated with Man of Steel.
Although these two directors have very different styles, the inclusion was unfortunately necessary due to Snyder’s having to step down from the film to mourn his daughter’s death.
Whedon adds more humor than we are used to seeing in Marvel movies. It’s a necessary evil, but the humor works. The characters that we get in the film all bounce off each other, and, because of the chemistry amongst the cast, the humor never feels forced.
Every single one of our heroes gets to shine. Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck, as the leaders of the League, work particularly well together due to their contrasting views and natural chemistry.
Jason Momoa and Ray Fisher as Arthur Curry and Victor Stone, respectively, are nice surprises, but the standout is Ezra Miller as The Flash. His youth and naïveté allow him to be somewhat of an avatar for your inner twelve-year-old. Also Henry Cavill is finally the Superman that you’d expect Superman to be, even with the limited screen time.
However, this film is not without its faults. The first act of the film feels a little rushed, since we are introduced to each of our heroes at different points in their life.
Our villain, Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), is the most one-dimensional foe you could possibly imagine. His motivations don’t extend further than the urge to take over the Earth to appease Darkseid (if you watched cartoons you know who this is).
Furthermore the CGI at times is a little lackluster, which could be because of the reshoots — we don’t know what scenes were reshot, but the shittier CGI may give us a general idea — and at times it takes you out of the film.
As with most superhero films, the score isn’t particularly memorable, and, unlike Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, there’s no deeper social commentary to be found.
Overall, Justice League is a joy to watch. Filled with moments of fan service and characters that we actually love, it’s a step forward for the DC cinematic universe.
The possibly cringe-worthy blend of styles between the two directors is fortunately avoided, opening the door for future installments.
This is better than Batman v Superman and miles better than Suicide Squad, so go watch it. You’ll have fun, and, for the love of God, please stay until the credits. You won’t want to miss that.