Review; Justice League

*Spoilers Below*

One of the biggest releases of this year is surely going to be one of the most polarising among audiences. Its been a rocky road since the start of the DCEU, especially with the critical backlash of Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad, it seemed that DC would never be able to match Marvel’s critical and box office dominance. However, with the release of the wonderful Wonder Woman earlier this year, it looked like DC were finally on the right path with their films as Patty Jenkins’ offering is able to stand shoulder to shoulder with some of Marvel’s best films from the MCU canon.

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Justice League takes place immediately after the death of Superman after the chaotic battle with Doomsday at the climax of Batman v. Superman and it gives us a glimpse into what the world is like without Superman. Meanwhile, Batman is on the trail of mysterious beings that can fly and shortly after discovers that a new threat is coming that could threaten the entire world. After trying and failing the first time, Steppenwolf has returned to earth thousands of years later to retrieve the three Mother Boxes in order invade the earth for his commander; Darkseid. In a race against time, Batman and Wonder Woman must recruit a team of Metahuman’s to save the world from a catastrophic event.

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Now, this film has been met with a mixed reviews, however, I happened to really enjoy this film. I admit that it does have its faults, but this is because of the producers pushing the length of the film to only just two hours. Because of this, the film at times feels like a highlights reel, with scenes that should have brought an emotional punch. A scene where this is most prominent is when the Justice League bring Superman back to life. I feel this scene was rushed too much, they bring him back to life, they fight him and then Lois Lane is brought in by Batman to bring him round and that is that. I feel this scene could have had a lot more meaning to it, especially since we all knew that Superman was going to be back at some point in the film. In all honesty, I’d rather have had an extra half hour or forty five minutes, as it was obvious that scenes had been cut. This way we’d have seen more interaction with characters, one thing that annoyed me in marketing was producers teasing that at first some characters don’t get on and then there’s next to nothing in the film, instead of telling us, show us!

The main problem with this film was its production cycle. It started with Zack Snyder having to pull out because of a family issue. This led to the studio hiring director Joss Whedon, who made the first two Avengers films. To me, this was the films biggest problem, hiring two directors that are on opposite ends of the spectrum, with Snyder’s style being one that is dark, broody and takes itself very seriously. And then you have Whedon’s style which seen in the Avengers offers a light hearted, funny approach which doesn’t take itself as seriously as Snyder. Because of this, there are two different films and its obvious who filmed what scenes throughout, something that was clearly evident when two trailers were released with both directors at the helm.

Now, the best aspect of this film was definitely the characters, particularly the Justice League itself. Ben Afleck and Gal Gadot continue to shine in their roles as Batman and Wonder Woman and have great chemistry on screen together, I sincerely hope that Afleck stays on as Batman as he’s made the role his own and is one of the best things about this film universe after Wonder Woman. My biggest concern for this film was introducing other characters without having their own film for audiences to get used to first. However, it worked in this film. The Flash was a breath of fresh air and was the comic relief for the film, Ezra Miller who plays him is excellent and was one of my favourites throughout the film. To say that there is a Flash TV series where we’ve been used to Grant Gustin’s portrayal for a few years now, its safe to say that Miller holds his own. Jason Momoa and Ray Fisher are also fun additions as Aquaman and Cyborg and they make do with what they have by also having good chemistry onscreen, with Aquaman delivering one of my favourite lines of the film shown via gif below. I look forward to his solo flick due out in December 2018.

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Another new addition to the film was the phenomenal actor, J.K Simmons, cast as Detective Jim Gordon, only makes very brief appearance in the film, does well with what he has, I am intrigued to see what he brings to the character in future films. The villain Steppenwolf is probably the worst part about this film, he is underdeveloped and there wasn’t enough time spent on him for the audience to care about him. I’ve always felt that DC has better villains than Marvel, particularly in The Dark Knight trilogy, but this time DC have the same villains issue as Marvel, a character falling flat who the audience won’t care about.

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Now, the character of Superman has always been a marmite one, with fans either loving or hating him. However, in this film, I feel that Henry Cavill finally brings some panache to the role. His portrayal in this finally lived up to the symbol of hope he bears on his chest. Instead of the broody and depressing Superman we’ve come to know over the last few years, we now have a lighthearted Superman, who actually seems to be happy with who he is. However, when he returns there may as well no longer be a Justice League, with him being so overpowered, he is able to dispatch of Steppenwolf with ease.

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Justice League isn’t perfect, but with the release of this and Wonder Woman, DC have shown that they are on the right track and are capable of making good films. This film may not be up to the standard that we are used to with Marvel films but they will get there. I want DC to succeed in making their own extended universe. This film is fun, enjoyable and actually feels like it has a soul unlike Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad. The chemistry is great in this film, the character development is ace and the action sequences may feature some questionable CGI, but they are awesome to watch none the less. DC have announced some exciting films that they have in the pipeline and hopefully they will continue to improve with each one. Its going to be fun to see what they have to offer and do their own film universe some justice.

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