Justice League review - Doing justice to the Earth's mightiest superheroes

Justice League : Doing justice to the Earth’s mightiest superheroes

There was much hype and expectation leading up to the release of the Justice League movie. And understandably so. When you are creating a congregation of the Earth’s mightiest superheroes in one place, expectations are obviously going to be high. It’s a project of epic proportions, and nothing less than an epic spectacle would suffice.

The movie had a difficult production, and that is well documented. With Zack Snyder having to leave production midway, and being eventually replaced by Joss Whedon, there were fears that the movie would end up feeling like two different movies somehow crammed into one. The movie runtime was also cut down to 120 minutes on Warner Bros’ mandate, making it the shortest movie in DCEU history. Such a short runtime for a movie of this scale, and so many character arcs left many people suspicious, and with good reason.

So does the final product deliver? Well, the short answer is yes.

Justice League is an intriguing, intense, thoroughly enjoyable action-packed ride. It lives up to its expectations, and then some. The various characters gel together very well, and the interactions and dynamics between them are very compelling. Most of the characters themselves are depicted brilliantly. The action sequences are grand and exciting, with some of them clearly standing out from the others. The CGI left a bit to be desired at various points, though. The storyline was very solid, albeit nothing special.

The movie is perfectly coherent, and there is no apparent problems stemming from the change of directors midway through production. With the two-hour runtime, it is fast paced, and there is not a dull moment, or an unnecessary scene. The character origins are pieced together very well. However, there are moments where you feel that they couldn’t quite capture the entire feel or emotions that they originally intended to, because of the need to speed it up. Superman’s time spent back home with Lois is definitely one such instance.

The movie takes off from the death of Superman, and that topic is handled rather admirably. That, along with the impending threat of an alien invasion, leads to Batman scouting the Justice League, which is the origins story everyone has been waiting for. This origins arc is undeniably intriguing and brilliant. It utilizes parallel storytelling to a large degree (and no, not exactly Nolan-style). This also allows the movie to introduce the villain, Steppenwolf very early on in the movie. The fight between the Amazons and Steppenwolf is one of the major highlights of the movie.

The superheroes themselves were probably the biggest draw of the Justice League. So let’s look at the depiction of each of the heroes individually:

Batman

Batman was undoubtedly the star for the first two-thirds of the movie. This was arguably the most accurate depiction of Batman ever seen on the big screen.

There were moments in Batman v Superman where you just thought, “Hey, this just isn’t Batman.” Not in Justice League! All aspects of Batman’s character were on exhibit here.  The very first introduction to Batman in the movie is of him striking fear into the heart of the criminals of Gotham. His moral compass is more true to character. The world’s greatest detective’s detective skills are on full display. And his role as a tactical genius is very much brought to light.

All the aforementioned values have made Batman probably the most popular comic book superhero of all time. And when depicted so accurately on the big screen, it’s easy to see why. Ben Affleck shall not be questioned anymore.

Superman

If the first two thirds of the movie belonged to Batman, the last third was no doubt owned by Superman. Henry Cavill has always looked at home playing Superman. And since returning back to life, it was a Superman show.

Wonder Woman

Gal Gadot has become quite a popular Wonder Woman. This was another solid Wonder Woman performance. She definitely had her moments in the movie, and like Batman and Superman, the depiction was quite true to her comic book identity. The movie further solidified Wonder Woman’s status as DC’s flagship female superhero.

The Flash

For fans of The Flash, this was a complete abomination.

Where do I even start? I think I’ll start with the suit. It looked like some kind of metallic monstrosity. Bruce Wayne’s interaction with Barry Allen early on makes it clear that it’s not, but that’s how it looks to the eye. It definitely does not look like a speedster’s aerodynamic suit. Moreover the Scarlet Speedster’s costume is more a crimson red. The suit looks like it would have been more suited to Iron Man than the Flash. And even the Flash logo is not very prominent. So how should the Flash’s outfit actually look? Take a cue from The Flash TV series. They got it spot on.

Another problem is the movie’s actual characterization. That is not The Flash. That is not Barry Allen. The Flash has been reduced to the punching bag of the group every time the scriptwriters felt the need for a bit of comic relief. One of the most valiant and beloved characters of the DC Universe has been portrayed as a guy with a phobia of everything from bugs to drowning, who can just “push people and run away.”

Looks like the directors just needed some comic relief every now and then (thanks a lot, Marvel), and the Flash just drew the short end of the stick. If this was Wally West instead of Barry Allen, it would have still been somewhat acceptable, and closer to character. But portraying any Flash like this just doesn’t sit right.

We definitely can’t blame Ezra Miller for his portrayal of The Flash. He clearly did what the script demanded of him. And frankly, he did live up to his role as the comic relief of the movie.

Aquaman

Aquaman was just brilliant. Jason Momoa as Aquaman looked the part and played the part.

Aquaman had a personality about him. His interactions with the group were very interesting and was a very welcome dynamic in the movie. Here, Aquaman wasn’t yet depicted as the King of Atlantis. So I guess we can expect that storyline to develop in the upcoming Aquaman movie.

Cyborg

Of the six team members, Cyborg was the only one who wasn’t an established hero when the movie began. The movie delved into his process of self-discovery, and it was an intriguing watch. Like most of the others, the character stayed very true to his comic book persona. Ray Fisher just looked like he was born to play Cyborg – it was an uncanny match.

 

All the heroes seemed to share good onscreen chemistry. The story of a group of individual superheroes being required to work together for a bigger cause was played out perfectly. And when it was all over, it just seemed right that they should come together to form an alliance that would last. This movie has managed to create a very solid base for future Justice League movies to build upon.

The first half of the movie, which dealt more with the formation of the Justice League, was undoubtedly the stronger part of the movie. The second part dealt more with overcoming the villain, Steppenwolf, and saving the planet.

Steppenwolf definitely wasn’t the greatest villain DC could’ve come up with. His introduction was great, but in the end, he rather played out like your everyday planet-destroyer, the likes of which we keep seeing from Marvel movie after movie after movie. How easily Superman joining the fight tipped the scales in favor of the league definitely does not score him too many points. At the end of it all, it kind of felt like he was more of a precursor to Darkseid than the real deal himself.

Overall, the movie was definitely a great watch. It’s not easy living up to all the hype and expectations that naturally comes along with a project of the scale of Justice League. In the end, Justice League overcame a difficult and tumultuous production to deliver a movie that not only lives up to its high expectations as a movie, but also does justice to most of its high profile characters as well.

Overall Score : 8.2/10

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