Justice League, assemble! The culmination of a couple of years worth of half brained DC movies is here, with the superhero team up movie, Justice League. Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg Vs. Steppenwolf. Oh. This is DC. So it’s Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg “V” Steppenwolf: Justice League.
Let me get two things out of the way, and as always, I’ll warn you before I get into spoilers. First of all, can we please just stop including Lois Lane in these movies? This isn’t a slight against Amy Adams. My problem is with her as a character. Like, can’t we just refer to her in passing, the way Iron Man and Thor did to their girlfriends in Age of Ultron? She’s such a useless character. Her trait is simply “Superman is in love with her”. She’s supposed to be an award winning journalist, but after Superman died in Batman V Superman, she’s just been doing fluff pieces. Like… her newspaper is fine with that? I get that she’s in mourning, but still. Newspapers are cutthroat. She adds nothing to this story.
Second, at what point in a live action movie, is there enough CGI for it to count as an animated movie? I swear, this movie is like 90% CGI. Remember that chapter from The Animatrix, the Last Flight of the Osiris, that was done purely in CGI? It was considered “animated” not “live action”. Justice League walks that thin line. So. Much. CGI.
Ok. Let’s start with the good things. Ben Affleck’s Batman, as always, is great. Also, he doesn’t kill anyone this time, so yay. He’s not as burned out as he was in Batman V. Superman. Alfred isn’t really in the movie much, but there’s enough dialogue between the two to make it entertaining. Plus Batman has all the cool gadgets.
Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is also a joy to watch. But the first scene with her, has her running faster than bullets. Umm… if she can do that, why do we need the Flash? That’s a super power you never see her use in Wonder Woman, and you never see her use in the rest of the movie. It was just sort of forced in to the scene and doesn’t make sense.
The Flash. I love the Flash. I always thought he was a dumb character. “Oooo. You can run really fast. *eyes roll*” But the TV show gave me a lot more appreciation for the character. The Flash in this movie, played by Ezra Miller, was clearly the comedic relief, and was my favorite part of the movie. He’s young. He’s not been a superhero for a long time, so he’s not battle tested, and it adds depth to his story. Just like Wonder Woman’s facial expressions in Wonder Woman conveyed emotion, the Flash’s facial expressions in this movie conveyed a childlike joy in being involved. It was like Spiderman in Civil War.
Aquaman, played by every woman I’ve ever met’s wet dream, Jason Momoa. Look. I get it, he’s sexy. He seems like a really cool guy in real life. I’m only talking about Aquaman, the character. Waste of fucking space in the movie. Towards the end, he’s a good fighter, but the rest of the movie is just him trying his hardest to be Deadpool. Lots of lame one liners and sarcasm. His dialogue includes such witty lines as “woooo” and “mah man” and “I dig it”.
Cyborg. I don’t know much about Cyborg, played by Ray Fisher. His powers aren’t very clearly defined except that he died, but came back to life and now is part machine, and the machine part does… things… And apparently, the machine part is self aware, and does things without the human part’s permission. In the frame of this movie, he might as well be a god. He seems to be linked to the internet, which basically gives him access to all of human knowledge. He can fly. He can shoot lasers. He can interface with tech, like the Borg. He is significantly more powerful than most of the other heroes. But he’s not a big name, so he’s vastly underutilized.
That’s the main problem with this movie. There is a huge misbalance between the super powers. Compared to the criminals of Gotham, Batman is a formidable foe. Compared to Wonder Woman, Batman is a really rich cosplayer. Compared to Cyborg, Wonder Woman has pretty bracelets. So towards the end of the movie, you’ve got a very powerful character trying to… I don’t know… stare intensely, while the less powerful characters have to distract the big bad villain. It doesn’t make sense.
Speaking of the villain, Steppenwolf, voiced by Mance Rader himself, Ciaran Hinds. As with pretty much every evil person in a superhero movie, he is pure CGI. The voice doesn’t sync up to the mouth, and the volume makes the voice seem like it’s narration, rather than a character speaking. He is looking for the thinggies that will do the bad stuff, and keeps talking to “mother”, which is creepy as fuck. He’s got an army of faceless flying zombie monsters. They’re not actually zombies, but they might as well be.
The movie is literally every trope you can imagine. There are these things, and the things have power, and the power will destroy the world. The bad guy wants the things so he can have power. The heroes have to stop him from getting the things. At first, wait for it. At first, the heroes don’t like each other. Shocker, right? Here’s another thing that bothers me about the movie. Neither Cyborg nor Aquaman want to help out at first. Then, when the bad guy attacks people close to them, THEN they want to help. That doesn’t seem very heroic to me. They’re being selfish. “Fuck the world. Oh. They attacked my people? Now it’s on.”
Major spoiler: Superman lives. At first he is evil superman, and is fighting the heroes. Which would have been really cool… in Batman V Superman, but now it was just unnecessary drama. “Oh no. How will they convince him to join them?” Well obviously, you show him the girl he likes. It was such bad plot. The only good part about that scene was when the Flash was trying to race to Superman, and then notices that Superman is moving at Flash speeds. The look of surprise on Barry’s face was hilarious. In that scene, Superman has Batman by the throat, and I wanted so badly. So very very badly, for Batman to say “Marthaaaaa!” I mean, let’s be honest. This is a silly movie. So why the fuck not?
There wasn’t too much of the Zack Snyder brand sllllloooooooooooowthenreallyreallyfast movement. When there was, it was when Flash was moving, so it made sense. Since it’s a comic book movie, there are lots of easter eggs. A green lantern makes a quick appearance.
Oh. And what was with those hippy plants at the end? Was that explained? Like, I thought the magic “totally not at all the tesseract” boxes were supposed to change/destroy the world, and turn it into a hellscape that looked like Steppenwolf’s planet. Then all of a sudden, you’ve got these brightly colored plants everywhere.
There’s one thing that I found to be infuriatingly frustrating. Every once in a while, you’d start to hear the Batman theme from 1989’s Tim Burton Batman movie. It is possibly THE Batman theme. But in this movie, you’d hear the beginning… it sounds like it’s building up to the best part… and then the music goes somewhere else. Every time, it got me. I would get excited. Here it comes… nope.
There is no logic in this movie. None. At one point, Batman says that the parademons are everywhere, but then Jim Gordon has no idea what they are, when he has a bunch of reports of people being attacked by winged monsters. Superman comes back to life in the middle of a city, in the middle of the day, wrecks some shit in front of cops, and Lois Lane was like “can I have the exclusive?” Barry Allen has approximately 435236345234 computers in his lab, and doesn’t know who billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne is? Bruce Wayne saw a video of Aquaman in Lex Luthor’s files, but doesn’t recognize him when he’s standing 5 feet away and doing the translating thing?
Overall, this was a typical, no thinking, just enjoy the spectacle, movie. Most of the fight scenes were full of quick cuts, and had so much movement on screen that you couldn’t really focus on anything. But it didn’t matter, because it was just “good guys punching bad guys”. You weren’t missing anything.
There was a ton of room for improvement. There were scenes that could have been extended, and scenes that could have been cut out entirely. The team wasn’t really a team yet. They were joined against a common enemy, but didn’t exactly work together. They didn’t anticipate each other’s moves or anything. The villain was all the stereotypes. It was like DC just took a bunch of action figures and mashed them together. There was no originality. It was exactly what you’d expect to see if a fan of comic book movies made a comic book movie in their basement.
I’ll give this 2 out of 5 stars. It wasn’t “bad”, as much as it wasn’t special. Just very average.