It is finally here, the culmination of what we assume to be the first phase of the DC Extended Universe, if they have phases? The major superheroes of the franchise are finally teaming up in Justice League!
Was it worth the wait and the hype? Well not quite. Don't get me wrong, it does have its bright spots and it is better than Batman Vs Superman, or Suicide Squad but it pales in comparison to Wonder Woman . Which is really sad because the superheroes finally working together is supposed to be the highlight of the franchise.
One big problem is how they set up the team, it felt like they were a warm-up band for Superman. Now we all know that Henry Cavill was returning for this film, and Superman was meant to be resurrected so that is not a spoiler. It is also a fact that his character is the most iconic and is often ranked by geeks and non-geeks alike as the most powerful superhero in comic book history.
With that being said I did not expect the film makers to run away with that strength and make it a major plot point. We know he is strong, we know he is powerful, yes he has done a lot of ridiculous things in his various incarnations in cinema, like turning back time or carrying an entire continent and throwing it into the sun. But those were standalone Superman films, in an ensemble piece were the superheroes are forced to unite for the first time, it may have been best to bring him down a notch at least for now and save the curb stomping for later. The moment he was brought back it didn't feel like Justice League, it felt like Superman and friends.
But I have to admit that scene where he pummels through all of his supposed to be teammates was a great action sequence. I also think that a lot of people might swoon at the site of a bare chested Superman beating everyone else in the Justice League like they were nothing. Again though, it was too god-like it should have been toned down, if you're a major Superman fan though, you will really love it.
Another thing is the humor. Batman Vs Superman was too dark, Suicide Squad tried to be more fun and it kind of worked, Wonder Woman was witty and it delivered. In Justice League, they tried mostly courtesy of Ezra Mller's The Flash, the problem is that feels forced. The comedic timing was terrible, Joss Whedon wrote some nice witty banter for the characters, but if felt disjointed from everything that was going on around them. Sure, it has been done before that characters exchange funny one liners in dangerous situations, but the actors could not deliver it properly. They do elicit laughter, but the nervous awkward kind.
The performances weren't really bad but it wasn't good either. Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman lacked the inner warrior strength she displayed in Batman Vs Superman nor was she able to bring the magic from her standalone film. But then again a large part of the success of that film stemmed from bouncing off an outstanding Chris Pine, Robin Wright and Connie Nielsen.
Speaking of which, Connie Nielsen reprises her Queen Hippolyta in Justice League and I have to say that she and the Amazons had the best scene in the film. Without giving too much away, I'll call it a chase sequence in Themiscrya. It was action-packed, nerve wracking and I was at the edge of my seat while watching it. Nielsen was amazing as a Warrior Queen and she displayed fear, strength and determination through. The background Amazons also stood out even with the brief moments that they were individually on screen.
As for the rest of the League, Jason Momoa holds a strong promise for his solo outing. His Aquaman was just right for this movie, and among all of them he was able to maintain the humor with his ferocity. Meanwhile Ezra Miller is bordering on annoying as The Flash. I hate to compare, I've seen some of Miller's movies and he is a brilliant actor, but when it comes to bringing in Barry Allen's wit and sarcasm to life I have to say that Grant Gustin in the CW series is way ahead of him. And then there is Batman, I'm sorry Ben Affleck, but Twitter was right in its reaction when you were cast, your Bruce Wayne is sad and soulless. I'm on the fence about Ray Fisher as Cyborg. His character is part machine so I do expect him to be cold and deadpan, I just wished that he could have had delivered more of the humanity to the surface. And Cavill is still the same, he is alright to watch just don't expect too much.
The villain Steppenwolf voiced by Ciaran Hinds is the worst so far in the DC Extended Universe, yes even worse than Enchantress in Suicide Squad. He looked like a cartoon, and acted like a caricature. Every time he came on screen, I wanted to laugh. What is up with repeating the whole apocalyptic terra-forming the Earth plot point. We already saw it in Man of Steel, and I have to add the Kryptonians gave Superman more of a challenge than this sad supervillain.
The story line itself is a mess. They were trying to set up this big epic showdown against a villain who is supposed to be ancient and was stopped by an alliance of Men, Atlanteans, Amazons, Gods and let us say an intergalactic police force that you may recognize? And yet the final fight scene was too simple and was again nothing more but a display of Superman's pure awesomeness. This is supposed to be a team movie!
The visuals were also terrible. Steppenwolf's cartoon level of CGI sometimes would extend to the landscape. You wouldn't think that this movie had a 300 million dollar budget. Seriously what did they spend it on?
The team behind the DC Extended Universe really needs to take a step back and try to bring a much more coherent vision to this franchise. While yes, a lot of fans would be excited to see their favorite superheroes come to life in the big screen, in the long run that would not be enough. Justice League tried to soar, but in the end fails to do so.
Justice League opens in cinemas in the United States on November 17.