DC’s finest heroes come together for the first time on the big screen in Justice League. Here’s our verdict of another divisive DCEU movie…
It’s the film DC lovers have been waiting for decades to see, and now it’s finally here the world seems split on what to make of Justice League. On the one hand, the sudden tonal shift to ‘fun! fun! fun!’ works for the most part, as you can’t help but smile like an idiot throughout. However, it’s a very choppy piece of cinema, with far too short a runtime for a plot that’s fit to bursting. As such, it’s a hard film to write a coherent review about. So let’s take a page out of Justice League‘s book and evaluate it in random chunks.
- The biggest tick in the positive column is the team dynamics. There are a lot of hoops to jump through to get the Justice League together, but once that’s done, the five heroes – Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg – bounce off each other brilliantly. Unlike the Avengers, who frequently lash out at each other, the League immediately feel like… Well, Superfriends.
- Zack Snyder made a few leftfield choices when he cast the League, but it turns out that he was spot on in each case. Obviously, we know what Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot can do from previous films, but Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller and Ray Fisher all impress, too. If I had to pick a favourite, it would be Miller, though. His socially-awkward shtick could have felt forced, but Miller pitches it exactly right. Can’t wait to see him in Flashpoint.
- Likewise, I’m a fan of Henry Cavill’s casting as the Man of Steel and have always wanted to see him try his hand at some Reevesque lightness. At last, Justice League unveils that side of his character. Once he returns from the dead, Supes smiles, quips and soars his way through the back half of the film and it should leave any Superman fan beaming. If only the CGI used to bury Cavill’s moustache wasn’t so distracting…
- An area where it completely drops the ball, though, is in the villain/threat department. Jack Kirby’s New Gods mythos is a wonderfully rich and imaginative part of DC lore, but it has been whittled down here into simply General Steppenwolf, an alien invader antagonist as generic as, well, several MCU villains. Should they have gone all in with Darkseid immediately? I suppose that would have been too much too soon, but something better could have been done.
- As for the music, I’m a humongous fan of Danny Elfman usually, but I don’t think his Justice League score is one of his best. Either go all in on the use of the Batman ’89 and Superman ’78 themes or leave them out. It was also somewhat jarring to not have Hans Zimmer’s familiar DCEU themes anywhere (save for Wonder Woman’s, obviously). A bit of the awesome Man of Steel theme wouldn’t have gone amiss.
- Much has been made of The Avengers‘ Joss Whedon taking over from original Zack Snyder to helm Justice League‘s transformative reshoots. On screen, I don’t think the two directors’ styles clash too badly. For instance, if you go back to last year’s first trailer, there were already a lot more jokes than Batman v Superman. However, I would love to see a 100% Snyder cut. I appreciate what Whedon brought to it but I do get the feeling that there is a better film fighting to get out.
Overall, as Justice League‘s cinematic flaws are so objective, what it all comes down to for me is: did I enjoy it? And the answer to that is a big fat yes. Who knows how much it will stand up to repeated viewings, but I was certainly in a good mood when I left my screening. Unfortunately, in the grand scheme of things, it’s looking likely that Justice League won’t have the impact DC were hoping for. If that causes the studio to halt any future JL movie plans, that would be a great shame. We’ve waited so long for the League to come together on the big screen, it would be heartbreaking for them not to unite again.
On a technical, critical level, I can’t give this more than a 3. However, as a fan, I had a blast so I’d give it a 4. Overall, then, I guess I have to give it…