Movie Review: “Justice League”
Superman (Henry Cavill) is dead. It is a tragedy that has been felt across the planet. Gone is the controversial, unstoppable force that has protected the innocent from those that wish them harm. Criminals have become more daring in Superman’s absence, while surviving heroes do their best to stop the violence, but Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) fears that Superman’s death has been heard across the far reaches of the universe.
Bruce Wayne believes that Superman's presence has served as a deterrent against dark forces that have had their eyes on Earth. Now that the man of steel is gone, Bruce believes it is only a matter of time before those dark forces find their way here. With Earth vulnerable, Bruce Wayne decides to put together a team to defend Earth now that Superman cannot. Thus, he and Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) set out to recruit these gifted individuals. Dark forces will soon be on Earth’s doorstep with the intention of conquering Earth and leaving it in ruin. All that will stand in their way is Cyborg (Ray Fisher), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Wonder Woman, and the Batman. The only question is: will this team of heroes be enough to protect the planet?
The Pros & Cons
The Flash (+3pts)
Aquaman & Cyborg (-4pts)
Justice League (+6pts)
Wonder Woman (+5pts)
Bruce Wayne (-4pts)
Pro: The Flash (+3pts)
Barry Allen—the Flash—was definitely the comedic relief of the movie and I thought he worked as such. He was quick witted and was played in a way that made him come across as permanently anxious. This version of the scarlet speedster was very excited to be a part of a superhero team, but up until now, he had faced little more than common street criminals. Yes, he was excited to fight alongside the Batman, but he was incredibly overwhelmed by the evil forces coming for Earth. As Barry put it: “I just run really fast and push people”. I am not sure if I quoted him exactly, but it pretty accurately explained Barry's feeling of uselessness when compared to the other heroes on the team.
Batman was the backbone of the team, Wonder Woman was the heart, and the Flash was the legs. He was the youngest of this group of heroes, was maybe a little naive in the beginning, but he was the character that a lot of members of the audience will be able to relate to. His feeling of inexperience just made it easy to connect with. While other characters seemed to really easily accept the whole potential alien invasion thing, Barry Allen was the character that was shocked and overwhelmed by everything. This provided plenty of comedic moments, as did his eagerness to join the team of heroes. This character was definitely one of this movie’s strengths and I look forward to seeing more of Ezra Miller, in this role, in any future movies that he pops up in.
Con: Aquaman & Cyborg (-4pts)
I want to be clear that I liked both of these characters, and I definitely want to see more of them. My problem with them in this movie was that I felt the filmmakers barely scratched the surface with the story and depth that should go into their development. I understand that the filmmakers struggled with delivering a well written plot, while trying to juggle the development of five iconic comic book characters. The filmmakers had a lot to do and they did not have much time to do it. Unfortunately, it was the character development for Aquaman and Cyborg that suffered. I thought both of these characters had potential, and the filmmakers of this movie got me interested enough in seeing more of them in future movies, but their role in this story left a lot to be desired.
Pro: Justice League (+6pts)
This movie was at its absolute best when all of these iconic heroes were on screen together. I know we have seen a lot of superhero teams on the big screen by now, but seeing Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg all fighting side-by-side in live-action was truly spectacular. Seeing this team like this will feel like a spectacle whether you are familiar with each character or not. There was a very fun team dynamic, entertaining action that showcased each character's abilities, and apocalyptic stakes. It took a little while to get the team together in the story, but once it happened, there were plenty of great moments to make up for the somewhat slow start. This movie was not perfect, but seeing this team together on-screen, was definitely the best thing going for this movie.
Con: Steppenwolf (-5pts)
One of my biggest problems with this movie was Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds). He had so much potential, but he ended up feeling very generic. Like so many of the Marvel movie villains, the development of this villain was sacrificed in order to focus on the plot and development of other characters. Unfortunately, the plot of this movie still needed a lot of work, so it seemed like the sacrifice of Steppenwolf's development seemed to be for nothing.
Steppenwolf came to Earth searching for three mother boxes. Why does he care about these mother boxes? We know that bad things would happen if he got his hands on the boxes, but we did not why it was so important to him. He definitely came across as powerful, but this character had no depth and got very little attention. As a result, this colossal villain made very little impact on-screen, which ultimately made the climax of the movie feel meaningless.
Pro: Wonder Woman (+5pts)
If you saw Wonder Woman, then this should come as no surprise, but Wonder Woman was easily the one of the best characters (if not the best) in this movie. She was well written, and Gal Gadot was able to give the character a decent amount of depth. She was still getting through the events from Wonder Woman and ends up noticing similarities between Bruce Wayne and Steve Trevor (her love interest from Wonder Woman). There were plenty of ways in which one could compare Bruce Wayne and Steve Trevor, such as their willingness to sacrifice themselves for the greater good, but my point is that Diana Prince definitely saw similarities between the two.
This comparison added a lot of depth to the character, depth that Gal Gadot brought to the screen effectively. The character also got plenty of screentime and plenty of great action sequences. In this team of heroes, Wonder Woman was the heart, but that did not mean she was not an essential part of the team when it came to fighting Steppenwolf and his forces. She was able to go toe-to-toe with the monstrous antagonist, and she was not at all afraid to do so. She was powerful, fierce, compassionate, and just a well-rounded character that I enjoyed seeing again. DC has struggled with starting their cinematic universe, but Wonder Woman is one character that they have been getting right.
Con: Bruce Wayne (-4pts)
I was, unfortunately, a bit disappointed with Bruce Wayne and Batman in this movie. To start, the fights were extremely over-the-top. We had flying aliens, the king of Atlantis, a speedster, a cyborg, and the daughter of Zeus. With such over-the-top characters and such high stakes, the filmmakers struggled to make Batman feel relevant in the fight sequences. All the other characters took part in some great action sequences, but Batman was kind of just left on the back-burner. Instead we got plenty of him driving his various vehicles. That was cool and all, but it would have been nice to see the Bat dealing with some aliens in combat.
Then there was my issue with Bruce Wayne. I felt like the character was nothing more than a plot device in this story, which is a real shame. Batman is, arguably, the most iconic superhero today, yet the filmmakers did so little with the character. He recruited the rest of the team, and guided them from mission to mission, but got no real character development. I feel like I was one of the few people who was a fan of Ben Affleck in this role, but this film did not do him or the character any justice—pun sort of intended.
Grade: C+ (76pts)
Justice League was a decent movie and was far from Warner Brother’s worst DC film in the current cinematic universe, but it certainly had its problems. It seemed like the filmmakers bit off a bit more than they could chew. They brought together five of the most iconic superheroes and they also aimed to center the film about a complicated villain known as Steppenwolf. There were a lot of great things introduced in this movie, but the filmmakers failed to give proper attention to most of the things they introduced. The best examples of this were Steppenwolf, Aquaman, and Cyborg. These were some potentially great characters with some compelling backstories, but in a movie as cluttered as this one, they did not get the development they needed. Then there was Bruce Wayne, who felt like little more than a plot device for this story.
With Wonder Woman, we got exactly what we expected after seeing the movie Wonder Woman. She was brave, strong, fierce, compassionate, and was the heart of this movie. Then there was the Flash, who was the film’s comedic relief. The comedy from this character worked well, but I also enjoyed his story. The filmmakers got a couple characters right, but a few others ended up feeling a bit shallow. Nonetheless, I enjoyed seeing all of these characters together in this movie. It was not a great movie, but there were certainly things that I liked about it.