– fun dialogue, decent effects, but did anyone else ever get that feeling of déjà vu?
I’ll admit, I’m more of a Marvel superhero fan than a DC fan, as the only DC movie I’d seen before this one was the brilliance that was “Wonder Woman”. Many of my friends warned me that DC movies had a reputation for being bad, so I went into this one with pretty low expectations. I was pleasantly surprised.
Justice League picks up some time after the end of Batman vs. Superman, with the world reeling after the Man of Steel’s death. Arriving on the scene is a new villain: Steppenwolf (played by Ciarán Hinds), comes to Earth to find three “Mother Boxes”— cubes of immense power that could rip apart the planet. In response, Batman (played by Ben Affleck) assembles a team of superheroes to try and stop him—Wonder Woman (played by the ever-so-amazing Gal Gadot), Aquaman (played by Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Played by Ray Fisher), the Flash (played by Ezra Miller) and a recently revived Superman (played by Henry Cavill). Supporting characters from previous movies in the DC universe round out the cast, including JK Simmons as Commissioner Gordon, Jeremy Irons as Alfred, and Amy Adams as Lois Lane.
The movie manages to juggle funny moments with serious moments, much better than Batman vs. Superman did. The characterization of Aquaman as a snarky, possibly drunk rogue, and the Flash as a hyperactive awkward geek stole the show at several points for me. The movie balances itself out pretty well, with snappy dialogue traded between Aquaman and Batman in every other scene (“So I heard you can talk to fish,” being a personal favorite of mine) and between the Flash and every other character as much as possible. There’s moments where they poke fun at the eternally foreboding Batman (“So what’s your superpower?” “I’m rich.” Comes to mind), and moments where they delve into more serious things like how Cyborg was created.
The fight scenes were incredible, especially during scenes with the Amazons; during a flashback battle, early in the movie, and at the climax (like when Aquaman used a grunt as a surfboard to scale down a building). The effects were pretty good, especially on the lightning effect when the Flash runs really fast, and on Wonder Woman’s gauntlets.
Plus, the effect of Steppen wolf’s use of the “Mother Boxes” leads to a sprawling, iridescent treelike structure that brings to mind Ego’s planet from Guardians of the Galaxy.
Of course, no movie is without its flaws. While a lot of the effects were good, others reminded me of cut scenes in a video game. About halfway through the movie I thought that Superman had been photo shopped into a corn field. Steppenwolf had been a largely compelling villain and easily forgettable once off-screen. In fact, I think the only reason I remembered his name was because I thought it was the name of a band. But my biggest issue was with the plot.
The movie shares a lot of plot points and hits a lot of the same beats as Marvel’s the Avengers. A group of famous superheroes, some with their own movies in an extended universe, are brought together with a goal to keeping a cube like weapon out of an alien’s hands so he can’t take over the Earth? Am I talking about Justice League or The Avengers? I even made a joke about how Steppenwolf’s helm looked like the one from Thor: Ragnarok! Not only that, the second half of the movie is intercut with random deviations and cuts to poor Russian families, as well as Superman struggling after he is brought back to life. Furthermore, the movie introduces three new characters (The Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman), and spends little time developing them. It felt less like a movie for someone who is unfamiliar with these characters (like I am) and more for someone who is much more familiar. I found myself asking my brother a lot of questions about the different characters, which they could have easily answered by adding a line of dialogue or two.
So, while the plot is very familiar (ever get that feeling of déjà vu?), I feel that the energy-packed action scenes, great dialogue, Jason Momoa’s abs, and every scene with Wonder Woman in it really makes up for that. It was a genuinely fun movie to watch, if not the most memorable, and it definitely convinced me to watch more of the DC movie universe.
Just as a heads up, there are two after credits scenes in the movie, one of which reveals two important characters. So, don’t forget!