'Justice League' Is Not What You Want, But It's Okay' (2017) Review
There’s not a soul alive who didn’t grow up in some shape or form with the Justice League. Though the characters are American inventions, they’re regarded the world over as iconic. Therefore despite all evidence to the contrary, I couldn’t help but have a twinge of excitement over the movie. Sure, ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” was a cinematic travesty, but ‘Wonder Woman’ was a breath of fresh air.
So where then does that leave ‘Justice League’? Well, sadly more towards the former. While the film never quite reaches the lows of its 2016 predecessor, it does have some elements that serve as chilling reminders of how bad these films can be. The first act of the film is an incoherent mess. Batman, coming off of his win in his title fight with Superman, is traveling the world to assemble a team of super friends to face off against an incoming invasion.
You have Cyborg, The Flash, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and Batman, all facing off against the evil Steppenwolf. An intergalactic conqueror with a vengeance, and rotten dialogue. Perhaps Justice League is a film best seen on mute, as too often I would be hit with the urge to smack one of the characters for saying the absolute cheesiest lines. Where Justice League fails is in its rushed execution, as it feels as though the first hour is a collection of disconnected scenes with no natural progression.
That’s the issue with an ensemble film that has more than a few unfamiliar elements. The film takes advantage the average cinemagoers knowledge of popular characters, just as it should. There needn’t be too much explanation for these decades-old characters. Still, Justice League moves at such a breakneck pace within the first hour, I genuinely wished, and I don’t believe I’m typing this, I wish the film were longer.
Yet, when that second act struck, there was a vast improvement. Suddenly after moving past leagues of set up, the latter half of the film does the film’s title justice. Yes, the characters still say ridiculous things, but they inherently feel like the characters. Personalities that have the familiarity of their source material, and the novelty of a few cinematic differences.
Aquaman is a raucous drunk, who doesn’t play by the rules. He doesn’t seem to have much motivation in the movie beyond the love of a good fight. Half the time he doesn’t seem to want to even be in the movie. Then you have The Flash, who seems to show signs of being on the autism spectrum, no doubt a joy to see for kids around the world who can relate. He’s largely used as comic relief and a voice for the audience to how ridiculous the movie can get. Finally, there’s Cyborg who was by far the best character in the film, arguably because he has the most meaning behind his performance.
Then, of course, there are the members we’ve already met in Wonder Woman and Batman. Wonder Woman remains the shining success of these DC films and steals the show more than once. Batman is played with a vulnerability that’s not often allowed for the character. More often than not Bruce Wayne is portrayed as the man who has mastered fear. Here, he’s terrified, giving a role that we’ve seen more than 10 times already a new dimension that works.
So the characters, by and large, are engaging. You like seeing them on screen together, and their interactions are compelling. It does at times feel like the unification we’ve been waiting for. Still, I felt like I only received glimpses of the new characters. Perhaps that’s the intention, having Justice League only give you a morsel while you wait for the meal of a character’s full-fledged solo film. I suppose it’s a good thing that I’m hungry for more, but at the end of the day, I’m still hungry.
‘Justice League’ is a live action 4 part episode of the animated series of the same name. Except not as good, and not nearly as beautiful. Ugly and obvious computer graphics sully a film that is best seen in 2D. Still, despite its problems, I must say I enjoyed my experience with ‘Justice League’. If not for the sheer epic event of seeing these characters interact, I’d say it would be a film you can catch on cable. Instead, I’ll say see it in the cinema. Only at a discount.
Rating: Half Price