Justice League – Movie Review (Non-Spoiler)

Hoooooooo boy it’s been a minute since I’ve posted something here at WildeBeard Reviews….. why? Well, life happens or as Dr. Ian Malcolm would say “life will find a way”, only in this case I would have to amend that saying to read “life will find a way to sideline your hobbies”! But that’s all in the past and today we’re here to talk about the DCEU’s latest entry Justice League! Despite the DCEU’s less that stellar track record, I was still pretty pumped going into this movie especially after it looked like Warner Bros had turned the corner on this film series with the amazing Wonder Woman earlier this year. So does Justice League live up to the hype and continue the upswing of the DCEU or is it another hot mess inline with Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice? The answer lies somewhere in between.

Justice League picks up a little while after the events of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice with the world still reeling from the death of Superman. As the world struggles to return to some sense of normalcy, Batman and Wonder Woman seem content to go about their lives being street level heroes and stopping thieves and terrorist but soon a new threat emerges and forces Bruce and Diana to gather a few new heroes to save the day for Steppenwolf, the aforementioned “new threat” not the band from the 60s & 70s that did that one “Magic Carpet Ride” song.  As Bruce and Diana set about assemb….. gathering the League, Steppenwolf sets about gathering three mysterious boxes that have been on earth for millennia in an attempt to, of course, destroy earth.

Now if Steppenwolfs plot sounds a bit trite and a bit well worn, then you’re not wrong.  It most definitely feels bland at best and derivative at worst and has more than a few similarities to Marvel’s The Avengers.  This is not the first DCEU film to feel like it copied the MCU’s homework (although hopefully it’s the last) as there are very apparent similarities between Captain America: The First Avenger and Wonder Woman as well as Captain America: Civil War and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice both being movies that pitted everyone’s favorite heroes against each other coming out in the same year. As meh as the villain and his plot is, I do think that fans of the comics will get a lot more out of it than the casual movie goer will.  There are DC Comics Easter eggs and name drops aplenty and the implications of Steppenwolf’s actions and plans will resonate hard with comics readers and give those of us in the know plenty of reason to be excited for the future. While that is a positive for comics fans, it is probably a pretty big negative for non-comic fan as it can definitely feel like “inside baseball” and could possibly alienate non-comic fans.

Enough about the villain, let’s talk about the real reason most people will go see this movie – the heroes! Ben Affleck’s Batman is just as good as he was in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice however I will say that his action scenes felt really stiff and this film doesn’t provide another “warehouse” scene for Batman (but that’s not to say the movie as a whole is short on action). Bruce is definitely a main player on the team and serves as an effective leader and Affleck plays Bruce a bit lighter in tone in this film as he doesn’t shy away from cracking off one liners at all (which I suspect has a lot to do with Joss Whedon’s involvement and possibly a bit of an over correction from the “too dark” criticisms most people had about the DCEU. As for Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, she hasn’t missed a step in between movies.  She is just as perfect as casting as she was in previous films and her character picks up right where we left off with her in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice with the added character development we saw in Wonder Woman.

As for our three new comers – Aquaman, Cyborg, and Flash – each one brings something new and fun to the table.  For Flash, Ezra Miller does a great job of playing the awkward joker and the special effects look great while at the same time being different enough from TV’s The Flash to effectively differentiate the two. The jury is still out on which Flash actor I like better (I’ll need to live with Miller’s version a bit longer).  Ray Fisher’s Cyborg is a pretty astounding feat not only because of the special effects involved (Cyborg has the cleanest and most realized effects in the whole movie) but because Fisher does a great job acting with just his face and voice (as that’s really all we see of him).  Cyborg is probably the Leaguer I’m most unfamiliar with but I am excited to see more of him in the future.  And now for Jason Momoa’s Aquaman – a very different take on the character and one that could prove to be divisive.  For my money, I loved him. As soon as I saw the “surfer bro” Aquaman in the trailers for this film, I was 100% on board and I did not leave the theater with a changed mind.  I remember watching Momoa way back when he was in Stargate: Atlantis and loving his character there.  Momoa is a great actor and has served the character of Arther Curry/Aquaman well and I for one can’t wait to see what he and James Wan do in next year’s stand alone Aquaman movie.

I’ve talked about the special effects a few times but I feel I need to expound on the more.  There are some great effects in the movie (i.e. the aforementioned Cyborg) but there are also some straight up garbage special effects in the film.  Like not just bad but distractingly bad. I won’t list them out here because I don’t want you to be distracted any more than you already will be when seeing this film but….. damn….. I know that there we a lot of production issues behind the scenes of this movie but come one guys…. it’s 2017 and we all know you can do better.

All in all, I really enjoyed Justice League – it’s not quite the A+ running of Wonder Woman but it’s also far from the hot garbage that is Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad.

Final Rating: B-

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