DC’s answer to The Avengers has finally arrived!!
As we’re all aware, the DCEU movie universe has been subject to a lot of hate and negative criticism over the past year. I can’t say I disagree with the reception it has received as there are some things that Warner Bros. has got wrong when trying to build the DC film universe, but I think with the massive success of Wonder Woman I was going into Justice League with an open mind. I REALLY REALLY wanted this movie to be good as I am such a huge DC fan and I did not want it to be a let down and prove all the “critics” right.
WARNING! MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS FOR JUSTICE LEAGUE!!! IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOVIE DO NOT READ PAST THIS POINT!!!!!
So without further ado I’m just going to jump straight into this review of Justice League, as I have a lot to talk about in regards to the movie. If you’re a comic book fan then you should know that the Justice League is formed of earth’s strongest heroes from all different branches of the DC Universe. The League in the comic books consists of Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, The Flash, Aquaman, Cyborg and Green Lantern. Obviously due to not having a plan for Green Lantern, he was absence in the movie and with Superman being dead, after the events of Dawn of Justice, the film focuses around the remaining five heroes.
Going into the story, the film is set months after the events that occurred in Batman vs Superman so it is probably a good idea to watch that before you tackle Justice League. The one thing that I thought was the film’s strongest factor was the chemistry between the cast and the way in which each hero has been portrayed. From the get go, the characters do seem more hero like and each of them seem really likeable and relatable and seeing them assemble together was just awesome. I like the direction that Zack Synder went for when showing us each of the character’s own background/story before Batman and Wonder Woman aim to recruit a team to fight this alooming threat that requires more than just the two of them. I think that Justice League had some really solid moments that has changed my perception of the DCEU as I feel like they seem to be pointing in the right direction after Wonder Woman. I did feel that there were a few flaws in the film but nothing major that left me thinking the movie was a let down, I was extremely surprised and impressed with Justice League.
Maybe it’s just the inner fanboy in me, but there was just something awesome about seeing this awesome lineup of superheroes teaming up for the first time on the big screen. I had the same feeling I did as the first time I saw The Avengers assemble for the first time….no pun intended! I thought that the first big screen appearance for the Justice League was a pleasant surprise and made for a thoroughly entertaining watch!
As I mentioned earlier on, the plot is set a number of months after the events of Batman vs Superman, in which we find Batman on a mission to recruit a team to defend the earth against a cosmic threat that would take more than just the Dark Knight and Wonder Woman. With the help of Diana, Bruce recruits Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg to form a team to stand against the evil Steppenwolf who is backed up by an army of flying demons, who plan to take over the world! This would be the perfect time to have the Man of Steel on your team Bruce….oh wait!
I think one of the movie’s strongest elements is the Justice League itself, the whole concept of these characters coming together as a team was one of the stand out elements for me. As with the DC animated movies, Batman is usually the brains behind a mission and in Justice League he does have his own agenda which is an important factor in driving the plot. For me the main positive about the film is that there isn’t one character that hogs all the screen time, or is the sole focus, it is a balanced effort and each character gets their share of time on screen. I thought it was pretty awesome that each of the heroes got their time to shine each with their own stand out moments, which left me with a memorable impression and couldn’t wait to see more of them. The whole time in this film I was sitting there is awe thinking holy shit…this is the first ever appearance of the Justice League on screen! The only member missing was Green Lantern and I still to this day class Martian Manhunter as an important member of the League.
One of the main things I enjoyed about Batman vs Superman was Ben Affleck as the Dark Knight and I thought that he proved why he is the best Batman on screen, since the days of Michael Keaton. I thought that his story arc in Justice League was brilliant and had a sense of redemption as you got the feeling that Bruce felt guilt for the death of Superman. It was the realisation that he went over the line in Dawn of Justice and he had to remember how to work on a team or as Jim Gordon puts it “playing well with others.” Batman knows he needs to work with others to deal with this new threat. I thought that Ben Affleck was solid in Justice League, I just felt like I was watching a true representation of Batman and thought he crushed it. **** you critics and haters!! I liked that Bruce Wayne and his alter ego had this self-righteous deuschness at moments in the film which made me laugh and sometimes this got him into trouble, but I think he was more of a self aware character this time around. It felt like Affleck had a more human approach to Batman in his second appearance as the character, showing that after 20 years of crime fighting he is not as broken as he thought.
Moving onto Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman…what can I say about this woman?! I think she is the epitome of the character of Wonder Woman and portrays exactly what her character is and what she stands for so close to the mark! If I was to sum up Wonder Woman in the DCEU I would say that she is the moral compass. I think that her character is a force for good, powerful, strong, intelligent and knows when to reveal what she classes as weaknesses, we would say shortcomings but you get my drift. One of the elements I really enjoyed was that I thought that both Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck’s on screen chemistry was just brilliant and you just got a feeling of their on screen presence was natural and strong. For me they were a solid combination that brought a sense of humanity and a realistic approach to the center of this comic book influenced story.
Justice League was the first time we got to see Erza Miller, Ray Fisher and Jason Momoa really sink their teeth into their respective character’s and gives fans the first on screen appearance of The Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman. I enjoyed the introduction of all three of the new characters and thought each of the actor’s were just brilliant in their own rights. I thought that Jason Mamoa’s take on Aquaman was fresh and different to the animated versions we’ve seen previously. I liked the scenes of him underwater and felt they looked so much better an the brief cameo in Batman vs Superman. The thing I wonder now about Aquaman, after seeing Justice League, is I think it probably would’ve been better is his solo film came out before Justice League. I only say that as there are things we see in the film regarding his character and his position in Atlantis and I think that his solo movie would’ve helped tie those in, especially if there are a lot of people who haven’t read the Aquaman comic books. It seems that he isn’t the King of Atlantis yet and is conflicted on the path he should take. I liked the scenes in Atlantis and visually it looked brilliant and my only issue was that I felt there could’ve been more context into where we find Aquaman going into Justice League.
Now when I heard that Grant Gustin wouldn’t be playing The Flash in the DCEU at first I wasn’t surprised that they wanted to keep the TV and movie universe’s separate, but I was also skeptical as I’m such a fan of Grant as The Flash and didn’t like the idea of someone else playing the Scarlet Speedster. All that being said, I thought I would go into this film with an open mind and give Erza Miller a chance. I came out of the movie thinking that his portrayal of Barry Allen was really great and I thought brought a different take to the character. I liked that he didn’t try to mimic what Grant Gustin has done on the TV side and thought he brought his own take to the character. I mean in Justice League, Barry hasn’t been The Flash long and is a funny, sensitive, excitable and likeable character. I thought that he had a great relationship with the other characters even if at times he did appear socially awkward, but it was cool to see a version of Barry that wasn’t as confident and someone who is still figuring out the Speed Force.
One of the surprising character’s for me was Ray Fisher’s Cyborg, as I thought that his character arc was one of the strongest in the film and it was a really pleasant surprise. I didn’t know how much we would be seeing of Cyborg in the movie and I wanted them to do the character justice, as his character is full of many different layers and I wanted to see a great portrayal of this character and I was not disappointed in the slightest. He had a solid story arc leading up to him meeting up with the other heroes and it gave the fans a chance to see this character trying to adapt to life, after the accident that turned him into this artificial man, and finding out what he was meant to do from this point on. I’ve always enjoyed how in the comics Cyborg has always had a set of ideals and beliefs that in some ways makes him more human than the likes of Batman, so it was a plus for me that these character traits had been included in the movie.
The big questions surrounding Justice League……would we be seeing Superman again? A long time ago the Man of Steel himself, Henry Cavill, did post a photo on Instagram of Superman doning the black suit which is associated with the Death of Superman storyline from the comic books. So to answer the question, yes Superman does in fact return in Justice League! I won’t talk about how he is brought back to life as that is an integral part to the story, but what I will say is that when he turns I personally thought this was Cavill’s strongest performance to date of Superman. I think the only way I can describe it is that this is the Superman I’ve always wanted to see on screen and you can tell how much he loves the character, as in interviews he always talks about the comics so the guy knows his stuff, and I think he really pulled it out the bag for Justice League. The constant theme in Justice League is that since Superman died the world has not been the same, he was the beacon of light and hope and something the world missed. I really thought that Henry Cavill absolutely nailed his third appearance as the character and for me I felt like I was watching Superman. He lived up to the true meaning of a hero and all I can say is that I loved it when he appeared back in the fray.
Again, I’m not going to talk about the method in which Superman is resurrected but I can’t review this film without talking about one of the most amazing action sequences in a DCEU movie. When Superman is brought back to life, you just got this sense that something wasn’t right and he ends up in a brawl with all the remaining members of the Justice League….yeah nice going Cyborg! The action sequence was just brilliant and I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. You can Wonder Woman trying to keep Superman down and that didn’t work out well for her! Then you have Aquaman jumping in trying to assist and he gets his ass handed to him. We also have The Flash trying to counter attack with his speed and Superman just gives Barry this look and the Scarlet Speedster has a look on his face of “holy shit I’m going to die!” Then Supes sees Batman and goes after him, remembering that this is the guy who tried to kill him so only natural he returns the favour right?! But yeah, the description doesn’t give all the details of the scene away but holy shit man it was one of the best moments in the film! It makes me want to see the film again now!
So now I’m going to mention one of the parts about the film that I wasn’t too keen on and this was the villain Steppenwolf. I was hoping that after the disaster of Doomsday in Dawn of Justice, we going to get a more compelling villain that lived up to the comic books but for me he just fell a little flat. There were moments when I thought his character was going somewhere but something about him just didn’t do it for me. The sad thing is that his character didn’t leave an impact in the film and it’s a shame as he had the potential to really stand out in the movie.
One of the thing that was causing rumours and criticism before Justice League had even hit theaters, was the fact that Zack Snyder had to step down from production during to a personal family matter and Joss Whedon stepped in to finish the movie’s production. As you can imagine, this was met with mixed reviews involving a lot of re-shoots for the movie and people wonder if this caused the project to suffer from an identity crisis? Both the directors have their own specific style, neither are strangers when it comes to the comic book world. As a fan, I can tell both Whedon and Synder’s style and I could notice it in certain parts of the movie but the overall tone of Justice League felt the same so not once did I think the film was struggling to have its own identity. I would say that the more humourous elements came from Joss Whedon with the more darker, theatrical aspects came from Zack Synder. For me Justice League still feels like a Zack Synder property and I think the parts that Whedon directed did add to the the film and gave it a different style we have seen in previous DCEU movies.
I also want to comment on the trailers that were released prior to the release of Justice League. The one thing I’ve always enjoyed about DC is that their trailers really don’t give anything away…..besides Batman vs Superman and seeing Doomsday in the trailer but we won’t remind ourselves about that! So the clips that were showed either weren’t used in the movie and the ones that were didn’t give anything away which I really like! I mean there are some scenes that apparently didn’t make the final cut of the film due to the studio not wanting to go over a certain time limit, or whatever the reason was. I hope that maybe we’ll get a director’s cut of Justice League on DVD/ Blu Ray and see the full cut of the film, that would be pretty awesome!
I need to talk about the post credit scene of Justice League before I round off this review! We got two in this movie, the first was a mid credits scene that was a fun moment between The Flash and Superman. It was a cool moment in which both the heroes were planning to have a race to see which is faster, paying homage to one of the classic DC comic book covers. It was a fun addition to the film and is something that every DC fan would want to see in a live action DC film!
The second post credit scene though holy shit balls! I was not expecting this and it caught me completely by surprise if I’m being honest. The final scene we saw is a glimpse of the prison in which Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor as being held, we get a close up to find that a decoy had been put in place and Lex is actually gone! In my head I was like what the actual shit?! When did this happen?! Then it switches to what looks like an expensive yacht and we see a shadowy figure step out from the shadows onto the boat and it only turns out to be freaking Deathstroke!! This is the first time we see actor Joe Manganiello taking on the role of Slade Wilson. I didn’t think that 1. this would be in Justice League and 2. I wasn’t sure if we’d see him as Deathstroke due to all the shifting and direction change for the upcoming solo Batman movie. We don’t see much but it’s enough to leave it wide open for a Justice League sequel. The scene turns into a conversation between Lex Luthor and Deathstroke in what could be a potential super villain team up! I’m calling it now, if there is a Justice League 2 we need the Legion of Doom to go up against the Justice League….just saying that would be freaking awesome if done right!
Phew, that was a damn long review!!
So now it’s come to the part where I give my verdict on the film now…..
Overall I thoroughly enjoyed Justice League as a whole, is it perfect? No. The film does have a few things that could have been improved or changed but for the most part I personally think it’s a step in the right direction for the DCEU. I feel that Justice League served as a movie to wash away the bad reception of Batman vs Superman and getting fans excited as the prospect of seeing the Justice League for the first time, with the intention of having a sequel down the line. I feel that this was achieved with the film and it did provide for an entertaining watch. I walked away feeling very satisfied with the film and I actually really enjoyed it as a whole despite the few flaws it had.
Would I see Justice League again? Yes I would!
Would I recommend Justice League to friends? Yes I would! I feel that if you’re a fan of superheroes then you should definitely check this movie out. All I would advise is to ignore the bad reviews, reception and criticism surround Justice League as I feel that everyone has a personal vendetta against DC and it’s frustrating to hear and read about it all the time! It is definitely a movie that you should watch and make your own opinion of, I mean it’s the freaking Justice League for the first time ever guys! The actors all portrayed their characters very well and I am personally looking forward to seeing where the DCEU moves forward from here!
All I hope is that Ben Affleck will return as Batman!
Check out the trailer for Justice League below: