Justice League review: Rushed, fun, and a vote of confidence for DC
It’s easy to have low expectations going into a new DC movie. Past instalments have largely been joyless, poe-faced affairs, with only Wonder Woman bucking this trend.
So it’s something of a surprise that Justice League – which lands in cinemas this week – is reasonably well put together and enjoyable to sit through.
Yes, we know this sounds like damning with faint praise, but let’s face it, the DCU films have been floundering for so long that the fact Justice League manages to work is a very welcome experience.
As it’s an ensemble movie, it’s important that the characters work well with each other, and they do. Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot return as Batman and Wonder Woman respectively from previous films, and they’re still do their characters justice. We get to see them interact more in Justice league, and they trade leadership duties as the league forms.
Ezra Miller is the best new addition as The Flash, playing a socially unaware Barry Allen that’s younger and less experienced compared to how the character has been written before. Jason Momoa’s Aquaman is a bit too hammy; he’s one “cowabunga” away from being a surf enthusiast cosplaying Arthur Curry at a Halloween party, which may explain why he gets so little screen time.
Finally there’s Ray Fisher as Cyborg who has a pretty thankless role since he’s called upon to be robotic in an ensemble movie that give him precious little space to convey any hint of humanity. Because of this he’s hard to connect with and the planned solo film Warner Bros apparently has in the pipeline for this character has its work cut out for it. After Justice League, the idea that punters will line up in their droves for a Cyborg movie is questionable.
Besides the titular Justice League heroes, its feels like all the other characters in this movie exist mostly to advance the plot in some way as there’s precious little development beyond that function. The exception to this rule is Lois Lane (Amy Adams) mulling over Superman matters, as she always has been.
After Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciarán Hinds) is introduced as the main villain, the plot hurtles to the end as small problems like completely artificial infighting are overcome for the big final showdown. We can’t go into too much detail about the latter stages because we’ll enter into spoiler territory, but you’d have to have been live under several, large rocks to not know that a certain character shows up to save the day.
This part of the movie delivers the best scenes of the whole shebang. The person playing that character does a great job and it’s the best it’s ever been.
There are no glaring errors the filmmakers have made in the film’s grand finale. But there’s nothing really here to blow your hair back. Unfortunately, this is a complaint that can be laid against the entire film’s running time.
Aside from the joy of finally seeing the Justice League on screen, there’s very little here. All the characters and their decisions are predictable and there’s no twists or turns you don’t see coming from a mile away.
So, where does Justice League rank compared to the other recent DC films? I personally think it’s the best one yet, even if that’s sacrilege to Wonder Woman devotees.
More than that, it’s a promising sign that the filmmakers finally have an idea about how to make a DC film, and it should inspire confidence that future outings will not be the same disappointments we’ve come to expect. The bar has been raised, if only slightly.