Bob Foster

JUSTICE LEAGUE is a step in the right direction, but not enough yet. [REVIEW]

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Let’s do this the way Superman would prefer: start with the positive, that glimmer of hope. Justice League finally understands Superman. After the scowling, grudging hero of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman; JL has The Big Blue Boy Scout audiences expected and wanted; besides one sequence that threatens to crash it down. The opening scene of kids asking Superman about being a hero gave that Hope; hope JL would, along with Wonder Woman, steer DC films on track. It turns out that particular tall building needs at least two bounds to leap. Maybe next time, it’ll clear.

 

There almost feels like an effort to fix a few of the issues of the past.  The actors are game, there’s some color this time (although still very grey), and there are jokes (although they feel forced and added in) and some levity. Because sometimes you just can’t win; pulling back the sour gloom of MoS and BvS has also caused one of the biggest issues: Justice League is often as generic as can be.  Marvel did a fantastic job of setting up its own team-up, The Avengers. All the elements: characters, McGuffins, and villain, of The Avengers were set-up, explained, and used in previous entries, allowing the film to hit the ground running.  Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman all have had their time, but everything else needs to be introduced (those flashes of video files in BvS barely count) in a slog of a first act. Heroes Flash, Cyborg, and Aquaman have to be given exposition heavy, too long for the little character given introductions, often filled with groaner puns. Oh, there’s a villain too, I guess. Dudes name is Steppenwolf and he’s born (of awful CG) to be w… boring.

 

Steppenwolf, has a generic plan to either destroy or control the world, or bring on Darkseid, or …something… with his three McGuffin boxes.  These boxes do allow a short but fun action scene on Thermiscya and a brief sojurn into Atlantis.  The sheer thinness of the plot seems like a reaction to Luthor’s 99-point plan in BvS. This leads to a lot of “where are we, and why?” questions; tossing in characters, vehicles and plot points for a small number of scenes and then vanishing ? (i.e. kidnapping scientists). Things happen because… they do? The action scenes stumbled into are decent, with each character getting their moments; even if the final battle becomes the bane of many MCU/DC movies – CG slug fests. Yet, I can’t complain of the endless CG alien-monsters since Avengers did that too; but the Battle for New York is heads above Battle for Random Russian Village; with far more clever moments and character bits.

 

Those coming out of BvS cried for a Wonder Woman movie as Gal Gidot stole the film; look forward to the same for Aquaman. While Ezra Miller’s The Flash is given moments to endear himself – usually with those awkward insert joke shots; Jason Momoa looks to be having a blast with what he has to work with. It’s limited, but so is everyone’s, really. Despite the actors’ best attempts, the characters still feel like sketches, barely getting shading from previous entries.

 

Earlier this year, Wonder Woman gave hope Justice League would be a step forward in the right direction for the whole of DC movies, but it’s still not quite there. JL isn’t as directly bad as BvS or Suicide Squad (there, I mentioned it; now I’m angry at it again), but it’s not good either. It’s just bland and generic; which no movie featuring Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman should be.

 

C

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