By Chris Evans
The time has finally come for fans of DC comics and just comic films in general, Justice League is here! WB has been trying to get this thing off the ground for a while going back to JL:Mortal. So, how is it? Is it better than BvS? Is it as good as Wonder Woman? Does Superman finally smile? Let’s get into it without spoilers.
I liked it. A lot. It plays like an episode of Justice League Unlimited with Snyder visuals, impressive action pieces, and some Whedon jokes thrown in. It’s an interesting blend.
The characters are represented very well and each of them get their moments to shine, they are really what make the film work so I’m going to spend a little time talking about them. I think a lot of people are really going to dig Ezra Miller as the Flash and Jason Momoa as Aquaman particularly. They are both very welcomed additions and frankly the latter was a surprise. I’ve never ever been an Aquaman fan and always felt the character was borderline useless. My mind has changed. Ray Fisher is also pretty good as Cyborg, he brings emotional weight to his role despite being almost completely CGI. You’ve also got some other newcomers like J.K. Simmons as Gordon and Billy Crudup as Henry Allen, both do well enough in their short scenes. Then there’s the returning cast members who once again deliver. People worried about Affleck’s Batman being too much like Frank Miller’s shouldn’t worry, he’s more akin to the BTAS Bruce/Batman here. Gal continues to be WONDERful. I don’t want to say much about Cavill because of spoilers but it’s great to see him back and see Superman fully formed.
The story itself is paper thin which can be seen as a positive or a negative depending how you like your superhero flicks. In this case, I really didn’t mind. It’s very straight forward and to the point, not a bad thing in my opinion this time around. I believe the film’s tight running time also had something to do with it being so straight forward, they had no time to waste. The villain though? Eh. He’s okay I guess and starts off vicious enough but by the final battle it’s really clear that he’s hardly a real threat. That’s one of the films’ flaws, you don’t really get the sense that this is ever more than the team can actually handle especially with favorite boy scout around. It didn’t hurt the film too much for me but I definitely would’ve preferred a stronger villain.
Another flaw is the CGI and that’s really unfortunate for a movie of this scale. I’m not going to pick on the parademons because they’re essentially demonic bugs, I didn’t expect them to look amazing although I did like their look. This is a side note but I think they may have looked better in BvS than they do here. Back to the point though, Cyborg looks downright terrible in a lot of his scenes. There’s one particular bit toward the end where it’s so bad he looks like something out of a late 90s video game, it’s a shame when you compare him to other movies with fully CGI characters. Stepppenwolf doesn’t fare much better, I felt like his face was barely even emoting most of the time. There’s also plenty of other times where he just stands out and not in a good way. I really expected more polish but it is what it is I suppose.
The pacing and editing is an issue as well, it moves at such a pace that you can’t digest some moments because it’s quickly on the way to the next bit. There’s no breathing room. I’ve been describing JL as a ride and I believe that’s accurate for that reason. However, I feel like we are going to end up with another extended version once this film hits home and we won’t even notice these little speed bumps.
The bottom line is that Justice League isn’t going to win any awards but it’s a great time at the movies with some fantastic characters and some really awesome moments. Plus, the two end credit scenes are cinematic gold. Do. Not. Miss. Them.
Oh and….Superman smiles.