Warner Bros. DC Films is now onto its fifth film within its shared superhero universe with Justice League.
Fans have been anxious, Justice League is the superhero team up many of us have been anticipating for years and there’s been some concern the film would stray away from Zack Snyder’s original plan for the DC Extended Universe. The mainstream audience just want an enjoyable time at the cinema, whilst critics are harder to please.
Zack Snyder returned to helm the film, but during post production he departed after a family tragedy. Avengers director Joss Whedon stepped in to film re-shoots over the summer and put the finish touches on production, reports have suggested Whedon’s input was about 15/20%.
The film stars Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman, Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash, Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman, Ray Fisher as Victor Stone/Cyborg, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Jim Gordon, Amber Heard as Mera, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, and Ciaran Hinds as Steppenwolf.
Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists newfound ally Diana Prince to face an even greater threat. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to recruit a team to stand against this newly awakened enemy. Despite the formation of an unprecedented league of heroes — Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash — it may be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
The Good: The Cast
The chemistry between the League was incredible, they were the heart and soul of the movie. Wonder Woman continues to shine, going forward she should be the focal point of the DCEU. Batman is more comic book like this time around, there’s one scene that reminded me of the Arkham game series. Simply stunning. Aquaman is a bad ass force of nature, but also has a funny side. The Flash steals every scene he’s in, Millers portrayal brought something new to the character. Cyborg is great, Ray Fisher nailed his performance, you felt for him and everything he was going through. He along with Superman are the heart of the movie. Superman’s return was different from what I imagined, played out well onscreen. It felt like Supes was ready to be adored by the world, finally finding his place. I love each one of these characters and hope to see more of them in the future.
The Bad: The Cinematography and the CGI
Zack Snyder’s distinctive and meticulous visual style was softened and it was easy to see. The change of colour palette of Man of Steel and Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is different to the Justice League’s and its taken away from the visuals. The CGI in certain scenes were ugly, one of the biggest downgrades was Themyscira, if you saw Wonder Woman this year it was stunning, but when we returned it looked cheap, which surprises me as the film cost $300 million (inc reshoots) to make.
The Ugly: The Run Time and Score
Warner Bros. reportedly wanted the film to be under two hours long, due to this it effects the film, some scenes were rushed and needed more time to breathe. We could have used more backstory on Steppenwolf, along with Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash. Superman’s return needed more time too. I’m not saying it need to be as long as Batman V Superman Ultimate Edition but maybe more similar in time to Wonder Woman.
As for the films score, where do I begin? Danny Elfman was great back in the day, but his work for the last few years hasn’t been his best. He relies to much on nostalgia and brings with him similar themes from his work on Avengers: Age of Ultron. When Batman met with Commissioner Gordon, the old school Batman 89 theme worked well, but that was it. After sitting through Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL’s amazing work over the last few DC Films I was left underwhelmed with Elfman’s score.
Justice League is the superhero version of the Magnificent Seven, it feels like an adventure ripped from the pages of a comic book, you could call it a cinematic page turner. It’s an engaging and exciting film, action heavy, with some really amazing moments. It does suffer from a thin plot, some dodgy CGI and being light on its feet, some parts really need fleshed out. Steppenwolf didn’t bother me, he served his purpose. He brought the league together. It surprises me people complained so much about the ‘generic baddie’, it something we get in almost every comic book movie. If this was any other film it wouldn’t have worked, but the characters carry this film, that much so that you can see past the faults for a really good time at the cinema.
Justice League is in cinema’s NOW!