Justice League (2017) Review
Dare you hope after Wonder Woman’s success that DC can make another film that isn’t completely f*cking awful? Yes. Because Justice League is not completely awful. In fact, it’s pretty okay, which in DC terms is kind of “good”.
“Good” for DC is relative, so I guess we can thank BVS, Suicide Squad, and Man of Steel for setting the bar so low that a perfectly passable movie is cause for excitement. Not like Roy-Moore-checking-out-the-preteen-girls-at-a-Hot-Dog-On-A-Stick excitement, but it’s more than we had any right to expect, considering it’s DC.
It makes one wonder how much of JL’s lack of awfulness has to do with Avengers’ writer/director Joss Whedon (who reportedly took over postproduction and reshoots after the death of director Zack Snyder’s daughter). I’m guessing all the funny parts and the tightening of running time to watchable levels are because of Whedon. Everything else is because of Snyder.
Now if we can only get someone from Marvel to delete Suicide Squad from everything.
Justice League opens, and Superman is still dead---
--Oh, if Superman coming back to life is an item of suspense for you, then you’ve finally woken up from a coma because Henry Cavill’s name is in the OPENING CREDITS before Gal Gadot so f*ck your spoiler alert—
-- and the world is in mourning.
Batman (Ben Affleck) has been hunting large bug-like creatures because of the exposition-y dream he had during BVS portending of an invasion involving large bug-like creatures.
Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) is working at a museum and still hung up on Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) being dead. It’s been 100 years. Quit pining.
Speaking of Steve Trevor, he was one of the first men to appear on Diana’s homeland of Themyscira a century ago but way back in June for us movie fans. Another man (or whatever he is) shows up on Themyscira, much to the chagrin of the Amazons. His name is Steppenwolf (a CG character not played by Andy Serkis but voiced by Ciaran Hinds) and he really wants some Amazon box.
No, he literally wants a box that the Amazons have been holding for thousands of years and is willing to Harvey Weinstein a bunch of Amazons to get it. After a protracted chase, Steppenwolf gets the Infinity Stone, um, box and takes off. The Amazons warn Wonder Woman that it’s about to go down.
Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne (Martha Affleck) is looking for help because he has a feeling that it’s about to go down in a Supermanless world and it’s at least an hour of screen time before Supermartha comes back to life. He grows a beard really quick to visit some maritime town to look for the mysterious Aquaman that’s hopefully not in some stupid orange and green and blue outfit. Bruce finds Aquaman (Jason Momoa) but Aquaman says no.
Diana takes blocks of exposition time to tell Bruce and the audience that Steppenwolf is after 3 Infini--- Mother Boxes hidden in various places on earth. If he gets his hands on all three of them then really terrible things will happen. Like Suicide Squad 2.
Bruce finds it much easier to recruit the Flash/Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) because Barry is an awkward teen and needs friends. BTW- the Flash’s superpower is that he goes fast, not that he can expose himself like Louis CK.
Diana tries getting Cyborg/Victor Stone (Ray Fisher) to join, but he’s a loner. Diane knows what that feels like and thinks it’s only a matter of time before the robotic looking black guy will come to his senses.
Well, Cyborg and Aquaman better hurry and suit up and Superman better hurry and not be dead, because Steppenwolf has just gone under the sea (just like the Little Mermaid song) and taken another mother box. All he needs is one more, and let’s just hope all three of these mother boxes are not named Martha.
What Works With Just Ice League
- Ezra Miller steals the movie as the Flash, given almost every funny line in the movie (“It’s a Cave!!!”) and running away with it. I must assume this is Joss Whedon’s doing as it feels like very character-specific comedy something which Zack Snyder seems incapable of.
- At a breezy 2 hour running time, it’s the first DC movie not named Wonder Woman not to feel bloated and sleep-inducing.
- Ben Affleck battles bugs and fanboy rage to be the second-best Batman besides Christian Bale. He was one of the few bright spots in BVS and leaves one longing for production to finally start on Affleck’s standalone Batman. C’mon, he’s not getting any younger.
- The chase on Themyscira is the best action sequence in the movie and the one that feels the least CGI-sh.
- No MARTHA!!! moment
What Doesn’t Work With Justice League
- Though Jason Momoa is certainly quite the screen presence, it’s only after the credits roll that you realize that Aquaman really wasn’t necessary to the story except as a generic placeholder. You could have taken him out and it wouldn’t have mattered a whit to the story. Aquaman never reaches Hawkeye levels of uselessness but he never feels central to anything that’s going on
- Henry Cavill’s (invisible) moustache- How is it possible that Peter Cushing being resurrected onscreen looks more convincing than Superman’s digitally shaven face?
- Ray Fisher’s Cyborg looks like 90s CGI crossed with Brett from ITs Comic Con cosplay from 2008. I thought this character looked horrible from the first trailers and nothing from the film dissuades me from that notion.
- Thor Ragnarok- If you’ve seen this, then you know this is the best comic book movie released this month and Justice pales by comparison.
A not-terrible DC offering will leave you having a not-terrible time at the movies. Is it justice for having to sit though BVS and Suicide Squad? Not quite, but it’s a Lasso of Truth in the right direction.