Jason Momoa, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher in Justice League
This is a longer than normal movie review of Justice League, the DC ensemble team film from Warner Bros that finally made it to the big screen. WARNING: With Light Spoilers Growing Into Heavier Spoilers As I Go.
Spoiler Free Review section
The Justice League movie did not suck and DC fanboys should love it, despite the review embargo WB issued. It's preview night netted the film $13M, which is way below BvS's $27M and just below Ragnarok's $14M. I suspect this preview number may have been impacted by WB's attempt to restrict critics and Rotten Tomatoes from releasing their usual reporting products.
Justice League was true DC, but there were moments that felt distracting for one reason or another, including how Snyder sexed up several visuals of Diana Prince and the Amazonian women. I'd give it a popcorn 7. Go see it!
There are initially some light spoilers below, but later, I dig deeper with more spoilers.
The film synopsis says
"Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy."
What it doesn't say is that Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciarán Hinds) breaks out of his exile prison and returns to Earth to take back a few boxes of power that have been hidden around the planet. They were hidden and kept separate because if they are placed together, they will destroy the planet. Nothing too big.
So Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) hunts down Arthur Murray/Aquaman, (played by Jason Momoa), while Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) meets Victor Stone/Cyborg (Ray Fisher), in the hopes of asking them to join up with them to defend the planet.
When Bruce Wayne asks Barry Allen, The Flash (Ezra Miller) to join the team, he didn't even get the question totally out before Allen spouts that he needs friends, so sure. (We all saw that trailer, right?)
Any way, Murray and Stone both say no initially because they are better off alone than with a team. But events end up driving them both to the team.
Meanwhile, Steppenwolf is cruising around the planet, kicking the Amazonians and Atlantians asses to get his power boxes. Here, we see Amber Heard in her sexy Atlantean outfit, while getting her butt kicked by Steppenwolf. We also see a flashback where in the very distant past, during a great battle, the Green Lantern Corps fought side-by-side with Atlantis and the Amazonians.
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This film was another WB/DC production from Zack Snyder with finishing touches put on by Joss Whedon after Snyder left for personal reasons. Or at least that was the official story. I had seen a piece or two that quoted inside sources saying that after seeing the first cut of the film, WB asked him to let Whedon have the project.
Regardless of what you believe, the character interaction was, I'm pretty sure, pure Whedon magic, that was probably throttled back a bit to fit within the sordid, serious atmosphere that WB/DC seems to want their "drama" hero pieces to reflect.
LIGHT SPOILER here:
An online peer of mind, Jesse Abundis, had this to say about the film...
"It's heart and soul lies with the team. The final battle was JL anime come to life. Superman coming back to save the day put a smile on my face. You'll love it if you're a DC fan boy, but I can honestly say they could have done better in creating a stronger story line, they aimed to be Marvel and that's what kills it at times.
Also stay for the post credit scene. Freaking amazing!"
Jesse is right about that.
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Spoilers are bound to be in this section for sure.
As Snyder is known for, the marketing had scenes in it that did not appear in the film, and that can be good or not good. If you go to a film expecting to see the scenes, you'll be disappointed. But in some regards, it's interesting when they don't show up also.
I loved the developing camaraderie of the crew, from the tense initial meetings to having to come together due to a bigger, more common enemy or problem facing each of them.
Each character had their own magic to contribute to the film.
Barry tried to make friends with Victor but Victor was still too rough around the edges, until, during one moment where they were digging up something, and Barry hit the common thread between them... that they are who they are because "We are the accidents."
We learned a bit more about Diana Prince and why she went underground for over a hundred years, letting humanity fend for itself.
Clark Kent/Superman (Henry Cavill)... yea, that odd bit of casting, where we all know he's in the cast, and never really referenced in the marketing. In BvS, we saw the dirt vibrating on his casket, but apparently that did not mean much for the next appearance of Superman. Here, Bruce suggests they attempt to use the Kryptonian ship being studied, to try and resurrect Superman. It's risky and when it works, well, Clark wasn't quite himself at first. He was kind of pissed and mindless, all at once. Not a good thing for Batman, for a moment or two.
Steppenwolf looked like they resurrected the beast from the 1985 movie Legend, that starred a young Tom Cruise. The CGI was stiff but OK... And to be honest, Steppenwolf showed up with his own motivations, barely. But it was the bad guy that was strong enough to threaten one heroe, and keep five of them at bay, until Superman shows and makes a mess of him. Of course Steppenwolf was the excuse to form the Justice League, but he was also the messenger for the movie audience, considering he did mention Darkseid in a sentence. It was a quick reference, but it was there.
I would have liked to have seen more of Commissioner Gordon (J.K. Simmons) and Alfred (Jeremy Irons), but maybe later.
All in all, Justice League was a fine time in the theater. It was not as bad as we were surmising it was. I don't get why WB put out a review embargo. Those tricks are usually reserved for when a film truly sucks and the distributor doesn't want to impact opening day numbers. Sure, there were some weird CGI effects that were a bit confusing or distracting, but they can be looked past to see the fun in it.
Then there was Snyder's stylistic approach to lingering camera shots that panned Diana's body... most men won't complain, but it did cheapen the character a bit. BUT... we have yet to call Diana Wonder Woman. in the film much like in her own film. I am loving that trend.
OH, and to all you websites that showed what looked like official early concepts of what Superman might look like in the film, with the black suit, long hair and what not... you were so full of (----) and this guess was only pinging off the comics in the 90s when Superman rose from the dead after Doomsday killed him.
Check out the official trailer for Justice League now:
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