Justice League Review (spoilers)

Finally its here! If you’ve been following me on here or on my Twitter you would know how much I was looking forward to this film. As a kid I never thought that I’d get to see a live action Justice League film but thanks to Zack Snyder and Warner Bros. that was made possible last night. Not to say it hasn’t been a bumpy road to get here with the criticisms of Dawn of Justice, reshoots, rewrites and Zack Snyder having to step down due to a personal tragedy. With all of this going against the film during its production how did it end up? For me it was a great film where for the majority of the time I had the biggest smile on my face. It honestly felt like I was a kid again as I’d wake up early on the weekends just to watch the Justice League animated series. However not even the fanboy within me could ignore the glaring issues that this film suffers from which stopped me from REALLY loving it as I wanted to.

———————————————WARNING SPOILERS BELOW———————————————

What makes Justice League such a joy to watch is the characters and the great performances brought in from the cast. Given we have already seen what the likes of Wonder Woman and Batman bring to the table I’d like to focus on the new guys here. Ezra Miller as the Flash stole the show for me, his portrayal of Barry Allen was literally like playing the role of the audience. Watching him geek out about the bat cave and being nervous before going into battle I can’t help but think this is what we would be like in his situation. Cyborg was the character I was most worried about given that his solo film seems to have quietly disappeared. I wasn’t sure on how much of his origin we would explore. But Ray Fisher’s performance as Victor Stone was a real stand out for me. Cyborg was really was the heart of the movie. He came across as a really sympathetic character and it was understandable why. Cyborg was the only one that wasn’t excited about joining the league as he felt his powers turned him into a monster. Once Cyborg starts to come out of his shell he shines. Especially in the third act along with the chemistry he has with his fellow Justice League members in particular with the Flash.

The one character I was really looking forward to in this film was Aquaman, largely due to Jason Momoa’s portrayal of the character from what I had seen from the trailers. Unfortunately I don’t feel that Aquaman was in this movie that much. For the most part it almost felt like he was just tagging along. The scenes where Bruce Wayne goes to recruit Arthur Curry just felt rushed and unfinished to me. Maybe they done this on purpose because the Aquaman film is coming out next year and they wanted to focus on the other characters. I will say that the underwater scenes of Atlantis did look great and it makes the wait for his solo film next year even longer.

As for Wonder Woman, Gal Godot builds on her performance from her solo film earlier this year. Diana Prince is really a crucial member of the Justice League being one of the main recruiters as we saw with her early scenes with Cyborg. Her scene with Bruce Wayne when he calls her out for leaving humanity provide for some of the best dialogue and emotion I’ve seen in a comic book movie in years. Given the change in tone of the film I felt like it suited all the characters… except Batman. I feel like this is the one character that people would understand should remain dark, however not like in Dawn of Justice. It’s just some of the dialogue Batman would say felt really out of place. Not that the character can’t make a joke or two but at times it felt too much with him. Having said that the main strength lies when all of the league are together on screen and are just having fun. I just couldn’t stop smiling every time I saw all of the members working together as a team. As for Superman well… I’ll get to him a little later.

Now on to the main villain Steppenwolf… Look I’ve always said what’s crucial in a making a great comic book movie is its main villain. Unfortunately for me Steppenwolf was just ok to me, he wasn’t amazing but then again he wasn’t terrible. Him wanting to take over the world and turn it into Apokolips is something we’ve seen before. What his motivations did provide us with was some amazing action scenes of him battling against the Amazons, Atlanteans and the Green Lanterns! Granted I don’t think he was as bad as some people made him out to be. I mean people are acting like this is this is the first time we’ve had a CGI main villain whose aim is to destroy the world. It’s not the first time and it definitely won’t be the last time. It would be interesting to see if comic book films in the future will get the same amount of criticism as Steppenwolf got in this film. But you know what? I’ll give them a pass, I didn’t come to watch the first ever Justice League film because of the Steppenwolf. I came for the Justice League! However for the next Justice League film there definitely needs a drastic improvement whether the next villain is going to be Deathstroke, Darkseid or whoever.

One of my biggest issues with this film are the reshoots that took place earlier this year. Now granted nearly every Hollywood blockbuster goes through some extensive reshoots. With Justice League it felt like 80% of the film was reshot just a couple of months ago. Major parts from the trailers were just left out and it felt scenes were cut short and some scenes just didn’t look right. Not to mention CGI work done to Henry Cavill’s moustache. I’m not one of those guys who really cares about CGI too much but every time Henry Cavill was on the screen you couldn’t help notice his face just didn’t look right. Of course with any Zack Snyder film I see a lot of people pointing the finger at him for what’s wrong with this movie when we really need to be looking at Warner Bros.

I mean first of all making the Justice League film two hours just because of the criticisms Dawn of Justice’s runtime received? If any film needed to be over two hours it was this one! This short runtime really hurt the film. Some scenes just weren’t allowed breathe at all for example when Bruce Wayne goes to recruit Aquaman. I understand you want to get the Justice League on the screen as soon as possible but it was at the sacrifice of screen time for characters who really needed it. It just gets me wondering who are they making these films for the die hard fans? or the critics? If it’s the critics well it looks like its not working at as the film currently has 40% on Rotten Tomatoes. In my opinion I wouldn’t have minded waiting another year for this film which would have allowed it to be more polished and complete whether if it was to be finished by Joss Whedon or Zack Snyder.

Another disappointment with this film is Danny Elfman’s score. Now this is a personal view although I did love what he done with Batman in this film especially his introduction scene. Being a younger fan I don’t have that great of an attachment with the Batman 89 theme as most people do but for me it fit well. I did hear hints of the John Williams and at least 30 seconds of Hans Zimmer theme for Superman. Personally for the Superman scenes I would have liked Elfman to have just used Hans Zimmer’s theme because thats the theme for this generations Superman. I just feel like it was a missed opportunity. With a project as big as this wouldn’t you want to create something new? create something iconic? It felt like Elfman just relied too much on nostalgia and brought nothing new to the table.

I left Superman’s return until last because I have so much love the character and just couldn’t wait for his return. Honestly it was really the moment I was anticipating the most throughout the entire film. And How do they bring him back? A regeneration chamber? Did we see the black suit, mullet and beard? Nope! They repeated exactly what Lex Luthor did in Dawn of Justice when he created Doomsday. I don’t know maybe my expectations were so high for his return. I just pictured this amazing scene of Superman showing up in the final act with the black suit accompanied by the Hans Zimmer theme in the background to save everyone. What we got instead I’m not mad at I just found the way they brought him back underwhelming.

With that being said let me get to what I loved about Superman in this film! Everything after Superman’s return was brilliant! The scene on the Kent family farm with Clark, Lois and Martha was both heartfelt and emotional. The return of Superman’s character in the third act was even better. Not only did he save the league from Steppenwolf when he showed up but he really saved the third act of the film. Everything from his action scenes to the corny lines that only Superman could pull off I loved. Not to mention that opening scene with the kids interviewing him I swear I had the biggest smile on my face (did not expect that scene at all). My one small issue was the fact the scene of Clark asking Lois about the ring in the trailer was completely cut, I hope we get back to that in a future film. As much as I loved Superman in Man of Steel I really like this new portrayal, it felt like the right progression for the character. My only worry was could we ever see the Superman from the Golden Age comics and Richard Donner films on the big screen? Would it work with this generation? In my opinion so far it worked mainly due to Henry Cavill’s performance and I just can’t wait for the next Superman movie.

Honestly I could talk about this film for days but to just wrap things up I felt Justice League was a really good movie. I wanted to REALLY love it believe me, but I just couldn’t. Maybe with a few more viewings I will start to like it more (or an extended cut in the future). That third act with all the members on the screen for the first time was amazing, I wanted more of that! What this film did was get me even more excited for the rest of the DCEU. I can’t wait for Aquaman next year. I can’t wait to see what the Flash movie will be like and one day hopefully a Cyborg film. Most importantly I’m looking forward to the next Justice League film whenever that will be. One of the last scenes of the film is Bruce and Diana building the hall of justice and Diana saying they may need more than six chairs. I cant wait until we really see ALL of the Justice League members unite in the future. As for now Justice League if definitely another step in the right direction for the DCEU. Is it far from perfect? yes but this is a film I would recommend to any comic book fan because there’s something here for everyone to enjoy.

 

Final score: 8/10

Let me know what you thought of the film below

 

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