Directed by Zack Snyder
Starring Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller
It can safely be said that Zack Snyder and co. have actively listened to fans (and critics) of the rather maligned Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman and have sanded off all the flaws (and potential ambitions that come with them) from the series to produce an even film that never dips into any great lows or soars into any great highs with Justice League. This movie adaptation has been anticipated as the Avengers of the DC Universe, and although some folks may have had their excitement quelled by Snyder’s very wonky efforts setting up this new Batman/Superman franchise, this latest film (that ties in with previously released Wonder Woman and upcoming Aquaman, Cyborg, and The Flash movies) suffers from what has been established in Snyder’s previous two films, yet also puts a halt to some of that suffering.
He treads lightly with the story here, carefully stepping on egg-shells as to not anger any fans who may have been annoyed by the inanity of the plot-points towards the end of Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman, yet not freshening up this familiar superhero tale. The superheros of the DC world are gathered together by Batman (Ben Affleck), who has no difficulty in grouping together Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and the Flash (Ezra Miller) to save the world from Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds).
Whilst the predecessors were criticised for being overly dark and brooding (in stark contrast to Marvel’s lighter touch), Justice League lifts its head up a bit more into the light to emerge as a brighter film, both tonally and cinematographically. It’s a warmer and more welcoming movie than the previous in the series, but still pales in comparison to the liveliness of Marvel films such as the most recent one Thor: Ragnarok.
The story is so stock, it could’ve come from an 80s video game. The evil bad guy must collect the three mother boxes – one from the Amazonians, one from the sea, and one from Earth – to harness an almighty power and wreck havoc across the entire world (for whatever reason). Not only is the villain so one dimensionally standard he might as well be Hela’s twin brother, the action is also often unimpressive, with the rag-tag superhero team displaying an inconsistent amount of power and weaknesses amongst themselves whilst fighting.
It’s not the mess nor the masterpiece many were expecting, just a simple and pure superhero film that rejects doing anything new to the genre in favour of trying to do the best with all the genre conventions. It’s likely the anticipation leading up will be more memorable than the actual film, but at least this hugely awaited yet much maligned series now has more even footing, which it can hopefully use to produce something more adventurous.