Dec 8, 2017

[Movies] Justice League (2017) Review

Given the often dark and gloomy tone of Zack Snyder's movies, particularly his work for DC's movies, I wasn't exactly bouncing with excitement to watch the Justice League movie. As much as the Wonder Woman movie was pretty amazing and made  me eager to see the character on screen again, the sour taste of movies like  Batman v Superman still lingered in memory.

Early reviews for this movie were pretty bad, but not quite as terrible as feared. Critics don't usually rate superhero movies all that highly after all but even this movie wasn't trending low. And now that I've seen I can totally see where the criticism was coming from and the many awkward parts of the movie that didn't quite make sense.

But the movie still had its moments when it shined and felt more like a proper depiction of the sort of adventures we'd expect from DC Comics titles brought to life. It had lighter moments of banter that included some genuine-feeling camaraderie among them. Those moments helped keep the movie watchable.

Synopsis: Justice League is a 2017 American superhero movie directed by Zack Snyder. The screenplay was written by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, who had also stepped in to help complete post-production along with shooting a few more scenes he had written into the movie.

Thousands of years ago the Earth was nearly lost to Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) and his Parademons, who sought to reform the Earth as their home world with the power of the Unity - the joining of three Mother Boxes. By united force off humans, Amazonians, Atlanteans, Green Lanterns and even Gods managed to defeat Steppenwolf and force him to retreat. The Mother Boxes were left on Earth and given to the three Earth factions to secret away and protect.

Back in the preset, the world mourns Superman, who had died in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. At the same time Batman (Ben Afleck) has been investigating odd cases of people disappearing and has a direct run-in with one of the kidnappers - a Parademon. At the same time the Mother Boxes reactivate and this brings Steppenwolf to Themyscira, island of the Amazons, and he defeats them in order to take the Mother Box from them. Now Batman tries to gather super-powered individuals to face the looming threat of invasion and to figure out Steppenwolf's agenda.

What I Liked: The movie has a lot of great moments - instances that are witty or just plain fun. There's the big fight in the middle where the look on Flash's face is priceless even if the situation was rather ridiculous. You have moments of awesome for each of the characters to shine during the final battle and just be great at what they do. Those moments really do a lot to carry you through things.

The movie also reminds you that you could watch Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and the other Amazons forever. But alas you only get the Amazons in the beginning of the movie but you will at least get a lot of great screen time for Wonder Woman, who remains to be the team's best fighter for some reason. Good times.

What Could Have Been Better: Again, the overall story has a lot of terrible moments and I'm not just talking about how things from the comics were twisted into unrecognizeable shapes. I don't know why the Mother Boxes never activated during the decades before Superman or why Steppenwolf had not made multiple attempts to recover them before. Batman doesn't really act like an intelligent detective in this story nor is he all that skilled as a hand-to-hand fighter, so I don't really know who he's supposed to be as a character.

But the most troubling part of the movie involves how they brought Superman back to life, or perhaps more how they rationalized that this was something that they needed to do. The movie really went dark there and I don't see how they can still be as heroic as we want them to be given they stood by and let things happen as they did. I would have preferred that circumstances had accidentally brought him back to life instead of them making the choice to disrupt his rest.

TL;DR: Justice League has a lot of rough edges to it and it can be painful to watch at times. But in the long run it's still a decent superhero movie and it can give DC fans hope that the movie side of the franchise may be on the road to recovery. Thus the movie gets 3.5 heroic moments of awesome out of a possible 5.

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