Is ‘Justice League’ a film in a league of its own, or does it barely do the DC franchise justice?
Following the death of Superman (Henry Cavill) at the end of ‘Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice‘ last year, the world has returned to its darker state, and is going to become even darker under the threat of the evil Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciarán Hinds) and his plan to invade Earth with his army of evil para-demons and turn the planet into the hellish land of his birth. Only Batman (Ben Affleck) and his team of heroes, Flash (Ezra Miller), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) have a chance of stopping the mighty Steppenwolf, and saving the Earth, in the name of their fallen hero, Superman.
Going into ‘Justice League’, I’d heard some quite negative reviews of the film, so didn’t have the best of hopes. However, I was pleasantly surprised; it’s not that bad! And also, by far, the best film to be part of the new DC Extended Universe, consisting so far of 2013’s ‘Man of Steel’, 2016’s ‘Batman V Superman’ and ‘Suicide Squad’, 2017’s ‘Wonder Woman’ and now ‘Justice League’.
I’ll start with the negative aspects of this film, and there’s quite a big one — the villain. Steppenwolf has no character at all, his motivation is purely that he is a “creature of chaos” and his entire plot and plan could’ve been lifted from one of thousands of action movies to come out in the last decade. It’s hard not to compare Warner Bros. and DC’s efforts of a superhero movie franchise to that of Disney and Marvel, with this year’s ‘Justice League’ being most like 2012’s ‘Avengers Assemble’, and the villain in ‘Avengers’, Loki, is far superior as a character than Steppenwolf with his motivation, charisma and actual interactions with the characters making the Marvel character much more interesting to watch.
The rest of the plot isn’t totally unique either; it’s a pretty standard ‘villain has army, army tries to destroy the world, team of heroes fight them and save the day’ story, but it’s executed quite well. My biggest gripe with previous DC films is their style-over-substance, as director Zak Snyder favours his epic cinematography over an engaging and sensical plot, which is the case in his films ‘Man of Steel’ and ‘Batman V Superman’. However, I’m glad to say that Snyder didn’t write the script for ‘Justice League’ and that that duty went to Joss Whedon, the man behind the two Marvel ‘Avengers’ films, and ‘Justice League’ is all the better for it. However, Snyder still stayed on as director, which was good because his style of shooting did add something to this film, especially in my favourite scenes where the Flash displays his power and the scenes become very slow-motion as he moves extremely quickly.
That leads me onto the visual effects in this film, all of which were brilliant. The CGI was fantastic, as to be expected in a film of this calibre, and the underwater scenes with Aquaman were done really well. I also felt that the casting was done really well for all the characters; I liked Momoa’s different take on Aquaman, and I felt that Ezra Miller did a great performance as Barry Allen and his alter-ego the Flash. I wasn’t too keen on the fact that some characters were just shoe-horned in for, what seemed like, just making the numbers up and adding some big names to the credits such as ‘JK Simmons’ and ‘Amber Heard’.
However, overall ‘Justice League’ was a fun film with a pretty standard plot but some excellent cinematography and visual effects, as well as a very strong cast and selection of characters. For me, it deserves an eight-out-of-ten.
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