REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE
I really really liked this movie. Is it perfect? No. But what movie is? Especially when it comes to comic book movies. I haven’t had any problems with any of the DCEU movies so far. I don’t know what people want from movies.
While my defence of this movie may not be backed up by the critics and the box office, but when you are watching it you do get a sense of hope for the future. Particularly in the last five minutes, including the two post credit scenes. You have to take the bigger into account when it comes to Justice League and with that all hope if washed away in an instant. The biggest thing to take into account is that this is not the movie Zack Snyder originally envisioned. Originally planned as two movies, it was then cut to one and then Snyder had to leave for personal reasons. Joss Whedon came in to finish off. More trained critics than me claim you can pick scene for scene who directed what. All I know is there was only one character with quips so it didn’t feel like a Whedon movie. The least Warner Bros. Can do is release a Snyder directors cut, let him have his trilogy as he planned it. It works well with the other two previous movies no matter how much they were derided. After watching Justice League I would have no problem with him doing a sequel. But bigger picture time. The box office hasn’t been great and now the studio must be having second thoughts about a sequel. Money talks after all. Where do they go from here? It seems a new DCEU solo movie is announced every day. But their premier team doesn’t seem to fit with any of these pieces.
Lets get The Avengers comparisons out of the way. When I first sat down to write this I didn’t want to compare the two. But you have to. I mean The Avengers is the only movie you can compare Justice League to and not just because it is the ‘big two’ from comics going at it on the big screen. There is no previous Justice League film to compare it to, like the plethora of Batman movies. The only other DCEU team movie is Suicide Squad and believe me it is better than that. I would go as far to say Justice League matches The Avengers (forget the box office). You care about every member of the team by the end. The final battle is spectacular, giving equal time to all members. Yeah its hokey in parts. Very comic booky in others. It is full of fan service and accessible for new comers. So in that sense it matches The Avengers stride for stride. I would even go as far to say over the three movies from Man of Steel to Justice League their world building has been a little tighter than Marvels. Justice League takes place in a world we are already familiar with just from two movies. A lot of the action takes place again in Metropolis and Gotham. The crash site is key again. We see the Kent Farm, The Daily Planet, Wayne Manor. It is a simple trick by giving the viewer all these familiar elements that they can slip right into the feel of things pretty quickly. Which works in the characters favour as we haven’t had as much screen time with them as we had with The Avengers prior to their team up. Everyone knows Batman and Superman. Wonder Woman is still positively in the everyones thoughts. They were able to incorporate three new heroes and one new villain and have the story all come together rather seamlessly at the end. They had the difficult task of winning over fans of The Flash TV series with the introduction of Ezra Miller as Barry Allen. He makes a brilliant Barry we just need more of him as Flash. They lay some ground work with stuff involving his origin and the relationship with his Dad.
Having him visit his Dad in Iron Heights will appeal to the hardcore fans and the outcome at the end is positive going forward. Then you remember the Flash movie has already lost two directors and is currently without one, so you have to question how is the character going to progress? On the other hand Aquamans solo movie is complete and there is positive buzz. The plot makes Atlanteans integral to the plot but most of Aquamans highlights are all in the trailers so not a lot new on offer. Cyborg has the strongest story arc out of the newcomers and possibly of the whole ensemble. The man and monster angle is well played and the story of him becoming and accepting his new place in the world. As Vic Sage was established in Gotham is there any chance he’ll pop up in the Nightwing movie? It made perfect sense for Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman to get the first big action set piece of the movie and it doesn’t disappoint. My immediate tweet after the film was asking DC for a Wonder Woman short every month! While Batman assembles the team Diana kind of takes on a more hands on role in the field and has the backing from the team. Again it makes sense with Superman off the board for a portion of the movie the in field leadership shifts to the most powered and experienced fighter. The Wonder Woman franchise is the only bright beacon in the DCEU thus far and has stayed clear of any complications.
It would be great if Patty Jenkins could wrap up a trilogy of Diana going through the decades. Then we have Superman. Henry Cavill deserves a second Man of Steel movie. He needs space to be on his own and do more Superman heroics and perhaps show us a different villain. The biggest draw back of Justice League is Superman is so underused. Now this is probably a draw back of the movie being cut from two into one. The moments he did have were great and the suit is bluer! Cavill is rather great in the role in my opinion and his part in the first post credits scene is pure joy. Lastly Batman. He opens the film in only a way Batman can. I’m a huge fan of Ben Affleck as The Dark Knight. He may be the best yet as he is equally convincing as both Bruce Wayne and Batman. I would love him to get at least one solo movie before hanging up the cape and cowl. He has the second strongest story arc of the movie and again it would have had more of an impact had it played out over two movies. He has a deep feeling of responsibility for what happened to Superman and then the cause of his absence nearly has on the Earths existence. There is a strong feeling of him having a death wish towards the end but then he comes around with a brilliant nerdy shout out in the movies closing stages. I won’t spoil it but I really want to! I do however think Snyder/Whedon missed a trick in expressing his new outlook come the end of the movie. In the closing montages we see James Gordon switch on the Bat signal and Batman arrive in the Batwing. It would have been hugely satisfying when the cockpit opened he had Robin sitting next to him. BvS and Justice League have been a great examination of Batman in the larger DC Universe. I would love Affleck to do another Justice League movie and perhaps see out a trilogy. Particularly with what the second post credits scene set up. Also how good would a Snyder directed Tower of Babel be? Outside of the Justice League The Batman franchise seems a bit up in the air. Matt Reeves is heading a trilogy and while he says its noir influenced I’m not 100% convinced he is the right choice for the character. I don’t feel his vision fits in with what has been established in the two movies so far. So if he does his own thing the DCEU starts to be come in cohesive.
In conclusion Justice League is well worth seeing and is very enjoyable. But you never get the sense it is the movie to stabilize the DCEU ship. Maybe it would work better for DC if they didn’t try the Marvel Studios approach to franchise building. People will always see a Batman movie, most would go for a Superman movie. Why not just do Justice League movies with out them being connected? Have the Justice League movie franchise separate from the stand alones movies. They could be created bigger problems for themselves with all this stand alone movies they have announced. They aren’t all involving major characters that haven’t always held their own comic series let alone their own movie series. If they continue to take financial hits how much more money will be pumped into their premier team? Why persist with franchise building when they can continue to make a movie as good as this without worrying about connectivity?
About Ian Wells
Ian currently runs the THEBLOGOFCOMICSHOTTOPICS blog. Check him out on Twitter @IanWells87.
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