Currently reading: Review: Justice League – Does It Soar?
Review: Justice League – Does It Soar?
Posted on 22nd November, 2017 - By Jonathan Brindle
JUSTICE FOR ALL! …Sort of
So, is the Justice League any good? That’s what we are here to find out.
The decision made by DC and Warner Bros to produce its own version of a cinematic universe this late in the game was always going to be a risky one. With Marvel being so far ahead in terms of establishing characters and story lines that link together, DC were always going to be left playing catch-up.
To say that the DC Extended Universe has been a massive success would easily be a lie. Although it started out on a positive note with 2013’s Man Of Steel, the continuation of this new cinematic DC journey hit a massive stumble in the road with 2016’s Batman Vs Superman: Dawn Of Justice and Suicide Squad.
Both films received their fair share of hate from the critics and fans alike, which to be totally honest; they did deserve – in places.
A little ray of hope shined slightly with Wonder Woman earlier this year, having been greeted with far more love and praise than any of its predecessors. It finally seemed like DC and Warner might have actually got their act together and learnt from past mistakes.
In a League of its own?
So, does the Justice League live up to what the fans hoped for, or does it disappoint and once again leave you scratching your head; asking “what were they thinking”?
The answer to the question is sadly both!
Now, I would just like to say that I personally; am a huge DC fan. I really want the DC Extended Universe to do great things and become a viable competitor to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If both franchise perform well and compete against each other; it can only lead to great things and benefit the viewing public.
With that out of the way, this is the GoneFullGeek review of the Justice League!
At the time of writing, the Justice League is still in the early stages of release, and overall; the reception has been… underwhelming. In fact, its the weakest opening box office of the franchise so far.
Does this represent the overall quality of the film or have the fans been left disappointed by the DCEU so much that they just don’t care? Lets take a look.
Warning. There are SPOILERS ahead!
The story of the film is a very loose adaptation of the first story arc of Geoff Johns run on the 2011 New 52 relaunch Justice League title, called Origin.
In that book, Batman discovers that there is an impending alien invasion of Earth about to take place. Through various circumstances, the original Justice League line up comes together and repels the threat of Darkseid and his horde of para-demons and sends them back to the hell planet of Apokolips.
That’s the basic premise of the book, and the film follows the same path – but with some significant changes.
The biggest change here is the introduction of the new villain Steppenwolf, who was used instead of Darkseid – who they are likely saving for a more epic battle later down the line (similar to what Marvel has done with Thanos).
The problem we have with Steppenwolf, is that as a major antagonist; he is incredibly underwhelming and never really feels like a major threat. Plus, his agenda to take over the world and claim it for Darkseid; makes him seem like a messenger for something bigger.
Like I mentioned before, he could just be the calm before the storm. If that is the case, then we may have to wait some time before the real “big bad” shows his face. When he does, this should give our heroes a reason to start shaking in their capes and cowls.
While in the the original source material Superman is alive and well, here in this picture he’s dead due to the outcome of BvS. By the time his inevitable resurrection occurs, the League have united.
The story seems a mess in places, and is victim to trying to do far too much; far too quickly.
The fact that only the DC Trinity have been given enough time to develop their characters and personalities, the rest of the team seem somewhat thin. Each of them rushed, with very little character development – resulting in each of them being a bit of a letdown.
Not one of them feels like they need to be there, with the possible exception of Cyborg – who has only become half man-half machine because of one of three Mother Boxes left on earth from a battle that happened centuries earlier.
The Flash and Aquaman are just there, each given very little to do – which is a shame really.
Lets hope that when each of the supporting heroes standalone adventures arrive; they are given the development they truly deserve.
While the script has a few shortcomings, the performances are actually quite good. The main Trinity are finally coming into their own as the iconic heroes we know and love.
Ben Affleck’s Batman seems to have come out of the shadows a bit more, realising that the brutal grizzled vigilante he was in Dawn Of Justice wasn’t the answer. Finally, Batman has adopted the more traditional heroic approach that we all know and love.
Affleck has a more human feel to both his Batman and Bruce Wayne this time round. He has developed a more sympathetic side, and at one point admits fault in some of his previous actions.
Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is basically the same heroine that we have seen in her last two outings. This is not a bad thing in the slightest, as she was one of the only high points of BvS. She has a clear sight of what is right and wrong, and in some ways; feels like the glue that keeps this team together.
Henry Cavill seems to finally found his groove as the iconic Last Son of Krypton, with a warmer, caring side – much more like the Man Of Steel we remember. I certainly hope this side of Cavill’s performance carries over to his next turn as Supes.
Whilst there are problems with the character development, you can tell that the cast are having fun, each trying to get the best out of what they have been given to work with.
This is actually my biggest problem with the whole movie. It never seems like it knows what it wants to be.
This isn’t really the fault of anyone, but simply unfortunate circumstance. I whole-heartedly believe; that if personal tragedy hadn’t struck Zack Snyder, then we would have had a completely different film. One with a more consistent feel all the way through, which would have made Justice League feel more like BvS.
As horrible as this is to say, the replacement of Snyder with Joss Whedon was a blessing really. I can’t help but wonder what the film would have been like if he was in-charge from the beginning.
There is still a hint of the dreary, slightly depressing tone from Batman Vs Superman, but overall, is certainly more lighthearted.
You can very easily tell which parts Whedon re-shot, as the humour in those scenes clearly has his hands all over them. If this is the direction that the franchise is going, then I hope Joss Whedon returns, just to see what could have been from the start.
As you’d expect, the Justice League had a large budget, a good proportion of which was been spent on CGI.
Unfortunately, some of this looks rather unconvincing, making me think that it might have been a wiser choice to focus a bit more more on physical-effects – truly bringing that “wow” factor.
While there are a lot of high-octane action set-pieces; with decent action, I couldn’t help wonder… “where is the wow factor?”
As a DC and comic book fan, this is a big issue for me.
I’ve waited a very long time to see some of my favourite characters; finally appear on the big screen together. To at last, show off the wide-variety of impressive special abilities. But as the credits came to a close, I couldn’t help shake the feeling of wanting more – and not in a good way. Unfortunately, it simply lacked.
Surprisingly, this is actually one of the most rewarding parts of the Justice League.
Whilst maintaining an undertone of Hans Zimmer’s score from the previous Man Of Steel and BvS instalments, Danny Elfman’s new score; brings back fond memories of the original Batman movies from the Keaton/Burton era.
Every time Batman does something heroic, if you listen carefully, you can hear the iconic theme – infusing old, with new.
In addition to this, we also had a smidgen of the iconic John Williams Superman theme, from the Christopher Reeve films – although its re-introduction did feel somewhat misplaced; given what was taking place on-screen at the time.
The soundtrack can sometimes make; or break a movie. Thankfully, Danny Elfman‘s work here, helps strengthen the movie – making a more enjoyable ride.
While it seems that I might have cast a little bit of shade on things here, that was never the intention.
I for one really wanted this film to blow me away.
Now, while there are a lot of things that I found enjoyable – like the very subtle introduction of the Green Lantern Corps and possibly even Shazam. I just couldn’t help but feel like something was missing.
Nevertheless, I did enjoy the Justice League, and do feel like the entire franchise has been a victim of its own ambition. Hopefully, sitting a fresh director in the chair going-forward, will bring a change for the better.
What did you think of the Justice League? Do you agree with my thoughts?
Please let us know in the comments below.
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