Posted January 4, 2018 by Becky Hall in Comics

Comic Book Movie Review: Justice League (Spoiler Free)

©DC Films/ Warner Bros. Pictures


Director(s): Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon

Release Date: 17th November 2017 (U.K. and U.S)

Starring: Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Jason Mamoa, Ezra Miller, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Ray Fisher, Ciarán Hinds, J.K. Simmons, Jeremy Irons

Honestly, I wasn’t expecting a huge amount from Justice League. Partly because there’s only one DC movie that I’ve honestly loved in the last decade, and partly because the critics reactions to the film were so negative. Yeah, I know. It isn’t that hard to walk into the cinema without expectations, but I’ve been hurt before.

Justice League is a somewhat surprising movie for both good and bad reasons. The bad reasons first. The CGI, somehow, was dated. Dated! In a movie produced in 2017, this is mind-boggling, but some of the scenes did look like they’d been created 10 years ago. Similarly, some of the fight scenes were decidedly bizarre, either weirdly choreographed or weirdly filmed, I couldn’t decide which. What was almost more surprising, was that there were plenty of scenes that were as shiny as you expect from a blockbuster like this, so what happened with the ones that were not, I have no idea.

©DC Films/ Warner Bros. Pictures

The villain, Steppenwolf, was boring AF. Utterly forgettable, which is a shame, because I admire Ciarán Hinds. Steppenwolf is a dead-pan, stony-faced (literally) drama queen, substituting gravitas in place of flare, and failing, on every level, to make any kind of impression. His para-demons were clearly intended to be creepy, but were given little to no explanation as to their origins, or presence as Steppenwolf’s soldiers, and they failed to provide any real sense of dread as a good minion should. The Justice League team dynamic suffered as well, coming across as stilted and only partially formed. Aquaman and Cyborg, especially, were afflicted with 2D syndrome, which is only to be expected in a film where three of the six main characters are being introduced for the first time. The whole film was just trying to fit way too much into a two hour runtime, and succeeded only in highlighting why it is that Marvel have done so well while DC continue to lag behind.

My biggest bugbear was the number of gratuitous shots of Gal Gadot’s body. Patty Jenkins managed to make an entire movie starring Gal Gadot that succeeding in not objectifying her once, so we know it’s possible. Snyder and Whedon between them managed to inject an endless number of panning shots of Diana’s body, presumably for those in the audience who wish to take those images home to their mother’s basements. I don’t care how big a fraction of the audience is begging for those shots, there is not a single woman, on or off screen, who deserves to be portrayed in this manner (see also: completely unnecessary redesign of the Amazonian armour).

©DC Films/ Warner Bros. Pictures

Now, the good. The script had some surprisingly poignant moments; there was one scene involving an interaction between Diana and Bruce that I particularly enjoyed, one which I was not expecting at all. The casting is excellent. Jason Mamoa as Aquaman is inspired, and I hope the Aquaman film due for release in December 2018, fleshes out the character more, and allows him to expand into it. The Flash was by far the most entertaining character on screen providing some much needed levity in a film that, as DC is particularly wont to do, takes itself a little too seriously. Ezra Miller doesn’t always intend to be funny, (his facial expressions left me cackling madly more than once), but The Flash is endearing and fun to watch.

©DC Films/ Warner Bros. Pictures

But my absolute favourite will always be Gadot’s Diana Prince, who exudes strength and grace despite some irregular character development over the course of the last three DC films. There have been faint rumours that DC is looking at focusing the DCCU on Wonder Woman, and I would be 100000% there for that. She is the strongest performing member of the DCCU to date (Wonder Woman exceeded Man of Steel at the box office by approximately $200m), and, in my opinion, she is also the most developed and interesting character. Though it will be interesting to see how they chose to develop the newest members of the Justice League from here.

Despite the gaping plot holes and terrible villain, I did actually enjoy Justice League, though I’m really not completely sure why. It’s not particularly intelligent, or funny, or gripping; but it was quite fun. I may not have been on the edge of my seat, but the action was entertaining, and the cast did a great job of working with what they had to engage the audience.

©DC Films/ Warner Bros. Pictures

Conclusion – DC struggles to duplicate the success of Wonder Woman, falling into a familiar trap of taking itself far too seriously. A strong cast and some solid action saves the latest entry into the DCU from completely flopping.

Superhero rating: 6/10

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