A Step in the Right Direction

Justice League is finally here, where Batman, the Flash, Cyborg, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman team up to fight against Steppenwolf. Audiences have already seen movies with Wonder Woman and Batman in the DC Extended Universe, but this is the first time they will really get a good look at the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. So how is “Justice League?”

This is an easy and enjoyable watch. With the Warner Brothers mandate that requires filmmakers not to make a film over two hours, Justice League is 2 hours and 1 minute. This can be difficult with this movie because the filmmakers are trying to introduce Cyborg, Flash, and Aquaman; they have to set up this team, somehow get Superman back into play, set up Steppenwolf, and have an actual movie that makes sense all in 2 hours. That is why this movie (and other DCEU films) feels a little rushed.

The Flash is very excited to work with this team because he “doesn’t have any friends” and he doesn’t have anything else to do. He’s funny, which is very much like Barry Allen in the comics, and I thought Ezra Miller was great as the Flash. With the Flash comes the speed force, which was also extremely exciting to see on the big screen. Aquaman was entertaining as well. I liked Jason Momoa quite a bit in the role and thought he was also funny and likeable. I feel they were trying to make a course correction and be a little less serious, and more light-hearted and fun. However this made the film seem a little fluffy and disposable, which is in part due to the villain, Steppenwolf.

Steppenwolf’s backstory is one of the best and most exciting action scenes in the movie. But as a villain, I found him very weak, because he’s basically a big CGI monster in this movie and you never really feel as if he is a presence or something to fear. Steppenwolf is just a big, strong guy that punches things- that’s really it. He’s so weak from a characterization point of view, that I never really cared about him.

Cyborg, although portrayed by Ray Fisher very well, is one of the most difficult characters to fully understand in this movie because his backstory is very murky in the film. Cyborg’s position on this team basically ends up being the guy who interacts with things; he touches things, reads technical readouts, and tells people what they need to know. He doesn’t really do that much. Then there was Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Ben Affleck as the ever strong Batman and Bruce Wayne, and Henry Cavill as Superman–which were some of my favorite roles in the movie.

I’m such a huge fan of all these characters, but I’m also someone who loves to examine film. This is not a comic book. How can we tell this story for an audience that has no idea who these characters are, except for what they know from pop culture? Justice League has some issues with that. I think hardcore comic book fans are going to understand and appreciate a lot of the references more than general audiences will.

My biggest issue with this film is that it felt rushed; some scenes come and go and they feel like contained moments like a clip from Youtube. I think if you ignore the production issues, the main problem is that there’s so much they were trying to do here and they didn’t have enough time to do it, which limited the ability to appreciate the characters. Also, I would have liked to see a little more squabbling amongst the team and more character confrontations. It would give more reasons to feel like the characters are separate entities trying to work together and not just one big team that has one goal.

This is a movie that I enjoyed a lot more than some of the other DCEU films. I think that it is light-hearted and entertaining, but it is a little bit disposable in the long run. Yet there was excellent chemistry and camaraderie between the actors. However, can you make a comic book movie that’s very serious and yet somehow still be very entertaining? Yes, you can. I plan on seeing Justice League again and while I’m not going to rush out and see it instantly, I do think that DC and Warner Bros. are heading in a good direction.

By: Justin Landsman ’20

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