Full disclosure I am more of a Marvel fan than DC one, but I love all things superhero. So why do I tell you this at the beginning of a review for “Justice League” which hit theaters this past weekend? Well I tell you this because even though I chose sides many moons ago I still head out to the theater to support any comic book movie that Hollywood wants to project onto the screen because it wasn’t so long ago that being a comic book nerd wasn’t cool and now it is…so let’s keep that going! “Justice League” lassoes us back into the world of DC cinema as Batman (Ben Affleck, “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice“, “Gone Girl“) begins his recruitment of other heroes to fight against an unknown enemy that is building power and just might be planning to destroy the world. With Superman’s (Henry Cavill, “The Tudors“, “Man of Steel“) death the world has been plunged into fear and panic allowing the dark entity who we come to find out is known as Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciaran Hinds, “Game of Thrones“, “Frozen“) to begin his hunt for some very powerful artifacts that can be used to destroy the world and build a new one in his image. Fearing he alone will not be able to stop the world-wide crisis Batman continues his mission of recruiting those other heroes he has been stalking in his past to films to join in the fight. Batman aided by Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot, “Wonder Woman“, “Furious 7“) seeks out Arthur Curry/ Aquaman (Jason Momoa, “Game of Thrones“, “Stargate: Atlantis“), Barry Allen/ Flash (Ezra Miller, “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them“, “Trainwreck“) and Victor Stone/ Cyborg (Ray Fisher, “The Astronauts Wives Club“, “Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice“) to form what will become the “Justice League” we have all come to know and love (well some of us, but we will get to that in the next paragraph.). Knowing that even this formidable team might not be enough, Batman begins to formulate a plan to finish the band out with everyone’s favorite warrior for truth and justice, Superman. Will the “Justice League” be able to resurrect the dead? Will the team be enough to defeat the world destroyer known as Steppenwolf? The answers to these questions and many more await you at theaters across the world.
“Justice League” is a valiant attempt at moving the DC cinematic universe forward and does have a couple of shining stars within its frames of missed opportunities. Peppered with small snippets of our favorite secondary characters Lois Lane (Amy Adams, “Nocturnal Animals“, “Arrival“), Ma Kent (Diane Lane, “Inside Out“, “Man of Steel“), Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen, “Wonder Woman“) and commissioner Gordon (J.K. Simmons, “The Snowman“, “BoJack Horseman“) , the film does not embrace the founding characters as well as it does these secondary characters. “Justice League” in my opinion is carried on the shoulders of two of its characters and one carries the brunt of the load, Wonder Woman (she’s the heavy lifter if you hadn’t already guessed) and Aquaman. Though the rest of the cast does an okay job and are mildly entertaining the film never seems to quite elicit what I assume Zack Snyder (“Suckerpunch“, “Watchmen“) and the screenplay writers intended. The story’s pacing lags in the beginning, but does pick up in the second half to a fairly decent pace. Honestly the story is a little flat and the merging of these superheroes seems forced (and maybe a little contrived). It may be sacrilegious to mention Marvel in a review for a DC film and if so that ship has already sailed, but what Marvel has done is through creating stand alone movies and multiple of them before introducing us to “The Avengers” is create an emotional bond and knowledge of the characters origins with/ for the audience. This made it unnecessary to spend half of a three-hour movie getting the audience up to speed and gaining their buy in on this newly formed team. I wish I could say this film’s bright spot was its technical prowess, but it too falls short. Truthfully I was shocked once I saw all the great VFX houses that worked on “Justice League” scroll up the screen as I waited for that tried and true credit scene (which by the way I am not sure it was worth the wait.) because the CGI and effects seemed too cartoony and over the top. Too much CGI and not enough mixing of CGI and practical effects killed this film which is sad because “Justice League” could have been a visual smorgasbord if executed right.
I know what you’re saying well damn!! Tell us how you really feel…okay. Even though the movie did not quite live up to the hype it still was entertaining and a fun way to spend the afternoon. So if you can live with effects that don’t quite hit the mark, a slow beginning that eventually works its way to a decent pace and Ben Affleck brooding as Bruce Wayne the entire film then take the afternoon and head out to watch the formation of DC’s super group, maybe bring your own group of super friends, because “Justice League” will at the very least be a great way to escape the hectic world outside the darkened theater’s walls.