DIRECTOR: Zack Snyder
WRITERS: Zack Snyder (Story), Chris Terrio (Story and Screenwriter), Joss Whedon (Screenwriter)
CAST: Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman, Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/The Flash, Ray Fisher as Victor Stone/Cyborg, Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman, Joe Morton as Dr. Silas Stone, J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon, Henry Cavill as Clark Kent/Superman, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Jeremy Irons as Alfred Pennyworth, Amber Heard as Mera, Connie Nelson as Queen Hippolyta, Billy Crudup as Henry Allen.
Justice League is a very entertaining film, as someone who loved Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, I found myself smiling for a good portion of the film as the tone felt naturally progressive, though I can understand why some may feel like Warner Bros. changed it up a bit to please those who didn’t like the darker tone. The characters worked well together, especially in pairs, like Batman and Wonder Woman and Cyborg and The Flash, for example Cyborg and The Flash have a fair amount of development with each other as they sort of bond for reasons I won’t spoil here. As always Zack Snyder is amazing at shooting some great action scenes.
After 10 years of false starts, rewrites, production stops, cancellations and eventually the behind the scenes turmoil we finally have the Justice League on the big screen for the first time. Was it worth the wait? Do the two directing styles of Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon noticeable? And most important is the film entertaining and coherent? For the most part yes and here I’m going to describe what I liked about the film and what I didn’t like.
The review is split into two sections, the spoiler free section and the spoiler section.
Justice League is a very entertaining film, as someone who loved Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, I found myself smiling for a good part of the film as the tone felt naturally progressive, though I can understand why some may feel like Warner Bros changed it up a bit to please those who didn’t like the darker tone. The characters worked well together, especially in pairs, like Batman and Wonder Woman and Cyborg and The Flash, such as Cyborg and The Flash have a fair amount of development with each other as they sort of bond for reasons I won’t spoil here. As always Zack Snyder is amazing at shooting some great action scenes.
That’s not to say I thought the film was perfect and by all means it’s not, but I also feel like many critics and some fans are over exaggerating the flaws. With many saying the editing is a bit choppy, I don’t agree, while scenes go back and forth, so do comic panels and even other comic franchises. The CGI is another area many have complained about and for me I barely noticed any CGI issues. Don’t get me wrong there is at least one scene I can think of where there is a bit of CGI issues, but I’ll go further into that in the spoiler section.
Jason Momoa as Aquaman was a solid choice and it works here, while The Flash and Cyborg are also great, Aquaman for me is the stand out here as he manages to interact well with each member. I am especially excited for Aquaman.
Henry Cavill as Superman is amazing in this film, I’ve been a defender of Cavill’s Superman and still stand by my opinion that he is the best live action version we’ve had. He embodies the role so well and here he gets to finally be the Superman many feel is the only way he should be (despite the 70+ years of other versions that aren’t the Boy Scout). But what works the most is it doesn’t feel forced or like the writer or studio shoved it in, he is reborn.
Some flaws I did notice was some of The Flash’s lines, they felt forced and I didn’t find myself laughing as they were intending me too. Most of the humor we do get from The Flash that gave me a chuckle was from his reaction to some stuff, like the scene with Cyborg I mentioned earlier. The plot is a bit thin and Steppenwolf, while great, only brings up the stakes when it needs to be raised.
Another issue I had was the score, now don’t get me wrong I am a huge Danny Elfman fan, his Tim Burton scores are some of my favorites and there are tracks here I thought were great, especially the ones that tweak classic scores a bit, but there is a score I felt was in extremely poor taste and I’m surprised Warner Bros. allowed it to be used. I will mention it further in the spoiler section.
Justice League is a fun ride from beginning to end, though the plot is simple and the villain and stakes are not as deep as DC Film Universe are used too, he gets the job done. The heroes are on the big screen and gets me personally excited to see what we will get in the future.
As I stated above I enjoyed the film from beginning to end but one my main issues with this film is the score, as stated Danny Elfman is one of my favorites, but I find it hard to believe no one noticed he took a sample of The Avengers theme and placed in a scene that is very similar to where we hear it in the that film. While many of those films don’t have memorable scores this is the one part of the score that’s very easy to remember and kind of takes you out of it.
The interaction between the team as I said was spot on, Aquaman and Bruce meet with an intense confrontation. Wonder Woman tricks Aquaman into revealing his true feelings to the team using the Lasso of Truth and Cyborg and The Flash realize they are the “accidents” of the group, which brings a smile to their face as they realize they aren’t alone.
The Flash’s Barry Allen for me felt like Justice League: The Animated Series, while that version is great it is the Wally West version. We do see a bit of the dramatic side of Barry in the film and it gives me hope that in the solo film we’ll get that side of him, it was a bit underwhelming to see him as awkward as he is in the film. Again though, Ezra Miller did a great job with what he had to work with and I can see the character developing over time, so not bashing him here.
The way Superman’s bought back did have me feeling a bit meh, it wasn’t terrible and does explain why he is not growing a beard, but Man of Steel gave them the perfect tool they could’ve used with the Codex, which in itself was designed so it could create life, why not Superman’s resurrection? That is more of a nitpick though and one that I had in mind, so not the fault of the writers. Once Superman is back I had a smile on my face the entire time.
There is a scene where Superman runs with Barry, who’s trying to save a family and he tells him to get them while he gets the people on the right, after Barry saves the family, we see that Superman’s saved an entire building of people, with Barry’s reaction being that one moment I chuckled a bit.
We get a couple of after credits scenes, one is the classic “Flash vs. Superman race we have seen in the television shows Smallville and Supergirl, so its fitting we get it here too. Another scene sees a hint of what the second Justice League film may bring to the table, which got me excited.
As stated before many criticisms from the fans are the CGI, while I didn’t notice the amount of CGI fans were complaining about I did notice one moment at the start of the film, with Superman on an iPhone, talking about what he believes in, you can tell the face wasn’t perfect, it’s also the one moment where it felt like Whedon’s fingerprints as the rest of the for me did a great job at seamlessly blending both styles together. This is in part because Whedon is a TV director and most TV directors learn how to mimic another directors style, at least if they aren’t directing the pilot themselves, thus setting the tone for the series or changing the tone after a few seasons.
There are quite a few scenes in the trailers as well as dialogue that are no longer in the film and something tells me we’re going to get another Ultimate Edition or Extended Cut, which wouldn’t suck at all.