Thursday, November 16, 2017

Movie Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE


The moment many DC Comics fans have been waiting for is finally here. Zack Snyder’s vision for a DC Cinematic Universe began back in 2013 with Man of Steel, which, due to a less than optimistic Superman and a very controversial ending, led to mixed reactions from fans and critics alike.

That film was followed up by the critically panned Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.  Fans and critics alike criticized not only the grim tone of the film but the choppy editing.  But anyone that has seen the Ultimate Edition knows that Zack Snyder’s vision of the film was not choppy. Fans can put the blame for that solely on the Warner Bros. executives for demanding the film be shorter, even though it was designed as a three hour epic.

Then the follow-up film, Suicide Squad came that Snyder did not direct.  While Suicide Squad is considered to be the worst of all the DC Comics films, it did have its moments. Viola Davis and Margot Robbie nailed their characters as Amanda Waller and Harley Quinn, respectively. 

All the films have been financial successes but unfortunately none had been a critical success until they released Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman. While many fans had doubts with the casting choice of Gal Gadot for Wonder Woman, most of those concerns were put to rest when Batman v Superman came out. But if any doubt remained, they were buried after Wonder Woman was released.  Fans and critics alike praised the film as one of the best comic book films of all time.


Jumping to today, good or bad, Justice League is the culmination of all these films. Fans remained skeptical due to DC/Warner Bros. track record, while others, such as myself, sat at the edge of their seats in anticipation and hoping for a great film.

***SPOILERS AHEAD!!!***

So is Justice League a good film?  The short answer: Yes.  It was an absolutely entertaining and fun ride. I was grinning ear-to-ear for half the film.

The characterizations of the team are everything a DC fan could want.  Aquaman is a man torn between two worlds and is reluctant to join the team. Cyborg is in a dark place feeling like he’s a monster since his cybernetics are so new and he hasn’t embraced them yet. The Flash’s enthusiasm is infectious and he becomes the heart of the team.  Batman and Wonder Woman truly act as if they are part of the Trinity, doing what they can in their roles without Superman. And then there's Superman and his return.  He smiles, cracks jokes and feels like the symbol of hope he is meant to be.


There are so many fun moments in this film that remind us of what made us love DC Comics in the first place. While some people feared Zack Snyder would make this a depressingly grim film, going forward others will credit Joss Whedon for making it more lighthearted, yet it was always Snyder’s plan to bring hope back in the Justice League. Batman v Superman was his Act II, which is always the low point of any story.  That movie was supposed to feel like hope was gone while this movie, his Act III, which was originally meant to be a two-part film, was meant to see hope return.

Due to Warner Bros. growing doubts in Zack Snyder, what was planned to be a 2-part film was now going to be cut down to a single movie that, of course, Warner Bros. demanded be no longer than 2 hours. They seemingly forgot that the two greatest successes in Hollywood history are Titanic and Avatar, both longer than 3 hours. Star Wars films are all longer than two hours. Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit trilogy, Harry Potter, the list goes on and on. Even The Avengers was over two hours and a massive success. Warner Bros. and their decisions are the weakness of the DC Comics films not the filmmakers. I even wrote an article once called "How Warner Bros. Is Giving Me an Ulcer" based on the stupid, reactive decisions they tend to make when they should be setting the standard.

Anyway, I digress, as the time restraint of 2 hours is where Justice League really suffers. Snyder has to introduce three new characters: Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg, reintroduce Superman, have meaningful interactions between Batman and Wonder Woman, all while trying to progress the story.

Fortunately, Snyder pulls it off, but there are moments in the film that feel rushed where there could’ve been more character development.

Perhaps the biggest concern is that many of the scenes we see in the trailers are cut entirely. Flash doesn’t shatter a window with his finger, Wonder Woman and Batman do not discuss Aquaman saying no, Bruce Wayne doesn’t look at a hologram (which will anger fans that have been debating if that was Supergirl), and we never get to see who Alfred is talking to which also could’ve been Supergirl.


My personal gripe with the film was its lack of Green Lantern. Green Lantern is my all-time favorite super-hero, and after being so disappointed with that 2011 film, I had hoped for some redemption here. But if there is a sequel, I may still get my wish.

But despite Warner Bros. trying their best to sabotage this film, Zack Snyder, Joss Whedon and Geoff Johns (perhaps the most under-credited person for the course correction) have managed to make a film that is one of the most enjoyable comic book films ever made. Flawed, yes, but enjoyable none-the-less. And I cannot emphasize enough that you need to stay for both after credits scenes. The potential for future films based on what is said in the final one makes me excited to see where these go.

While other critics seem to be attacking the movie, I see this as another win for Warner Bros. and DC Comics and I cannot wait to see what they do next. Here’s hoping Aquaman takes it up another notch. (And fingers crossed for Mera to be the bad ass she is supposed to be.  Wonder Woman has real competition if she is.)



Cameron's Score: 8.5/10


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