Review: Let’s break down Justice League into good news and bad news first. The good news is Justice League shows that DC has actually learned how to concoct a story out of their metahumans (yes, for them, the word ‘superhero’ is overrated) extensively since Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and how to sweeten up their preferably dark universe with proper humors, too, ever since Suicide Squad. While the bad news: the good news only slightly helps the film from being a total mess.
Following rave reviews showering Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman and news of reshoots along with post-production galore to Avengers’ helmer, Joss Whedon, expectation flown high on how Justice League would finally do the justice to DC. At some points, it might live up the expectation; thanks to balance between Zack Snyder’s grim visions and Whedon’s holly jolly. Snyder, who left during post-production, still gets the sole director billing for his extensive work; but, we know that it’s Whedon who invents and injects the fun-serum. The cahoots result in a fun, energetic, light and more accessible crowdpleaser using DC’s properties. Regardless, Justice League apparently not a back-to-back victory.
With only Superman and Wonder Woman respectively got origin-story films, the idea of immediately assembling heroes in Justice League is difficult to understand; especially when, Batman (Ben Affleck), the man who assembles them all, is hardly introduced during his first tenure on Batman v Superman. Justice League isn’t Guardians of the Galaxy or X-Men which can settle in as a team with only brief intro; but, they don’t have to be. While the assembling process might be the second worst in its class (after Suicide Squad, of course), the follow-up is surprisingly good. Blessed with a more compact duration with effective pace, once the team assembled, Justice League is practically spending the duration for total fun.
Every living member of this ‘league’ is having fun. Again: Every. Living. Member.
Coming together with tired and guilty Batfleck, an all-in team rises. Diana Prince a.k.a. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) returns and immediately becomes the team’s MVP. Barry Allen a.k.a. The Flash (Ezra Miller), the quirky quickster who listens to K-Pop songs, steals attention with his clumsy attitude and happy-go-lucky mood. Victor Stone a.k.a. Cyborg (Ray Fisher), a former athlete who survived an accident and is reformed as, like his alias suggested, a cyborg, becomes the team’s heart in a role like Vision from Avengers. Last but not least, Arthur Curry a.k.a. Aquaman (Jason Momoa) rises from the sea like an all-adrenaline all-testosterone rockstar and he’s also having a blast. Every living member of this ‘league’ is having fun. Again: Every. Living. Member.
When the team is together, Justice League radiates positive, delightfully fun moments. And yet, however fun the team is, it’s hard to neglect the fact that this team is built upon fear of Steppenwolf, a CGI fiasco and a nihilistic villain, which isn’t any improvement of any DC’s super-villain. Steppenwolf shares similar bad seeds with Zod in Man of Steel and Ares in Wonder Woman, with CGI as dull as Doomsday in Batman v Superman. His only satisfying quality is the voice work by Ciaran Hinds; the rest is disappointment. Yet, thanks to him, we finally get a chance to return to Themyscira and to catch some cameos from Snyder’s 300 and the Green Lantern Force.
Howbeit, there’s a notion that DC finally instructs their filmmakers to create a more accessible superhero film. They’re showing an intention to move on from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy as they’re heading to a more fun and less somber territory. Yet, moving on is easy, finding the right direction isn’t. The road to the right direction is still long and Justice League is only a small step in the beginning of that long road.
Justice League (2017)
Action, Adventure, Fantasy Directed by: Zack Snyder Written by: Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon (screenplay), Zack Snyder (story) Starred by: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher Runtime: 120 mins Rated PG-13