(Review)Justice League: DC Comics Cinematic Universe Is Alive And Well!
Between the two comic book publishers, Marvel and DC, Marvel has almost always produced quality films and has now established an incredible cinematic universe. Unfortunately, DC Comics has had trouble in the past with their films which has led to a series of reboots. Finally with the release of Man of Steel, Wonder Woman, and Batman vs Superman DC has their own cinematic universe! There were many with a good deal of concern with Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman films which caused a great deal of skepticism for the release of Justice League.
I shared in this fear as Justice League approached as it involved the franchise’s best of the best from Batman, Superman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Cyborg. Still, I silenced the voices in my head and blinded myself from the sea of articles attempting to tear down the film before it was released. I finally sat down for the film and found that I enjoyed it tremendously!
With the death of Superman, the world is left disheartened. While the people spend their time in mourning, Batman is knee deep in his investigation of an odd series of enemies that seem otherworldly. In fear that something devastating is coming, he reaches out to his ally, Wonder Woman, and together they assemble a roster of super powered beings who combine their might to defend Earth.
This was a vague synopsis to reduce any spoilers!
The Best Aspects
The parts of Justice League that I loved was the acting, combat, and how they handled the DC Universe. For acting, this was a stellar cast where the already incredible Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, and Ben Affleck returned to their roles of Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman. The new cast of Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, and Ray Fisher, did a stellar job as well! Aquaman, who is usually a joke of a hero in DC Comics came off as this rugged and brutish scrapper while The Flash was the new guy who had no combat experience and would have anxiety when things got serious and Cyborg wrestled with becoming both man and machine.
The interaction between characters was enjoyable as Wonder Woman was by far the most competent of the group yet struggled with leading, Batman was the weakest and yet lead the charge, Aquaman had such potential that is squandered by his arrogance, Cyborg struggled with his humanity, and Flash dealt with being a young geek thrown into this chaotic world of titans who geeks out over his peers and trembles in fear of his enemies.
The combat of the film is one of my all time favorite of the super hero films as every single person who gets into a fight receives hard hits. While this isn’t a new concept for a majority of the characters, it was Wonder Woman’s performance that stole the show. Normally female fighters look beautiful and pristine even under fire, not a single hair is out of place. They will take a shove, get thrown, kicked, or punched that results is a bit of mouth blood but then follow up with a major attack of their own that takes down the baddie. However in Justice League, Wonder Woman goes toe to toe with a majority of villain and super powered foes, no matter the odds. While she does overpower a lot of them, she gets the crap kicked out of her a fair bit of time as well.
I appreciated that fact that they were not shy with throwing Wonder Woman into a fight that was too much for her because it showed the true danger of the situation. Other times she unleashed complete brutality and literally engaged in a headbutting battle with another super powered foe without backing down. To see such ferocity come from a female superhero that not only matched but also exceed to violence of the others was refreshing!
I also enjoyed the appropriate level of strength where Aquaman and Wonder Woman could take on multiple enemies at once and the big baddie while Batman had to fight with all of his might just to subdue a single Parademon. At the end of the fights the super heroes all shook off the damage while Batman constantly had to check his wounds and struggled to keep it. It felt realistic.
They also did a great job of making various references to other DC characters around the world. This is difficult to talk about without spoiling anything so I will simply state that this film includes a number of iconic DC heroes and villains if you pay close enough attention.
The Worst Aspects
This film was not perfect by any means. For every good aspect, there are two bad ones that drag it down and while I loved the film, I can’t ignore it’s many flaws. For example the character introduction felt drawn out and stale. Time and again we have watched films where competent characters band together but to take a third of the film in order to gather everyone seemed too long. Granted, they disregarded origin stories and had them established with their powers and a good understanding of them so the time it took for them to contribute was as long as it could have been but it would have helped tremendously the call to action came sooner.
Another piece of the film that felt lacking was the true threat. In the film they discuss how the villain had been so mighty that he could only have been defeated by three major armies of Man, Amazons, and Atlantians but at the end of this film he is overcome by a handful of heroes. To the villain’s credit, the Justice League is no joke at all and they were stressed for time but it would have made everything so much more intense had they gathered their allies for this final fight.
I really enjoyed Justice League! Many folks will compare it to the Avengers and in comparison it does indeed fall short. But as a movie on it’s own it is wonderful. They had a diverse cast who all contributed equally, the tone was much darker than most superhero films, Wonder Woman was an essential part of the group who gave and took hits like no other. It felt like such a progressive step in the right direction for not only DC films but super hero films in general.
I recommend this film to any one who enjoys super hero films! If you enjoy DC Comics, you’ll have a blast watching iconic heroes grace the big screen and hint to future conflicts. I want to also tell you to stay for the entire credits because there are scenes at the end of the film that will make you scream in joy!
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