#MOVIEREVIEWMONDAYS: "Justice League"
“Justice League” (2017) is directed by Zack Snyder and stars Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Mamoa, Ray Fisher, and Henry Cavill as the titular super-group who team up to fight against an alien invasion led by the mysterious Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds).
The film had a rough production. With extensive reshoots and the late departure of director Zack Snyder, who was then replaced by Joss Whedon, it was unclear what to expect.
Let’s get in to some of the positives:
The film’s primary strength is its characters and acting. Affleck and Gadot carry over their strong performances as Batman and Wonder Woman respectively from the otherwise disappointing “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” (2015). Despite unwarranted criticism, Affleck delivers an impressive, layered performance among an endless list of blandness throughout the superhero genre.
This being the official live-action debut of Aquaman (Mamoa), The Flash (Miller), and Cyborg (Fisher), there was plenty that could’ve gone wrong. Thankfully, the new cast members shine in the spotlight, brightening the future of the franchise.
In his short amount of screen time, Cavill delivers his best performance as Superman yet. Subtly charming, there is much to love in his brief time on screen.
Because the film essentially has two directors, two separate visions of the film were expected. Thankfully, Joss Whedon did a fairly good job in keeping locked on to Snyder’s vision, keeping a sense of uniformity.
The best part of this film, however, is the comedic banter between the heroes. The film is much more lighthearted compared to the overly dark “Batman v. Superman”, and the comedic aspects, particularly from Ezra Miller’s Flash, keep viewers satisfied.
Despite these factors, “Justice League” has several problems.
The most outstanding issue is the editing. This is a very messy film. Whether this is due to Snyder’s departure or Warner Brother’s mandate requiring the film to be under 2 hours, the film retains similar issues to its lackluster predecessor.
Pacing in turn also suffers as a result, especially in the first half. Character introductions are rushed, and otherwise important scenes are cut short.
Another major problem is the villain, Steppenwolf. This character had a lot of potential, yet ended up being more of an empty setup for future movies rather than a strong, standalone threat. Even with the voice of Ciarán Hinds behind him, Steppenwolf remains weak.
Like many other superhero movies, CGI is overblown and noticeable. While it worked with some aspects, such as Cyborg’s body, the rest remained cartoonish and unnecessary.
“Justice League” serves as a fun and entertaining entry into the DC Extended Universe, whose new heroes will be loved by fans and newcomers alike. But the film is messy and clustered, particularly in the first half, and preserves many problems seen in the franchise’s previous films.