Warning, this review includes spoilers for Justice League. Don’t like it? Fight me.

The Justice League. Is there a more iconic superhero group? (don’t answer that Marvel fans). Is there a team that works better together, that understands each other more or knows how to support each other?

Well, after watching THE JUSTICE LEAGUE, viewers might get a sense that there is. But that’s on purpose. JUSTICE LEAGUE is a film about a bunch of individuals finding their bearings, learning to work with each other and overcoming obstacles they couldn’t have alone.

And that’s really what the DCEU is trying to convey with their films, isn’t it? With Superman coming to the world’s attention, this is a new “age” of crime fighting? And with stronger and more impressive heroes comes bigger and worse villains. The DCEU has done a good job (albeit baby steps) of building the universe in which it inhabits. A lot of things are still to be explored, but a lot of things hinted at, and a lot of things to look forward to even for the casual fan (Green Lantern anyone?).

Now onto what you came here for, a review of JUSTICE LEAGUE. There was a lot of good in this film and a lot of things that made you scratch your head. So let’s dive in.

The Good

The introduction of periphery characters

One of the major knocks against the DCEU (and rightfully so) is that they seem to basically cram a bunch of characters together and say “Go!” While this can (and will) be argued that JUSTICE LEAGUE did do this to an extent, there are three instances where they did it exactly as they should: The Green Lanterns Corps, Commissioner Jim Gordon, and Death Stroke. The Lanterns aforementioned was important.

Many people speculated that after the Ryan Reynolds abortion, The Corps wouldn’t be seen on the silver screen for a long time. Including them in the battle scene against Steppenwolf was a great way to tell fans that yes they exist and now keeps general interest up for a GREEN LANTERN film down the line.

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Considering that the DCEU did not have a Batman solo film before DAWN OF JUSTICE, the Jim Gordon introduction went as well as it could have. Their brief conversation establishes that Batman and Gordon have a history with each other. It continues to reinforce the setting of aliens and metahumans being a new phenomenon for the both of them. It was quick enough that it left me wanting more and it left me excited to see them build on their relationship when Batman finally gets his solo film.

Deathstroke. Deathstroke’s introduction to me was executed to perfection, and if you’re going to do an after credit scene, that’s really how you do it. You have major players (maybe some previously unmentioned) in said universe making a choice that will affect later films. It was refreshing to see a franchise that introduces characters willy-nilly actually do it properly.

The Cinematography

The visuals of this film were fantastic. Yes, there was a lot of CGI in regards to the fight scenes, but overall I think this film did a great job. The colors were rich, and the film seemed to try to make certain shots look like a comic book panel.

Justice League

I mean look at that shot. Are you cereal? The great thing about the film is how you’re able to amplify scenes and emotions with a camera tilt, or saturating a certain color. Justice League did an exemplary job with that, and the film benefited because of it.

A Sense of Team Building

Every group has to start somewhere right? That’s exactly what JUSTICE LEAGUE sets out to do, and that’s exactly what it conveyed. Whether it was Flash learning how to be a superhero, or Cyborg learning how to control himself, JUSTICE LEAGUE established that the team has more growing to do before they become the force they are on the page. Which, as I mentioned above is not a bad thing. DC is trying to build a universe with characters that not only fight to save the world but grow as people. And you gotta start somewhere.

The Bad

The Introduction of Major Characters

I’m sorry, but Aquaman should have had his own solo film before JUSTICE LEAGUE. The DCEU’s Arthur Curry is so unlike what we have in the comics, that actually exploring who this character is in his own film is something I know fans would have wanted to see. Instead, we get this not even a sliver of backstory to this character. Except that he never really “embraced the land or the sea.”

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Now, this might leave viewership excited for a solo film down the line, but it lowers the quality of JUSTICE LEAGUE now. Half the time he spoke about events in his past, I found myself getting taken out the film wondering “what would that have looked like?” Introducing such a unique character and cramming him into an ensemble cast like that is a perfect example of how the DCEU fails to develop characters, and how their franchise suffers as a result.

Justice League

Steppenwolf’s intro is just what we’ve come to expect from the DCEU. If anything it’s a testament to how the director’s cuts of DCEU films should have been released instead of the theatrical ones.

So Everyone is Fast Now?

Look, I enjoyed Flash and Superman’s interaction during JUSTICE LEAGUE’S little CIVIL WAR moment. I thought Flash’s reaction to Superman being able to keep up with him was funny, but over the rest of the film, it just became too much. Maybe this is just nitpicking on my part, but Superman is not as fast as the Flash.

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And I get that it is supposed to be close. But if Superman is just as fast as Flash in the DCEU, what’s the point of keeping Flash there? Comedic relief? The whole thing rubbed me the wrong way, especially that after credit scene where they were neck and neck.

Now, hopefully, they will rectify this down the line, seeing as Flash has just begun being a superhero, but if they don’t… Ugh.

So, To Sum It All Up

Overall JUSTICE LEAGUE is a fine movie. It has all the action, comedy, and intrigue one has come to expect from a typical comic book film. Where this film lacks, and the DCEU, in general, is that it hamstrings itself with a lack of character development. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not on the level of SUICIDE SQUAD. But, it is a film that basically crams a bunch of people together and says “fight!”

And that’s what the DCEU is going to seem like until they flesh out these characters more. Aquaman should have his own film before JUSTICE LEAGUE. Batman should have had his own film before DAWN OF JUSTICE. I’ll give the Flash and Cyborg a pass on this. Mainly because most people understand the Flash’s backstory thanks to the CW show and quite frankly, Cyborg is not as popular as the other characters.

It is time for the DCEU to step it up and give these characters the time they deserve on their own.

2 Comments

  1. Mel

    November 21, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    Who Should Replace Ben Affleck As Batman? How about Ryan Douglas Hurst, who can forget him as Harry “Opie” Winston in SOA?
    https://media.giphy.com/media/uL2Y3Y6WHE4Ks/giphy.gif

    Reply

  2. Eric Knopf

    Eric Knopf

    November 18, 2017 at 1:51 am

    I can only imagine how much fun they had on set filming it.

    Reply

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