If you clicked on this review, you’re probably only interested in knowing whether or not Justice League was better than Batman vs Superman (see our review) or Suicide Squad (see our review), so I’ll put you out of your misery immediately.
It’s okay. Not bad, but not great either. Then again, the bar was already set low with the twin disasters of BvS and Suicide Squad. But when Wonder Woman (see our review) showed up and became the top grossing movie in the DCEU franchise, it gave DC fans the hope they so badly needed.
And it was clear that fans weren’t the only ones anxious about the movie, because the screening I attended was full of hired staff going around reminding people that they couldn’t take photos of the preview screen (which was basically the movie poster).
They also told us to delete whatever pictures we had taken, and that we couldn’t post it on social media, which I felt was a little excessive considering the fact that advanced screenings in the US started last week.
But anyway. Justice League starts out with Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) and Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) finding out that Steppenwolf (voiced by an underused Ciarán Hinds), one of the New Gods, is hellbent on taking over the world. The two of them set out to recruit Barry Allen (Ezra Miller), Victor Stone (Ray Fisher) and the mysterious Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) to help them fight the forces of evil.
I know, when I’ve written it out like that, it sounds like every other superhero movie. This is not untrue, but I still managed to enjoy the movie. Unfortunately, it does get let down by its third act. The CGI is at times too messy, the action sequences too chaotic with too many people fighting, and then you start wondering if it’s even possible for a superhero movie to have a satisfying ending that makes sense.
But there is quite a bit to like about Justice League. There’s just enough lightness and humour running through the movie that was sorely lacking in Man of Steel, BvS and Suicide Squad (yep, we’re going there), and this made all the difference. In particular, Miller’s Barry Allen really benefited from the lighter tone of the script, which gave him just enough room to flex his comedic chops without going overboard.
Much has been said about the reshoots that were done when Joss Whedon took over the reins from Zack Synder, who up until then had been the driving force and vision behind the DCEU. We may never know the whole truth, but I will tell you this, Justice League had Whedon’s hand all. over. it.
There’s still some vestiges of Synder left in it, particularly in terms of visual effects and art direction, but the script makes way too much sense for it be anything but Whedon. There’s a bit of a polish and edited feel to the story that weren’t present in any Synder movie I’ve ever watched, including Watchmen (2009). The plot also shares many themes with Avengers: Age of Ultron (2014), which, surprise, was also directed and scripted by Whedon.
If you find yourself chuckling at a joke made onscreen here, that’s Whedon’s doing too. Almost all the jokes are too quippy to have been written by anyone else. There’s a particular gag with Aquaman and Wonder Woman that I’m convinced Snyder would NEVER have allowed, but it was one of things that I enjoyed the most about Justice League.
Gadot is resplendent and magnificent as ever as Wonder Woman, while Affleck puts in an uninspiring performance in his second outing as Batman. Fisher as Cyborg wasn’t too bad either, but I do wish he had been given more to do. I also felt that Momoa was criminally underused as Aquaman, but I suppose that we’ll find out more about him in the highly anticipated Aquaman movie.
The MVP of the Justice League for me has to be Ezra Miller, who plays the Flash with just the right combination of vulnerability, awkwardness and intelligence with impeccable comedic timing.
However, one thing that really stood out to me, especially on the heels of Wonder Woman, was how the character herself was portrayed by a male director. There were a lot of shots of Wonder Woman’s butt. There was also an abundance of scenes shot at low camera angles, which meant that at certain climactic moments, we were essentially given an upskirt shot of Wonder Woman. I don’t think this was deliberate (at least, I hope it wasn’t), but I don’t remember many shots like that in Patty Jenkins’s movie.
Also, what the hell was up with those golden boob cages passing as Amazonian armour? Whatever material they were made out of, they exaggerated the breasts of the actresses and stuntwomen playing Amazons so much that I found myself getting seriously distracted by them.
Other people have written about this issue at more length, and one stuntwoman has come forth to say that this wasn’t an issue for her, but I didn’t like this new armour.
That said, don’t let that stop you from watching Justice League, and be sure to stay for a fun mid-credits scene and another post-credits scene. The DCEU seems to have finally found its footing, and I can only hope this continues.
Justice League opens in Singapore theatres today. Tell us what you think of the movie!