I’ll cut to the chase–The Justice League, other than Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy is the best D.C. movie ever made.
Got your attention? Good. Let’s continue.
Now before you skip to the end of this article just to see my rating (which probably 70% of my readers do) let’s first establish that just because Justice League is the best D.C. movie ever does not necessarily make it a good movie. I mean let’s face it…Warner Brother Studios doesn’t exactly make the best movies *cough cough* Suicide Squad and Zack Snyder has been in the doghouse amongst fans and critics for his two swings at the popular franchise–both of which tanked among critics (although for the record I thought that Batman Vs Superman was pretty good.)
Anyway, with all of the success of the Marvel films–especially the Avengers trilogy it was time for D.C. to fight back with its own team–The Justice League. Comprised of Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Flash, and Superman (small spoiler but c’mon you guys knew he wasn’t going to stay dead forever) the Justice League embarks on a typical assemblage and defense against a swarming global threat incited by, you guessed it, aliens.
Despite its stereotypes and fairly unoriginal plot structure, Justice League in my mind knocked it out of the park. In fact, in my humble opinion it was the best superhero movie that I’ve seen since Logan and my favorite team superhero movie other than the first Guardians of the Galaxy. It kept my attention, was well paced, and boasted some pretty incredible battle sequences. To make this easier let’s break it down into Pros and Cons.
Chemistry is Key
Justice League boasts a strong ensemble with great chemistry. I’d say the casting of these characters was pretty spot on. Aquaman is no longer the joke of the league and Jason Mamoa brings new life to the character and is arguably the most bada$$ character in the group. Cyborg, despite my original premonitions, makes a good addition to the ensemble and establishes himself as the solemn and intelligent voice of reason that quickly garners the respect of the audience. Gal Gadot as always is stunning in both acting ability and raw beauty, and Batman and Superman take their rightful positions as leaders of league. Flash kind of annoyed me at times but I guess some comic relief is necessary for audiences. Overall he wasn’t bad. While the writing wasn’t amazing per se, these actors really showed an impressive ability to think, act, and unite as what seemed to be a real team that looked out for each other’s interest in addition to the world at large. Chemistry is key in superhero team films and in this respect Justice League soars.
Generally I don’t put action/combat/battle-sequences very high on the priority list when it comes to the quality of a film. With all that can be done with stunts, camera work, and of course the overused and abused CGI it’s not too difficult to produce impressive action and battle sequences in film. However in The Justice League the combat is so well choreographed and thrilling it’s hard to pass it by. I’ve always been a fan of Zack Snyder’s eye for impressive battle scenes such as 300 and Watchmen and Justice League is no exception. All of your favorite heroes are in their full glory with enough screen time depicting their incredible feats that you will be swept right along into the action before you have time to blink. Everyone’s powers and abilities are on full display and if you’ve read the comics you’ll find yourself nodding in approval with every demonstration of each member’s heroic and unique skills. The cinematography and choreography is quite impressive, merging the lofty unattainable super battle sequences with raw, brutal combat using swords, axes, and good ole fists and grapples. There’s a particular exciting fight sequence involving—well this is a no spoilers review so you’ll just have to see for yourself. All this being said, Justice League boast exciting and memorable action that is sure to thrill.
This film has some of the best pacing that I’ve seen in a superhero film. Mixing a perfect blend of plot structure, exposition, combat, and character development is no easy feat and Justice League comes pretty close to accomplishing this. The film never feels belabored or forced–rather it coasts along at a self-assured pace, being sure to fill us in with the details and necessities of the goals at hand while keeping us entertained with an interspersal of drama, action, and intrigue. Generally with superhero films I’ll kind of space out when things become to laborious or over-sensational but in watching Justice League I found myself following the plot and being interested in it as well. In my opinion a good superhero film should make you feel like you are a part of the team as far as your investment in their interests and pacing is the key to making that happen. Congrats, D.C. You nailed it.
There isn’t really too many glaring cons in this film so I won’t divide them into categories. There are a couple of things to be wary and critical of–the plot being one of them. It’s for the most part pretty unoriginal. A lot of the film seems pretty cut and paste from other superhero movies and it also had a hint of Lord of the Rings as a part of its premise. I don’t want to give away any spoilers but if you’re a fan of LOTR you probably picked up on it. Like The Avengers, Justice League tackles an alien threat from another dimension led by the ultimate villain who’s name strikes terror into anyone’s heart that knows anything remotely about superheroes–the ferocious Steppenwolf!
Never heard of him? Me neither. Where’s a truly abominable foe like Darkseid or Braniac? Well apparently he’s a character from the comics but he’s an odd choice for a debut film. There’s a pretty strong hint in the movie that Darkseid will be appearing in later films in the franchise but as a debut villain for a new franchise Steppenwolf seemed a bit underhyped and unintimidating in the face of the powerful Justice League. That being said, I loved his style of combat and his powers are pretty cool. All in all he’s not a bad character–just kind of cookie cutter. Way better than the villain from Suicide Squad or X-men Apocalypse.
The plot being as unoriginal as it is, certain details and happenstances get glossed over in favor of keeping the film moving–which is okay I guess. Several key points of development are victim to some sloppiness in writing and sequence. D.C. seems to struggle with setting the scene properly and getting the audience to understand the gravity of the plot–the superobjective which gives the film its meaning. All in all the film serves its purpose as a great vehicle of escapism and entertainment. Further exploration into the lore and details can be found in the comics.
I really liked this film–with the last ensemble superhero disaster named Suicide Squad still fresh on my mind Justice League was a cool drink of water that defied my expectations and proved that it still has the clout to stand up to the Disney MCU empire. Maybe I like the darker tone that D.C. provides or perhaps I’m just tired of Marvel’s same old antics and cash grabs. Either way I find it impressive that D.C. has come up with the worst superhero/villain movie I’ve ever seen as well as one of the best. One thing is for sure–it hasn’t been a boring ride!
Daily Diatribe Rating: 8.9/10