Movie Review: Justice League

Movie Review: Justice League

JUSTICE LEAGUE

Genre: Superhero Action

Rating: PG-13

Running Time: 119 mins.

Premise: When a supernatural baddie named Steppenwolf threatens to take over the planet, it's up to Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) to recruit other superpowered beings, including The Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Aquaman (Jason Momoa), to help take him down.

Behind-the-Scenes: Smarting from the critical drubbing that Batman v. Superman took, Warner Bros. and director Zack Snyder quickly retooled their take on Justice League, which was alreayd in production, to make it lighter, funnier, and more fan-friendly. Things took a sad turn, however, when Snyder's daughter committed suicide, causing Snyder to take a leave of absence and pave the way for The Avengers writer-director Joss Whedon, to come in and finish the film. Whedon oversaw reshoots and post-production, and apparently directed 15-20% of the finished film. Whedon also received a co-screenwriter credit.

The Good: The lighter approach works. It's fun to see all these heroes together on screen for the first time. Affleck is good (if a little bored) as Bruce Wayne/Batman and Gadot continues to own the role of Wonder Woman, but Miller makes the biggest positive impression as Barry Allen/The Flash. Sure, he's basically doing a riff on Tom Holland's version of Peter Parker, but it still works. The directing switch from Snyder to Whedon is, for the most part, imperceptible. There are 2 end credit stingers that are better than anything else in the movie. The modest running time (under 2 hours!) is refreshing in the age of today's bloated superhero flicks, and makes Justice League breezy entertainment if your expectations are low.

The Bad: Expectations are not low. This is friggin' Justice League. It should be more than just passably entertaining. The villain is atrocious - a CGI creation that lacks any personality or menace. The rush to get to this film means key characters like Aquaman and Cyborg are largely underdeveloped and their introductions are botched. I mean, is anyone really excited about solo films for either character now? Momoa's dude bro take on Aquaman is particularly unimpressive. There are attempts at humor but no genuine laughs, and the action sequences are all the same: loud, garish-looking and wholly unmemorable. Why bother casting J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon if you're only going to use him for 2 scenes? Superman (Henry Cavill) is brought back from the dead in the lamest way possible.

Should You See It?: Nah. I think DC needs to rethink its approach. Stop copying Marvel, embrace Wonder Woman as your central character, and stick to the solo films for now.

Star Rating: **1/2 out of 5 stars.

Better Than: Suicide Squad

Worse Than: Wonder Woman

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