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Justice League - This Week At The Movies

Justice League ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

After the death of Superman (Henry Cavill), the world faces a threat so great Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) enlists newfound ally Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) – aka Wonder Woman – to help him recruit a team of superheroes. Joining the so-called “Justice League” are Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and The Flash (Ezra Miller), but without Kal-el, can our motley crew defeat the all-powerful Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds)?

Pros:

  • This is going to sound like the dictionary definition of “damning with faint praise”, but Justice League is… kind of fun. There are many, many problems with this film – as the extensive ‘cons’ section below proves – but in comparison to some previous DC comics superhero outings, notably the nonsensical Suicide Squad and the dingy Batman v Superman, Justice League will probably satisfy a lot of casual film fans just looking to see their favourite good guys (and Gal) smash up a big bad. It’s no Wonder Woman, sure, but it just about works in a breezy, hey-ho, runaway mine cart-way.
  • Ezra Miller (as The Flash) deserves some kind of medal for injecting a bit of humour into the film, playing The Fastest Man Alive with a loveably neurotic, manic edge. More human than any of the other heroes, and more excitable, he’s the character you want to know more about, and spend time with. The trouble is, the movie leans so heavily on him, you start feeling sorry for the guy, as if someone off-camera was shouting “Do the funny stuff, funny guy!” whenever a scene started to drag.
  • There are jokes in this film. Jokes. And not just from The Flash. “A DC film with jokes?!”, you cry, but it’s true: there is a genuine sense of humour here, and that is such a pleasant novelty in a film where Batman looks like he’s lost a winning scratchcard, stubbed his toe and discovered his cat needs an appendectomy at the same time every single minute. Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne is so dour, sweating in his armoured Bat-onesie, and Aquaman so gruff in his extra-chunky Scandi knit, that when they sneak a cheeky gag in there it’s so very, very welcome.

Cons:

  • Before we begin, it’s important to note that the director, Zack Snyder, suffered a family tragedy during the production, which resulted in Avengers director Joss Whedon being parachuted in to tweak the script and handle the extensive additional photography. There is also a technical reason why Henry Cavill’s Superman – who does appear in this movie in some form, be it in flashbacks or what-have-you, as the posters, trailers, toys etc have made little attempt to disguise – has such a blurry upper lip in Justice League: they had to CGI out his moustache for the reshoots, as Paramount (the studio behind another film he’s in, Mission: Impossible 6) refused to let Warners shave off his face fuzz. True story.
  • The tone is muddled, jumping from serious to light from one scene to another. The CGI generally is sub-par, particularly when the villain Steppenwolf is on screen. There are numerous plot holes and a few cheesy one-liners like “My man!” and “Aw yeah!” The story is perfunctory. There are, unsurprisingly, many continuity errors. One in particular is wonderful: a janitor at S.T.A.R. Labs has a name badge with a photo on it which looks NOTHING like him (think: ‘white beard and hair’ when he has neither), and in another scene, the same character has a totally different photo of another totally different person on his name badge.
  • I’m still not sure how it all works down in Atlantis with Aquaman: how people speak underwater on a day-to-day basis, what his powers are, whether he talks to fish as he does in the comics. These are minor queries, and we will find out more when the Aquaman standalone movie comes out in December 2018.

Three word review: Manic, janky… fun!?