Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot & Jason Momoa
Synopsis: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.
Rating: 12A Duration: 120 minutes Release date: 17 November (UK)
While not as highly anticipated as some of the other comic-book films that have been released in the past few years, Justice League has arrived in cinemas with audiences more curious as to what the final result will be rather than genuine anticipation. The latest superhero team up arrives on the back of much derision from fans and maybe the best audiences can hope for is that the film is not a complete failure.
After the events of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, Justice League picks up with Batman (Ben Affleck) sensing a threat greater than anything he has ever seen is on the way and he must form a team of heroes to stop the coming danger. Along with Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Batman gathers The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to prevent Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) from bringing about worldwide destruction via a MacGuffin known as the Mother-Boxes.
Somehow, Warner Bros. & DC have found themselves in a bit of a mess. Man of Steel was the first in their equivalent of Marvel’s cinematic universe. The plan, one presumes, was to introduce several heroes before seeing them come together in an almighty team-up film. Zack Snyder’s take on Superman disappointed some, alienated others and for some was a brave new take on a stale character. Batman v Superman followed and proceeded to take well established characters such as Batman and Superman to ever darker levels. Suicide Squad was, well the less said the better. And finally came Wonder Woman, a breath of fresh air to DC’s extended universe and finally a symbol of hope was front and centre of their output.
With Justice League we now have something of a course correction for DC. Finally, we see these characters smiling and enjoying themselves. Yes, there are jokes here and the tone is decidedly lighter than the what we’ve come to expect from the DCEU. While it is never as silly as the likes of Guardians of the Galaxy or Thor: Ragnarok, Justice League does not take itself all that seriously and Joss Whedon – who stepped in for Zack Snyder near the end of the films production – knows when to throw in a joke to ease the tension. This does result in an uneven tone at times, something which is due the aforementioned change of director, and it becomes easy to spot which moments are Snyder’s and which are Whedon’s.
There is the issue of some moments being clearly poorly edited, two or three come to mind, but to avoid spoiling the film for anyone, they will not be discussed in this review. There are also some glaring instances of poor CGI and for a film of this size it becomes unforgivable just how had badly some scenes are put together. Most crucially of all, the big bad of the film; Steppenwolf looks like a poorly rendered goliath who the Justice League must inevitably battle in the films final third.
Despite some glaringly obvious faults, Justice League is a lot of fun. Sure, it’s uneven and the plot is generic, but there is a joy to be had with these heroes. Whether you’ve been waiting four years, 17 years or longer it’s satisfying to see these heroes playing on the big screen. Despite a lack of characterisation, the newcomers; Aquaman, The Flash & Cyborg are all worthy of your time. The best thing is that although we are only just getting to know these heroes, by the end we are eager to see more of them. There is also a sense of completeness here, and with the Justice League formed we can now look forward to further adventures with these characters, which is an achievement in itself when you think about.