Monday, November 20, 2017

Movie Review: Justice League (2017)

Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters, great action, solid story
Cons: Effects a couple of times, but I’m being nitpicky
The Bottom Line:
We meet new heroes
Come together; save the world
Film pure escapism

“Is This a Bad Time to Bring Up My Blood Sugar?”

As much as I love TV’s Arrowverse, I have been very disappointed with the recent DC Comics movies.  That’s been doubly disappointing since these are the superheroes I know best (which, admittedly, isn’t saying much).  Still, I couldn’t help it, I was holding out hope that Justice League would be great despite the trend, and my hope was rewarded.

Hope is something that is in short supply as this movie opens.  The world is falling apart and growing dark as a result of Superman’s death.  But something else is bothering Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck).  It seems there are strange creatures out there feeding on the fear that is rising in the streets.  After Batman captures and kills one of them, it’s remains leave behind a symbol of three boxes.

Fortunately, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) knows what these creatures are, but it’s more bad news.  These creatures are the creation of Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciaran Hinds), a creature that destroys worlds.  He was only defeated generations ago thanks to the combined efforts of the Amazons, the ancient gods, and the citizens of Atlantis, among others.

With evidence that Steppenwolf is back and ready to destroy the world, Bruce and Diana begin recruiting others with powers to help them, people like Arthur Curry, aka Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Barry Allen, aka The Flash (Ezra Miller), and Victor Stone, aka Cyborg (Ray Fisher).  But will they be enough?

I had not realized that Joss Whedon was involved in this project until I was in the theater and the opening credits were playing.  Despite the fact that I don’t find his TV projects that good, I absolutely love his movies, and this movie is another great example of why.

First of all, this movie needs to juggle all the characters, introducing us to three of them.  The job, then, is to make sure that we care about them enough to want to see them win.  And we do.  The new characters arrive fully fleshed out.  We get enough of their backstory to understand them, but there is plenty more to explore in their future solo projects.  Meanwhile, there are moments that fill us in on what is going on with the characters we’ve already met and allow them to develop as well.

Of course, this is a superhero movie, and that calls for plenty of action, and we get that here, too.  The action scenes and fights will satisfy you if that is what you are looking for, yet they don’t go on too long and they are filmed so that they are easy to follow.

And the story tying all this together actually makes sense.

Of course, this film is filled with special effects, but they are there to support everything else going on and not the other way around.  There were a couple of scenes that could have been a little better, but they were short, and this was a minor issue overall.

This is truly an ensemble movie, and the cast does a wonderful job at making their characters shine at the right time and supporting everyone else when it isn’t their turn in the spotlight.

I mentioned earlier being a fan of the TV Arrowverse, which includes the TV version of The Flash.  Some fans of the show were upset when they didn’t cast Grant Gustin in the movie.  Personally, I think it was a very wise decision.  This is a different take on the character and not tied into the show at all.  This allows the show to do what it does (which I love) and the movies to do their take on the character and his stories.  This helps keep them separate for everyone.  Having said that, I certainly enjoyed seeing a few of the things I’ve learned from the show be mentioned in passing in this film.

I can’t leave out the laughs.  There are some truly fun and funny moments and lines in this script that help lighten the mood at times.  Not that it really needs it since this is a lighter movie overall than some of the other recent DC films.

Be sure to stay through the entire credits.  There are two bonus scenes you'll want to be sure to watch.

I left the theater smiling, which is exactly what I wanted when I went to see Justice League.  It is perfect escapism, which is all it wants to be.  I highly recommend you go see this movie today.

1 comment:

  1. I agree one hundred percent, especially regarding the casting of a new Flash. While I wasn't blown away by the altered costume-- which design may be rooted in legal considerations-- the fact is that Grant Gustin isn't young enough to pull off this version of Flash. I thought Miller's "goofy young guy" was more appealing than Holland's Spider-Man, since the latter was less a character than an excuse for jokes.

    I'm disappointed to read this morning that JL isn't do well in the box office, as against the overblown THOR RAGNAROK. No one appreciates solid craftsmanship any more, I guess.