Justice League: A disappointing race to the Marvel finish line
The time is here, and the pressure’s on. When The Avengers made over $1.5 billion worldwide in 2012 (following the release of five standalones), DC had nothing. Scrabbling as fast as The Flash, DC forced Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman to meet each other – leading to the inevitable Justice League, helmed by Batman v Superman director Zack Snyder. What could possibly go wrong?
The world mourns the death of Superman (Henry Cavill) and has become a more treacherous place. When the evil god Steppenwolf appears with his army of parademons, the weakness in planet Earth is exploited. To prevent this threat, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) treks around the world seeking out the metahumans studied by Lex Luthor to form a team (some sort of… Justice League?) – consisting of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and The Flash (Ezra Miller).
Unlike The Avengers, Justice League suffers the burden of introducing characters who all need their own origin movies. Worse still, a full hour was cut from the film for a more comfortable release. As a result, the superheroes (some of whom never seen on-screen before) are briskly introduced with poor editing. For the audience, it’s like a collection of limp handshakes. Once the group come together, they’re fun to watch. The action sequences are well-coordinated and never feel boring, something Marvel can feel jealous about. But there’s never an emotional connection between these characters – less like a family and more like an awkward wedding table.
Ezra Miller is a hilarious presence as the funny, awkward teenager with super-speed. He may be a transparent attempt to copy Marvel’s sense of humour, but after the ludicrous solemnity of Batman v Superman, this can only be a good thing. The Flash is an electrifying presence, and we can’t wait for his own movie (more than Batman).
Justice League is one of the better movies in the DCEU, but that’s not a difficult triumph. Steppenwolf is a terrible villain and it’s incredible how his vast amount of power and appetite for destruction provides very little conflict. Even the parademons are more exciting. The film is a disappointing race to the Marvel finish line and needs a few more weeks in the editing room. When Snyder left the production because of a family tragedy, Avengers director Joss Whedon stepped forward to oversee post-production and organised extensive reshoots – affecting the finished cut. This included changing the composer to Danny Elfman and excluding characters like Lex Luthor and Iris West. But Justice League is still a Snyderian adventure. Perhaps the three-hour Blu-ray/DVD extended cut will be cleaner, but the only reason to buy it will be for more scenes of The Flash.
Justice League is released nationwide on 17th November 2017.
Watch the trailer for Justice League here: