Man of Steel was divisive. Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice was divisive. Suicide Squad was divisive. Wonder Woman was enjoyable, yet some people still found it overrated. As we can see, DC Films has been struggling to bring in new fans. DC’s latest release, Justice League, has the important task of bringing something new to the table. In May 2017, director Zack Snyder had to leave the project and left Joss Whedon, best known for directing the first two Avengers films, in charge of post-production and re-writing some extra scenes for the movie.
First of all, spoiler alert if you haven’t seen Batman V Superman: after Superman sacrifices himself to save the planet from Doomsday’s wrath, Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) and Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) decide to form an alliance of meta-humans, a.k.a. the Justice League, to stop clichéd and bland baddie Steppenwolf from ruling the entire world. That’s pretty much the entire plot in a sentence. The team is composed of Batman, Wonder Woman, Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Victor Stone/Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Barry Allen/The Flash. (Ezra Miller)
Let’s start with the characters: they’re great. Ben Affleck proves to all the haters that he shines as Batman, and Gal Gadot kicks ass as Wonderman. The newcomers Cyborg, Flash and Aquaman are also good. When it was publicly announced that Ezra Miller was going to play the Flash in the DC Extended Universe, he had a lot to live up to Grant Gustin’s phenomenal performance in the television series. And he really steals the show! Ezra Miller’s version of the Flash has some fun quips and one-liners which makes his character really likeable and entertaining. Jason Momoa and Ray Fisher are fine in their roles even if they don’t really carry the film. For example, Aquaman unfortunately gets kind of left in the background. Maybe they might be more interesting when we see them in their own solo films.
While it does take away some things people hate from Batman V Superman, it still feels like a Zack Snyder movie. He’s known for amazing visuals and fun action sequences if you’ve seen movies such as 300 and Watchmen, but he has a hard time constructing a cohesive story. The narrative structure is a little messy as the film tries to give the audience each character’s backstory with little development. If there’s one word to describe the first act, it would be “rushed”. It’s a little unfocused even if it doesn’t compromise the experience as a whole. Justice League also tries to be lighter in tone than previous instalments of the DC Extended Universe, especially the ones directed by Snyder. Man of Steel and BvS have been heavily criticized for being too dark and gloomy, so Joss Whedon decides to bring in some humour. The humour works in some scenes, but sometimes it’s a little irritating and jarring. From beginning to end, the film isn’t always able to juggle both the drama and the humour. Since the movie is a little rushed in the beginning, it’s easy to notice tonal discrepancies. Who knows? Maybe the extended cut on home media might improve on the theatrical cut.
In the end, Justice League is simply a fun movie. While being better than Batman V Superman and Suicide Squad, it still has flaws carried on from those two critically panned blockbusters. It doesn’t change the fact that the audience will be entertained and see their favourite heroes on the big screen. The DC Extended Universe is starting to head in the right yet bumpy direction.
Justice League is now playing in theatres.