DEFCON 1 Reviews: ‘Justice League’

The Ups, the Downs, and the Spark That May Just Put DC Back on Track

Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and the Flash (Ezra Miller) get ready for action.

Warner Bros.

Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and the Flash (Ezra Miller) get ready for action.

Well, that was a pleasant surprise. Justice League, contrary to the increasingly less credible Rotten Tomatoes, was actually the best DC Comics movie since Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises (which is definitely saying something about the DC Cinematic Universe). It wasn’t the greatest film that I’ve ever seen, but it marked a step in the right direction for the franchise. I’m still triggered, though, because Wonder Woman is one of my favorite superheroes, and I still don’t like Gal Gadot.

But let’s start with the good stuff.

May the Speed Force Be With You

Ezra Miller, I take everything back. I am a huge fan of the Flash, and for various reasons (the actor, the suit, the stupid blue lightning, etc.), I expected the worst from Ezra Miller’s performance as the Flash in Justice League. Contrary to my predisposition, however, Miller did an excellent job. He was funny, charismatic and just a overall strong character, and that praise, in part, goes to my boy Joss Whedon, who co-wrote the film (for those who don’t know, Joss Whedon also wrote and directed The Avengers). All in all, I was very pleased to see the scarlet speedster exceed my expectations, and this gives me hope that Flash’s solo film Flashpoint (2018) will do the same.

Started From the Water, Now We Here

It’s funny that people are still surprised that Aquaman is a beast. Jason Momoa’s Aquaman was probably Justice League’s most anticipated character, and he lived up to those anticipations in the fullest capacity. Momoa’s performance was so perfect, in fact, that the only real flaw I found within his character was the fact that his weapon was a quindent, not a trident. Aquaman had a cool suit, powerful abilities and was still, somehow, not an extremely overpowered character. When Steppenwolf was beating the entire Justice League down, Aquaman was no exception, and that’s something I truly appreciate in a superhero movie.

Batfleck Returns

Ben Affleck’s return as the Batman for the third time did not disappoint. He was funny, charismatic and agile, and his performance reminded me of the famed “Arkham” video game series, where Batman beats thugs up with a free-flow technique that makes him look like a pinball machine. In essence, despite being a bit of a jerk at times in the actual film, Ben Affleck was the glue that held the Justice League together.

A Ray of Sunshine

Even though Ray Fisher’s portrayal of Cyborg wasn’t my favorite of all time, he did just enough to make a solid character. He was a good actor, which made up for the fact that his character was very poorly written. I commend Fisher for his diligence in playing such a significant player in the DC Universe and taking a good step forward with a character that wasn’t given much thought in the grand scheme of the franchise.

As I move into the negative part of this review I think it’s important to note that the praises that I gave to Justice League in the previous paragraphs should be taken with a grain of salt. The character development and altogether movie quality was good relative to the other DC movies of late.

Get to Steppen’-Wolf

Jeez, why is DC so bad at doing villains? A giant demon is not enough to leave a permanent impression on an audience. The villain has to be charismatic and have a unique quality, whether it be a voice, like Bane, or a psychotic lack of empathy, like the Joker. Steppenwolf was one of the most forgettable villains in DC history and, in fact, I literally forgot his name when writing this very review. As I always say, the villain makes the story, and it feels like Justice League would have been a truly great movie if the villain was more than subpar.

A Real Pain in the Bat

Look, I know the Justice League just got together and it’s full of a bunch of different personalities, but I think it’s safe to say that the arguments were pretty excessive. Batman and Wonder Woman constantly bickered over who should do what and how they should go about their operation to stop Steppenwolf. This was all completely pointless dialogue, however, because everybody knew that the movie was going to end with them defeating the villain using the power of ‘teamwork.’ In the end, what was an attempt at strengthening characters through dialogue ended up just making the movie longer than it needed to be.

The Darkseid of the Force

Okay, we get it DC: you’re going to do a movie with Darkseid in it. It’s very irritating, however, that you constantly tease it, even when the villain won’t be coming until the next Justice League movie. For those who don’t know, Darkseid is a fan favorite villain who the DC writers must be very proud to showcase because even though Steppenwolf was Justice League’s villain, they teased Darkseid throughout the movie. Maybe, if they focused on individual cinema instead of franchising, they would have made a good movie within the last six years.

The Wrap-Up

So, all in all, Justice League was solid. It was action packed, funny and absolutely something I’d watch again. It was also an important step in the right direction for the dying DC cinematic franchise. Still, League wasn’t even in the top ten of movies that I’ve seen this year, and if this franchise doesn’t start making masterpieces soon, it’ll be pushed further and further behind Marvel, whose superhero films within the last few years have become some of my favorite movies of all time. Therefore, even though I’m giving Justice League a decent rating, it still leaves much to be desired.

Good