Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Ciarán Hinds
Running: 120 minutes
The last film released in DC’s extended universe was WONDER WOMAN. It gave me hope that as I sat down to watch Zack Snyder’s JUSTICE LEAGUE, I was feeling optimistic. Maybe DC got off on the wrong foot? Maybe WONDER WOMAN was a turning point and maybe, just maybe JUSTICE LEAGUE could be the film to ignite passion into the flailing DC extended universe?
I couldn’t be more wrong.
After four films and a four year build up, JUSTICE LEAGUE dared to be a climatic film. After all, BATMAN VS SUPERMAN spent most of its running time acting as prologue. But instead it awkwardly jumps from scene to scene leaving plot holes wide open for the entire extended universe to see.
After the death of the short lived bromance with Superman, the world has gone into mourning and crime is on the rise. Ben Affleck is back as the new wise-cracking (“I hear you can talk to fish”) Batman, who wants to put a team together to save the world from an ancient alien enemy. Together with the return of Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and three new recruits, The Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Aquaman (Jason Momoa), they battle the alien enemy Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) with video game like CGI. Unfortunately, he’s fallen victim to the rubbish villain curse of superhero movies.
The Flash with his boyish charm and physics defying speed is a nice new addition to the film but his awkward jokes wear thin. Cyborg remains aloof and concealed in a grey tracksuit for the most part, he was injured during an explosion and ‘put back together again’ with cybernetic powers by his father.
Finally, we have Aquaman who’s powers mainly reside to the sea. Perhaps a handy canal, lake or even a puddle could have been nearby so we could see the real extent of his powers. But alas, the pitchfork came in handy.
Together they try to act as best friends but considering the circumstances, it’s essentially a random group of people thrown together. The way they meet and how they met is a mess which could come down to a chaotic production as Snyder left the film due a family tragedy. Joss Whedon (Avengers) took over the remainder of the film with significant re-shoots.
The re-shoots have left JUSTICE LEAGUE in a muddle, to the point where it doesn’t even know how to begin. We’re shown several introductory scenes as we move chaotically from Batman in his batcave, to Batman meeting Aquaman and then to Wonder Woman thwarting a terrorist plot in London. I imagine someone sat in the editing room with their eyes shut throwing these scenes together.
Flimsy and disorganised the film skips through a random sequence of events, at least their mission to keep three mother boxes (In the words of Wonder Woman, “they don’t contain power, they are power”) away from the villain Steepenwolf, seems simple enough. Despite how powerful these boxes are, our newly formed team haphazardly leave one of the boxes stranded in a car park – easy pickings for our villain.
It’s unfortunate that after the high of WONDER WOMAN we’re brought back down with a film that isn’t much better BATMAN VS SUPERMAN. Our new team of superheroes stand in the shadows of the AVENGERS as JUSTICE LEAGUE proves to be nothing more than a superhero recruitment agency.