by Alan Yudman
I don’t ask for much in my superhero movies. Action, humor, the heroes spending time as those heroes. And a plot that makes sense. The problem with DC movies (except for Wonder Woman) is they lacked humor. And don’t get me started on the stories. The plots went off the rails and made little sense even in their own universe. Maybe DC has turned a corner because JUSTICE LEAGUE is immensely satisfying entertainment.
Here’s the basics. Batman comes upon a historic evil that is bent on taking the world and destroying it. He has to stop it and he enlists the help of a few friends. At the same time the Amazons on Themyscira engage the bringer of evil, Steppenwolf in a battle to keep him from getting a piece of the puzzle that will give him the power of destruction. He takes it and the Amazons send Diana Prince a signal that doomsday is coming. Bruce Wayne enlists Diana to help him recruit Arthur Curry (Aquaman), Victor Stone (Cyborg) and Barry Allen (The Flash) to defeat this evil. They also get help from an old friend who appeared to be out of the picture (major hint) after BATMAN V. SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE.
So after a bit of backstory for the new guys, we dive into the action. That’s a very good thing. We get just enough set up to make us care about Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash. No long handwringing exposition. Let’s just go kick some bad guy booty. And it totally worked for me. Here’s the dicey part. Maybe it worked because although Zack Snyder is listed as the director he had to leave production of the film midway because of the death of his daughter. Joss Whedon took over and maybe his hand made it better. He is also credited as a writer on the film. Whedon directed THE AVENGERS which was hugely successful critically and at the box office. So he brought the group dynamic experience and maybe guided this to be a better film. It is still unmistakably a Snyder film, but toned down a bit. Plus, the action sequences are easy to follow. If you saw MAN OF STEEL or BATMAN V. SUPERMAN you know the set pieces were exceedingly difficult to watch because they camera’s perspective was too close. You couldn’t get a sense of the action. At times it was nauseating. But there’s none of that here.
Ben Affleck is ok as Batman, but better as Bruce Wayne. Henry Cavill is back as “you know who”. But the real treat is watching Gal Gadot play Wonder Woman again. It is like this is the role she was born to play. She lights up the screen in the same way she did in WONDER WOMAN. How long before we see her again in the role? Too long for my taste.
The additions of Jason Momoa (Aquaman), Ray Fisher (Cyborg) and Ezra Miller (The Flash) all fit in just fine. There’s also a little Diane Lane, Amy Adams and J.K. Simmons (Jim Gordon) just for good measure.
Is this a perfect movie? Not at all. Some of the “here’s how the bad stuff works” explanations are over my head and might be for casual fans of the DC universe. It still has that weird Snyder coloring in every scene. None of that really matters or will take away from your enjoyment. Here’s hoping DC has finally figured it out, because there is another JUSTICE LEAGUE movie coming (plus Aquaman next year). If they have, Marvel should be worried. Because other than Spider-Man, the big names in superheroes are Batman and Superman. And those belong to DC. JUSTICE LEAGUE, like Superman, can be a beacon of hope. Now they just have to follow through.
Oh, post review, review here. The post-credits scene is awesome!