For a movie about a band of superheroes trying to stop alien demon-beasts from wiping out humanity, this new movies, Justice League, is pretty light, skipping through the tale of a super group’s origin in less than two hours, giving the group a lots to do, and mainly avoiding the self-importance that ruined previous entries in this franchise.
This new film is released on the heels of “Thor: Ragnarok,” another superhero adventure movie, taking the stages by storm.
“Justice League” is not quite below per, though, but it’s got certain flaws in its script that never get solved. One aspect is figuring out exactly how to balance the screen time of known characters from previous entries, such as Batman (Ben Affleck), Lois Lane (Amy Adams), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), and Superman (Henry Cavill), against another standard-issue, screaming-and-stomping bad guy (Ciaran Hinds’ the Steppenwolf, leader of the Parademons) and three major new characters: The Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher),. and Aquaman (Jason Momoa).
The plotline that brings the superheroes together is the impending invasion of earth by Steppenwolf, who wants to recover and combine three magic boxes that will give him ultimate power and terraform the planet Earth into something else entirely.
This movie is just as cool as the “Avengers” and the recent “Thor,”.
“Justice League” has noting child-like, ridiculously funny, or even comic-like about it. It is down to earth and full of thrills, even natural in some case. A section comes where most of the superheroes admit having difficulties coping with life, even the bad guy Steppenwolf is working on a version of this problem. In fact, part of his grudge against the Earth comes from being publicly humiliated seasons ago
The scenes of Clark and Lois’ reconciliation are brief but sensitive. Almost as moving is the newfound reasonable sense of Batman, a miserable loner who is shocked by the death of Superman, an event for which he takes responsibility. There are moments where you wonder if Batman trying to build a team not just to save the Earth but to give himself too, a circle of friends and a good reason to check in with them each day. The aging, thickening Affleck is appealing here because he plays the aging card, making light of the fact that he’s not the sharp Bat he used to be.
The predictable return of Superman is powerful partly because Snyder and group established that his death plunged the entire world into a haze of despair, fear, superstition, conservative politics, and violent crime. The big blue man is more like a god and if he’s dead then no one can watch over weak. The blue god’s absence means the weaker, meaner, more opportunistic mortals and immortals feel emboldened to do their worst. These aspects of the film are so fascinating that one wishes that they’d never end but get more fully developed, along with the references to rising religious fundamentalism and the direct equating of Steppenwolf to Satan, a creature of raw chaos and viciousness stepping into a vast power vacuum. (“Praise to the mother of horrors!” he roars.)
Although the Flash is the most shameless crowd-pleaser, Wonder Woman hooks the movie into a belt loop and walks away with it. “Justice League” mishandles the Amazons to give the movie an early spark of high stakes drama, highlighting the idea that Wonder Woman and Batman will become a couple and then lets Wonder Woman become an unofficial mother to the rest of the Justice League, armored male superheroes whose competitiveness and smart guy insults make them seem like overgrown boys, but her character isn’t purely sensitive, and she never did sell out.
Wonder Woman’s decency, compassion, and moral sureness deliver the same real delight here.
In all, this is quite a very good film to watch even if you are not the fantasy kind.