Justice League premiers Friday November 17th and is the next installment in the DCEU after the highly acclaimed Wonder Woman. I was lucky enough to view an advanced screening at my university and will be providing a spoiler free review.
This movie has a lot to accomplish, including setting up the Justice League by establishing three new characters, establishing the villain, taking down the villain, and correcting previous pitfalls in the DCEU. The movie mostly accomplishes that, supported by great performances all around, beautifully shot action sequences, and enjoyable dialogue. One thing is for sure, Warner Bros. has established a promising universe for movies to come.
DC is releasing this movie coming off the overwhelming success of Wonder Woman, and many are hoping that Justice League lives up to that standard. While this movie isn’t quite as good, it still makes it clear that future movies still can be, and that Wonder Woman was not a fluke. I had a great time watching Justice League, and that is the best way I can describe the movie. It can feel a bit diluted in exposition, there are references casual fans may not understand, but many will agree when I say that this is a really entertaining move to watch. Setting up the other League members is a huge task alone, and it is only part of the movie. People need a reason to care about Aquaman, Flash, and Cyborg, and the movie was definitely a little rushed in providing that.
Jason Momoa’s Aquaman is extremely likable and compelling. He’s an outsider who doesn’t know how he fits in, but he also wants to have fun. I am confident he can support his own movie, and I am excited to whether the rest of Atlantis can keep up. Ezra Miller’s the Flash is hilarious and provides plenty of comedic relief. He is self aware, he makes the speed force look great, and he also demonstrates his ability to hold his own in a solo movie as well. Unfortunately, the movie falls a little short on Cyborg, and that is mostly do to lack of time. Ray Fisher gives an amazing performance and shows why Cyborg needs to be on the team, but unfortunately, there is not enough time to fully convey the pathos behind this character. It was recently made public that Warner Bros. mandated that this movie be less than two hours, and that may have negatively impacted Cyborg’s development. Contrary to many other movies in the DCEU, Justice League‘s story is very streamlined, easy to follow, and may actually be a little rushed.
Justice League is visually breathtaking. Warner Bros.’ new colorful palette shows that there are no bounds to how beautiful these movie can look. I am particularly fond of the actions scenes, as they are directed in a unique style shifting back and forth between what an ordinary citizen would see, versus the slow motion a that a faster moving superhero sees. The CGI Parademons, Cyborg, and the Apocalyptic hell-scape Steppenwolf creates all look stunning and help bring the movie to life. A lot of the opening scenes towards the beginning that show ordinary citizens in a world without Superman are also some of the most emotionally powerful scenes in the entire movie by showing a slight loss of hope that permeates throughout the world.
Steppenwolf is the main element that falls short in this film. Many recent superhero movies have struggled from a lack of compelling villains, and Justice League falls into that category. Steppenwolf is yet another scary monster-like being destined to destroy the Earth and that is most of the backstory we get. Hopefully DC will focus on improving their villains in the future.
One concern many had approaching this movie’s release was that two very involved directors would lead to some choppy and disjointed footage. I am happy to say that all the scenes felt extremely fluid, and I can’t discern any difference between each director’s scenes. Both directors managed to incorporate action, humor, and camaraderie into an entertaining movie. I watched this in a lecture hall filled with about 600 college students, and it was nice to hear the roar of laughter and applause at some of my favorite characters.
Justice League is a great look ahead for the DCEU with promising characters and a visually stunning universe that leaves me excited to see more. We get to see a formation of a solid team and some of the best action scenes to date. I will also say that the way the movie treats Superman is the best I have seen of Henry Cavill, and I hope his Superman continues to head in this direction. Finally, I will warn that there are two end credit scenes, so be sure to stick around. Overall, Justice League is a movie I recommend everyone see for a good time.