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‘Justice League’ is a Decent Ride With DC’s Iconic Heroes, But Suffers From Obvious Flaws – Review

While the DCEU has been constantly critiqued for its dark and gritty tone, the newest entry into the DC film world certainly strives for a light-heartedness that hasn’t been seen until Wonder Woman hit theaters this summer. Ultimately, Justice League opted for a similar tone with more jokes and character banter than previously witnessed in past films and it only kind of worked.

Justice League picks up where BvS left off, with Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) trying to rally a team of powerful entities together in order to fight an otherworldly threat he believes is coming. The Dark Knight, always the loner, sets out on his own but has his trusty aide, Alfred (Jeremy Irons), instructing him along the way as he tries to lure out one of the Parademons he’s been spotting throughout Gotham City.

With the pest problem becoming more and more frequent and the mystery of the ‘cubes’ still unsolved, Bruce makes his move to locate the new recruits, starting with Arthur Curry a.k.a. Aquaman (Jason Momoa). As witnessed in the trailer, the meeting between the duo doesn’t exactly go well, which sends Bruce back to Gotham, chatting with Alfred about potential next steps.

Enter Barry Allen a.k.a. Flash (Ezra Miller), Victor Stone a.k.a. Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Diana Prince a.k.a. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). Barry, who “needs friends” is all too eager to join the Batman’s ranks, while Victor is the most elusive of the new recruits. So, naturally, Bruce leaves the hard task of finding him up to Diana (because women get sh*t done). But even with Wonder Woman herself asking for help, Victor remains a question mark as it pertains to the team. But one thing is for certain – Victor gets along with Diana faster than any of the other potential members of the team, and the moments the pair share on-screen together are some of the film’s best.

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Battle Ready: Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Flash & Aquaman (Courtesy of Warner Bros.)

As always, you can feel director Zack Snyder’s influence. As most of the meetings between the new teammates take place in darkness, there is an ominous feeling that reverberates through these scenes, which quite clearly signify impending danger – Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds). Unfortunately, Steppenwolf is probably one of the film’s biggest downfalls. The ‘destroyer of worlds’ isn’t nearly as intimidating as one would hope. Being a New God, hailing from the planet of Apokolips and being larger than life, almost everything about Steppenwolf doesn’t translate well on-screen.  He’s generic, quite one-dimensional and only has a few scenes in which he truly seems to be the dreaded antagonist he’s meant to be.

Villain aside, the film’s shining trait is truly its ensemble cast. There were many moments where the banter between the superheroes was reminiscent of what always made me love the Justice League (in both the comic books and the animated television series from the early 2000s). The jokes were generally on point, their conversation and interactions held meaning, and overall it was fun to watch – minus some cringe-worthy moments re: Bruce and Diana. How the Themysciran Princess can be so calm and collected toward her broody teammate, I’ll never know (if I were in her armoured boots, I might have decked him already, but I digress). There were also some other cringe-inducing moments as it pertained to what were very clearly the reshoots done for the film.

The newcomers, specifically Flash and Cyborg, really made an impact and were definitely scene stealers. Unfortunately, Aquaman seemed to be placed on the back burner in comparison to his peers, but Momoa was still great in the screentime he did have. Truthfully, it was nice that in some way or another, every character has their own defining moment and a chance to truly show off their skills as the film progressed. This was probably what helped me move past the obvious flaws, such as the inconsistency in tone, the lacklustre villain, the rush-through of some of the pacing (I actually wished the film was longer), and a narrative that wasn’t anything we haven’t witnessed before in terms of superhero capers.

The movie is definitely a mixed bag and while Justice League tries its best to pull off the finished product, it doesn’t quite land. That being said, while the movie is not magnificent by any means, it still includes some exciting moments and while it may be the “fun” some have been craving from the DCEU, it’s unfortunate that viewers missed out on the dramatic tension for fans of Snyder’s vision.  I do wish the audience could have seen what the film could have been if fans were able to see Snyder’s full version without the reshoots by Joss Whedon.

Aquaman, Batman, Cyborg, Flash and Wonder Woman come together when Justice League hits theaters on November 17.

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