Justice League (2017) is directed by Zack Snyder and stars Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ciariàn Hinds, Amy Adams,Jeremy Irons and Henry Cavill. This is a spoiler filled review. To access my spoiler free review, simply follow this link:
Now that the film has been out for a while, and many people have seen it (actually they haven’t, it’s not done as well as expected, but I digress) I feel it’s time to get into the spoilers.Here is my two cents.
There has been a lot of heavy discussion around Ben Affleck’s future with this franchise with multiple credible sources claiming he is stepping away from the role. It’s clear from his performance that he no longer has that drive and passion he did in his previous Batman incarnation. He appeared sleepy and bored in the Aquaman recruitment scene, doesn’t show much emotion when contemplating the value of Superman/Clark Kent and even appears less physically imposing. While he was clearly bulkier especially around the upper chest and shoulders in the previous movie he CERTAINLY seemed smaller in this movie. I was astounded at how weak he looked in the back fixing scene he shared with Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman. I read that the scene was meant to be shirtless but because of his reduced physical aesthetics they went ahead with that terrible skin tight padded onsie?! Honestly what were they thinking. It totally took away from the allure of Batman.
The Batman of the previous film in this franchise was grizzly and terrifying. He was also pretty intimidating in his short cameo in Suicide Squad. I understand that he grew more peaceful as a man due to his character development but the way he was portrayed in this movie didn’t seem like anything Batman would ever do. Batman would not leave a criminal at the top of a buildings terrace free as he did in this film. Batman would not charge into a fight foolishly without having a deeply thought out plan like he did with the batmobile in the climax. What made this even more silly was that he spent most of the film assembling a team only to charge into action alone? That didn’t make ANY sense from a characterisation point of view. Batman would not be used as the butt of jokes. It seems that DC in their attempt to finally develop a softer more light hearted tone have gone and sacrificed possibly the one character who should NOT be light hearted to achieve this. I found myself rolling my eyes at that “something is definitely bleeding” line. Worst of all, this film did not show any of Batman’s brilliant martial arts skills. While the warehouse scene in the previous film was easily the greatest Batman fight ever put to screen, this film didn’t even attempt to have a similar fight. Disappointing.
However, the development of the wider Batman universe was pretty interesting. Alfred’s comments about fighting wind up Penguins leaves the audience and fans imagination racing to speculate the rich history of this seasoned Batman. It was nice to see Commissioner Gordon again, and even though he was in it for about a few minutes I think J.K Simmons did a nice enough job to capture his essence and I’d love to see more. The Batman gadgets in this film are better than in any other Batman film I’ve seen this far. Aside from Zack Snyder’s odd fixation on goggles, every heavy duty vehicle and gadget was perfect. I really was impressed by the style of the crawler he used in the underground tunnels, really creative especially in its manoeuvring.
Enough about Batman. Let’s talk about the biggest downer about the movie. That. CGI.Moustache. To be honest it really does stand out at times and is slightly distracting. It just shouldn’t be the case. For those unaware, Henry Cavill has a contract for the new Mission Impossible movie where he couldn’t shave his moustache off. Therefore he couldn’t remove it for reshoots of Justice League no matter how much money Warner Brothers we’re willing to compromise. As I understand it’s more difficult to CGI a moustache off than on someone’s face. But that is a poor excuse. With a budget the size of this film I’m surprised they couldn’t do a better job. Also, they could have given him a beard and done the black suited Superman from the comics, and gone around the moustache. It was the perfect chance. What a screw up.
That aside, this has generally been the best version of Superman in this universe I believe. He even used freeze breath finally which though a campy power, is a signature Superman ability and I’m glad they’re going forth with the campiness. He’s certainly brighter both literally and metaphorically. It’s lovely seeing the bright blue and red suit. There was even a call back to John Williams score when he lifted that building to save people which I thought was awesome. I don’t understand how and why seeing Louise would remove his anger/evil/confusion? And how going back to the Kent farm would give him motivation to fight again. But as I said in the main review I feel like they skipped/glossed over a lot in this final cut.
I was surprised at the level of humour in the movie. That line about Louise being a “thirsty young woman” really caught me off guard there! It was certainly pleasant and the film did certainly feel more hopeful than all the hope spoken about in Man of Steel but never shown.
The cameos and Easter Eggs blew me away. I know many causal viewers wouldn’t ready understand them, but I feel they really made a difference to the story and to the direction this franchise is going in. Joe Manganiello looks absolutely brilliant as Deathstroke. Jesse Eisenberg looks more Lex Luther than we previously saw, and it does add a difference. It was a short cameo but his performance did seem more toned down, and I welcome that with open arms. The yacht screamed of Superman Returns (2006) and honestly I think that is a good thing. It’s high time the DCEU embraced the superman we all know and love.
This certainly felt like a soft reboot. In some ways they ignored much of the previous movies. Superman is held up by all as some sort of saviour even though at his death half the world hated him. I’m not sure where this franchise is going. This film wasn’t that great, but it seems to be stirring in a much better direction than I previously thought.
What about you? What are your thoughts on the movie? And what do you think about the future of the DCEU? Leave your thoughts down in the comments!