The first thing you should know (if uninitiated in comic book history) is that DCs Justice League is not a direct response to Marvel’s Avengers. The Justice League were formed in 1960, debuting in The Brave & The Bold #28. The original team comprised of: Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern, Flash, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Superman. The Avengers first appeared 3 years later.
I mention this, because the Justice League movie also stands on its own film credentials, not taking any cues from Marvel’s Avengers Assemble or Age Of Ultron. If anything, you’ll notice that there are more re-enactments and scenes that closer match Tolkien’s Lord Of The Rings trilogy, than anything offered from comic book land. It’s a slight shame, that the production team looked outward instead of within, as if they really needed some inspiration for a mega scale delivery, they need look no further than their own feature length animations. Rightly done, an adaptation of some of these titles, would have rocked the superhero movie genre for sure.
But I delay. Is Justice League any good?
The Good News; Justice League is worthy of a cinematic visit. It is better than Batman Vs Superman, but not as good as Wonder Woman. The main kick you’ll get out of this DC entry, is in seeing the roster of heroes (main ones and cameos) that make an appearance. This gives the film a type of fulfilment that a solo character outing can’t achieve. Some of the action scenes are awesome, in particular the Themyscira assault and a little internal squabble between the JL team members. Performance wise, newcomer Ray Fisher who plays Cyborg, ironically brings the most endearing humanity to the proceedings and Ezra Miller as The Flash, brings the humour.
“Ultimately, the film’s main downfall, is that it is not a consistent ride.”
But now, for The Bad News. The CGI…oh lord. I don’t know what it is about DC films, but the graphics always look like they are only one step improved from a triple A computer game. This is one factor that I always have to take my hat off to, in regards to Marvel productions, they make me believe in the worlds that they create. As an overall production value, DC/Warner Bros need to seriously step up in this department and other failures arrive in the script having some clunky dialogue, some physical movement that scientifically doesn’t make sense superhero or not (including one scene where Flash’s running style is rather ice skater-esque) some narrative mishaps that will have you planting your face in the palm of your hand…and please, STOP with the superhero poses. For 21st century cinema, it looks corny and ridiculous! I’m all for films not being too aware of themselves, but be aware here! If you want to find the ultimate, unpretentious superhero pose in cinema, then look at the very last shot in Batman (1989).
Ultimately, the film’s main downfall, is that it is not a consistent ride. There are noticeably good lines and bad ones, nice surprises and annoying parts, good action and bad action. Consequently the film is a seesaw of good and bad ideas – but you’ll have to decide which end is staying up longer. Also, as foes go, they picked the wrong villain – Steppenwolf, Steppen who? Exactly.
On a personal note, at this point within the superhero movie, I am officially bored of seeing superheroes fight 10,000 minions throughout an entire movie, that present no real challenge. If a studio needs a means of superheroes being able to unleash their power, without any blow back about screen violence and achieving a PG rating, then find another way.
There is also one major reason you have to watch this movie – but that would be a major, major plot spoiler. DC are almost on the right track, they just need some of their production values re-examined and tightened.
Watch JL with minimal expectations, a big box of popcorn and just go with the flow.
Release Date 17th Nov 2017 (UK).