The ability to turn off ones fandom borders on impossible. Like if you able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, or have the power of a god, or run faster than the speed of sound. In this world it cannot be done, but in the DC Universe, these abilities exist in beloved characters that were created almost 80 years ago. Think about that for a minute, 80 years. That means Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and the Flash are older than lasers, the atomic bomb, the frisbee, satellites, polyester, the electric guitar, markers, tupperware, the slinky, and diapers.
It certainly says something that these creations that were made to entertain children would go on to be multi-million dollar intellectual properties. Almost as if they surpassed the very thing they were intended for, yet they are still sold to children in a variety of ways. And now that we have waded through all theses decades of classic superhero movies, terrible comic book movies, and the genius that is the modern era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there is finally a Justice League movie. Was it worth the wait? Could it ever live up to almost a century of expectation? Well…
Inspired by the self-sacrifice of Superman (Henry Cavill), and with a looming threat to the world, Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) begin to recruit people with special abilities. They find Arthur Curry, the Aquaman (Jason Momoa) Barry Allen, the Flash (Ezra Miller) and part man-part machine Victor Stone, Cyborg (Ray Fisher). Together the newly formed team must take on an ancient monster called Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) who intends to re-shape the earth into a fiery pit of destruction, filled with his evil parademons.
After the broody, moody “Man of Steel” (which I still think is great), the epic fail of “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” (see the ‘Extended Cut’, it makes it a waaay better movie) and the massively beautiful ray of light that is Patty Jenkins “Wonder Woman” we get the culmination of what all these films set up. Though unfortunately since Zack Snyder first brought us “Man of Steel” every subsequent film has been a response to the previous film. Unlike Marvel which has a clear, but still ever-changing landscape of films that complement each other as much as they can be their own unique take. Again like the fandom thing, it’s hard not to compare, even though they have been in the same business for relatively the same amount of time Marvel and DC pride themselves on being different.
This has been a long way of saying “Justice League” is… okay. I didn’t actively hate it. Zack Snyder with directing help from co-writer Joss Whedon (Marvel’s The Avengers) who came on after Snyder received a devastating blow to his family did all they could to make this film a response to previous films. It’s certainly lighter than “Bv.S”, most of the humor coming from Ezra Miller’s Flash and Momoa’s Aquaman, and Affleck’s reactions to them. Gadot is still incredible as Wonder Woman, though she speaks more than she acts here as the script by Chris Terrio (Argo) and Whedon does just about everything to color completely inside the lines. Which is something you don’t expect from someone like Whedon, but then he is playing in a huge sandbox of characters who not until recently were more popular that most of the Marvel characters we know and love from the films today. Iron Man more interesting than Batman and Superman? That was an impossible statement a decade ago.
The other theme that seems to be a recurring is Snyder’s CG, which is getting closer and closer to that of animated films, which is not a good thing at all. The newly introduced characters are wafer thin, I enjoyed some of it, but if you don’t know the history you don’t really get the plights of Cyborg, Aquaman, and the Flash. Mostly because there is no real attempt to take this League into the modern age while still maintaining their basic heroic roots. Until then DC will never be able to place these superheroes where they have lived for their entire existence and where they deserve to be. In the hearts and minds of children and fans of all ages.