Movie Review: Justice League (2017)

Well, true believers... Sorry, wrong crowd, I meant... Holy cow Batman, I just saw the Justice League movie! For those of you that have lost track, Justice League is the fifth film in the DC universe. Altogether, we got the Man of Steel (2013), Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), Suicide Squad (2016), Wonder Woman (2017) and now Justice League (2017). Honestly, the DC films have not been winning me over. From Man of Steel to Batman v Superman, I've been disappointed by each of the films in one way or the other. It wasn't until the Wonder Woman movie came out that I finally saw some potential for the DC universe to become enjoyable. Wonder Woman had a lighter tone and more humor than the previous films. After Wonder Woman's success, changes were made to the Justice League movie in hopes of capturing the same audience approval as Wonder Woman. After finding out about the changes being made, I had some hope of enjoying the Justice League movie. Well, It was better than the other DC films but not as good as Wonder Woman.
For a hundred and twenty minutes you're sitting down for a PG-13 action/adventure/fantasy-filled story. Justice League was directed by Zack Synder and was written by Chris Terrio. Now, due to tragedy striking Synder's family, Synder had to step away from directing the film part way through, so Joss Whedon stepped in to finish directing. Here's what the story is about. A thousand years ago Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons tried and failed to conquer Earth. Now, he's back to try again. Unfortunately, with the death of Superman, Batman knows it'll take more than just him to stop this threat. Knowing of a few people with special abilities, Batman sets off the ask them to join together and help stop Steppenwolf from finding and bringing together the three Motherboxes that will seal the fate of the planet.

The story was ok, but I had some trouble getting into it. A few of the problems I had with Justice League were I didn't care for how some of the new characters were written. The boss battle looked good but felt like I was watching just another battle, not a boss fight and it ended on a weak note. Especially if you're a comic fan and know anything about the main villain Steppenwolf. On the upside, it was cool watching everyone work together while throwing out a few jokes. There's a lot of nods or old references thrown into the story for the characters, which was fun.

The playthrough for Justice League was better than the previous DC films and while that's a compliment for Justice League, you have to keep in mind, I think, the previous DC films set a pretty low bar. Wonder Woman showed us that Warner Bros. could produce a solid superhero film, but Justice League shows us that they couldn't make lightning strike twice. There's a big difference between Batman v Superman and Justice League, which I liked. The lack of gloom and doom with bitter characters made this one more enjoyable. It felt like there was less action in this one, but they did introduce three new characters and had to bring them into the fold, which will lessen the time for other things. I dug the fight scenes, but I was getting a little burned out on the use of the slo-mo. It looked cool don't get me wrong, but after so many times the coolness started to wear off.

Some of the cast is Ben Affleck (Good Will Hunting), Henry Cavill (The Man from U.N.C.L.E.), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Ezra Miller (We Need to Talk About Kevin), Jason Momoa (The Bad Batch), Ray Fisher (Justice League), Jeremy Irons (Die Hard), Amy Adams (Arrival), J.K. Simmons (Spider-Man), Diane Lane (Man of Steel), Billy Crudup (Big Fish)and Ciaran Hinds (Munich).

As far as the characters go, Wonder Woman was the same as she was in her stand-alone film, which was awesome. Batman was lighter this time around and tried throwing out some jokes here and there, which was kind of weird but worked. Superman wasn't really around much, but there was less of an emo vibe coming from him, which was super cool. The Flash is made out to be kind of a scaredy cat and due to his extreme nerdy/social awkwardness is where a lot of his humor comes from in the movie. Yeah, the jokes were funny, but the Flash character annoyed me. As for Aquaman, it's a huge change from the golden-haired fish whisperer that I grew up watching as a kid, which was cool because he was the butt of a lot of jokes back then. Here he's a loner that comes ashore to have a few drinks and then goes for a swim. He doesn't really like people but will help them out. It seems like Jason Momoa had fun playing the character, but just like the old version of Aquaman, the new one didn't have a solid place on the team. Yeah, Aquaman brought some needed muscle, but it was like the writers couldn't decide which direction to take the character in the story and keeps flipping between loner and teammate. I liked the Cyborg character and thought they did a good job on him, but I felt like he wasn't fully utilized in the film.

The special effects looked really good most of the time, but there are moments that they looked off. The underwaters scenes looked like people were floating in the air and the water was behind them. There are other spots in the movie where effects don't look at good as they did in other places. Other than that, there are tons of super cool scenes your eyeballs will enjoy taking in.

Ok, so the Justice League's budget was $300 million and once you see the costumes and special effects you can see where a chunk of that money went. Unfortunately, the movie didn't bring in the opening weekend numbers the big wigs were expecting it to, instead, it brought in $93,842,239. Worldwide Justice League's box office numbers have hit (as of 12/4/2017) $567 million, but only $197 million of that is domestic, which made Justice League the first DCEU film to open under the $100, million mark. Truth be told, I have no doubt that it'll make it's money back in buckets. Looking around it seems like most of the DC films have received a love or hate vibe from the audiences, but the films still bring in mad amounts of money and it looks like Justice League is on its way.

Side note: For all those wondering, a sequel was scheduled for a June 2019 released date, but it has been delayed to accommodate the release of the Batman standalone movie.

Overall, it's wasn't great, but it was an improvement from the other films. Hopefully, they are over the hump and from here on out things will get smoother.

3 stars 

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