JUSTICE LEAGUE
Posted by: Jo Hyde
Date: November 16, 2017

SYNOPSIS: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes--Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash--it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

There is actually much to like in Justice League, directed by Zack Snyder (but finished by Joss Whedon). Many have assumed that the film would be a mess due to the change in directors and extensive re-shooting of scenes fairly close to the release date. I’m not saying there aren’t problems, but several positives make it a decent film.

The number one best thing about Justice League is Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince. She brings poise and class, as well as strength and some truly amazing moves to the character. She also makes even the tritest lines in the script sound plausible. She carries the film when Ben Affleck’s Batman/Bruce Wayne seems sluggish and detached.

The number two good thing about the film is Ezra Miller as The Flash/Barry Allen. He brings much-needed humor and energy to the story. The film’s pace seemed slow and a little bit off until he makes the scene. I finally began to feel involved in the story. Also noteworthy are Jason Momoa as Aquaman/Arthur Curry and Ray Fisher as Cyborg/Victor Stone. One of the film’s flaws is lack of backstories for these characters. You just get the minimum, and that leaves you wanting more.

Now for the spoiler that’s not really a spoiler. You can’t have the Justice League without Superman, but he died, right? Well, he’s back (spoiler) but how that feat is accomplished – I’ll leave that to you to find out. Henry Cavill does a fine job as he returns to the world of the living, not easily, with the help of Lois Lane (Amy Adams). His mom, Martha Kent (Diane Lane), is also glad to see him.

Jeremy Irons brings just the right amount of dry wit to his character, Alfred. And J.K. Simmons brings just the right amount of world-weariness to his character, Commissioner Gordon. The arch-villain Steppenwolf, acted in mediocre motion-capture by Ciaran Hinds, is physically intimidating, but due to some questionable CGI effects, not as effective as he should be. Actually, most of the CGI work in the film could be described as messy.

Technical flaws were distracting at times, and that hurt the continuity of the story. The whole point of special effects of any kind is that they are supposed to blend in seamlessly with the live-action visuals. For example, one of my viewing buddies pointed out that Henry Cavill’s face looked “CGI-ed” in some of the later scenes. It turns out that Cavill was shooting M:I 6 Mission Impossible at the same time he was doing re-shoots for Justice League. He has a mustache for the Mission Impossible film, and the director of that film refused Cavill shaving it off, so for Justice League it had to be digitally removed! That shouldn’t have made a difference, but his face appeared “off” because of it. Other CGI effects were just too obvious. The last thing you want in an action film like this are scenes that scream “Fake!”

All that being said, Justice League is still a crowd pleaser. Fans will like it, and I think it will do well at the box office. It’s definitely entertaining, and if you can overlook the flaws and just go along for the ride, it will be worth the ticket. - Jo Hyde

GRADE: B-


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