Justice League

TL;DR: It’s a mess but there are some good moments and it’s worth it just to see Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman again.

Spoilers for Justice League follow.

Ben Affleck has all the energy of Harrison Ford doing a promotional tour interview – at the end of the day. He really looks like he doesn’t want to be there, but that kind of makes his Batman work for me. He’s playing the older Dark Knight, the one who’s really getting too old for this shit and I enjoy watching him do it every time even if they haven’t yet been able to make a decent Batman movie with him in it.

Ray Fisher does a good job as Cyborg but his character is not well explained. They cut a lot of backstory on him and it hurts our ability to understand and relate to him. It also gives him that corny feeling of having just the right super talent needed at any moment.

Jason Momoa… holy shit. If you had told me at any point in my life that someone was going to make Aquaman cool, I would have had you committed to Arkham Asylum. But, damn son! Aquaman is one of the reasons to watch this sometimes good, sometimes horrible mishmash.

The other reason, of course, is Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. I have oft stated my resistance to any move with more than one superhero in it, but I went to see Justice League specifically to see her play this part again. And she does not disappoint, nor do the Amazons when fighting Steppenwolf.

I was at first kind of put off by Ezra Miller as the Flash because I’m so used to the TV version, but this quirky embodiment of Barry Allen quickly won me over. He’s responsible for some of the best laughs in the movie.

These are all good reasons to like the movie, but there are some really stinky parts, too.

First off, the plot is rather simple: Steppenwolf (who was definitely born to be wild) needs to take possession of the three “mother boxes” (which sounds like something Kristen Bell would say when trying curse on The¬† Good Place) and smash them together to blow up the Earth. With Superman dead, no single superhero has what it takes to stop him and his army of weaponized Arthurs.

And that’s fine. We need a reason for the metahumans and that one rich guy to come together to save the world. But man does it take a while to assemble the team. And that’s okay, too. It’s fine that it’s a little slow going at first because the characters are interesting, but then they raise Superman from the dead and the movie takes a decidedly awkward turn for the worse.

There are two things you have to know about Henry Cavill’s performance in Justice League. 1) He had already started shooting M:I 6 when the Justice League reshoots began. 2) His character in M:I 6 has a mustache.

Apparently, having to switch back and forth between his Mission: Impossible character and Superman overwhelmed his acting ability because his performance in this movie is as wooden as anything Hayden Christensen ever did as Anakin Skywalker.

And it wasn’t helped by the fact that, for some reason, his M:I 6 mustache couldn’t be shaved and replaced with, you know, a fake one like they’ve been doing in movies since the very beginning. No, someone decided to CG his mouth to remove the mustache and it’s so deep into the Uncanny Valley that I will probably wake up screaming tonight.

Also, Superman’s part was really poorly written. He’s essentially a Deus Ex Machina that comes in at the end to save his super friends. It would have been much more satisfying for the Justice League to come up with some solution on their own than having to resort to the Boy Scout again.

This is better than Batman vs Superman and definitely better than Suicide Squad, but if DC is going to compete with Marvel they are going to have to make a break with Zack Snyder. He is a dumbing influence on everything he touches and especially so in the DC Universe.

Still, having said all that, go see it. It’s fun and there’s a lot to like about it.


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