Unity of Heroes
November 17, 2017
The highly-anticipated Justice League, based on the popular DC Comics superhero team of the same name, arrived in theatres in November. Due to the cultural impact of these characters in modern society over the past century, as well as the current popularity of the superhero genre, this movie is projected to be one of the highest grossing blockbusters of this fall. Helmed by director Zack Snyder, known for his distinct flair with respect to cinematography, Justice League is guaranteed to be a spectacle for the masses.
The driving force behind this film is its charismatic cast and their portrayals of the likeable characters. The previously acclaimed performances of Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot as their respective characters Batman and Wonder Woman, are present in this team dynamic as they adopt leadership roles in the formation of the league. Newcomer Ezra Miller gives an energetic performance in his portrayal of the Flash. His youthful levity contrasts the troubled depiction of his teammate, Cyborg. The newer and bolder representation of Aquaman, per Snyder’s creative vision, is appreciated as well, despite the deviation from the source material. In a way, this film is the final chapter in a trilogy which explores the creation of this cinematic universe, with Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice acting as the initial two. The most notable and welcome change in the status quo is the change in the representation of DC’s poster boy, Superman. Henry Cavill’s performance of Superman had a divisive reception in the past due to the absence of optimism and hope in his bleak, earlier entries of this franchise. Justice League is the film which brings his character full circle. This gives credit to DC Films president Geoff John’s declaration that the franchise will gravitate towards “heart, humor, and heroics.”
This movie has accomplished its goal in eliminating the alienation of the audience from the heroes, yet the criticism of one-dimensional villains still stands. The film finds an evil in Steppenwolf, who is essentially a comic book caricature. His role is limited to a force designated to wreak havoc and unite the team. Despite being somewhat of a disappointment, Steppenwolf’s larger role is to foreshadow the greater threats our heroes will face in the near future. This tradeoff may be a compromise for most moviegoers, due to the prospect of heightened danger in further installments.
The implementation of computer-generated imagery, or CGI, results in many moments of brilliance, especially considering the feats and capabilities of the individual characters. Particularly, the Flash has a plethora of scenes which introduce his distinct nature as a speedster. The well-choreographed action by Snyder helps this franchise gain standing in a market that is saturated with movies inspired by comic books. However, these computer graphics are sometimes clunky or weak in a few scenes, most of which involve Steppenwolf. This is not dissimilar to prior entries, particularly the poorly rendered Doomsday in the third act of Batman v Superman.
There is a surprisingly adequate level of coherence in the plot given filmmaker Zack Snyder’s tendency to draw criticism for the uneven pacing of his movies. The biggest disappointment with a film of this grandeur is that the runtime is a measly 2 hours, while its predecessors are almost 20 minutes longer. Inevitably, this results in some tonal inconsistencies which can be easily overlooked by the general audience for a greater enjoyment.
Jagernauth, Kevin. “Geoff Johns Says That DC Films Need.” The Playlist, The Playlist, 3 Apr. 2017, theplaylist.net/geoff-johns-says-dc-films-need-heart-humor-heroics-20170403/.
“Members of the Justice League.” JUSTICE LEAGUE – Official Site, Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc., www.justiceleaguethemovie.com.