‘Justice League’ is Super Fun [Review]
The greatest comic book icons of all time are finally together, united in their first official live action movie as a team, as Batman and Wonder Woman join Aquaman, The Flash, Cyborg, and, yes, Superman to form the Justice League, the fifth film in the DC Extended Universe.
Following her awesome debut in last year’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and her rousing origin story in this summer’s Wonder Woman (read our review), Gal Gadot returns as the all-powerful Amazon goddess, turning in another winning performance.
Wonder Woman is definitely the heart of the newly formed, barely acquainted League of heroes, but she’s also the muscle, taking on the big bad guy – an interstellar bully from Apokolips named Steppenwolf – one-on-one, fearlessly leading the team into multiple battles.
Ben Affleck is also back as the oldest version of a graying Bruce Wayne yet to be presented on screen, and while Batman will always be DC’s grumpiest hero, in Justice League we get to see the caped crusader do something he’s not known for when he actually smiles.
Bruce still feels terrible for starting that whole fight with Superman last year, but he’s trying to make up for it by figuring out why these Parademons from some other world keep showing up. An awe of Wonder Woman, like the rest of us, he decides to gather the other “metahumans” he found out about on a stolen computer drive from Lex Luthor, to stop an impending catastrophe he has had visions of.
When the resurrection we all knew was coming finally happens, Superman understandably doesn’t really know what’s going on or whose side he is on when he first wakes up, which leads to some of the funnest moments as the team tries to remind him that he’s a good guy like them.
As Barry Allen/The Flash, Ezra Miller is young, enthusiastic, and super excited to join the action when Bruce Wayne comes calling, a sharp contrast to his popular TV counterpart on The CW’s The Flash series, but then Justice League as a whole easily has DC’s “lightest” tone, with almost as many jokes and one liners as a Marvel movie sprinkled throughout its two-hour run time (it’s also DC’s shortest).
Jason Momoa’s Arthur Curry/The Aquaman is a bit more apprehensive toward Bruce’s offer when he’s tracked down. A quick scene in Aquaman’s underwater home of Atlantis suggests there’s much more to his story, which will undoubtedly be better explored in next year’s sixth film in the DCEU, the Aquaman solo movie.
Ray Fisher’s Victor Stone/Cyborg is also clearly being set up for more significant future importance, as it is the same alien technology from the planet Krypton that brought Superman (and his enemies in 2013’s Man of Steel) to Earth that gives him robotic life following a near fatal accident, thanks to his scientist father. At one point, Stone looses control of his automatic defense system weapons, and while it’s not really addressed further in this film, it is yet another thread to pull future stories from.
The butler-turned-tech-wiz Alfred, played again by Jeremy Irons, is used mainly as a comedic commentary track ongoing throughout the film, while Amy Adams easily slips back into Lois Lane mode for a very few but very key scenes.
There are a ton of Easter eggs in the film that give fitting nods to the epic history of the Justice League in pop culture, including perhaps most excitingly composer Danny Elfman’s original theme for Tim Burton’s 1989 Batman, as well as John Williams’ classic Superman theme from Richard Donner’s original 1978 film.
As someone who grew up watching the original Super Friends cartoons every Saturday morning and had these superheroes on my bedroom walls, pajamas, bed sheets, and lunch box, this League feels a lot like one of those episodes, a tight and poignant mission to be solved through working together as a team, putting aside various differences and backgrounds, and Justice is served.
Official Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
Reviewed by: Matt Artz
What did YOU think of this movie? Write your own review in the comments below!
Justice League (rated PG13) is now playing locally at RC Theatres in Kill Devil Hills.