Justice League

The DC Extended Universe is at its best when it’s telling individualized stories like in Wonder Woman or Man of Steel. Throw too many characters in the mix like in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice or Suicide Squad and you get incoherent messes that are heavy on the action but offer little in terms of story. I was hoping Justice League would be the one to turn things around, after all it’s supposed to be the culmination of what began with Man of Steel, and while it does improve on its character development, action, and even humor, it still faces the same struggles as DC’s other team ups, resulting in a disjointed movie that is less than the sum of its parts.


Following the events of Dawn of Justice, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) learns that the powerful alien Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) is on a warpath to destroy the planet thanks to three Mother Boxes that have been activated in the wake of Superman’s (Henry Cavill) death. With the help of Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), Bruce recruits a group of people with abilities in the hopes that they’re strong enough to save humanity from this emerging threat. There’s the Aquaman, Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa), the speedster Barry Allen (Ezra Miller), and the mostly machine Victor Stone aka Cyborg (Ray Fisher). Despite their individual talents, they’re going to need to learn how to work together if they want to defeat Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons.


There’s a lot going on in Justice League, and unfortunately director Zack Snyder doesn’t quite know how to navigate its story. The first problem stems from the fact that so much of Justice League is spent trying to introduce the new characters of Aquaman, the Flash, and Cyborg, and rather than take the proper time needed to establish these superheroes it simply rushes from one moment to the next with little explanation. Cyborg is perhaps the most important member of the team as he has a special connection with the Mother Boxes, but the film does little to actually make you care about him. Fortunately, the film does a much better job with the Flash, who ends up stealing the entire show.


Ezra Miller is an absolute blast to watch as he injects some much needed liveliness and humor into Justice League. As the youngest member of the team, he has this naive excitement about being a part of something bigger; he’s actually having fun it seems. Everyone else is mostly stone-faced and all doom and gloom. I also enjoyed Momoa’s Aquaman, and while his story left more to be desired, I did find his portrayal to be memorable. Unfortunately the same cannot be said of the film’s big bad, Steppenwolf.


Steppenwolf is perhaps the most unremarkable villain we’ve seen in the superhero genre. Aside from a quick flashback to a battle with the Amazonians, there is little insight to his motivation. He’s just this massive and angry CGI monster hacking away at our heroes. Of course the film hints at a bigger picture involving Darkseid, but there’s little substance behind it. Justice League is simply just another “save the world from ultimate destruction” movie we’ve seen time and time again. There are still some genuinely great moments to the film, however.


As I said before, Miller’s Flash is great. The reintroduction of Henry Cavill’s Superman is also fantastic and one of the most memorable scenes in the film. The action can be solid at times as it’s nice seeing the entire team working together, even if the camera work can be a little stiff. There are also a couple of nods and easter eggs that DC fans are sure to enjoy (be sure to stay until after the end credits!).


Justice League is an average film. While it’s better than both Suicide Squad and Batman V Superman, it’s still still nowhere close to Wonder Woman. The DC Extended Universe got off to a rocky start, and Justice League is the result of trying to build a mega-mansion on a shaky foundation. There are some elements that work, but Warner Bros. still hasn’t gotten a firm grasp on how to properly build the DCEU, and it shows.

Matt Rodriguez
Review by Matt Rodriguez
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Lee Roberts's picture

Yep, this was pretty much nail on head with it. Did you find Cavill to look odd?