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Justice League Does Mixed Justice To Classic Characters

Justice League picks up a little after the end of Batman V Superman, following the aftermath of Superman’s death. Crime is on the rise, world leaders are at a loss of what to do and, even worse, the ominous warning left by Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenburg) is finally coming true: Superman’s death has paved the way for another alien invasion.

Batman (Ben Affleck), eager to learn from his ‘mistakes’, has been working with Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) to recruit super-powered people to stand against the leader of this invasion, Steppenwolf and his alien army.

With so many new characters being introduced and the theme of teamwork in this film, it’s clear that the characters are the meat and potatoes of Justice League. The good news is that, for the most part, they went off without a hitch.

justice league
Image: IMDB

Jason Mamoa kicked ass as Aquaman, portraying the once-ridiculed character as a devil-may-care surfer dude grappling with his mixed Human/Atlantean heritage. Ezra Miller, whose anxious, humorous portrayal of the Flash definitely made him the standout character in the film. Neither of the characters were completely comic-accurate, which is sure to upset some DC Fanboys, but this overall their characters were fresh and entertaining.

Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck returned to their roles as Wonder Woman and Batman respectively. Aside from several characterisation issues,  they still delivered well on their performances. Each shared scene radiated their clashing beliefs and sparked a steepened, realistic rapport between them. In some scenes, their *ahem* tension seemed a little much, but still far more believable and tame than the forced moments between the likes of Mark Ruffalo and Scarlett Johansson in the Avengers 2.

Unfortunately, there were some mixed performances as well. Newcomer Cyborg (Ray Fisher) played a heavy role in the plot and had a few good Easter Eggs pertaining to his classic roots, but didn’t do much beyond that. There was wasted potential to expand his ‘Man VS Machine’ arc straight out of the comics, but hopefully this will be expanded upon in his solo film.

The same can be said for the film’s antagonist, Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds), who has become the newest casualty in the superhero genre’s tradition of 2D villains. Yes, Steppenwolf does have a plausible motive and believable passion for wanting to destroy Earth, putting him leagues above the Enchantress crapshot from Suicide Squad, but not so much that it put him on par with the anti-villainous Zod from Man of Steel. 

Mixed elements aside, perhaps the biggest concern for the movie was the light-hearted elements that the film’s director, Zack Snyder, promised us. Snyder, known for his overly dark cinematography, planned to make Justice League lighter and humorous. Whilst the film was moderately lighter than its predecessors, it felt like they tried too hard to make this happen. The humour was overdone. It was refreshing to some extent, but it still unnerved me to see Bruce Wayne uncharacteristically cracking jokes.

I give Justice League 7.5/10 stars.

To summarize, yes, Justice League does have its flaws; clashing light and dark tones, some lines and scenes that don’t hit the mark and lacks the classic Snyder cinematography that made Man of Steel and Batman V Superman a feast for the eyes. But at the same time, these flaws compliment the film’s successes and prevent Justice League from becoming a cut and paste of superhero ensemble films. The characters are so awesome that any plot flaws are overcome by their performances, which are sure to give plenty of DC fans a chain of nerdgasms.

And speaking of nerdgasms, make sure you stay for the TWO end credit scenes…