One believes his ‘gifts’ are a curse and doesn’t want anything to do with the gig. Another just wants to swim and booze ‘er up, and not necessarily in that order. One says “yes” to joining up, but only because he needs friends. And the dude uniting them all can only do so because he’s rich.
No one said getting the band together was going to be easy.
Granted, DC has been forced to take a different route from normal in assembling their prime time players for a big screen epic. Unlike Marvel, their ‘King Midas’ of competitors, not everything Hollywood has touched on these particular comic book pages has turned to gold…..the landmark failure of ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice’ being the biggest example. While Marvel enjoyed hit after hit with their cast of spandex and/or iron-clad characters, giving them the opportunity to unleash each and every superhero with a budget-bloating solo outing (and, in some cases, equally impressive sequels), DC launched a few flicks here and there, with results ranging from glorious (‘Wonder Woman’) to “meh” (“Man Of Steel”).
But for the most part, ‘Justice League’ is THE launching pad for DC’s future in the big movie biz. It is, after all, the cinematic debut of Aquaman, the Flash and Cyborg. The thinking is, if they can’t make it alongside Batman and Wonder Woman (and a surprise participant who wears a red cape and sports a big ‘S’ on his chest, but you won’t see no spoilers from this guy), they can’t make it, period.
The result? Far from perfect….but a long, long way from awful. Bottom line, DC is heading in the right direction – and while that isn’t exactly a spectacular endorsement, it IS a positive for a franchise that really can’t survive many more negatives.
Directed by Zack Snyder, ‘Justice League’ sees a bad, bad dude by the name of Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciaran Hinds) trying to find and reunite three mystical boxes in order to unleash all hell on earth. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Batman (Ben Affleck), knowing full well of the danger, realize they can’t stop him on their own. So they attempt to piece together a team of heroes, including Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) – a group full of disharmony, but then, doesn’t every legendary assembly have its share of tiffs?
And really, it’s the bickering that gives ‘Justice League’ its personality. I have few doubts that most of the lighthearted elements in this picture were added after the dark nature of DC’s ‘Suicide Squad’ didn’t go over too well with audiences. But…who cares? There’s humor where it needs to be, and while it’s not as fluid as ‘The Avengers’……again, it’s getting there. Miller’s bumbling angst as the fastest man alive not only steals the show, but helps ease the burden of a gloomy Affleck dragging his heavy Bat suit around. (It’s official….Ben was a poor choice to pull on the cowl.)
Snyder’s not-so-subtle sleight of hand is to keep things moving at such a pace that fans might not notice the film’s stumbles, i.e. the shoddy CGI – it doesn’t work. Oh, it’s peppy, but it looks awfully cheap.
Still, if the most important goal was to make these characters accessible, ‘Justice League’ has to be considered a success. It’s a mild success, sure. But, as a fan, I’ll take it. Things can only go up from here.