Randy’s Review: ‘Justice League’

Thursday, November 23, 2017

The long awaited team up is good, not great

Let me start off by saying, I was really looking forward to “Justice League.”

I’m a huge Batman fan and after Gal Gadot’s portrayal of Wonder Woman proved that DC filmmakers could make a really, really good film, I had high hopes for this bringing together of the DC comics elite superhero team.

And I did enjoy the film, I wasn’t disappointed ... but (there’s always a but), it proves once again that Marvel owns the cinema while DC dominates the TV scene in the comic book genre.

When an aging Batman (Ben Affleck), still patrolling the streets of Gotham, confirms that new alien life forms have arrived on Earth, his alter-ego Bruce Wayne, reaches out to Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman (Gadot) who continues to stop bad guys in costume while working at an art museum in her hum-drum private life. Like Clark Kent and Superman — who magically becomes unrecognizable by slipping on a pair of black-rimmed glasses — Prince conceals her identity by pulling her long, flowing Wonder Woman locks up into a bun. Prince confirms Wayne’s fears, not only is an invasion imminent, it’s already begun. The two setoff to locate potential teammates to help them fight off the danger which has arrived.

A group of alien insect creatures, doing the bidding of a interstellar warlord, Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds), arrives on Earth seeking the three all-powerful Mother Boxes which — which united — will gift the possessor with unimaginable power.

Wayne heads to a seaside Nordic fishing village in search of a man rumored to be able to control the ocean and communicate with fish — a prince from Atlantis, Arthur Curry, the Aquaman (Jason Momoa). When Curry, initially uninterested, returns to the sea, Wayne moves onto his next target, a young Central City college student, Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) aka The Flash — who has supernatural speed from a freak accident. Seeking friends, Allen jumps on board the team idea with little information to go on.

Prince arranges a meeting with former football star Victor Stone (Ray Fisher), who following a tragic accident is more cybernetic than human. While he still has his mind, his body is capable of weaponizing itself and communicating with software — using advanced technology from the Kryptonian ship which first arrived during the most recent Superman standalone film. Stone’s father has transformed him into a reluctant Cyborg to save his life.

When the threat becomes real to all of the parties involved, they unite to battle Steppenwolf and his minions, determined to prevent the Mother Boxes from landing in his hands.

Meanwhile, Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane) struggle to come to grips with personal lives minus Clark Kent. Equally traumatized, the world is looking like a more deadly and dangerous place, as unrest and criminal activity increases following the death of Superman.

After their first battle with Steppenwolf and his warriors, it becomes obvious, the team of heroes needs more firepower and take drastic measures to provide their best chance for victory against the alien hordes. With their backs against the wall, Batman pushes the group to exhume Clark Kent’s body and resurrect him — knowing the world needs Superman now more than ever before.

Things don’t initially go as planned, but eventually the Justice League is formed and not a moment too soon as the planet faces a new grave force with world domination on his mind.

The action is solid, relatively fast paced and offers great comic book-style battles. The CGI is good — what else would you expect from a $300 million movie. Unfortunately we are given very little back story on the new characters. We are told enough to understand their abilities but not enough to understand some of their angst and anger when dealing with their metahuman powers. Also, taking a page from Marvel’s success stories, “Justice League” seeks to incorporate humor into the formula. And there are a few good lines, particularly with Aquaman and Flash. Unfortunately, some of the dialogue which generates laughter is not designed to be funny. And that’s not good. When instead of feeling the emotion of Lois and Clark’s reunited exchange on the Smallville farm where he was raised, you find yourself laughing at the ridiculously painful dialogue, that’s not a good thing.

A pair of solid actors show up in minor parts, Jeremy Irons returns as Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s loyal butler and Batman’s right-hand man; and J.K. Simmons takes his turn as Batman’s law enforcement friend, Commissioner James Gordon.

I did enjoy the spirit of the film, but based on the bar set by the Marvel films, I was really hoping for more. It’s not as good as “Wonder Woman,” but fans of the genre should be substantially pleased. I guess I’ll just have to wait for the next one to get what I’m hoping for from DC ... and yes, based on post credit scenes — two in total — there will be a next one.

On a scale of 5 popcorn buckets, “Justice League” muscles up 3 tubs of lightly seasoned but bountiful corn in advance of Thanksgiving. It’s good superhero fare as fans get the long awaited arrival of the DC superhero power team, but it still fails to live up to the very high bar which has been established by Marvel’s cinematic works. MPAA rating: PG-13. Running time: 2 hours. This film was reviewed at Southpark 7 Theatres in Spencer.