Film Review: “Justice League” is a step in the right direction for DC


Review by Brian Fisher

This superhero film follows a group of individual super-powered (or very rich) individuals who join forces to stop an interstellar threat from subjugating and destroying their entire planet. Sound familiar? It should because “The Avengers” did it five years ago and did it better. But let us not rate Zack Synder’s “Justice League” by comparing it to its Marvel counterpart; let us see if it stands on its own merits.

A spoiler-free plot description for this movie would be Steppenwolf, a conqueror from the world Apokolips and thrall to Darkseid, is released from exile and sent to do what he couldn’t 5,000 years ago, conquer Earth. Now before I go further I want to mention there is a scene in the film where it shows Steppenwolf’s defeat 5,000 years ago, I recommend paying close attention to this scene because there are cameos of heroes, just not as we know them in the present day. Anyway, Steppenwolf needs to collect these three items called Mother Boxes. Only with these three boxes reunited can he bring Earth to its knees. Batman, Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman and Wonder Woman must prevent that. The dialogue at times was very forced or poor (i.e. “I’m a monster,” is cliché) but at others was very strong with great delivery

All the actors do a great job carrying their roles. That being said, Wonder Woman absolutely dominates every scene she is in. Gal Gadot’s performance as Wonder Woman and how she is portrayed is phenomenal. The adaptation of The Flash is interesting. At first, I was taken aback by how weird and quirky he is, and not saying it is a bad thing, he is very similar in my eyes to the Wally West Flash from “Justice League Animated Series,” smart, never shuts up, funny and goofy.

Cyborg, on the other hand, is a man of few words as he adapts to his cybernetic body and all its physical and brain enhancements. His character gets much better as the movie progresses and is very edgy at the beginning. Cyborg’s CGI, on the other hand, is something I will handle later on. Aquaman is one who has not yet accepted his role as Atlantian Royalty, he still struggles with his role in life, growing up among humans and his yearning for the ocean. They do not tell you this going on so it was a bit confusing. I was expecting King Orin, not Arthur Curry. But this leaves more room for character development. Ben Affleck’s Batman is excellent per usual.

Here is where things get dicey. The visuals for this movie are very lackluster. First, let’s address the elephant in the room. Cyborg looks TERRIBLE. In 2008, “Iron Man” was released and had visuals much more realistic. I do not know how to explain how fake it looks. I do not understand why they refused to use some amount of practical costume on Cyborg. It is just so bad. The environments were almost all CGI, green screened, or both, which was incredibly noticeable while the CGI environments lacked realism, it looked like a cinematic video game. However, the color balancing is something DC does do right that Marvel does not. They get very deep blacks that add a level of richness to all the scenes.  DC kills the soundtrack by remixing many of the classics such as the “Batman: The Animated Series” and others that I cannot say for spoiler reasons. It has amazing music that is picked perfectly for the movie and the battle music especially.

DC kills the soundtrack by remixing many of the classics such as the “Batman: The Animated Series” and others that I cannot say for spoiler reasons. It has amazing music that is picked perfectly for the movie including the battle music especially.

Overall the movie is a step in the right direction for DC, while it still has ways to go to compete with Marvel, on its own “Justice League” is an enjoyable watch, despite its flaws, and I’d give it a 6/10. Stick through the credits, there is a funny tongue and cheeked-credits scene as well as an after credits scene that sets up future movies and has a character in it I never thought I would see on the big screen.

“Justice League” comes out Friday, November 17 in all theaters.