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article imageReview: ‘Justice League’ demonstrates the power of teamwork Special

By Sarah Gopaul     Nov 17, 2017 in Entertainment
‘Justice League’ is a significant improvement over Batman’s last outing as the ensemble cast works together to bring the DCU out of despair.
When a studio or its filmmakers are devoid of original ideas or true creativity, they take what they have and compare it to what’s already out there; then they make adjustments in an attempt to produce a success rather than a unique and/or engrossing picture. DC carries the weight of decades of cinematic history to live up to, but looking at their narratives as a contest instead of a standalone entry into the zeitgeist is part of the problem. They need to focus on being good, not better. On the heels of the dismal Batman v Superman and the exceptional Wonder Woman, Justice League tries to find some middle ground.
It turns out a world without Superman (Henry Cavill) is one wrapped in chaos. In addition to an increase in regular criminal activity, his absence invites ancient evil to Earth in the form of a giant would-be ruler/destroyer named Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) and his winged, demon-hybrid army. Unable to fight the powerful villain alone, Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) recruit three more potential superheroes with special abilities: Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Flash (Ezra Miller). Together they must prevent Steppenwolf from uniting the energy of the three Mother Boxes and bringing Hell to Earth.
Except for a super quick overview in BvS, this is the first time the three new recruits are seen on screen. The first half of the movie is a muddled mix of trying to enlist the young heroes and protecting the Mother Boxes. Unfortunately, this section lacks structure as it jumps from story to story with no real direction. Likely responding to complaints about the length of director Zack Snyder's last foray, this movie is only two hours long; however, it feels as if they’re still trying to cram in three hours’ worth of story. The battle involving the Amazons (many of whom seem to have traded their protective armour for bikini attire) occurs quite early in the picture, which is the most exciting thing to happen for some time after. Still, most of what’s in the first trailer happens in the first hour, at least leaving the remainder of the film to be somewhat of a surprise… though that’s mostly attributed to the involvement of the worst kept secret in cinema, which actually works to bring the story into a more cohesive narrative.
With previous DC pictures considered too dark, there’s a definite effort to make this movie lighter in tone. The Flash is undoubtedly the most amusing aspect of the film, playing the role of the novice in awe of this new world to which he’s received a special invitation. The lightning-quick hero is the most human character in the film with his enthusiasm and authenticity stealing most scenes. Conversely, most of the other dialogue in the picture feels somewhat forced and rigid. Snyder left the project during post-production to deal with the sudden death of his daughter and Joss Whedon was brought in to finish the picture. While it’s been said the final product is still true to Snyder’s vision, there were also reshoots overseen by Whedon composing 15 to 20 per cent of the overall film. Even though everyone is being tight-lipped about what was redone, it does feel like there’s a perceptible ease in the characters’ interactions later in the movie.
This film is meant to set up the superhero standalones expected over the next couple of years, as well as establish the future of DC team-ups, which it does rather effectively. Audiences will definitely be ready to see more of Miller’s Flash and get more than a glimpse at Momoa’s Aquaman who shows potential in several scenes. Gadot continues to shine as Wonder Woman and is still allowed to be a badass, though her streetwear remains questionable (c’mon guys, at least ask the opinion of a female wardrobe designer); while Affleck’s broody Batman remains a physically apt but otherwise interesting choice. Fisher’s Cyborg shares the brooding duties on this picture, but he’s dealing with some pretty heavy stuff so it’s a bit more understandable. Moreover, it’s satisfying to see him gradually grow closer to his teammates and become more comfortable with his new reality.
If anything, this picture demonstrates these characters could experience a rebirth worthy of praise… but probably under a different director.
Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot and Jason Momoa
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