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Review: Justice League

Justice League is not the heavy, turgid mess that its predecessor was.

It is also not a good movie. But at least it's a different kind of bad movie.

Of course, it has the generic computer graphic villain with a silly name who apparently poses an existential threat to Earth. Or maybe the galaxy? I can't keep track anymore. Justice League certainly didn't do much to make me care about the villain or his plan, which involved taking three cubes and smooshing them together. Hey, The Avengers only had one cube. This guy must be three times as bad! I was sad about a missed opportunity in the soundtrack department: knowing director Zack Snyder's predilection for classic rock in his films, I was sure we were going to be treated to a cover of Born to be Wild during Steppenwolf's big entrance. That would at least have given him one memorable moment.

The heroes are a mixed bag. Every DC film should be required to feature a scene of Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman facing a machine gun. She continues to be the DC universe's most human and watchable character. Newcomers Ezra Miller and Jason Momoa are both at least having fun. Ray Fisher was given nothing to work with as some kind of robot guy, who was basically Iron Man without the wealth. Speaking of wealth, Ben Affleck reprises his role as a tired old guy who just wants to be doing anything else. It's possible his performance did not involve much acting.

To its credit, Justice League has found a way to take best advantage of Henry Cavill's inert performance as Superman: keep him off screen as much as possible. It has less of an idea what to do with the problem of Superman as a character on a team. The events after his return - oh, woops, spoilers, Superman does not spend the entire film dead! - make it clear that once he's involved, the rest of the Justice League are basically going to be relegated to handling press events and paperwork. But that will be a problem for the next dozen or so sequels to handle.

On the positive side, we've finally found the perfect subject to pair with Snyder's signature slow-motion heavy style: the Flash. Since he moves at super speed, it's only natural to show everything around him moving in slow motion. Of course, for some reason most of those shots also had the Flash moving in slow motion, just a little... less slow.

If you go in with properly calibrated expectations, there's enough to enjoy here to make it worth your time, which is more than can be said for last year's Batman v. Superman. Who knows, if the DC universe can continue on this (slightly) upward trajectory, by 2022 we might even get an appearance by the Wonder Twins.


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