I’m well and truly over superheroes battling mega tyrannical villains, causing loud, elongated mass destruction. Now I enter the cinema to see one of these box office fancies fearing the worst … and so it was with Justice League.
In this one, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) has a restored faith in humanity, inspired by Superman’s selfless act in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. He enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), to face an even greater enemy. This foe is an eight-foot tall, power hungry monstrosity named Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds). He’s an ancient demon, preying on Earth’s vulnerability resulting from Superman’s death. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman must work quickly to find and recruit a team of meta-humans to stand against this newly awakened threat.
But despite the formation of an unprecedented league of heroes – Batman, Wonder Woman and newcomers Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and The Flash (Ezra Miller) – it may already be too late to save the planet.
The film brings back Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Jeremy Irons as Alfred and Diane Lane as Martha Kent (Superman’s Earth mother), while J.K. Simmons is cast as Commissioner Gordon.
Zack Snyder directs with a heavy hand. Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon crafted the screenplay from a story by Chris Terrio and Snyder.
Fortunately what saves Justice League is the interplay between the superheroes and their backstories, which are fleshed out as the picture develops. Mind you, to get the most out of it you need to have seen the previous DC Comics’ movies.
I warmed to Wonder Woman earlier this year and Gal Gadot ensures I continue my love affair with her character. She tackles the role with even greater assuredness. I also appreciated that the world-weary Batman has to find a way to pass the baton of leadership. This requires buy-in from Wonder Woman. The appearances of Lois Lane and Superman’s mum were nice touches. The Man of Steel (Henry Cavill) also makes his presence felt again.
The comic exchanges between superheroes also work quite well. I smiled at the novice in the group, The Flash, whose awkwardness was somewhat endearing. I dare say DC Comics fans will find even more to enjoy, but I felt the burden of 120 minutes.
The villain of the piece did little for me; and as I indicated, the battle scenes, complete with computer-generated imagery, are just par for the course. Do remember to stay until the very end because there’s a pointer to the future direction of the franchise.
Justice League is hardly the be-all-and-end-all of superhero movies and scores a 6 out of 10.
Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Amy Adams, Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Robin Wright, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Diane Lane
Release Date: 16 November 2017
Other reviews you might enjoy:
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television