Justice League Review: Pure Superhero Escapism at Its Finest

Image Courtesy of Warner Bros. for Justice League

Justice League has been released and all I can say is critics don’t know what they’re talking about. The film is a “Rebirth” for the franchise, and fans are definitely hungry for more!

We live in dire and tumultuous times. I’m sure every previous generation has said that. Regardless, Justice League‘s initial scenes make it very clear to the audience. It’s a world without Superman … a world without hope. However, I wholeheartedly believe that the real world is in one of the darkest periods in human history. Why? If people can’t enjoy a fun, superhero flick that has characters which shaped our modern zeitgeist, then there certainly is no hope for humanity. Yes, I’m looking at you, critics!

Many “expert” filmgoers will have you believe that Justice League is the most horrible thing ever made. These joyless people are the same ones who gave Her (2013) an A+—one of the most pointless movies ever made. I’m going to go into cliches now and just say, “Critics are out of touch.” The overblown negative reactions to Justice League are a prime example of these pretentious idiots not knowing what they’re talking about. And yes, every person is entitled to his or her own opinion … and my opinion is that some critics are snobby morons. Okay, enough depressing talk. Let’s get to the golden moments, and what could’ve used a bit of improvement.

With all my praise for this movie, it definitely isn’t perfect. The running time, in my opinion, was a bit too short—and you can definitely blame Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara for that. He put out a mandate that Justice League was to have a runtime of under two hours. The edits can be seen and felt due to some sequences feeling a bit too rushed, while others played a bit too slow. The slowness was sort of an after-effect of the rushed scenes. Since everything else moved too quickly, there’s a relative imbalance.

The dialogue could’ve used a bit of sharpening. The most evident areas were scenes that involved emotion or pondering. Lines sounded a bit literal. Like they say in Screenwriting 101, subtext is everything. This could’ve been the result of bringing in Joss Whedon (who did an overall fine job, by the way) at the last minute to reshoot scenes. The former Marvel Cinematic Universe director also had a hand in the screenplay, of which he received a credit in the finished film.

Now on to the good stuff—and there’s a lot of good stuff …

WARNING: Spoilers ahead!

First off, the film does justice (pun intended) to all of DC’s legends (no, not the Legends from that DC show on television … you know what I’m talking about, fans). Cyborg’s characterization, though, was a bit on the thin side, but it seemed to play well with his character. Throughout the film, he’s trying to hold on to his humanity. His apprehensiveness actually works.

Batman seems to be taking some antidepressants this time around. We see cracks of smiles and humorous quips. His verbal duels with Alfred are on point—definitely some Whedon DNA there. He’s a man who is now trying to build a family of heroes. After flying solo for so long, it’s hard for the Dark Knight to play nice with others. He knows it’s necessary, so he does the mature thing—going out and recruiting and trying to inspire.

Wonder Woman grows even more in this film. This summer’s critical and box office wonder (pun intended) is still riding high from her success. This is evident when everyone in the theater clapped and cheered with her first appearance in this newest installment. Her big arc here: after the emotional toll of losing Steve Trevor, Diana must learn to be a leader again. She’s unable to bring herself to ask others to sacrifice themselves. Gal Gadot once again embodies the fearless Amazon—exhibiting keen intelligence, super-strength, wisdom, and heart.

The Flash is the innocent kid in the group—a rookie who only wants to do the right thing. Both Batman and Wonder Woman play big brother and big sister, respectively, to the young speedster. In a way, the Flash is a conduit for the audience. He himself is a fan, and his reactions embody what’s going on in our minds with every scene.

Aquaman—with his fratboy charisma and freewheeling adrenaline junkie-like personality—gives the overall team another dimension. One of the best scenes in the film involve him and Wonder Woman. After making a very sexist pass at the Goddess of Truth, he gets a quick lesson in humility. It’s a scene that will have you laughing out loud.

And finally, the hero that Warner Bros. has been keeping from us in all the teasers—Superman. The team finds a way to bring him back to life (yes, the Flash has some humorous undead references from pop culture) and it’s totally worth it. In one sequence, the Man of Steel, still suffering a bit of post-death confusion, takes on his future teammates. It’s a crazy brawl—and definitely not bereft of some humor and wit. The fight is brief, but it shows the true power of the godly Kryptonian.

Above all, Superman’s return is a reboot of the character. Fans will find this newer Man of Tomorrow to be a modernized version of the hero they’ve admired and looked up to. I’ll admit that I kind of teared up seeing the true spirit of Superman shine through. The final scene is also a classic one—Clark Kent in a true business suit and trenchcoat, glasses and all, ripping his shirt open to reveal the “S.” That scene was a message to fans. Since the House of El’s sigil stands for “hope,” the final shot on the “S” is symbolic of Warner Bros. moving into a more hopeful direction.

One of the biggest complaints has been the film’s main antagonist—Steppenwolf. I don’t see it as a problem. For a film that was mandated to be less than two hours long, the editors did the best job they could. It’s a simple story—stop the end of the world. It’s the stuff of classic comics and Justice League triumphs in that realm. To better describe it, the film is basically a twelve-issue miniseries crammed into a one-shot. I repeat: this movie should’ve been longer.

As for critics complaining about the film being a “CGI-crapfest,” I have only this to ask: “How else do you make a film about godly beings taking on an evil and even more powerful godly being?” Complaining about Justice League having too much CGI is like complaining about a horror movie having too many disturbing scenes. Did I mention that self-proclaimed critics are idiots?

Justice League is a must-see. As children, we could only dream about seeing our favorite heroes teamed together in live-action. Now that this is reality, what are you waiting for? Hopeful, humorous, and heroic, Justice League continues Wonder Woman‘s trend of creating a more optimistic and inspired DC Extended Universe. This is pure comic book fun at its finest. Forget your woes and just cheer on these classic heroes—hell, we actually need some of this to rub off on the real world.

Justice League was released on November 17, 2017.

About Steve Lam 44 Articles
The first superhero Steve ever saw was Christopher Reeve's Superman in 1978. Steve was only a year old and couldn't really appreciate history being made. Little did he know at the time, the seed was already planted—which would grow into a lifelong obsession with superheroes and comics. Today, Steve also adds science fiction, horror, and movies to his repertoire of nerdy fanaticism. His dream is to one day sell his novel or screenplay.

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