by Eli Sokeland
Due to the bad aftertaste of Batman vs. Superman, I was a little cautious when I entered the theaters to see Justice League. Batman vs. Superman lasted too long and the payoff wasn’t worth it. Despite the film’s length, it felt very condensed and of poor quality. The feud of Batman against the Man of Steel seemed unfounded and the movie ended with a poorly designed Doomsday. However, Justice League far surpasses DC’s past failure. Through amazing character development, unique action scenes and many surprises, Justice League fulfills much of the hype surrounding it.
Creative character dynamics
The movie is quick to introduce Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg, primarily through Batman’s detective skills. While the movie is quick to form the team together, it still maintains the development of the individual characters. For example, Batman and Wonder Woman continue to be developed through the emotional loss of Superman, despite this already being introduced through the previous installment.
Furthermore, the new team members are introduced in unique ways. In the past, Aquaman was seen as one of the quirkiest characters in the DC universe. Even though the movie shows him talking to fish, Justice League mostly presents him as the epic king of the sea. This can be seen primarily through his ability to create a water wall or air bubble, or just to swim incredibly fast.
Cyborg also has more depth in this film. Cyborg is seen as a product of his father’s experiment after a deadly accident. Because of his machine-like personality, the movie accurately displaces Cyborg from being accepted into society. Furthermore, Cyborg is also more cautious in Justice League, which creates a fresh vibe rather than keeping the rambunctious Teen Titans version.
Flash is my favorite of the team. Even though there isn’t much background on him in the film, it does explain the Speed Force very well. He is also constantly seen as nerdy in the film, which could be due to his young age during the film. Flash’s quick wit results in some of the best humor DC has produced, despite the typical dreadful tone.
Story consistently lacks depth
The main purpose for creating the team is to defeat Steppenwolf, who was a villain of the Amazons during one of their ancient wars. His purpose is basically to conquer worlds, and unfortunately that’s all the movie explains about him. Steppenwolf not only lacks much background, he also lacks any abilities other than pure strength. His basic plan is to gather three power cubes, called the Unity, in order to restructure planets.
Steppenwolf’s plan leads him to each of three races’ home territories that took him down: Themyscira, Atlantis and a lab in Central City. The film includes nice surprises that showcase the Amazon’s full army fighting against the villain. Also, Atlantis is partially shown off which shows Aquaman in his natural habitat. Despite hostages being held in the third location, STAR Labs lacks much depth other than the location for the final Unity cube.
The plot also hinges on the fact that Superman’s death still looms over Batman and Wonder Woman. Even when the entire team fought against him once, they weren’t close to beating him. That is until Batman decides to revive Superman. One highly engaging aspect of the movie is the division of the team when discussing the morals of this decision. When they do manage to wake up Superman, he isn’t too thrilled about. This leads to intense fights that are definitely surprising.
Despite Superman’s spectacular fight with the League, the movie quickly hands over the control of the team to him. Even though he assumes leadership, the team maintains an equal amount of strength and time dedicated to each member. For example, one humorous scene is when Aquaman accidentally lets out his innermost thoughts due to Diana’s sly abilities with her lasso of truth. This is where the film excels: the action flows effortlessly at the end of the film through the combined attacks of unlikely heroes.
CGI oh my!
Throughout the film, Justice League heavily relies on special effects. Most of the effects that are placed upon the heroes work expertly, but the rest of the movie suffers from a less effective treatment. The villain looks like he came straight out of a World of Warcraft cinematic trailer. Steppenwolf’s minions are basically CGI bugs that aren’t incredibly realistic either. To top it off, the main location at the end is filled with a cursed goo that seems unnecessary and thus separates the movie from feeling connected to the idea of saving Earth.
Despite this, Justice League manages to fill the gap that DC fans have been looking for since the previous disappointing film. Even though movie suffers from a dull villain and overuse of CGI, it doesn’t ruin the development of the core team.
Featured image from DC Comics
Overall, 'Justice League' fixes the many countless issues that fans had with 'Batman vs. Superman'. Despite the lacking plot and some CGI errors, the film excels in developing characters while staying true to the old comic format of the DC universe.