The Reactor: DRWHO42’s Thoughts on Justice League

My latest adventure to the movie theater was for Justice League and once the final scenes passed, I thought about the film on my drive home late on the night of the Thursday premiere.

There was a lot of buzz swirling around this film for months and I tried to leave all of that at the door and approached viewing the film with an open mind. Overall, my opinion of the movie lands in the realm of ‘good’. While I would not classify the film as ‘great’ or ‘epic’ it did deliver on my expectations. There are many things that worked well for me from the tone to the screen time allocated to each of the heroes. My only hope is the J.K. Simmons gets more screen time in the next Batman film.

I will be objective for a moment and say that DC/WB are still in ‘reaction mode’ when compared to the Marvel cinematic juggernaut. While the Batman series of films are successful and Superman is in its third incarnation the interconnect plan Marvel rolled out beginning with Iron Man was a gamble that paid off. Marvel does have a few misfires but overall they are leading the pack with their successes.

DC/WB does have a firm grip on the TV front and you will find me on the couch literally each night watching one of the several DC hero series.

Now…back to the movie front. I was a fan of Man of Steel and Batman Vs. Superman. I was cool on Suicide Squad though.

We all have to be honest with ourselves and recognize that the DCMU is has a darker look and feel when compared to Marvel.

The Cast
The casting from Superman to Batman to Aquaman are as good as you can get. Henry Cavill has shined as Superman and while there is no replacement for Christopher Reeve he makes the character his own. I think he does a great job with the character.

Ben Affleck has shed the shadow of Daredevil and made Batman his own. He does not have to try hard either but he adds a degree of authenticity in his performance. You can see this from BvS with his anger emerging through the cowl and let’s not forget the ‘Rocky/A-Team’ sequence as he prepares to battle Superman. He is the one hero without superpowers and the writers remind you of that in this film. For me Ben is a great Batman and Bruce Wayne. I would rank him in the top 3 with Bale and Keaton.

For Aquaman the casting was certainly outside of the box however the end result was perfect with the selection of Jason Momoa. When Adrian Grenier was rumored to take on the role based on the character tie-in with Entourage, I thought Aquaman would have been too glossy of a hero. Looking back at the CW pilot for Aquaman they selected Justin Hartley and while the timing may have been good at the time I was unsure of the duration of the series if it was picked up. Momoa is rugged and very serious while at the same time can deliver great one-liners effortlessly to get his point across. You can also see the thrill in his face when he is in battle.

For Wonder Woman she is in a class all by herself with the perfect selection of Gal Gadot. From her debut in BvS and her stand-alone film (which I have seen three times in the theaters and a few more times on Blu-ray), Gadot has exceeded all my expectations on a galactic scale. It may not be apparent to some but she is the being set up as the leader of the team or at least the co-leader along with Batman. I am looking forward to seeing more of Wonder Woman in WW2.

For The Flash, there was a little bit of disappointment in the fandom realm with the news that Grant Gustin was not selected for the film because he is very good in his portrayal in his CW series. Ezra Miller is, however, a great choice, and makes the role his own. A slight spoiler – there are a few surprises in the film which make you think that he needs to do a bit more training for him to be a hero.

Lastly, we come to Cyborg. I think Ray Fisher is a good choice. Cyborg does what he can to help the team however his powers are still emerging. I do hope in future films to get a little more into his character’s’ backstory.

Overall I think there is good chemistry once the team is assembled. It did not seem forced or awkward. With that said, I look forward to the next Justice League film to see how the relationships within the team builds.

The Story
The overall plot for Justice League works and the writers did not throw too much into the mix like BvS. BvS tried to shoehorn a Superman sequel into a Batman in movie. They tried to give each their due while also create the conflict in which they ultimately fight. At the same time they started planting the seeds of Justice League and future conflict where Superman is evil. Personally the highlight of the movie was the final fight and the spectacular entrance of Wonder Woman. While the movie had some flaws there was a lot to enjoy.

The tone for Justice League was lighter compared to BvS. In fact, there were several jokes which drew laughs from the audience in the theater I was in. While there were some serious points in the movie they did not come across as sad or moody.

Without giving too much away there was a lot of ground covered in this film in terms of locations where the events of the film take place. Considering the run time of the film there is adequate time to allow the story to be told.

The writers were realistic when it came to assembling ‘The League’ and the story seem more authentic when the recruitment effort hit a few snags. But hey – you can’t always expect to assemble a team of powerful individuals with superpowers on the first attempt.

For the villain, Steppenwolf and his Parademons were an ominous force to contend with. I will not divulge much here but I will say the writers did a good job connecting the dots for Steppenwolf’s motivations and his plan. He does remind me a little of Ares in Wonder Woman though.

Looking back at the villains in DCMU Lex Luthor was a bit erratic and Doomsday served the plot point of killing Superman. For Man of Steel, General Zod was perfectly portrayed by Michael Shannon but the hidden gem for me was Faora-Ul (played by Antje Traue). Looking ahead I hope that the character of Lex settles down a bit in future outings.

Final Verdict
We are in a golden age of comic-based films and the creators are creating the experiences we are seeking to escape reality for a little while. Overall, I think this film was good and it accomplished a lot. There are a few minor criticisms I have but I will say the film was not boring and it flowed well. The action sequences were great and were satisfying. I was not feeling the soundtrack and a few of the special effects could have looked better – but no movie is entirely perfect.

I recommend having a look for yourself and draw your own conclusion. I also recommend having another look at Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman.

I will also leave you with this little tip: Stay all the way until the end of this film. There is a payoff and you will be in for a surprise or two.

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Kevin aka "DRWHO42" watches a lot of TV and avoids spoilers like the plague. He is an avid Whovian, Trekker, fanboy, gamer, traveler, planner, self-professed gym rat, and Starbucks espresso loyalist. When not plotting out his schedule for the next tent-pole movie or watching his favorite shows he is on the hunt for pop-culture TV & Movie media news. More importantly he is a frequent attendee of San Diego Comic Con (SDCC) and New York Comic Con (NYCC). Follow him on Twitter @kevinDW42 @FoCCBlog