Justice League is a movie that will want you craving more as the credits roll. This would usually be a positive, and to some extent it is, but it is also because Justice League feels like the first act of a movie rather than a complete story in itself.
This is because it manages to cram so much into it’s two hour runtime that you feel some of the elements are in need of some development or at least an extra scene or two to give them a proper introduction. It is rare that I am craving more time for a movie to tell it’s story, particularly a superhero one, which is a genre renowned for being liberal with it’s length.
This is down to the fact that Warner Bros and DC didn’t want to build their universe like Marvel have and took a gamble on a team-up movie when 3/5s of the team haven’t been properly introduced yet. This meant that within one film they had to establish a threat, introduce three key characters and then bring them all together. It is a lot to cram in and Justice League only just achieves it.
Luckily, the characters are the biggest strength of the series. Ben Affleck’s Batman may not be the best of the movie versions but he holds his own in a much more fantasy environment, Gal Gadot has already established herself as the best hero of the DC universe but the surprises come with the newest members. Jason Momoa’s Aquaman feels slightly like a Thor rip-off but brings some bad-ass, muscle-bound action. Ray Fisher’s Cyborg is under-used but has some potential but it is Ezra Miller’s surprise turn as The Flash which steals the movie. In a franchise that is infamous for being devoid of humour, Miller’s version of the speedster manages to bring some comedic effect, particularly as he feels like a normal kid who has been given powers and is in over his head.
Or at least, he would feel much more like that if the threat felt credible. DC has some of comics greatest villains so it is puzzling why they chose such an unknown, dull protagonist for such a momentous movie. The computer-generated Steppenwolf is too “rent-a-villain” and lacks any actual character at all. He feels like a large figure for characters to punch and add to this a faceless, flying army and you open up the doors for generic fight sequences.
To it’s credit, Justice League handles the action well and each character gets to play their part. Nobody feels like a loose end and everyone brings something unique to the set-pieces. They manage to add humour, chemistry and some very cool action, unfortunately you just don’t feel like they are ever in any real danger. This is made even more apparent when the finale is wrapped-up by an ever-so convenient “plot-device” which almost makes the first two hours of the movie feel redundant.
Which highlights the issue that Justice League leaves… it doesn’t feel complete. This movie feels like an introduction and just as it is getting started, it ends. The bringing together of the team is very cool but because the “threat” isn’t much of anything, you want to see the newly formed heroes go-up against something or someone much more credible.
Overall, Justice League manages to deliver a fun, action-packed and character-led superhero team-up movie. It balances the huge job it has of introducing key characters very well although struggles with a villain that is very generic. It’s a good introduction but may leave people wanting to see a “proper” Justice League movie.
Rating – 3.5
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)