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Sunday, November 19, 2017

April Sokol's Review of Justice League

Movie review: Justice League

Justice League is the latest DC Comic Universe offering. The story picks up shortly after the death of Superman has plunged the world into darkness, chaos and violence.

Directed by Zack Snyder

Starring: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fischer, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, JK Simmons, Amber Heard and Ciaran Hinds

My slightly spoilery review:

I feel like in the interest of full disclosure, I should mention before we go further into this review that I am not a DC fan usually. The big shiny exception being the incredible Wonder Woman. I have felt as though most of the DC movies have been dark and dreary and have taken themselves entirely too seriously. So my expectations for this movie were not what anyone would consider “high”. What a shock it was to find myself REALLY enjoying this movie.

Our story is nothing incredibly new or unique. The world is being threatened by the evil demon Steppenwolf (voiced by Hinds) who is set on total destruction. Batman (Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gadot) realize that they are going to need more help if they hope to defeat him and save planet Earth. Enter the rest of the team: The Flash (Miller), Aquaman (Momoa) and Cyborg (Fisher). We get glimpses into each of their lives as they are being recruited. This is done without the repetition of Suicide Squad and in a way where I felt intrigued by what each new member will bring to the table. The slight spoiler here is in the resurrection of Superman (Cavill).

Where I feel this movie really scores is in the emotional components. There are some really wonky CGI problems which I was willing to overlook because I felt invested in the characters. The deep layered complexities of what it means to be a human are really explored here in a way that many superhero movies seem to miss. Adams and Lane are back as Lois Lane and Martha Kent respectively. They don't get an awful lot of red meat to work with, but they both do at the very least an adequate job in their roles. Jeremy Irons (Alfred) and JK Simmons (Commissioner Gordon) are good even though both characters are completely unnecessary.

The true winners of this movie have to be Miller and Fisher. They are complex and vulnerable and funny and I would have watched a 3 hour movie of just the two of them. Both are tasked with acting while a significant portion of their faces are covered by either a mask or cybernetic enhancements. Miller in particular really shines in this area. He is able to act with just the use of his eyes and I was thoroughly impressed with him throughout.

Justice League feels far more like a Marvel movie than any of it's predecessors. There is significantly more humor here than what's come before. Both of my showings had very vocal crowd applause and laughter. The villain being somewhat cartoonish and not actually “scary” makes this a family friendly option. My only other slight quibble would be a sort of muddy 3rd act. But my grade is a very solid 4 out of 5 stars.

Give me a Flash/Cyborg movie STAT!

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