Justice League - Review

DC’s third attempt is better than expected but still lacks the qualities of a box office hit that Marvel seems to have down pat. DC doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to expanding the fictional universe. Their productions, Batman V. Superman and Suicide Squad, faced critical backlash. Adding insult to injury is the fact Thor: Ragnarok was released around the same time.

The plot is as by the numbers as you would expect for a superhero film. Big baddie Steppenwolf wants to recover three magic boxes (like Marvel’s infinity stones) that will give him ultimate power to rule the world. We’ve seen it before frankly, and done better.

Justice League suffers at the hands of the same culprits that have plagued DC for so long; poor direction, weak plot and lack of character development. The change in direction is painfully obvious midway. Joss Whedon replaced Zack Snyder as the lead director due to a family tragedy. It’s no wonder there’s a lack of sense of plot or sequence.

Character development is another weak point for DC. Suicide Squad and Justice League are similar in that they both feature a team of people uniting to defeat the villain. While Suicide Squad suffered in character development, Justice League has similar problems. Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg have yet to feature in a standalone film, something Marvel gives particular importance to, so we aren’t that invested. Even the star power of developed characters like Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman could not make for an entertaining movie, despite some moments of character depth. Justice League is a pointless flail of expensive (yet somehow cheap-looking) CGI that no amount of tacked-on quips, or even Gadot’s massive star power, can rescue.

The movie careens from one character’s intro to another with no regard for either exposition or transition, lacking a sense of purpose or place. The movie as a whole seems like pieces of action, patched together out of desperation. It genuinely seems like there’s nobody at the helm, or maybe just a box-office cash crop bot randomly deploying comic-book tropes.

Snyder wants to go for a dark gritty vibe but ended up visually boring audiences (again) Christopher Nolan nailed it with his reboot of Batman but clearly Snyder and Nolan have different film-making styles. 

Snyder also doesn’t understand where to draw the line in his usage of CGI. A lot of the visuals appear great. But Green Lantern should have been enough warning to DC against the dangers of animating superhero suits.  The Flash looks decent enough as does Wonder Woman. But bluntly speaking, Cyborg looks like a CGI abomination. So in addition to a gloomy looking movie, we are also subjected to fake costumes and cartoonish computer generation. 

The exception is Ezra Miller as The Flash and Aquaman, who manage, at least, some mischievous good cheer. They radiate humanness where most of the actors look ridiculous. But even The Flash can’t out-run the depressive qualities of this movie, which concludes with a post-credits scene, assuring us there will be a sequel anyway. Truly, DC has failed to do justice.

- By Ahmed Hassan