Justice League review: A Guilty Pleasure | Manila Mash

Justice League review: A Guilty Pleasure

It is customary to warn you, before you delve any deeper: SPOILER ALERT! Now that we have gotten that out of the way, continue.

Let’s face the facts here. This movie is probably the most anticipated movie of the year. DC has been under a lot of pressure to establish their own universe. I have some personal opinions about the film but I’ll discuss that later on. For now let’s look at the official synopsis and casts of the film!

Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes–Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash–it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.


This movie has an amazing star-studded cast. They all performed well and they absolutely held the movie together.

Ben Affleck is Batman/Bruce Wayne, Henry Cavill is Superman/ Clark Kent, Amy Adams is Lois Lane, Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman/Diana Prince, Ezra Miller is The Flash/Barry Allen, Jason Mamoa is Aquaman/Arthur Curry, Ray Fisher is Cyborg/Victor Stone, Jeremy Irons is Alfred, Diane Lane is Martha Kent, J.K. Simmons is Commissioner Gordon and Ciarán Hinds voices Steppenwolf

Justice League is directed by Zack Snyder but due to some unfortunate circumstances, Joss Whedon stepped in to direct some scenes and edit some of the screenplay together with writer Chris Terrio.

JL 1

It’s finally here. No longer are they animated renditions in Cartoon Network or stop motion lego pieces, they are alive and they are here to save the childhood of many DC fans who have been craving for a live action version of the greatest superhero team since they first appeared in Brave and The Bold #28.

While seeing them on screen is great, the movie that they are in, isn’t. The plot is very commonplace. It’s just your typical superhero plot about an alien scheming to take over the world by gathering powerful alien artifacts. The blatantly obvious and underdeveloped CGI villain is one of the cruxes of the film as he can’t even feel like a challenge for the entire team. The film is unbalanced especially in the first few minutes showing a lot of morose and slow-motion scenes of farms and streets that mourn for the death of Superman. A few cuts later, sudden character introductions are thrown on screen in such a short amount of time resulting into some very fast and awkward transitions.

The fight scene with Superman against the other members of the league is my personal favourite fight scene in the entire movie as we get to fully see the strength of the man of steel when he isn’t being held back. The moment wherein he almost catches the Flash definitely made the audience’s jaw drop and his one on one face-off with the Batman definitely put Batman fans to shame. Although it wasn’t the film’s intention, I found it very humorous that his intensity from angry god to naive boyfriend after seeing Lois Lane. The film has a lot of humour in it and the league itself has a lot of charm and chemistry as they exchange witty quips to one-up each other. While there are a lot of weakness in the film, I do feel like they are not enough to take away your enjoyment of the film.

Overall this movie is ok if you turn your brain off. We’ve come across these characters a long time ago and to finally see them live on the big screen is very rewarding. Certainly the best part about this movie is the characters that they establish. It’s definitely a guilty pleasure.

It’s a 6/10

Let’s now take a deeper look into some of the characters.

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Batman

Batman in the movie is no longer his petrifying and short-tempered counterpart in Batman vs Superman. A mortal man among very powerful superheroes, he is often teased by other members as being replaceable. He has a more laid back and comic approach when he interacts with the rest of the league as he struggles to face his own mortality. He realises that he can not do this alone or even for long and he chooses to band the team together for the future of mankind. He is the financial muscle of the entire team and also the one who tries to keep everyone together. While throwing a lot of snarky comments to the other members, his fatherly relationship with the Flash gives him more humanity. He often creates decisions that make Wonder Woman question his ethics and for the most part of the movie, he is the leader of the league. His flashy gadgets and over the top vehicles are there to equalise himself against the Parademons and Ben Affleck nails the gruff and aging Frank Miller Batman performance.

Superman

Yes, he’s alive. He is reincarnated by the team with the help of one of the Mother Boxes to help the league fight Steppenwolf. After being reincarnated, Superman goes mad and flies to figure out his identity. We then get to see an exhibition of his powers as he fends for himself against other members of the league but with the help of Batman’s secret weapon, he instantly turns back into a hopeless romantic then proceeds to travel into space with Lois Lane. Superman is the ray of hope in the movie and the league looks up to him. He can muscle anyone around and even the main villain is no match for his superior strength and ice breath. In one of the scenes at the end, Flash and Superman tries to save the civilians in Russia. After the Flash manages to push a pickup truck all the way to safety, we then cut to Superman lifting an entire building filled with civilians. The look on Flash’s face made everyone in the theatre laugh their hats off as the Flash pretty much felt inferior. Henry Cavill did a good job portraying him and people who know about the mustache will notice.

Wonder Woman 

Gal Gadot having a very successful debut in Wonder Woman continues her streak but with less standout moments as she starts off with an entertaining action sequence with some slow-motion against terrorists while trying to defend innocent civilians. Her demigod origins mean she could hold her ground against Superman and Steppenwolf and her Lasso of Truth elevates the funny of the film as it makes Aquaman admit his true feelings towards the team. One of the moral compaases of the team, she is one of the reasons why Cyborg joins the team although the good chemistry between them was never expounded and her overflowing charm stole the camera away when she simply showed the curve of her smile.

The Flash

Ezra Millers does well in this adaptation of an innocent and insecure Flash. Able to run 100 times faster than the average human being, he provides a lot of comedy with some great banter with the other members of the league in the film and he absolutely steals the scenes he’s in. His eyes roll around due to his awkwardness and the fact that he joins the league because he has no friends gives us a little backstory of what he’ll be like in his future solo movie. His speed scenes are visually stunning with bolts of lightning coming out of his body and while his role in the final battle is merely to evacuate the civilians, it creates a dynamic in the action scenes as everyone gets to have their own purpose.

Aquaman

He can swim at high speeds, breathe underwater and telepathically communicate with beings of the sea. He has superhuman strength and impenetrable skin. That’s right folks the Aquaman is lame jokes stop here as Jason Mamoa and his tough exterior gets covered in badass tattoos bringing out the Aquabro in him yelling “Yeah! My man!” as he stands on top of a speeding Batmobile. He was able to go toe-to-toe with Steppenwolf after having a hilarious moment of catharsis with the league when he accidentally sat on the Lasso of Truth and he can take the meanest punches from Superman. He was one of the characters I was rooting for and I am looking forward to seeing his solo film with James Wan.

Cyborg

Cyborg, one of the brooding members, struggles to deal with his enhancements as he was resurrected by his father using the Mother Box. He has a cold relationship with his father but a warm although not that much explored one with Diana Prince. He has a lot of purpose to develop the film from controlling Batman’s crawler to separating the Mother Boxes. Cyborg looks like a CGI human crystal but the subtle acting of Ray Fisher was able to oversee this.

Supporting casts

The rest of the supporting casts was great. While his acting was great, J.K. SImmons doesn’t get the chance to show off his ripped muscles because the majority of the scenes he’s in is just him wearing a trench coat. Amy Adams is there for Superman like how Black Widow was there for the Incredible Hulk and she’s the one that pushes him to join the league. Steppenwolf aka the CGI villain is bad in the sense that he doesn’t provide a challenge against the league and he is just another villain who has bold ambitions but never quite comes close to them.

There are some cameos in the film as Lex Luthor shows up at the end with Deathstroke. They plan to create their own counterpart that will challenge the league. Suicide Squad perhaps?

From the entertaining action scenes to the very funny one liners that the team throws at each other, DC Fans will be very pleased with the movie as it takes the right step into establishing the characters. You might not like the movie, but you will love the league.

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