Batman, Wonder Woman, Cyborg and the Flash teaming up to fight the bad guy? Yes, it’s the latest superhero movie, as Justice League brings us the stars of DC Comics in their first team-up film. DC hasn’t done too well with their movies, other than the various Batman franchises, but they turned a corner this summer with the success of the Wonder Woman film. Does the new Justice League movie keep things moving in the right direction?
With a great opening action scene where Batman (Ben Affleck) discovers and battles an alien creature, Justice League moves us through Batman realizing that Earth is in trouble and seeking out super-powered people with some help from Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). The character introductions of Victor Stone as Cyborg (Ray Fisher), the Flash (Ezra Miller) and Aquaman (Jason Momoa) are quick but do the job well enough for audiences who may not know who these comic book heroes. Once set up as a team, the Justice League has the usual superhero film goal: save the world.
With a mandate by the Warner Brothers studio head to keep the movie shorter than the usual DC movie, this cut of the film doesn’t allow for much breathing room. I approve of keeping things short, but it feels like it needed at least another 15 minutes of connective tissue to tie the plot together. On the flip side, this rushed plot limits the superhero brooding we have seen in the past.
The worst thing with the movie is the villain. Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciarán Hinds) gets the CGI treatment, and it doesn’t work—he isn’t as menacing as he should be. What really worked for me were the characters. Ray Fisher is great as Cyborg. Affleck has become my favorite Batman/Bruce Wayne. Gadot’s Wonder Woman is still awesome. Ezra Miller and Jason Momoa get the laughs. And the biggest surprise is (SPOILER) Henry Cavill’s Superman. He’s fun to watch.
The action scenes are serviceable and don’t wear out their welcome. In fact, a mid-movie fight where the heroes have to fight another hero is a delight. The movie tries to keep things lighter than the previous Batman vs Superman and Man of Steel films, which is a good thing.
With its rushed pace and mediocre villain, at least watching these characters become a team gives us entertaining moments. This could be a good direction for DC, as Justice League makes us want to see more of these superheroes.