Justice League Non-Spoiler Review: Just Enough To Keep You Coming Back For More
Fans have waited a long time to see the Justice League on the big screen. And that wait is now officially over, as Batman, Wonder Woman and the group of DC Comic heroes have arrived in theaters. The DCEU cinematic universe has had its ups and downs, there is still plenty of excitement around this film.
Lucky enough for this writer, I secured my tickets for a Thursday preview before the show sold out, meaning there would be no spoilers ruining the film. Now it is time to pass along word about Justice League to anyone who is on the fence about seeing this superhero team-up.
Below you will find a non-spoiler review, so you can have an idea of what to expect, without having anything given away.
We have to start with the plot of the film, as it is hands down the thing that kills any momentum Justice League had. To say the plot is pretty bad is likely an understatement. Everyone knows the film revolves around Steppenwolf and his desire to acquire what they call “Mother Boxes”. This much is pretty well-known going into the film, so I’m not considering it a spoiler.
The problem becomes, the explanation of said Mother Boxes is certainly lacking. The filmmakers try their best, but things simply get too complex. As a result, you get to the climactic end battle not really sure what would happen if Steppenwolf succeeds. Having the film rely on such a “cosmic” villain and elements means explanations are a must. The problem with these films when they do this is it way too easy to lose the audience, which is exactly what happens in Justice League.
While many like to complain about Lex Luthor in Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, at least he is a grounded, human villain who has some relatable qualities. With Steppenwolf and the Mother Boxes, that piece of the puzzle is simply not there. And the film suffers greatly as a result.
The characters are the key to this movie being somewhat enjoyable, as they do share some pretty solid chemistry. But that does not mean it’s all peaches and creme. So let’s run things down one by one.
Wonder Woman is at the heart and soul of this film. She seems to be the closest to the real battle they are fighting, as she is the primary one who knows what Steppenwolf wants. Her action scenes are great as always, and her character certainly takes a step forward to a new level. A big round of applause for Gal Gadot.
On the flip side, this was a total step back for Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne. It’s not Ben’s fault, but simply how they wrote the character. To put it simply, he felt weak. It seemed like he was never at the heart of the fight, but rather getting his ass kicked whenever he was around. When he was in the Bruce Wayne character, he kind of came off as annoying, and not really the leader he was supposed to be. While he was a total badass in Dawn of Justice, he is the weak link in this one.
Flash is the comic relief. But it works for how Ezra Miller plays off the character. There were a few scenes where we get to see a more serious side to Barry Allen, which gives me hope for seeing the character grow when his solo film comes out. So for the time being, he kills it as the comedian of the group, having some of the film’s best lines.
Jason Momoa comes off as a cocky, rude dude who still has a good heart at times. As expected, he’s a badass. He has some great lines and one of the best (funniest) scenes in the film. The only problem here is, it felt like he was underutilized. He kills it whenever he is on the screen, but it felt like there could have been more.
Cyborg was a pleasant surprise. I loved the way Ray Fisher portrays this angry young guy who is kind of mad at the world. He is very important to the plot, which is honestly the reason they included him in the film. So even though this writer hated the plot as a whole, I am glad it brought this character into the fold. Fisher gets two thumbs up for nailing this character.
Final thoughts here. Superman has a cool part. This was probably my favorite take on the character within the DCEU. I will leave it at that so I don’t spoil anything. Meanwhile, Steppenwolf was just pretty bad. A CGI villain that you cannot relate to at all, looking to do what villains always want to do (hint, it involves destroying the world, I think). The film needed a different baddie.
The credit scenes
Probably the best part of the film. The first scene is comical and will certainly please the true comic book fans. It is kind of hinted at during the climactic battle scene. However, they did it in a very fun way. But it is the scene after the credits that has this writer the most excited. If you are a fan of a certain character that has not yet appeared in the DCEU, you are likely to leave looking forward to more.
The future of the DCEU
The film does end on a positive note. What I mean by that is they leave characters in spots where you would like to see where the story goes. There are certainly enough teases of some things to come that lets your mind think ahead. Unfortunately, DC does not have a great layout on what’s coming in the next two years, as we have over a year wait for the next film, Aquaman.
So while the second credit scene got me super excited, I also couldn’t help but think, when will we see the payoff?
A few random thoughts. I couldn’t help but notice how DC was certainly taking some pages from the Marvel playbook. Bruce Wayne, who is DC’s version of Tony Stark, has a Tony-like moment. If you have seen Avengers: Age of Ultron, you will catch on. Also, the plot uses the Mother Boxes, three “cosmic” cubes in a sense, as the McGuffin. The first Avengers film used the Tesseract, a cosmic cube, in the same manner. Sorry DC, but you really needed to be more original here.
At the end of the day, the action was solid and the characters were overall a plus. It was the plot and villain that killed this one for this writer. While it had its moments, it still ranks at the bottom of the DC films for me. However, there was just enough to keep me interested for more. I now feel invested in some of these characters, so there will be no jumping ship, especially after that second credit scene.
So don’t overhype yourself before seeing Justice League. It’s decent, but not special like it could have been.