The troubled world of DC hits the big screen once more as it, belatedly, attempts to introduce its own version of the Avengers with the Justice League.
Batman, Ben Affleck (who also produces) (Argo, Suicide Squad), takes charge of things as the man from Krypton, Superman, Henry Cavill (The Man From UNCLE, Batman v Superman) has kicked the very solid bucket.
He scours the Earth, only the Earth, to find his team: Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman, Knight And Day), The Flash, Ezra Miller (Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them, Suicide Squad), Aquaman, Jason Momoa (Sugar Mountain, The Bad Batch), and Cyborg, Ray Fisher (Batman v Superman).
The team is required because Steppenwolf has reappeared. Not, much to my disappointment, the band Steppenwolf, rather this is CGI Ciaran Hinds (Silence, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy), as the man who destroys worlds, Steppenwolf.
He’s after three boxes, one of which is protected by the Amazons, one by the Atlantean’s (Aquaman’s people) and one the humans have buried but which is now in the hands of Cyborgs father, Silas Stone, Joe Morton (Terminator 2, Eureka (TV)).
In the midst of this, Steppenwolf begins creating his base in Russia, whilst Batman decides the team can’t do this alone and must try to bring another person to the team, who could it b…yeah it’s pretty obvious but don’t let that put you off.
I guess we’ll never know how many of the rumours are true with regards to Joss Whedon (Avengers, Buffy (TV)) coming on board to direct after Zack Snyder (Watchmen, Sucker Punch), but you get the feeling the movie has been through the mill.
A two-hour run time is split roughly down the middle with the first half given over to ‘getting the band together’ and the second half with the bad-guy show down.
The first half is a whirlwind of globe-hopping which will leave you disorientated as there’s no time or location reference throughout. Added to this is the fact that most of the time, other than The Flash, no-one wants any part of Batman’s plans until Steppenwolf attacks them individually.
Tonally the film is somewhere between the Marvel films (not counting the recent Thor or Guardian’s films) and Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. It’s not dark but it’s not as light hearted either.
Ezra Miller is the funniest of the bunch, completely in awe as he is of everyone and their skills. Momoa has a few one-liners, all of which you’ll have seen in the trailers.
Affleck and Gadot are the serious two, the latter particularly, with the odd throw-away line, again, nothing you haven’t seen from the trailers.
The success of The Avengers was the way in which Whedon managed to have so many stars together, but give each of them enough screen-time that you didn’t feel cheated.
Sadly, the same can’t be said of Justice League. There are a host of ‘big names’ that go chronically underused. Amy Adams (Arrival, American Hustle) is Lois Lane, for all of three scenes.
Oscar winner Jeremy Irons (Assassin’s Creed, High-Rise) is Alfred, Diane Lane (Inside Out, Trumbo) is Superman’s mum, J.K. Simmons (The Accountant, Whiplash) is Commissioner Gordon, Amber Heard (Zombieland, The Danish Girl) is an Atlantean and finally, Michael McElhatton (Game Of Thrones (TV), Genius (TV)) appears in the opening scene, briefly.
All are great actors and all are blink and you’ll miss them roles. Simmons says maybe five words, Irons is in the trailers more than he’s in the film and on and on it goes.
It’s not that Justice League is bad, it isn’t, well, not that bad. Ezra brings the fun, a dynamic between them all develops by the end.
But, but. There is a hell of a lot of CGI, and not all of it is good. Steppenwolf is as one-dimensional as a one-dimensional thing and some of the action scenes, particularly early on, where particularly difficult to watch on IMAX as the camera was being thrown around as much as the actors.
We’re going to get more, of course we’re going to get more and hopefully, fingers crossed, things can only get better.