Lovers of Marvel tend to have a difficult time enjoying DC movies to the same degree, but with a charming cast, excellent morals, and a thrilling scope of battles, Justice League is sure to please anyone who loves a good superhero flick.
If you are not a fan of spoilers, I would advise you not to read past this point. Also, Be aware that as I happen to fall into the boat of Marvel lovers, my knowledge of the DC universe is limited; so, if some of my qualms are unfounded because of my ignorance, I apologize in advance.
The plot was simple enough: a world without a Superman (Henry Cavill) proved to be so bleak that a new, evil threat named Steppenwolf (Ciaràn Hinds) took his opportunity to plague the world with his dark utopia. So, it was up to Batman (Ben Affleck) to call on Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to form the Justice League and help him vanquish this dark overlord.
For being a Marvel lover, I must applaud the screenwriters for producing a story that was accessible to all viewers. Each hero had their own reservations for joining up with Batman, and though Flash’s hindering history with his father was a bit murky to me, this lack of insight did not frustrate me; rather, it inspired me to want to learn more. This is key when creating a blockbuster that is built off of other comics and TV shows; by the end of the movie, I should want to envelop myself into the entire DC franchise, and I absolutely do. Miller was simply too charismatic as The Flash to leave his TV series untouched!
I wish I had the same luxury with Aquaman; his character’s history with Atlantis, his mother’s kingdom, was a little bit too murky given he served mainly as comedic relief for the rest of the movie. I hope a TV show is coming for him soon, and if we’re lucky, a movie dedicated to giving his character a little more love.
Still, seeing all five superheroes come together was extremely satisfying. Their collaboration on the battlefield was impeccable, and the graphics blended nicely with their natural movement. They were a well-oiled machine that always left every encounter more in sync than they were before.
What was especially pleasing was seeing Wonder Woman held up by the other male heroes as the leader of the group without Superman present. An even more pleasant surprise was to see Bruce Wayne, perhaps the most callous hero known to man, encourage Wonder Woman not to let unfortunate circumstances, like loss, deter her from being a positive influence to others, a lesson that all leaders, that all people, need to hear.
Not without some cheesy dialogue, Wonder Woman bravely stepped into her role, and the concept of girl power thrived in this film as the guys had no qualms following her lead, comfortable with her wisdom and experience.
At the end of the day, though, Superman absolutely stole the show, as bringing him back from the dead was more hopeful than I expected and less eerie than it might sound. Cavill perfectly captured Superman’s calm and confident swagger, his scenes revealing his competitiveness with The Flash’s speed absolutely hilarious and revealing a more personable side of Superman what we usually don’t see.
Perhaps the most amusing moment was Flash’s dumbfounded look when Superman, with a single, piercing eye, followed The Flash in slow-motion as the speedy hero tried to zoom around Superman without him knowing. Though the scene itself was short, Miller and Cavill’s facial expressions defined them both as actors devoted to the personalities of their roles.
A character that wasn’t as defined, though, was Steppenwolf, the main antagonist of the film. His main goal was the typical one of any other static villain: world domination.
“Kneel before me. Let me destroy your world because it is the only ambition the writers gave to me.”
I can’t say that I was quivering in my seat.
Though Hinds did an excellent job portraying an imposing and perhaps over-powered villain, an antagonist is only as good as his relatability to the audience. A movie that truly makes a person think is one that leaves you unsure about what side to be on. A convincing villain, one that has an understandable motivation, even if that motivation is frowned upon, is a villain I want to know more about.
I could hardly remember Steppenwolf’s name throughout the movie.
The film ended on a high note, though, with Lois Lane’s ending quote inspiring hope in anyone watching: “Darkness is not the absence of light, but the conviction that light will never return.”
Not only did the world see light return as the Justice League vanquished Steppenwolf, but also, each individual hero found their own light return at the end of the film. The Flash found himself a job that made his father proud. Wonder Woman made a decision to actively help others, refusing to hide anymore in grief.
The Justice League’s collaboration led the world to a better place, and their journey to becoming a cohesive team helped them all realize their own potential and obligations to be the lights of the Earth.
Perhaps it is the journalist in me that leads me to love this moral simply because Lois Lane came up with it, but its relevance to this troubled world is simply too glaring to ignore.
What a fantastic way to end a thrilling superhero flick: the heroes had to save themselves.
It reminds us that even the strongest among us will need some saving every once in awhile. Everyone must believe in a light that will return.