Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Stubs - Justice League

Justice League (2017) Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, J. K. Simmons. Directed by Zack Snyder. Screenplay by Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon. Based on Justice League by Gardner Fox. Produced by: Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Jon Berg, Geoff Johns. Run Time: 120 minutes. USA. Color. Superhero.

While the MCU sometimes feel like school, there are films like Thor: Ragnarok that seem to refresh the franchise and make it fun again to watch. The DCEU, however, doesn't know a good thing when it has it. After the high of Wonder Woman (2017), the franchise has reverted back to its dyspotian ways with Justice League, which plopped into cinemas a few weeks ago.

While the MCU did a pretty good job with building the Avengers brick by brick, the Justice League feels rushed, since half of the characters are relatively new to the cinematic franchise. We all know, all too well, the origin stories for Batman (Ben Affleck) and Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) already received her film but the Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) are sort of thrust upon us in this film. Not that all of them are necessarily worthy of their own stand alone film, but a little more background with them might have been nice. No doubt they'll do them someday, it just would have been better to have developed them a little more before making them part of a team.

The DCEU always seems to be in a rush to catch up. There was no Batman film this time around, but Batman did kill Superman, for reasons that escape me now, in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016). As has been pointed out by others, its hard to see how given Superman's powers, like a heat ray, that Batman would have stood a chance, but in what feels like the equivalent to a cinematic dive, it wasn't in the cards for Superman on that night.

Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Batman (Ben Affleck) and Flash (Ezra Miller).

Now, without the Man of Steel, Batman must hurriedly, though the film seems to move at a slow pace during this section, build a team to protect Earth from a horn-wearing villain with an Oedipal complex. Backed by large flying insect-like creatures, which remind me of the Flying Monkeys in The Wizard of Oz, Steppenwolf (CiarĂ¡n Hinds) comes to, what else, destroy Earth with Mother Boxes that have been left here for apparently that purpose. (There seems to be a never-ending cinematic line of things buried on Earth just waiting to destroy it.) So once again, we need super heroes to keep the planet from an Apocalyptic event, so it can get back to its simple dyspotian ways.

Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) flank Wonder Woman.

But the missing ingredient in the league is Superman and they manage to bring him back from the dead so that he can save the day. In reality, he is really the only superhero they need in Justice League, in much the same way Dr. Manhattan was the all-powerful Watchman. The Comedian is nice, but you only really need Manhattan in a pinch.

While Cavill certainly looks the part of Superman, I'm not really sure what I think about Affleck as the Caped Crusader. He's never seemed quite right in the role, too big of a star in a way. As far as the others go, I would follow Gadot anywhere. She's sexy, smart and strong as Wonder Woman and hopefully there is a stand-alone sequel in her future. Momoa is certainly muscular with a James Dean demeanor, Miller provides much needed humor as the weakest superhero and Fisher is passable as Cyborg; his role is harder to judge seeing as he's half-man/half-machine.

Speaking of sequels, this one makes sure to set one up. I'm not a big fan of the casting of the villains in this franchise. Jared Leto was an awful choice for The Joker in Suicide Squad (2016). I hope if there is ever a crossover with Batman that the character is played by someone else. I would say the same for Lex Luthor, but that die has been cast. Jesse Eisenberg, if you stayed for the post-credits scene, is returning in the role. Despite how disappointed you might feel at the end of the film, the Justice League will return.

I would recommend the film only if you're a real die-hard fan of the DCEU. For the casual viewer, this is not the best film in the franchise. Instead, I would recommend watching Wonder Woman if you haven't seen it already and again if you have.

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