Review: “Justice League”

“What’re your super powers again?” – Barry Allen

“I’m rich.” – Bruce Wayne

Some minor and mild spoilers below.

I watched this movie as a fan. I’m by no means a comic book historian or expert; I’m only read maybe 20 issues of anything. I know most of the back stories of the major protagonists and a little bit of Steppenwolf’s history. So, you won’t see any grumbling about how this character wasn’t like the books or how Steppenwolf was apparently different from his comic incarnation. I watched the movie as a fan.

What I watched was a very entertaining, pretty good movie.

The opening scenes set the tone of the early minutes of the movie: despair. Set against the backdrop of the very poignant song “Everybody Knows”, by Norwegian Pop star Sigrid, the DC Earth is gray, rainy, and dreary. There are newspapers scattered everywhere, with articles wondering what the world is going to do with Superman around. Lois Lane is shown in various states of sadness. 2 thugs are resisting arrest, while threatening a woman’s shop and KICKING OVER HER STANDS WITH ORANGES IN THEM! Ma Kent’s farm was mortgaged. A criminal is on a roof, setting down his latest spoils. Batman is on the opposite roof, being Batman-y. His Batman-inessgot said Criminal beat up and used as bait to attract… this?!?


THAT – a Parademon – is the opening shot of “an invasion”, Batman (and later, Wonder Woman) deduces.

Batman/Bruce Wayne and Wonder Woman/Diana Prince eventually track down 3 others to aid them against the coming invasion: hyperactive teen genius, Barry Allen/The Flash (side note: Barry Allen’s characterization seemed more like what I’ve read about Bart Allen, but that’s not a complaint); brooding college student, and living Science Experiment, Victor Stone/Cyborg; and local protector of a fishing village, and Champion Whiskey Drinker/Mis-Quoter, Arthur Clarke/Aquaman. It’s not a walk in the park, however:

Cyborg is still dealing with being, well, a Cyborg. His tech is changing without his help but he doesn’t understand why. Oh, he also has some deep hatred for his father, who made him a cyborg. And, there are trust issues. That task to bring him on board falls to Diana Prince. Sorry, Wonder Woman.

Barry Allen’s recruitment went to Bruce Wayne. It took about 3 minutes and a thrown Batarang to get Allen on board; Allen’s struggles to fit in with “slow” people and his need for friends were perhaps the motivating factors to join the team.

Arthur Clarke and Wayne had a couple of discussions about joining forces. One ended up with Wayne slammed against a wall, feet off of the ground, the second ended with a “I’ll think about it but don’t hold your breath”-type response.

Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince get Barry Allen and Victor Stone on board. They are finally briefed with who or what is invading.

justice-league-movie-villain-steppenwolf.pngThe ‘who’ is Steppenwolf. He is searching for 3 Motherboxes: some kind of alien power source that, when combined, have the power to reshape or destroy world. Steppenwolf wants to remake Earth into a mirror image of his home world (Apokalypse?). He had the boxes millenia ago, but was defeated by a combined army of Men, Gods, and Aliens. The Boxes were split and hidden: The Amazons had one, the Atlanteans had the 2nd, and the 3rd Box was buried by Men, so no one nation could use it against other. This defeat earned Steppenwolf an exile from his world and a motive to come back to Earth.

Aqauman joins the group after Atlantis gets attacked.

For the rest of the story, you’ll just have to watch the movie.

There were many things that I liked/loved about this movie. First, the music – the music did a wonderful job of not only setting the mood(s), but letting you know who was the main focus of the scene, such as:

  • A scene in a spaceship had the hint of Superman’s theme from “Man of Steel”
  • The first meeting between Cyborg and Wonder Woman had a darker musical tone to it, reflecting Cyborg’s built up anger at his father and his reluctance to trust anyone
  • Each hero had their own music theme

I liked how each hero had more than one scene “in the spotlight”, especially during battles. The Flash, while not going toe-to-toe with Steppenwolf, did manage to do some damage to Parademons, as well as save quite a few people. Wonder Woman and Batman definitely had their ‘spotlight’ moments. Cyborg showed that he was a pretty heavy hitter, when it came to battling other forces. Even Aquaman got some pretty cool solo and team-up fights.

The humor was a cool touch. It wasn’t overbearing and it didn’t feel ‘forced’. Barry Allen, for example, seemed to be the Unintentional Tension Breaker: he’d remark about his blood sugar, at a time when Cyborg and Aquaman were trading accusations and insults.

I also enjoyed how this team came together, ironed out any kinks without destroying cities and towns (*ahem* AVENGERS!!), and, minus a couple of brief, fear-induced spats, worked pretty well together.

Steppenwolf felt like a Big Baddie that validated a reason to get a super team of superheroes together. He didn’t hide for 95% of the movie; he went out, beat some fear into quite a few people, took what he needed, and left. He also was in action, in more than just 2 or 3 quick scenes at the end of the movie. He was pretty prevalent throughout the movie.

I do wish that Aquaman and Cyborg’s back stories were explained more, even if it would be brief. It was mentioned how Victor Stone became Cyborg but Aquaman’s origins were only mentioned in passing. I think that’s more a ‘me’ problem, since I didn’t read up on either character before the movie and the movie producers probably assumed that most of the viewers knew about the characters.

I recommend that you check out Justice League. As long as you don’t try to nitpick the comic vs. movie inconsistencies, you’ll enjoy the movie! There are 2 post-credit scenes; they’re worth sticking around for.

Oh, BTW, I agree with you about Brunch, Barry Allen.

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