We just got out of Justice League, and wow, do we have reactions. In the video below, we discuss what worked and didn’t work in the movie that we’ve been waiting all century to see. But first, here are six quick takeaways, three good and three bad. For those that don’t want any spoilers, please stop reading NOW and surely do not watch the video.
- The Chemistry: Most of these actors have not been tested on screen together before, so this was a gamble. It pays off. The main cast plays off each other delightfully. Ben Affleck’s Batman and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman serve as the “parents” of this group (this fits as at one point, Diana complains that she’s working with children). Jason Momoa’s Aquaman is the carefree tough guy who doesn’t want to be there, but has a heart of gold underneath. Ray Fisher’s Cyborg and Ezra Miller’s Flash are both the new guys, just starting out in their careers, unsure of how to play the heroes. Even some of the smaller cast members work well with the team: J.K. Simmons’ Jim Gordon sets up some laughs with a whole team of heroes; Amber Heard’s Mera sets up some tension for next year’s Aquaman film; and Jeremy Irons’ Alfred provides behind-the-scenes guidance for the League.
- The Mythology: There’s an amazing sequence about an hour into the movie that explains everything: the Mother Boxes, Steppenwolf, the Amazons, the Atlanteans, and a whole lot of other background for the DC Extended Universe to play in, including one very critical cameo that you’ll know when you see it. The background flashback has the same role as the One Ring’s backstory in Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, and it’s great.
- The End Credit Scenes: These really should be an afterthought, not the main draw of the movie. However, Justice League has two: one fun, and one important. The “fun” one takes a page directly from DC Comics itself and copies a very famous rivalry. Nothing comes of it, but it doesn’t matter: it’s there to make you smile. The other is the more serious scene, introduces a highly-demanded character, and suggests that the Justice League sequel could have a load of new characters.
What Didn’t Work:
- Did Batman Just Do That? We can’t spoil this one, but Batman makes a plot decision in the second half of the film that’s going to confuse audiences everywhere and is probably the single worst storytelling decision of this movie. Out of all the ways this plot issue could have been resolved, the filmmakers chose to go with the one that makes Batman looks crazy. Then the League very willingly goes along with it. Sorry you have to see this, folks.
- The Flash’s Costume: Ugh. In the comics, Barry Allen’s Flash has always worn a basic skinsuit which would make sense for a guy whose power is to run. In his first screen appearance, Barry Allen has a very complicated suit of armor which, although colorful, just looks bad and also seems implausible for running. Let’s hope this is streamlined for future movies. There is, however, a plausible explanation about what comprises the suit; it works but it’s still a bit messy.
- Super-mcguffin: Justice League really doesn’t know what to do with Superman, and yet, you can’t have a Justice League movie without him. Superman’s cameo in the opening sequence is so much fun, and then we’re told that his death has left a void in the world that only a new set of heroes can fill. But then, (spoiler!) Superman is re-inserted into the movie’s third act, rather forcibly and for insufficient reasons. We know Superman has to come back: this team is naked without him, but it just sort of happens without really serving any purpose to the story.
Other than that, this movie was “not awful” and our review team had mixed reactions, some loving it and others being ambivalent. Enjoy the video for more commentary and also more mild spoilers.
Thanks to Allied Baltimore for supplying the review passes, and to Chris Harris and Marcos Rivas from The Edge of Nerd Facebook group for joining us.