Justice League Review


Jack Lynch, Editor-in-Chief

There is a belief in comics that Marvel is full of men trying to be heroes and DC is filled with gods trying to be men. “Justice League” fails to make its characters either gods or men.

After the critical and commercial success of “Wonder Woman,” “Justice League” is a step back. It is still a vast improvement over the likes of “Suicide Squad” or “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” but it is still not good enough.

None of these characters are true to their comic book counterparts. The Flash (Ezra Miller), while hilarious, has one serious scene in the movie. Meanwhile his comic book counterpart is a smart forensic scientist is a serious man, but can still let loose sometimes. Cyborg (Ray Fisher) is stoic throughout the entire film. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is reluctant to lead. Aquaman (Jason Momoa) is an angry guy who does not care about anything. These are not the characters they have been for upwards of 70 years in some cases.  The only one who does portray the character accurately is Ben Affleck as Batman.

Despite that, the cast does a fine job with what they were given, with the supporting roles truly being the best. J.K. Simmons is great as Gotham Police Commissioner Jim Gordon, as are Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams and Diane Lane as Alfred Pennyworth, Lois Lane and Martha Kent, respectively. Ciarán Hinds as a surprisingly compelling villain Steppenwolf.

The film, while fun overall, is still wrong. A decision by Warner Brothers to keep the film a crisp 2 hours handicapped the film, stuffing it to the brim with content that should be able to breathe. This is especially evident with the relationship between Cyborg and his father Silas Stone (Joe Morton). What could have been a fantastic subplot exploring the relationship between the boy who is struggling with what it means to be human and the man who turned him into the machine ends up going nowhere. The other problem with the runtime is that the entire first half of the film is set up. The film introduces these facsimiles of characters one at a time, but each takes far too long. This is the problem with DC trying to do the opposite of Marvel’s strategy. Instead of introducing characters and earning the audience’s attention, DC throws everything and the kitchen sink at the screen and hopes the audience will see it.

Another problem is the CGI. Steppenwolf looks bad, plain and simple. When the plot takes us to Themyscira, home of the amazons, it looks fake, not at all like the lush and intricate land of “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins’ film. Even Cyborg looks fake; not only his technological components, but Ray Fisher’s face looks wrong.

When the Justice League comes together for the first time, there should be some weight to it. This should be an iconic moment. And it’s not. Director Zack Snyder (and sort-of-director Joss Whedon) give plenty of opportunities and the give the film some spectacular visuals, but there is no impactful display of a cohesive group.

That is not to say there are no redeeming qualities. The aforementioned performances,for one, but there are also good moments of character, such as when Aquaman unwittingly gets real when he is touching Wonder Woman’s lasso of truth and a macabre scene with Cyborg and Flash.

Growing up on cartoons like “Teen Titans,” “Justice League” and “Justice League Unlimited” as well as the Dark Knight trilogy and being an avid reader of comics as a young child, I know what these characters can and should be. More than anything else I am disappointed. However, at the same time, it is a childhood dream come true to see Flash and Aquaman fighting aliens on the big screen. If you have ever had any interest in DC comics, go see this film. It may not be very good, but there is a certain magic to seeing childhood fantasies realized in front of you.


Characters DC should introduce in upcoming films (but probably won’t):

Elongated Man (Ralph Dibny)— A private eye with the ability to stretch long distances thanks to a magical soda.

The Doom Patrol— A superhero team of weird characters including a living street, Robotman and Crazy Jane, a woman with 64 distinct personalities each with its own power, among others.

The Spectre— The manifestation of God’s wrath.

Etrigan (Jason Blood)—A cured man who turns into a rhyming and crime fighting demon.

Deadman (Boston Brand)— The ghost of a circus performer who can only communicate when he posses people’s bodies

Snapper Carr—The team’s original “mascot.” A teenager who likes to snap.