Superheroes on full power now
Justice League (12A) We’ve seen Marvel’s biggest heroes join forces on more than one occasion and now it’s DC’s turn for a superpowered team-up.
Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) come together to defend Earth from invading alien warrior Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds).
Justice League’s journey to the big screen hasn’t been smooth, with director Zack Snyder having to depart the project before its completion due to personal issues and Joss Whedon coming on board to re-shoot material.
Both Snyder and Whedon are given writing credits too, alongside Batman v Superman’s Chris Terrio, so the finished product was always likely destined to be uneven and flawed.
We pretty much dive straight into the action and learn very little about Miller, Momoa and Fisher’s newbies; although they’re all scheduled for their own standalone movies.
There’s so much to take in and the surprising under-two-hour length doesn’t give everything time to breathe, although it breezes by at a breakneck pace.
Snyder’s famous eye for a mesmerizing visual that could’ve been ripped straight from the pages of a comic book does our heroes plenty of favours, especially Batman, but Whedon’s knack for witty dialogue fares less well.
Much of the words spouted are clunky and exposition-heavy and while you will laugh at a few of the jokes, there are as many gags you’ll roll your eyes at as Whedon fails to repeat the warmth and natural banter he injected into his Avengers flicks.
Gadot and Affleck come top of the League, the former once again proving to be the crown jewel in DC’s crown and the latter building strongly on his divisive turn in Batman v Superman.
Speaking of divisive, I’m still trying to work out whether I enjoyed or disliked Miller’s take on The Flash. One thing is for sure, Grant Gustin does the Scarlet Speedster more justice on the small screen.
Momoa is coolness personified and I want to see more of his Aquaman, and Cyborg has several ace powers – it’s just a shame they are gifted to a rather bland Fisher.
One of the criticisms often aimed at Marvel is the quality of their villains, but even by those flawed standards, Steppenwolf is a soulless cypher unworthy of facing off with the League.
But Snyder and Whedon have managed to keep a few secrets from the hefty marketing campaign, there are spine-tingling call-backs to the classic Batman 89 and Superman 78 musical scores and a stunning Lord of the Rings-meetsThe Avengers flashback.
And although we never get a true sense of global peril and things get wrapped up far too quickly, the final few minutes – and the midand-post-credits scenes – are real crowd-pleasers.
Justice League isn’t the epic adventure many were hoping for, but it’s lively, fun and never dull.
Teaming up Wonder Woman, Batman and The Flash in action