“It’s not about the hits you take, it’s about how you get back up.” – Muhammad Ali
The DC Extended Universe has taken quite a beating on its way to Justice League. A commercial failure here, a false start there, critical panning after critical panning – the DCEU hasn’t so much failed to stay upright as it has stand up at all. Earlier this year Wonder Woman got the franchise back on its feet, and gave Justice League a chance to take its first swing – and the result?
It’s very clear how this fight is going to go from the first shot, as an uncanny valley, plastic mold of Henry Cavill appears to haunt your nightmares. CGI isn’t Justice League’s biggest problem, but it is the most noticable – from the Clark Ken Doll to the blandly malevolent Steppenwolf, not to mention Cyborg the off-brand super toaster. Action sequences come served with a thick layer of CGI Vaseline smeared over the top, and JL devotes half its running time to weightless spectacle.
If only the film’s problems ended at the surface, but dig below and you’ll find a steaming pile of nonsense masquerading as plot. The film does right by the new characters – Aquaman and Flash are both as much fun as you’d expect – but woefully disserves the old guard, including sexualising Wonder Woman at every opportunity. The exposition never stops, but JL never actually manages to properly explain anything, and like the first superhero movies, you can see the wires keeping everything in the air.
Moments of brevity are a welcome distraction, but the film’s biggest laughs come at its own expense. Justice League shoots for cheeky and ends up at corny – which might entertain some, but could be the final nail in this franchise’s coffin.
CAST: Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Robin Wright, Amy Adams
DIRECTOR: Zack Snyder
WRITERS: Chris Terrio (screenplay by), Joss Whedon (screenplay by), Zack Snyder (story by), Chris Terrio (story by)
SYNOPSIS: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against a newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes, it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.