McCoy on Movies: Justice League

McCoy on Movies: Justice League

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DC Comic’s newest film — which brings together Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Flash, Aquaman and Batman — is now out in theaters. Is it “super” enough to see? Read on as our movie critic offers his insight.

 

“Yo – you seen that dude Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons anywhere? We’ve got to talk to him!” (L-R) Aquaman (Jason Momoa) as Aquaman, Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) prepare for battle in a scene from Warner Bros. Pictures’ action adventure JUSTICE LEAGUE, a Warner Bros. Pictures release. Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures. All rights reserved.


WATCH THE TRAILER(S) HERE:
 




KEY CAST MEMBERS: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, J.K. Simmons, Billy Crudup, Jason Momoa, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Joe Morton and Ciarán Hinds

WRITER(S): Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon (screenplay); Chris Terrio and Zack Snyder (story); Bob Kane, Bill Finger, William Moulton Marston, Joe Shuster and Joe Siegel (characters)

DIRECTOR(S): Zack Snyder

WEB SITE: http://www.justiceleaguethemovie.com/HERE’S THE STORY: Still reeling from the death of Superman (Henry Cavill), Bruce Wayne a.k.a. Batman (Ben Affleck) has been on the hunt to track down a group of “metahumans” he believes will be essential in helping him fight future threats to earth. And while he already has Amazonian “wonder woman” Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) on board and a very eager and speedy Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) on board, Arthur Curry a.k.a. “the man who talks to fish” (Jason Momoa) is not trying to hear Wayne’s pitch. Then again, at least Arthur knows who he is, because Victor Stone (Ray Fisher) is still coming to grips with what his scientist father (Joe Morton) has done to him in the wake of an accident that should have taken this life. 

But with a threat he’s yet to determine the origin of seemingly starting to become more and more prevalent around Gotham, Wayne knows he’s going to need to get them all on his side sooner than later if the earth if going to have any chance to survive.

WHO WILL LIKE THIS FILM THE MOST? Batman Vs. Superman apologists; Gal Gadot fans; Jason Momoa fans; people who will appreciate the visuals and references to other DC properties

WHO WON’T (OR SHOULDN’T) LIKE THIS MOVIE? People who hated Batman Vs. Superman; people who hate the idea/execution of Ben Affleck as the Dark Knight; those who will find the film’s main antagonist underwhelming; people who will find some sequences of the film very paint-by-numbers and/or uneven

SO IS IT GOOD, BAD OR JUST AWFUL? “Diet Avengers … Diet Avengers … Diet Avengers” …

Sometimes, when a certain phrase goes through your head repeatedly, you have to stop and ask yourself “why?” To call Justice League “Diet Avengers” might at first seem like a cop out, but upon further contemplation, it may not be so much a cop out as much as it is a short yet accurate recapitulation of Warner Bros./DC Comics boldest attempt yet to compete head to head with the ebulliant force that is the Marvel Universe. 

A better term, however, might be “mixed bag” – because for a film where so many things are done right, so many others just feel out of place or wrong.

When Affleck was cast as Batman in the ill-received (or should that be, conceived?) Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice movie, he – despite his best efforts – really didn’t do anything wrong … But he also really didn’t do anything significant to quell the online backlash, either. In Justice League, Affleck finds himself once again, like his onscreen counterpart, of trying to do the right thing while knowing there are many who will just simply not forgive him for what he has done. Whereas he hits all the usual Bruce Wayne beats, he doesn’t do anything to make his character stand out. We get a kinder, gentler Batman, but one that seemingly only has any distinction in just how non-distinct he is. 

Likewise, Miller’s take on The Flash almost feels like an homage to another friendly, swinging neighborhood Marvel character, which, despite what surely is an attempt at bringing some levity to the situation, some are more often than not to find annoying (or at best, cheeky in an Austin Powers way) than genuinely humorous.

It is the film’s villain, however, that is an utter disappointment. Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciaran Hinds) feels like a low-rent villain, has low-rent villain dialogue and lacks the usual cool factor associated with most DC villains. There’s just nothing to him … Other than saying since he’s another Norse-style mythology creature he feels like a very low-rent, not entertaining version of another popular Marvel antagonist, right down to the horns.

On a positive note, Gadot once again shines and shines bright as the Amazon Diana Prince a.k.a. Wonder Woman while Fisher and Momoa make what – for all intents and purposes outside of Cyborg on Cartoon Network’s popular show Teen Titans Go! – have never been more than also-ran characters into viable parts of the franchise. Despite a rather lame origin explanation, Fisher makes sure his character balances a fine line between brooding and bruising while Momoa brings a rockstar cowboy flair that boosts the chances (and likely fans’ desire) for an Aquaman solo outing. (You’ll get your wish soon, Atlantis fans …) 

Then again, while there are great homages to past DC characters (Ryan Reynolds couldn’t even hate on how they show respect to his former green alter-ego) and the use of Henry Cavill is both great at its best moments and sappy at their worst, the film just feels OK – and that’s NOT what you want for major superhero team foray. Call it a bit of superhero fatigue, perhaps there’s a bit of wanting to appeal to the masses as opposed to just the die hard fans or the hard balancing act of fitting in a bunch of characters that haven’t previously come together before, but Justice League just feels like above average characters in an average superhero story. You’ll want to stick around through the end credits, of course, to see what may be next for the DC galaxy (using the term universe seems a bit redundant at this point), but you and your legion of friends can probably figure that out …

All in all, Justice League is not horrible, but it’s definitely not anything that’s going to make you feel like you need to rush out to see it again. Then again, if you didn’t like Batman Vs. Superman or the under-appreciated Suicide Squad, you might be better served catching a matinee. Because Justice League is definitely in a league of its own.

Whether audiences consider that league minor or major, however, remains to be seen. 

OVERALL RATING (OUT OF FOUR POSSIBLE BUCKETS OF POPCORN):

 
Tabari McCoy
Columnist - Tabari McCoy is Cincy Chic's movie critic. An award-winning stand-up comedian who also works as the public relations director at Cincinnati Museum Center, Tabari McCoy is the creator of McCoy on Movies, a blog about movies for film fans. The blog is written by someone who also likes movies that is smart enough to know his opinion isn't always the right one but is willing to express that opinion in public. McCoy also used to review movies for his college paper and a major metropolitan publication, so that helps add to his "street cred." Contact him at tmccoy@cincychic.com. You can also check out more of his work on his blog at McCoyonMovies.BlogSpot.com and follow him on Twitter at @tabarimccoy.