By Angie Raphael
I was one of the people who actually enjoyed Batman v Superman despite the woeful “mother” scene that became an infamous meme. Although the film was a box office hit, it was considered by some to be a mild failure, so there was a lot riding on the success of Justice League. Fortunately, it seems the filmmakers listened to audience feedback, and following the huge success of Wonder Woman, this latest film in the franchise is full of laughs and has a plot that actually makes sense. Justice League picks up where Batman v Superman finished. The world is devastated by the death of Superman (Henry Cavill), so Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) assemble a team including Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to battle the villainous Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds). Director Zach Snyder had to step away from the film before it was finished due to a family tragedy, leaving Joss Whedon (who also co-wrote the film with Chris Terrio) to oversee its completion. While Whedon’s overall influence is evident, it is impossible to distinguish where each filmmaker’s work begins and ends.
Cavill’s appearance in the film has been Hollywood’s worst kept secret, but the extent of his involvement has been well guarded. The opening credits give him second billing, which immediately indicates to the audience he will have a significant role. Superman fans will be thrilled with his pivotal contribution. Affleck continues to brood and Batman is quite the jerk in this film, while Gadot remains as talented and entertaining as she is beautiful. Miller is a brilliant addition, providing the most consistent laughs, while Momoa oozes charisma and Fisher gives an understated performance. The plot allows for decent character development for the already established superheroes and banter between all the protagonists, although some of the backstories needed further details for viewers unfamiliar with the comic book heroes. The film is less than two hours long so perhaps a couple more scenes providing further insight into the backgrounds of Aquaman and Cyborg in particular would have been useful. No doubt we will learn more about them in future films. There are also a few lame moments, especially one cringe-worthy moment involving Amy Adams as Lois Lane.
DC fans will enjoy the Easter eggs throughout the film and the post-credit scene provides an excellent set-up for the future of the franchise. Justice League does not really offer anything new to the genre, but it fulfils its light entertainment requirements.