Thursday, November 16, 2017

Justice League (2017)

Justice League (2017)

Directors: Zack Snyder/Joss Whedon

Cast: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Amy Adams, Ezra Miller, J.K. Simmons, Jeremy Irons, Billy Crudup, Diane Lane, Amber Heard, Robin Wright

I started collecting comics when I was nine years old. I discovered the world of comic books through a neighbor of mine who had mountains of them. Back then, you were either a Marvel fan or a DC fan, it was always a clash of who had the best superheroes. Who would win if they ever fought against each other? Who was the most powerful? And it was all about those big events like Marvel’s ‘Secret Wars’ , where all of the heroes got together to defeat an all-powerful villain. Nowadays, these clashes have translated to the silver screen. Who makes the best comic book movies? Marvel or DC? Are you with Warner Bros. or are ya with Disney? Maybe you’re like me and enjoy both sides equally, I mean, why side, when you can have all the fun and enjoy the whole shebang? Cool thing is that each production company is always trying to make the biggest and the baddest comic book film ever made, all to please us, the viewer. They don’t always succeed, but boy is it fun to watch them try. Up to my writing this, I’d say that there’s no doubt that Marvel is winning the day in terms of who makes the best comic book movies. Marvel seems to have the formula figured out, and they are ahead of the game, no doubt. But DC is slowly learning from their mistakes. Is Justice League a step in the right direction?  

This time around, Batman is trying to gather superheroes to form a group of heroes to protect the earth from a coming threat. Apparently, a villain called Steppenwolf is hell bent on world domination, but in order to do so, he has to recollect three “mother boxes” that will give him the power he seeks in order to achieve his goals. Will Batman gather the team in time, and if he does, will they be enough? How can this world without a Superman confront such a threat?

For those of you not in the know, this film had a bumpy road towards the silver screen. Zack Snyder was directing it, but he suffered the death of a loved one, so he stepped down to deal with that. Warner Bros. decided to hire Josh Whedon director of Avengers (2012) and Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) in order to finish the film. Whedon did a couple of re-writes and reshoots and boom, we got Justice League. Warner Bros. took the opportunity to make the film a bit “lighter”, the reason for this being that audiences have felt that DC movies are “too dark and brooding”, well, at least when compared to Marvel movies, which are bright and shiny and know how to juggle heroic elements with comedy. 

This whole making DC movies lighter thing has been going on for a while now. Warner Bros. has been reactionary in this sense, they react to whatever Marvel does. And I think that’s actually part of the problem, they aren’t trend setters. They are following, reacting to whatever Marvel does. In this sense, Marvel has proven themselves the leaders of this whole comic book movie craze. Warner Bros tried making Suicide Squad (2016) lighter and funnier with some reshoots, but that turned out to be a failed experiment. With Justice League, DC finally found the right balance between comedy and super hero antics, and it’s all thanks to Whedon’s influence in the project. The funny moments are truly funny, well written and effective, so I’d say you guys can rest assured the film delivers.

In terms of these six heroes coming together, I’d say they did a good job as well. I gotta say I had a kick out of seeing all these heroes together on the silver screen. Nobody is left behind, they all shine, they all kick ass, they work together. It’s cool seeing their different personalities clash. Some are seasoned veterans, others are just learning how to be heroes. How cool is it to see Flash afraid of getting into battle? I’d say he is the one that grows the most as a character, learning how to grow into the role of a hero. Flash also has the funniest lines in the film. For the record, I like Ben Affleck as Batman. Momoa is the badboy of the group as Aquaman. Cyborg is surprisingly crucial to the story. And Wonder Woman is growing to be the leader of the pack. And speaking of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, she looks even more beautiful on this one, I have a crush on this girl. She’s just stunning on this film.

On the negative side, the villain is your typical “world domination” type, which felt very “been there done that”. The villain being a completely computer generated character didn’t help matters much in terms of giving it life, Hollywood has to learn that lesson. We want thespians Hollywood, not pixels. No matter how cool they may look, nothing will ever replace the performance of a real actor. In this type of film, the villains shenanigans are just a trigger to get our heroes in motion and what really matters is how they get from here to there, how they go about it. The McGuffin this time are three powerful items called “The Mother Boxes” and basically, they are what moves the plot along. It’s the type of film where the villains motivations don’t matter as long as we get that cool superhero action, which can be seen as a negative point. In a good honest to god great film, everything is that much better if we care about what’s moving the story along. You definetly feel the voice of two different directors, and a bunch of producers messing with the movie, as a result the film does feel a bit uneven. It feels a bit disjointed in terms of tone and style. But whatever, Justice League is a no brainer. It’s meant to be a fun movie and in that sense, it delivers every step of the way. There are surprises and cool moments that will have those geeky fans wetting their pants with joy. Stay for the two extra endings!

Rating: 3 out of 5

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