Justice League

Although long time in the making, Justice League ultimately proves to be unnecessary.

After years of speculation and uncertainty, DC Films’ answer to Marvel’s Avengers is finally here. But is it necessary? Fans, movie pundits, studio suits and everyone else in between can argue over this for years. The answer is irrelevant, and given the outcome, even rhetorical.

As awkward as it sounds, Justice League – with no less than five latex clad superheroes – is the finale to director Zack Snyder’s trilogy (following Man of Steel and Batman V Superman) but also distances itself from the previous two by trying to fix common complaints about those films –  too dark and no spunk, we said. Well guess what; The makers behind Justice League heard our protests and made this film as bright as day. There’s also some humour that will draw a genuine smirk from all but the sternest viewer or harshest critic. That’s it. Everything else is an incoherent, incomplete, unguided, unwanted mess.

The problems are plenty because that mess is all over the place. On one level, the world is still mourning the death of Superman. Like the previous film, Biblical analogies are apparent, but only if you care to look below the surface and only if you know what to look for; which is why a genuine question in this film is whether or not a God can be resurrected, and if so, should that happen. Then the tone shifts to familiar territory. On another level, the planet is about to be destroyed by Steppenwolf (played by Ciarán Hinds by bizarrely imitating Liam Neeson), an alien general done up with bad CGI. And then there is Bruce Wayne who claims his superhero ability is being rich. If that isn’t a stab at Tony Stark, is it meant to be funny? After hobbling along with these one-liners for an hour, the titular roster is setup for the first and bombastic clash of superpowers. But by this time we are essentially watching two movies, and it won’t take long before it dawns on the viewer that something isn’t quite right. Or not altogether there.

Even as alarming as that sounds, there is yet another movie which struggles to break through the superficial cracks of the main movie, and this is probably why Justice League is almost forgivable – The idea of a team of misfits trying to fit, (which made The Avengers hugely entertaining) seems to find some footing in this film too. Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen, AKA The Flash, holds a candle to Tom Holland’s Peter Parker. For better or worse, Miller even has a lot more pep than Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne and Batman combined! Another welcome addition is Jason Momoa as the brooding Aquaman, and although there’s something fishy about his supersonic speed, there’s not much else explored.

When it works, it’s because of the camaraderie between some of the characters. Along with Miller’s Flash, Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is almost always one of them. Consistency, though, is not a strong point in this film. In the end, and despite being salvageable, Justice League is content with breeding familiarity. This includes a villain that is both weak and boring, and with an agenda that we have seen one too many times. As for Ray Fisher’s Cyborg, there’s little doubt that anyone will remember how and why he is a member of the League. While all this is still forgivable given Snyder’s tragic personal loss during filming, the biggest undoing is a superhero film unsure of what it wants to be. Which asks again – was this necessary?

Rating: ★★☆☆☆

About Lloyd Bayer

Besides his passion for travelling, photography and scuba diving, Lloyd is a prolific film critic having contributed hundreds of film reviews to web and print journals, including IMDb and local daily Khaleej Times.