Review: Justice League Rises From the Ashes of Batman vs Superman
Catch the review of ‘Justice League’ starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, and Jason Momoa.
Justice League rises from the debris of Batman vs Superman, but the escalation is not quite like a winged phoenix. If the much hyped but ultimately meh skirmish between two of DC’s popular icons left the audiences in the cold, the league of extraordinary outlaws salvages the ride this time by infusing the much-needed warmth in the comic book universe.
The world is mourning the end of Superman (Henry Cavill), and the story straightaway goes to the point by fetching in the supervillain with his army of flying parademons. Now our dark knight knows he can’t contain him alone, so he must bring in teammates even if it’s not really his style of working.
And we get the dash of joy we have been waiting for in new players. There is a man of lightning speed, Barry Allen aka Flash, played with a certain geeky wide-eyed fanboy fashion by Ezra Miller. Ray Fisher hurls in Terminator like intensity in Victor Stone aka Cyborg, and Jason Momoa gives a new twist to the troubled prince with his tattooed aquatic persona as Arthur Curry aka Aquaman.
Justice League is not bathed in the Freudian pessimism of Zack Snyder’s pervious mess. And that’s a good sign. But in abandoning the trying-to-be-operatic plot of Batman vs Superman and throwing away density of the narrative, the film finishes the proceedings with a plot so threadbare that it feels like a weekend cartoon show. Imagine a rip-off of the Avengers with another Macguffin (here, three ‘Mother Boxes’) and alien invasion.
The cloudy texture of Snyder’s ecosphere continues to haunt, and the action sequences lack a certain clarity that we have come to expect in more refined works of the genre. Except the clash in Themyscira, and certain slow-motion spurs, the battles are hurried special effect hazes without precision and ambition.
And Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds in motion capture avatar), the supposed supervillain with his prehistoric digital face and stunted soliloquies induces yawn instead of fear. And in a combat of superpowers, that’s a big, big downer.
But what really saves the day is the chemistry between the superdudes and the superheroine. Bruce (a stiff Ben Affleck) and Diana (a charming Gal Gadot) humorously indulge off-kilter kids with parent issues, by becoming their quasi parents. Snyder’s departure (as widely reported in the media) and consequent input by Joss Whedon (the man behind The Avengers duology) is definitely a blessing. Because the real worth of the film is in the repartee, and the interplay of the characters is so Whedon-esque that it almost feels like a Marvel taskforce on vacation.
An attempt at atonement, the end result will not leave you wonderstruck as it did in Wonder Woman, but it’s unquestionably many levels up from Snyder’s behemoth blah we had to endure last time.
The optimism in the film may be unearned by narrative logic, but it at least makes us attracted to the lesser heroes of the DC universe. It has firmly oiled us up for standalone films on Cyborg, Flash and Aquaman (already coming in 2018) by introducing their sunny side up here. It’s a decent start. I hope the next time they show up, they have more mischief at their disposal, and a better scoundrel to exchange punches with.
(The writer is a journalist, a screenwriter, and a content developer who believes in the insanity of words, in print or otherwise. He tweets @RanjibMazumder)
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