Saturday, November 25, 2017

Justice League

Breaking free from exile, Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) pays Earth a visit to collect his three Mother Boxes that will give him incredible power. Securing the first two being protected in Themyscira and Atlantis, he has but one box left to seize which was entrusted to mankind during the great war of centuries past. His return to Earth unleashes an army of Parademons that begin to terrorize everyone, prompting Batman (Ben Affleck) to assemble a team of heroes to defend the planet. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) joins in after seeing the Invasion Fire ablaze in a news report, an Amazonian signal that the ancient enemy has returned. Aquaman (Jason Momoa) agrees to fight despite initial hesitation after the attack of Atlantis. The Flash (Ezra Miller) needs not much convincing because he has no friends. In possession of the last box, Cyborg (Ray Fisher) completes the group when his father is kidnapped. Witnessing the limitless power of the boxes, they agree to take the risk and use its energy to revive Superman (Henry Cavill) so he can join the fight, but will their efforts pay off or will they be bringing back yet another monster from the dead?

Hey, it wasn't that bad. Of course, we don't really know if this is the case because the movie isn't really that bad or because the reviews said so and so you lowered your expectations and ended up actually enjoying it. It's always fun seeing superheroes band together to save our species. We are that special, right? And we are all suckers for this thing called hope.

Lois Lane's epilogue speech effectively summarizes such sentiment. Perhaps timing is where Justice League went wrong? Why rush a superhero team film when you could have released standalone features for each character first? As a result, you have an end product that is enjoyable but crammed and lacking.

But that doesn't mean that the new additions are not welcome to the roster. Flash provides the much-needed levity that this franchise could benefit from right now. At times his jokes fall flat, but his presence makes a scene more tolerable by toning down the seriousness one notch. Cyborg is too emo for his own good at the beginning, but his role becomes more and more crucial as the plot unfolds. Aquaman is a good counterbalance for Batman as the two constantly try to outdo each other in stroking their egos. That aside, the underwater scenes in Atlantis look promising and make you look forward to his solo movie. Mera looks like the type who can kick some serious ass, too. Yes, we need more girls.

Cavill's much talked about CGI moustache is bothersome alright, although one can argue that it helped make him look more sinister in scenes where it was necessary. His appearance is somehow anticlimactic because it's so obvious that he'd come back anyway. His banter with Flash is something to look forward to should a sequel be made.

The fight scenes still remain to be one of the franchise's weaknesses. Maybe that is the issue when almost everyone in the team is so superpowered? Fight choreography is always an interesting thing to watch, but here it feels like they substituted everything with explosions, characters being tossed far and wide, as well as fast camera movements. Overall, it feels like a lazy execution. At least the big battle scenes in the flashback look legit somehow. Perhaps the villain is also to blame? It just feels hard to care about Steppenwolf. You don't even have to care, actually, you just have to sympathize. No sympathy gained, though. The character is so one-dimensional.

While many would argue that DC is way darker in terms of theme and style, perhaps lightening up a bit won't be that detrimental for mainstream appreciation? Unless Nolan is directing, that style only works if you are willing to create something in the vein of the Dark Knight. Thinking about it now, why did they just not base their DCEU on that after all? If Christian Bale didn't want to reprise his role, then at least they could have kept Nolan as the director. It could have been worth a shot.

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