Sunday, November 19, 2017

Justice League

2017 is going to go down as one of the best years ever for the cinema. Just flat out, from beginning to end this year has been filled with incredible flicks with deep meaning and amazing blockbusters that broke records and set new bars. So it's going to be a pretty hill to climb when I'm looking at Justice League and I'm seeing something that would absolutely shine in any other year.

Before we get to the meat and gristle, let's talk about the presentation; Zack Snyder previously brought us Man of Steel and Batman V Superman, both of which were somewhat dour and colorless looks at the DC comic heroes. There huge action set pieces, amazing effects, but the whole thing felt like a bit of a drag for me as a viewer. Suicide Squad saw the DC universe expand with a couple of villains, but ultimately felt rudderless. It wasn't until this past year where Wonder Woman hit the mark that DC felt like it was on the right track. Justice League continues to ride that wave, introducing us to new heroes in the form of Aquaman, Cyborg, and The Flash.

The character interaction in this film brings more humor to the table, with the Flash's refreshing enthusiasm acting as a fulcrum with which to bring light to what had been a world of darkness. Cyborg could have easily become a dark and brooding caricature, but was brought to earnest life and carried the heart of the team. Aquaman was bombastic, Wonder Woman was engaging, and Ben Affleck once again donned the cape and cowl to deliver one of the best Batman performances in ages.
But nothing prepared me for the performance delivered by Henry Cavil as Superman. Because, yes, he is back and yes he plays an important part to the formation of the League... but more than that, and the reason I'm not putting a spoiler warning about this, is that Cavil delivers the Superman of my childhood to the silver screen. He's the earnest boy scout, the hope, the willingness to be good and be human and be HUMANE. It was something I wanted from Man of Steel but didn't feel I got. This movie brings it.

But, unfortunately, the film does suffer some missteps. Mainly, the films antagonist is a cartoon... a computer generated cartoon that didn't look or feel real in any way. Steppenwolf's threat is poorly realized, his motivation a mystery, and his story is thin at best. The film felt at it's best when the team wasn't even engaged with him.

But, all in all, a recommend. 8 out of 10

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