by Scott Davis
After much talk, changes, reshoots, back and forths and everything in between, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is here via some “touch-ups” from Joss Whedon, who receives a screenwriting credit. After the success of Wonder Woman this summer expectations are a little higher than this time last year. With the relative debacle of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice now something of a distant memory, have Snyder, DC and company finally come up trumps?
Justice League; dir.: Zack Snyder; USA 2017, 120 minutes. Our Rating: ★★½
Much has been made about the pathways taken to bring the League to the screen in the year since Batman v Superman (and long before that), which didn’t do much to quell the notion that this new DC outing might be a bit of a disaster. In reality, it’s far from that. It’s hard to shake off the reminders of Josh Trank’s Fantastic Four reboot: a hodge-podge of ideas with too many cooks stirring the proverbial pot trying desperately to make sure the film is a hit at any cost. It never gets that horrific thankfully, but the dots do align in a similar way to a scary degree.
Justice League has Snyder’s usual visual wonder (some shots of Batman are lifted straight out of comic-book lore) and Whedon’s humour and charm certainly punch up proceedings but ultimately feels bereft of either director’s tutorship, playing more like a patchwork of scenes and characters that have been thrown together so hastily that in many places just don’t fit.
It’s a relief then that the cast save the day, both as a collective and as individuals with almost all of them coming out with their heads held high. Affleck is again a formidable Dark Knight despite Bruce Wayne getting a bit of a bum deal this time out, while Gadot continues to shine as Wonder Woman with another stellar turn. But it’s newbies Momoa and Miller who shine brightest with the latter the MVP of the whole enterprise. If subsequent movies follow him and his Barry Allen, the films will be richer (and more fun) for it. And what of Henry Cavill? Is he in the film? Yes. Is Superman? Perhaps a silly question. But to speak too much of him would be to ruin the surprise – in more ways than one. (Whatever you do: don’t Google it.)
While there are many fun moments to savour from their first outing if you can stick with it, Justice League never quite comes together in the way you’d hope, which, given the way the film has made it to the screen, shouldn’t be at all that surprising.
When can we talk about Flashpoint?