Justice League: The Verdict

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First thing's first. I grew up on D.C. Comics' characters. Batman and Superman were the
heroes that shaped my youth through both their live action interpretations (played by
Michael Keaton and Christopher Reeve, respectively) and their animated
representations (voiced by Kevin Conroy and Tim Daly, respectively). Many of the
decisions I made in my youth would fall along the lines of “is this what the World’s
Finest would do?” With that said, I have no qualms in admitting the truth: as of last
Friday, Marvel was at the top of the mountain when it came to comic book cinematic
universes; However, the D.C.E.U.’s latest installment has arrived and things may have
changed.


So, in my opinion, did Justice League end Marvel’s reign?... No, not a chance. Are you
kidding me? Come on. Stop it.


With that said, I personally enjoyed the film. I place it in a tie for second on the list of
D.C.E.U. films, sharing the silver medal ranking with Man Of Steel: both films settled
behind the far superior Wonder Woman. However, my placement does not come
without some critiques. For every moment that I enjoyed, there were moments that I
cringed at, or at the very least would have done differently. Below, in two separate
paragraphs, I’m going to explain what I disliked about the film and what I enjoyed.
First, let’s get the bland salad out of the way.


What I disliked:


Right off the bat, the C.G.I. was shaky in this film. For every moment that looked really
cool, there’d be a scene that just looked cheap. Seeing Aquaman riding a parademon
like a surfboard through the air was a thing of beauty, yet something about his slide
out of the building after crashing through seemed clunky. Every amazing moment of
The Flash using the Speed Force would be followed by an adequate appearance of
Cyborg. Moreover, the C.G.I. work on Henry Cavill was just... not good. I was aware of
his obligations to Mission: Impossible 6 and was able to look past it, but that doesn’t
take away the fact that artists found a way to make handsome Henry Cavill look
slightly like Shrek. Finally, Steppenwolf was a weakly written character. He’s a
forgettable villain. A placeholder to give the League a test run before the eventual
appearance of Darkseid.

Alright. We got through that. Now, to the main course.


What I enjoyed:


The characters were perfectly cast. Each actor embodied their characters just as I had
hoped they would. Ezra Miller kills it as Barry Allen/The Flash, showcasing a hysterical
blend of genius nerd and Batman fanboy. Jason Momoa did the unthinkable: He
made Arthur Curry/Aquaman a badass through his color-changing piercing eyes, hair
and beard that resemble a Lion’s mane, and a physique that may, or may not, have
seen a few days at the gym. He displays the ego and presence one would expect from
someone who is Atlantean royalty. Gal Gadot is, without question, comfortable in the
boots of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. Her perfect balance of elegant princess and
warrior goddess are undeniable, and she plays well off of Ben Affleck’s rejuvenated
and hope-restored Bruce Wayne/Batman. Whereas Bruce was portrayed as dark and
vengeful in B.v.S., Affleck plays him as a man who recognizes the downward spiral
he was on, and resorts back to the heroic Caped Crusader he was decades before.
Even with shaky C.G.I., Ray Fisher channeled the conflict that rests inside Victor
Stone/Cyborg well, and Jeremy Irons is superb as the sarcastic, wise-cracking Alfred
Pennyworth. And, while limited in screen time, J.K. Simmons was a great touch as
Commissioner Jim Gordon.


Last, but certainly not least, is the Man of Steel himself. After two films of the last son
of Krypton questioning himself and not fully confident in what he is supposed to be,
Henry Cavill is gives us the Superman we’ve been waiting for. Cavill already
portrays the perfect physical appearance of Superman, but now we see him fully
embodying the confident, selfless protector he is meant to be. Cavill’s presence in this
film reminded me of when Christopher Reeve first appeared on screen in the red and
blue outfit. I looked past that horribly C.G.I.’d upper lip and saw the Superman I’ve
been waiting to see in this universe.


Please don’t be mistaken. In no way is Justice League a perfect film: It has its flaws.
Flaws that were either overlooked or deemed not important. The trail that led to this
film seems as though Warner Bros. wanted to quickly catch up to where Marvel/Disney
is, therefore possibly putting more importance on timeframe and established
characters again instead of taking the time to develop them fully. If you know your superhero flicks, you can see the additions made in this film by Avengers' captain Joss Whedon: D.C./
W.B.’s newly acquired talent who took over the helm for Zack Snyder (sincere
condolences to the Snyder family). With that said, and having read an article that
described the Snyder-helmed scenes that were cut out of the theatrical release, I
believe it is quite possible that the suits at the W.B. may be strangling the creativity
over at D.C. Studios. I found the Director’s Cut of Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice to be a better paced film than what was released in theaters, and I wouldn’t be
surprised if the same stands for this film.


With all the flaws that exist in this film, there was just enough good to
make me enjoy it. The actors portrayed their characters wonderfully, and while the
story wasn’t the most complex of adventures their interactions drove the story for me.
I give the film a seven of ten. Situated behind Diana’s origin, and alongside Kal’s
reimagining, I feel that while this film does not hold a candle next to Marvel’s best, it is
an overall positive step forward for the D.C.E.U.. Here’s hoping that in future outings
Warner Bros. worries less about copying and catching up with Marvel and just focusing
on taking the time to tell their stories in their own way. Here’s hoping for some
exciting originality in storytelling when it comes to upcoming projects like The Flash,
Shazam!, and Aquaman. Here’s hoping for focus on characters deserving of the
spotlight: Batgirl, Nightwing and, oh I don’t know... Booster Gold (Read my
previous article in him)!


In the end, here’s hoping for two or more successful comic film studios in the industry.
The more competition, the more they succeed, and the more entertainment for all of
us.

The Verdict: (7/10)

- "The Azorean One" Anthony Esteves of The Capeless Crusaders