Justice League Justice League
dir Zack Snyder
scr Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon
prd Jon Berg, Geoff Johns, Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder
with Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, JK Simmons, Ciaran Hinds
release US/UK 17.Nov.17
17/US Warners 1h59
Justice League
Super friends: Miller, Affleck and Gadot

cavill momoa adams
See also:

Batrman v Superman (2016) Wonder Woman (2017)

R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
Justice League It's taken awhile, but DC seems to have finally found its groove, infusing this mega-sequel with the same lighter-toned, recognisably comic book-style atmosphere as Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman. It's a lively action romp, with strong characters who are nicely played by the cast. The murky design work is still stuck in a rut, and the plot never quite springs to life, but it's still entertaining.

With Superman (Cavill) dead, or at least mostly so, the world is spiralling into grief, opening the door for the evil deity Steppenwolf (voiced by Hinds) to enact his nefarious plan to finally destroy humanity for good. Batman (Affleck) and his butler Alfred (Irons) wearily decide to do something about this, assembling a league of people with extra abilities, starting with the enigmatic Wonder Woman (Gadot). They then go after Flash (Miller), Aquaman (Momoa) and Cyborg (Fisher), but even combined they struggle to contain Steppenwolf. Is it too much to hope for Superman's return?

The plot never quite bothers to make sense of pretty much anything that happens. Steppenwolf's destructive quest is apparently to make earth more like his hellish post-apocalyptic homeworld (huh?). And the script really milks Superman's absence and painfully obvious return to the team. But along the way there are terrific character moments, including nice scenes with side figures like Lois Lane (Adams), Martha Kent (Lane) and Hippolyta (Nielsen).

Affleck has terrific presence as the shattered, sarcastic vigilante, who admits that his only superpower is that he's rich. Cavill is more settled into his role than before, and feels nicely natural in it. And Gadot continues to be sharp, tough and thoroughly engaging. Meanwhile, the film is stolen by the giddy, gung-ho Miller and the rebellious rock star Momoa, both of whom bring witty personality touches into the gang, superbly undercutting the earnestness. Even Fisher, in a less fleshed-out role, as it were, is likeable and human.

It's terrific to see these raw, earthy angles in the DC universe, which has always felt far too serious. So even if the look of the movie is loaded with cliches, the edgy character detail saves the day. And even though the film is still almost ludicrously obsessed with violence, there's enough going on between these people to keep us cheering them on. It also leaves us impatient for the Flash and Aquaman movies that are already in the works. And even some more from the Man of Steel.

cert 12 themes, language, violence 17.Nov.17

Zack Snyder’s Justice League   aka: The Snyder Cut

Review by Rich Cline | 3.5/5

Zack Snyder's Justice League dir Zack Snyder
scr Chris Terrio
prd Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder
with Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Joe Morton, Ciaran Hinds, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, Jesse Eisenberg
release US/UK 18.Mar.21
21/US Warners 4h02

cavill momoa miller

See also:

Is it streaming?

affleck, gadot and snyder
Four years after compromising his epic, Warners has allowed Zack Snyder to recut it to tell the full story. At more than double the original running time, it's presented in a square ratio so it can live on through Imax screenings. It's still relentlessly murky and violent, effects-heavy and overpoweringly indulgent, but the beefed-up scale adds badly needed context to the plot. So it's more entertaining now. And even with its collision of clashing endings, it leaves us wanting more.
With the world feeling hopeless and bereft, Batman (Affleck) is recruiting people with super-powers for a team of heroes, while the hyper-villainous Steppenwolf (voiced by Hinds) seeks three zappy cubes that will consolidate his world-destroying force at the bidding of some even nastier masters. Aquaman (Momoa) is initially reluctant to join the League, while Wonder Woman (Gadot) helps recruit both super-speedy Flash (Miller) and machine-enhanced Cyborg (Fisher). And then there's Superman (Cavill), who's only mostly dead.
Confession: I don't know the Whedon cut well enough to spot all of Snyder's jiggery-pokery here, but watching this new version, which is broken into six chapters and a multi-part epilogue, feels like binging on a mega-budget but oddly gloomy TV series. In the globe-hopping first half, the tone is elegiac, while the lamenting power ballads, gratuitous slow motion and desaturated colours continue right the way through. Excessive action violence begins creeping in soon enough, with a rather randomly ordered series of side stories and explanatory flashbacks accompanying the escalating threat to the planet.

The film's main flaw is still its under-developed, over-animated villains, although a Lord of the Rings-scale backstory helps explain the massive plot to control the multiverse. Or something. And the extra time lets Snyder add details to the main characters, deepening their motivations. Fisher's Cyborg benefits the most in this sense, while Momoa's and especially Miller's scene-stealing skills are even more enjoyable. But it takes even longer to get Superman back, and the charismatic Cavill is a welcome addition to the team, even if his suit has lost its hue.

Snyder also reinstates several deleted characters, offering a parade of enjoyable cameos. But the bombastic, over-serious tone still feels rather ludicrous, broken by only occasional moments of real-life banter or emotion. At this length, the narrative itself becomes enormous and surprisingly gripping, encompassing extended plot threads that spiral out from each of these characters. All of this, as well as quite a few nods to the original comics, won't make much difference to casual viewers, but fans will adore it.

cert 15 themes, language, violence 22.Mar.21

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
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© 2017/2021 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall