The good news is that Justice League gets a lot of things right that Batman vs Superman didn’t. It’s got a lot of humor, you can see most of the action sequences and understand who’s fighting who and a lot of the movie is just plain fun. But that’ mostly because of the actors.
Unfortunately, though, a lot of it is just forgettable. And that has mostly to do with the terrible story.
After the death of Superman, a villain named Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) comes to earth to retrieve three magical boxes which will enable him to destroy all human life on the planet. The boxes are hidden in three separate parts of the world: Wonder Woman’s Amazon, Aquaman’s Atlantis and Russia.
He steals the first box from the Amazonian’s, they then put up a warning signal, which Wonder Woman (Gal Godot) retrieves. This forces Batman (Ben Affleck) to finally put a team of heroes together. He recruits the eager Barry Allen/The Flash (Ezra Miller) and not so eager Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa), while our favorite Amazonian attempts to recruit a reluctant Victor Stone/Cyborg (Ray Fisher). But after Steppenwolf retrieves the second box from Atlantis and kidnaps Cyborgs father, the team is finally in place.
Desperate times call for desperate measures, so they put their resources together in an attempt to resurrect a certain super man and, it’s no secret, that they do. There’s a bit of dark Superman (Henry Cavill), and it’s great to watch him battle the league, albeit shortly. But, because they need to get on with the lame story, he snaps out of it pretty quickly.
Then we have battles, confrontations and the saving of the world ensues.
While Steppenwolf may have been a great villain in the comics, he’s as generic as you can get on film. He’s played by real life human Hinds but he’s pure CGI on screen. And that’s a problem because he doesn’t look lifelike at all. He’s got dead eyes and cartoon-like facial expressions and bad lip movement. And why does he even want to destroy the world?
The story might remind you of Marvel’s Infinity Stone story that they’ve threaded successfully throughout most of their movies. Marvel has taken so many films to weave this plot point while DC has jumped ahead by about 20 movies.
There are some good things though. It is fun to watch these iconic characters finally interact with each other, especially Miller as The Flash. He’s by far the best of the bunch and provides a ton of comic relief. Momoa is a gruff Aquaman and not what one would expect, specially growing up with the comics. Yet, he’s a good addition to the team. As is Fisher, who seems to have taken over the brooding from Batman.
Affleck is still a good Batman/Bruce Wayne. He wears the burden of responsibility well and he can kick some major ass. The opening scene of the film where he’s stalking a criminal is probably one of the best action sequences of the whole movie. After coming back from the dead, Superman seems to have been finally given a personality. He smiles, cracks a few jokes and isn’t the loner he was in previous films. And Gado picks up where she left off in the summer’s Wonder Woman.
It’s a shame that they went with such a bland story but for what it is, it’s a marked improvement.