The Justice League, the most recent film in the DC Extended Universe, brings together some of the most revered superheroes in comic book history. With the iconic characters of Batman/Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman/Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), Superman/Clark Kent (Henry Cavill), Aquaman/Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa), The Flash/Barry Allen (Ezra Miller), and Cyborg/Victor Stone (Ray Fisher), the epic is obviously met with high expectations.
The film picks up where Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice leaves off. Directed by Zack Snyder, Justice League is stylistically different than the previous DC hero films in both look and tone. Justice League borrows many style elements from The Watchmen (also directed by Snyder), with colorful explosions and weapons juxtaposed with a bleak background of Gotham City and Metropolis. The battle scenes are great, with virtually nonstop action once the plot gets moving. The cinematography at times feels more like a multiplayer video game than a movie, but this is also something that is part of Snyder’s M.O.
The standout hero of the film was Aquaman/Arthur Curry, who was played perfectly by Jason Mamoa. Aquaman has long been the subject of ridicule in the comic world, but Mamoa brings his intimidating presence to the role that made him famous in Game of Thrones as Dothraki leader Khal Drogo. His imposing physique, his introduction in the film, and his entertaining interactions with the other members of the team made him the most interesting newcomer to the DCEU.
Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen/The Flash character was also a welcome addition to the universe. As a wide-eyed fanboy turned teammate of the other heroes, he brings an air of comic relief to the group of otherwise brooding characters. Although the character falls a little short of the wise-cracking charm of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Homecoming that he seems to emulate, Miller does bring some much needed youthful exuberance to the team.
The villain, Steppenwolf, is a stock villain that is setting up a larger “big boss” in later movies (probably Darkseid). His character is not well developed, and there really is not enough backstory to make the viewer hate him that much, nor to think he has any chance of any sort of victory, small or large.
Comic book fans will not be disappointed, as there are some easter eggs throughout the film. There are nods to the Green Lantern, Darkseid, and Lex Luthor, as well as the customary post-post credits scene introducing another fan favorite.
All in all, the film is very entertaining. That being said, I don’t think the DCEU has been able to come up with anything that comes close to the top Marvel Cinematic Universe movies that have come out in the last 20 years. For the franchise to be successful, the DCEU needs to take some cues from Marvel about making the villains more dynamic, the tone more fun (not necessarily in a comedic way), and the chemistry between the characters more palpable. They definitely have the cast and director to really change the dynamic between the two universes. Overall, the movie is definitely worth seeing for the action alone, and I would recommend it.