It’s increasingly hard to rate or rank superhero movies when there’s a new one, or two, or three bursting onto the scene seemingly every week. And let’s be honest, the reviews don’t matter. You probably fall into one of three camps: those who see them all, like right away; those who see most of them, eventually; and those who couldn’t care less. For those in the latter category, move on. There are plenty of awesome alternatives hitting the box office right now. For those who do care, or are simply curious, here’s my take on the much-anticipated, long-delayed, rumor-plagued Justice League: It’s pretty good. Not as good as Wonder Woman and not as much fun as Thor: Ragnarok, but it does its primary job: establishing the foundation for DC Comics’ cinematic version of Marvel’s Avengers, i.e. superheroes who are sometimes called upon to ‘assemble’ to save the world.
Justice League picks up where the oft-maligned (but not terrible) Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice left off. Superman is dead, and the world has lost a cherished symbol of hope. Even Batman is bummed. Then, an evil alien dude shows up in search of three ‘mother boxes’ of life-force energy scattered across the universe that together will allow him to destroy the world… or something like that. Batman/Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) is forced to snap out of his funk (as much as the brooding loner Batman can) and recruit a team of superheroes to take down the bad guy Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) and his flying army of creatures who feed on fear.
The first half of Justice League is a whole lot of exposition and character introductions that had me fearing a two-hour-long hot mess; fortunately, the movie finds its footing once Batman has his kick-ass team of crime-fighters primed for action. They include: The Flash/Barry Allen (Ezra Miller), a spastic, superfast college kid who is studying criminal justice in the hope of someday getting his father out of prison; Cyborg/Victor Stone (Ray Fisher), a former college athlete whose scientist father saved his life after a horrific accident but had to rely on alien machine parts to do it; Aquaman/Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa), a half-human, half-Atlantean who carries a giant pitchfork and is good with water; and Amazon princess Wonder Woman/Diana Prince (Gal Gadot), the born leader of the bunch, if she can reclaim her mojo after losing the love of her life Steve Trevor a few decades earlier. Go team!
Oh, yeah. There’s a reason Superman/Clark Kent (Henry Cavill) shows up on the movie posters, in the trailer, and in the credits. Spoiler alert: He’s in the movie. I’m not going to get into the how or the why or the WTF. But rest assured, it’s a good thing. The world needs Superman, or at least a wry smile from a shirtless Henry Cavill who is finally given a chance to show his lighter side.
And of course, what is a superhero movie these days without a little something extra for those willing to stick around for the duration of the insanely long credits? Justice League includes a bonus scene in the middle of the credits, and a teaser of things to come at the very end. Needless to say, there are many, many more superhero movies on the horizon. Hopefully someday they’ll include an Avengers/Justice League crossover. Comic purists may have a kanipshin, but come on, are we really supposed to believe that these powerful purveyors of justice wouldn’t cross paths when the fate of the world is at stake? We shall see. In the meantime, I’ll just be grateful this Thanksgiving that Justice League wasn’t another Suicide Squad.