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Justice League Review-(Mostly) Spoiler Free

Promotional+image+courtesy+of+Warner+Brothers.
Promotional image courtesy of Warner Brothers.

Promotional image courtesy of Warner Brothers.

Promotional image courtesy of Warner Brothers.

Becca Turnis, Web Editor

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2017 has been a great year for superhero films with “Logan,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2”, “Wonder Woman,” “Spiderman: Homecoming,” and “Thor: Ragnarok.” Now in mid-November, it’s time for the cherry on top, DC Comics’ “Justice League.”

“Justice League” has opened to mixed reviews from critics but adoration from DC fans, reminding me of another DC film directed by Zack Snyder. (You can read our review of that movie here.)

Here is where I start talking about the specifics of the movie. I’ll try to keep it spoiler free. Much like my BvS review, I’m going to go pros and cons. Let’s start with the relationships in the film. A fundamental dynamic in the movie is the connection between Bruce Wayne (Batman) and Diana Prince (Wonder Woman). They work perfectly together in this film with their relationship shown as friendship and admiration, possibly blossoming into something more.

The romantic subtext is subtle and reminiscent of the character’s relationship in the “Justice League” cartoon of the early 2000’s. Bruce and Diana genuinely respect one another, and in the one time that the respect lapses and Bruce says something out of line, Cyborg calls him out, and Bruce apologizes a couple of scenes later.

Another critical couple is Clark Kent (Superman) and Lois Lane. The dynamics of this relationship are proudly on display long before Clark is resurrected. Early in the film, we see Lois mourning the loss of Clark and sharing a thoughtful scene with Clark’s adoptive mother, Martha.

Sadly, two crucial relationships are almost entirely cut from the movie. Actress Kiersey Clemons shot scenes as Iris West, who DC fans know as Barry Allen’s girlfriend or wife, depending on the continuity. Unfortunately, her scenes were cut entirely.

Mera of Atlantis, known as Aquaman’s romantic interest was very limited, and her character isn’t named. If you didn’t know better, you would just think she’s a random Atlantean.

Now let’s move on to the big bad of this movie, an alien named Steppenwolf, who comes to earth looking for three ‘Mother Boxes,’ sources of almost infinite power, hidden away on earth long ago after Steppenwolf’s first attempt to use them thousands of years ago. I have a few issues here.

We’ve seen this type of villain before in the DCEU. We have a big guy with horns, bent on either the destruction or conquest of earth. Am I talking about Steppenwolf, Ares, or Enchantress’ unnamed brother? They’re all the same.

I will say, I liked how the villain plot tied in Cyborg. Usually, when Cyborg is included with the league instead of the Teen Titans, he’s treated as less because he’s younger. In this film, he’s integral to the league’s success. I won’t go into details to keep this review spoiler free, but basically, without Cyborg everybody would’ve died and we would have no movie.

(This paragraph contains a “Wonder Woman” spoiler.)

I appreciated the interactions between the members of the league. The mentor relationship Bruce had with Barry, was like the relationship between Iron Man and Spiderman in “Spiderman: Homecoming.” Jason Momoa was brilliant as Aquaman, transforming him into a valued member of the group instead of the underrated character that no one cared about before. Diana was a treat as always, trying to be the voice of reason, and taking on the leadership role with Bruce. The boys respect her authority. I also appreciated the film showing that even a century later, Diana is still struggling with the loss of Steve Trevor. Bruce’s butler and confidant, Alfred, played a more significant role in this film than he did in BvS, bringing with him the sass and one-liners of his comic and cartoon counterparts. While not members of the league, the early scenes with the Amazons were excellent and showed that even though Hippolyta exiled her daughter, she still deeply cares about her.

This paragraph has MASSIVE SPOILERS.

My last positive note is the setups. Early in the film, during the flashback fight during Steppenwolf’s first invasion, we see a Green Lantern fight alongside the Amazons, Atlanteans, and Man. When he falls, we see his ring fly off, presumably to find a new host. While this scene is too early in history to point to Hal Jordan or any other modern lanterns, it confirms that we will eventually see a Green Lantern from earth. The second setup is in the end credit scene that many people missed the scene involves Lex Luthor recruiting infamous DC villain, Deathstroke. (Fans who watched the Teen Titans cartoon will know him as Slade.) Lex wants to form a league of his own to combat the heroes, possibly setting up a version of the Injustice League or Legion of Doom. Very Exciting.

To wrap up, I’m going to go in the style of “The A.V. Club” and list some stray observations, thoughts that don’t fit into my neat little categories.

  • For most of the resurrection scene, Superman is shirtless. You can take that as good or bad.
  • Near the very end of the film, Cyborg utters his famous catchphrase from the “Teen Titans” cartoon, “Booyah.” The entire theater erupted in applause.
  • Danny Elfman’s score was alright, but I wish he would’ve used more of Hans Zimmer and Junkie XL’s music from Man of Steel and BvS. I don’t think he should have used John William’s Superman theme, and I don’t think he should have recycled the theme he wrote for Michael Keaton’s 1989 Batman. A big part of interconnecting franchises in the musical motifs and I think Elfman wrecked it.
  • When Zack Snyder had to leave due to personal tragedy, Joss Whedon replaced him and ordered vast reshoots. The reshoots extended the production schedule forcing Henry Cavill (Clark/Superman) to switch back and forth between shooting “Justice League” and “Mission Impossible: 6.” For MI:6 Cavill is contractually obligated to have a mustache. He couldn’t shave to be Superman, so they had to CGI it out. If Clark’s face looks weird at any point, that’s why. I blame Whedon.
  • I counted at least seven times where Diana and other Amazons were needlessly sexualized. This included wearing more revealing armor than in “Wonder Woman,” camera angles that went up skirts and lingered on backsides, and other objectionable content.  Again, I blame Whedon (This type of sexualization is also present in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” which Whedon also directed.)
  • This might not be anyone’s fault specifically, but the 3D is not worth it. I watched the standard version and 3D back to back. It was barely noticeable. The only part that was made better by 3D was the “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” trailer

Overall Justice league was a great film for DC fans. It follows “Batman vs. Superman” and “Wonder Woman” well, and it sets up future DC films nicely.

A more complete review with major spoilers will be posted Monday, Nov. 19, after opening weekend is finished.

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Justice League Review-(Mostly) Spoiler Free