Movie review: A strong cast elevates “Justice League”

by Will Carsh | Movie Critic

“Justice League” begins with a world still mourning the death of Superman (Henry Cavill) when mysterious, winged creatures begin appearing all over Gotham in search of something. Batman (Ben Affleck) recognizes these creatures to be the start of an invasion and quickly starts assembling a team with Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). This team includes the faster-than-lightning Flash (Ezra Miller), the grouchy king of Atlantis Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and the mechanically-powered Cyborg (Ray Fisher). Together, they stand as humanity’s last hope against total destruction.

The plot is as straightforward as can be for a comic book film, a disappointment for those expecting a multi-layered story. What makes the movie work is the strength of its cast. There isn’t a single actor or actress out of place in the whole picture, and their chemistry together is fantastic, invoking the best moments from the source material. It isn’t enough to make the movie excel, per say, and with half of the film’s core cast being introduced rather quickly, it’s easy to feel like they’re more likeable than engaging. However, the cast is enough to keep the movie entertaining even when the story proves hollow.

Visually, Zack Snyder has always proved a divisive director, and this film’s style will likely be received similarly. To his credit, however, Snyder gives his actors more breathing room than he has in the past, allowing for the movie to flow with actual scenes rather than being stiffly choreographed. The special effects are also, for the most part, the basis for some very strong action sequences. A notable weakness comes in the form of the film’s bland villain, Steppenwolf, who is made even worse through some unfortunate CGI. Still, the effects are dazzling more often than not, giving the film a distinct look and making the action sequences fun to watch.

There isn’t necessarily one outstanding flaw to the film, like the “Martha” scene in “Batman v. Superman.” Rather, the film suffers from simply not being as funny, stylish, clever or exciting as many of its contemporaries. Its silly in a comic book sort of way, the kind of film that makes for the best kind of low-stakes entertainment, but is also not going to be a film for everyone. Many viewers will leave feeling underwhelmed when the credits roll. Still, for those that have enjoyed past DC outings, or for those in the mood for an entertaining comic book film of the non-Marvel variety, “Justice League” is miles above “Suicide Squad” and should leave fans of the source material pleased.

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