After years of development and a change of director in post-production, the Justice League finally graces the silver screen. The film is not without fault, but the good outweighs the bad by a mile. Reactions will be predicated by the type of audience. Fans of the genre can breathe a huge sigh of relief. Justice League is entertaining and humorous with great character interactions. There is an overreliance on CGI which fuels the somewhat thin plot. The cartoon villain is the primary victim of this crutch. That said, the bones of the story, the Justice League characters, are well cast. They form a solid foundation for future greatness. Their first adventure is a decent start. It's far superior to the dreadful Batman V Superman, but not nearly as nuanced and well-written as Wonder Woman.

The world is in despair over the death of Superman (Henry Cavill). Batman (Ben Affleck) has been charting mysterious appearances by ghastly creatures, parademons. He believes they are somehow linked to historical drawings of three mystical cubes. Harbingers of the apocalypse. An attack on Themyscira confirms his worst fears. With Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) at his side, they recruit three meta humans to defend the Earth. Barry Allen (Ezra Miller) is an awkward young man searching for meaning. Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) has shunned his birthright, but can no longer run from sacred duty. Victor Stone (Ray Fisher) was a star athlete transformed by his father's experiment. Together they are formidable, but even their amazing abilities may not be enough to win this war.

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Ben Affleck owns this film utterly as Batman. He is the embodiment of Frank Miller's Dark Knight. Affleck is the older, wiser, even more bad-assed Bruce Wayne. Flash, played superbly by Ezra Miller as the comic relief, is star struck throughout. Aquaman is stupefied the guy has no powers and dresses up like a bat. Wonder Woman doesn't always agree with his style of leadership, but begrudgingly knows he is the right man for the job. Cyborg is pivotal to their plans, turning what he thinks is a curse to a tremendous attribute.

Justice League is a lean film. It comes in at a minute under two hours. Zack Snyder left the film due to the tragic suicide of his daughter. He had been Warner Bros. point man, directing Man of Steel and Batman V Superman. Joss Whedon was brought in to edit the film and do reshoots. He does a remarkable job. Most films taken over by a second director are disasters. Whedon removes the dramatic elements and concentrates on the hero aspect of the story. He throws the characters in headfirst, without conjecture or build up. The result is a breezy pace with nonstop action. Don't get me wrong, there are multiple scenes that need more dramatic exposition. But Whedon, weighing a finished product, went for the cheers instead of tears. Whedon directed The Avengers. He knows the entire franchise is endangered by a weak first film. This sensibility has resulted in a Justice League experience most fans will enjoy.

There are going to be quibblers who pick this film apart. I heard the snickers from the English period costume drama critics. Forget the haters. Yes, the villain is lame and looks like a video game. Sure, there are parts that come off as goofy and nonsensical. After having my hopes and dreams crushed by Batman V Superman, I view this film with a grain of salt and give props where they are due. The Justice League does not suck. There's a bright future for these characters. Warner Bros. may catch up to the quality of Marvel yet. I love these characters and am giving them a chance to succeed. Stay after the credits, there are two scenes that set up a whopper of a sequel...if Warner Bros. can stay on course.

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Julian Roman at Movieweb
Julian Roman