How I Learned to Ditch the Criterion Collection and Love Zaddy.
by Elmer Ponce-Castro
At a runtime just short under two hours, Justice League moves in a flash. The film sets up its narrative, character dynamics, the conflict and its world fairly well. It’s actually impressive how much depth each main player ended up having. Whether it’s a scene of Flash and Cyborg realizing how they’re both “accidents” or Bruce and Diana confronting one another over past decisions, the film really packs some juicy bits for the audience to sink their teeth into.
For this outing, Zack Snyder toned down what in my opinion made Man of Steel and Batman V. Superman so special; which was the immensely rich arcs the characters went through and the way he explored his themes. While the film does have a strong theme of hope peppered throughout, Justice League instead concentrates more on being a fun, stirring adventure for the fans and the general masses.
Each character has a moment to shine, especially when it comes to the action sequences. The action is some of the best Snyder has pulled off on screen and aside from some questionable VFX, the film is one of the most visually striking of the year.
While Justice League is yet another “we have to save the world from a apocalyptic event” type of superhero blockbuster, it actually doesn’t feel that way at all. Don’t get me wrong, the stakes are definitely present but I never felt that this was the endgame for these characters or the world. Personally, I feel this is a great thing because now the sequel can raise its stakes without having to overexaggerate. I understand how this could potentially be a turn off for some people that were hoping cities would get lifted from the ground, but I personally did not mind this at all.
Visually, this is a Snyder film and there’s no doubt about it. However, the shift in tones is what’ll get you to question how much of the film is Snyder and how much is Jose Whedon. Justice League, from the get go, is very different in tone from Man of Steel, Batman V. Superman and maybe even Suicide Squad. My one big issue is that it feels a little bit too dissimilar. I personally wish there was more of a balance of the previously established tone set that the DCEU has unfortunately been criticized for to this new one they aimed for. Also, there are one or two scenes could of been taken out entirely to add on/flesh out some scenes that could of really benefited from a stronger emotional punch.
In case you were wondering: Steppenwolf, the film’s antagonist, is just there to move the plot forward; much like your average MCU villains. If you were hoping to get a layered character like Zod or Lex with Steppenwolf, you will not get it from him here.
To wrap this up, was Justice League the film I was hoping from Zack Snyder, especially considering how much I adore his first two cracks at the DC Universe? No, it wasn’t.
But is the film one that kept a smile on my face from beginning to end and fueled me with joy? Why yes, yes it was, and I’m confident it’ll do the same for you too.