A horny new god named Steppenwolf has returned from exile and plots to take over the world. Unfortunately for the citizens of Earth, after the events of Batman versus Superman, the Man of Steel is no longer around to save us from peril. In his absence, the responsibility of guarding Earth from invasion falls to DC’s Caped Crusader. His only super power is wealth though, so Bruce Wayne will have to recruit beefier allies to help him fend off the impending alien threat. The group that answers the call are known as the Justice League. For all intents and purposes they are Warner Bros’ version of the Avengers (only not as cool.)
After the convoluted plot of Batman v Superman, Justice League elects to keep things simple. The narrative is a straightforward tale of heroes banding together to stop the villain from collecting three MacGuffins. Steppenwolf is no Lex Luthor, so audiences are spared from schemes that pit protagonists against each other and tricks that dupe rivals into drinking pee. The antagonist of this tale is a generic evil conqueror who looks mean, akin to Thor’s enemy Malekith the Accursed. Justice League might fail to mimic the box office success of Marvel’s motion pictures, but its script does at least replicate the competition’s two-dimensional baddies.
Debutants Aquaman, Cyborg and Flash join Batman and Wonder Woman, who have previously been established in other films. Aquaman reminds me of Drax the Destroyer (Guardians of the Galaxy). They both look tough, but don’t do much other than make silly remarks and get smacked about by the opposition. Cyborg is the half man, half machine token black guy. His sole purpose in the movie is to hack Steppenwolf’s gizmos. To be fair, overriding extra-terrestrial tech with mechanical appendages is more plausible than Jeff Goldblum uploading a virus. Flash is the unfunny comic relief. His displays of speed lack the creativity found in the X-Men scenes that feature Quicksilver.
My rating for Justice League is a three out of five. An average superhero flick that fails to match the standards set by Marvel Studios. Thank goodness that I didn’t pay to watch this at the cinema. It’s mediocre and the CG effects lack polish. For fans of spandex crime fighters, I would however say that the DVD is worth a rental, as the action is decent. I also appreciate how Justice League is less serious than its predecessors. The biggest beneficiary of the lighter tone is Superman, who returns near the end. He makes some quips and is finally presented as a beacon of hope. What a relief. In prior movies it was weird to see how the last son of Krypton was grouchier than Batman.
Now that Superman is back (not a spoiler given that he is on the box art) I wonder how he will be handled in future sequels. The biggest issue with Superman is that he is too darn strong. In this movie, for example, the entire Justice League is powerless against Steppenwolf. Superman on the other hand can pwn him without breaking a sweat. Perhaps they can reduce Superman’s strength by cutting his hair. That worked against Samson. First up they can start by shaving his facial hair. It amazes me that digital effects had to be used to hide Henry Cavill’s moustache. How dare you refuse to shave for a role? Who do you think you are? Only Cesar Romero’s Joker can get away with that.