How else to explain the apathy in the air surrounding Justice League, director Zack Snyder’s superhero bonanza featuring fledgling team leaders Batman and Wonder Woman and their snazzy new evil-busting recruits Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg?
It seems even the die-hards are waiting to test the waters with this one. Smart move. Justice League, though not nearly as appalling as Batman v Superman — and that bar was set low — offers negligible thrills and some screamingly ridiculous plot twists (even by comic book standards) amid the smothering gloom of Gotham.
On the plus side, it manages a certain narrative coherence by offering scant narrative. Sure, there’s a sort-of plot: our newly united heroes must save the planet from supervillain Steppenwolf and his thug brigade of Parademons who are trying to track down three disparate Mother Boxes to unleash supreme evil and rule the world and… oh, I dunno... do some kind of scorched-Earth, bad guy shit while innocents get slaughtered. You know the drill.
But that’s just academic. Justice League is all about heroine du jour Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) leaping and bobbing, aw-shucks kiddo The Flash (Ezra Miller) quipping snappy and possibly Marvel-inspired one-liners while the increasingly tedious Batman (a narcoleptic and monotone Ben Affleck) mutters frowny-faced platitudes, mostly from the side lines where he can better ponder his sad-sack billionaire life. (Dude, therapy is cheap… vodka even cheaper).
The biggest sin a movie like this can commit is being boring. And bottom line: Justice League is seriously ho-hum. Worse, there isn’t a shred of chemistry between the leads. It’s hard to believe these five could manage a pleasant lunch. But risk life and limb defending each other? Not a chance.
Even Superman, glorious, beloved Superman, seems bummed and bewildered. You’d think resurrection and vindication (not to mention the very foxy Lois Lane, as played by Amy Adams) would be a mood-lifter. But nope. Henry Cavill coolly models his six-pack, which — make no mistake — is just fine but not likely what the bros were queuing up for when they scooped their tickets. (Not that we judge).
Everything here, including the fight scenes, feels tiresome and predictable. While the stylistic shifts that might have been evident given the mid-filming change of directors are not in evidence (Snyder left the project midway following the death of his daughter and was replaced by Avengers filmmaker Joss Whedon, who reportedly oversaw extensive reshoots) there isn’t anything persuasive to recommend it. And long-suffering fans deserve better than meh.
Justice League. Directed by Zack Snyder. Starring Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, and Amy Adams. Opens wide November 17.