The Clarion

‘Justice League’ falls short

Matt Withers, Arts Editor

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Walking in the theater to “Justice League,” I was incredibly excited, but I was prepared to be disappointed. I’ve been a life-long fan of “DC Comics.” I’ve been reading them for as long as I can remember, and I was psyched to see my favorite heroes come together for the first time on the big screen, which leaves me heartbroken to say that “Justice League” falls flat on almost every front.

The film opens up with Batman, played by Ben Affleck chasing a thug on the rooftops of Gotham, using the criminal’s fear to lure the main enemies, the Parademons, to him.

Once defeated the Parademon explodes and then Batman has a brief conversation about the death of Superman…with the criminal he just beat up. Batman exits dramatically, and leaves the thief to keep stealing things, since he never tied him up or called the police.

This sets the tone for the rest of the film, it’s not confusing, but things don’t make sense. Some scenes just end abruptly, and it feels like this whole film was made to have cool shots for the trailer. For example, there is one scene where the League is trapped in a flooding building, and Cyborg, played by Ray Fisher, just flies away stranding the rest of the team. After a quip made by The Flash, portrayed by Ezra Miller, the scene just ends, and in the next cut they are somewhere completely different with no explanation. How did they get out? If they got out no problem, why were they worried just seconds before? This is how every other scene plays out for the rest of the film.

The characters themselves were frustrating to me as a fan of comics, as well as a fan of competent stories.

Cyborg has an interesting plot, he was in an explosion and his father used alien technology to save his life, turning in to a cyborg and making him feel like he’s not really a man. Unfortunately, this plot shown as his being moody the entire film until Wonder Woman, brought to life by Gal Gadot, gives him enough pep talks about accepting who he is.

Wonder Woman is just as cool as she was in her previous film, but “Justice League” retracts her character growth from her last outing. At the end of “Wonder Woman,” Diana remembers her time and romance with Steve Trevor fondly, but the death of the man she loves doesn’t define her, her own heroics do.

In “Justice League” Diana never got over Steve’s death and mentions him constantly. On top of that director Zack Snyder takes every opportunity he can to show off Gal Gadot’s body to the point where its distracting. Why is the camera focused on Gadot’s crotch when she enters the Batcave? Why does the camera keep finding ways to get shots under her skirt? It’s especially infuriating right after “Wonder Woman” showed audiences that you don’t have to constantly objectify her to have a great film.

The Flash’s portrayal hits an especially sore spot for me, since he is my favorite member of the League and my favorite superhero of all time. The Flash in this film is not the Barry Allen who is a genius forensic scientist, obsessed with clearing his fathers’ name and helping every innocent person he can with his speed. In “Justice League” Barry Allen is just Sheldon from the “Big Bang Theory.” He’s socially awkward and the film treats him like the village idiot, always needing to be told what to do, and most of the time messing it up. There’s nothing wrong with being the comedic relief, but the comedic relief still has to be a likable and believable character. I might have forgiven the film a bit, but it’s hard to when they constantly make excuses for The Flash not to go fast.

Auqaman, brought to the screen by Jason Momoa, finally gets his due and is a cool character, but like everyone else introduced in “Justice League” his story is confusing and cut short before we’re actually allowed to connect with him. I have hope that his solo movie will be a fun adventure and Momoa is extremely likable.

Batman is one of the few characters in this film actually allowed to be similar to how he is to the comics and for the most part Affleck delivers a strong performance. The problem with Batman is that in the context of “Justice League” he is largely ineffectual.

There is one scene that had me burst out laughing in my seat. Every member of the League quickly chases a character that they need to capture, except for Batman. He doesn’t show up for 5 minutes into the fight because all of his super powered friends left him behind and he had to run about a mile to get to the action. The scene wasn’t meant to be funny, but it proves the point that Batman really didn’t do anything in the film. None of the other members of the League even thought to grab him.

The plot in “Justice League” is hardly there. The main antagonist Steppenwolf might as well be a piece of paper with an angry face drawn on it. There is never any tension, yes, the world might be destroyed but there was never a moment where I actually thought the heroes were in danger.

“Justice League” is a mess. The villain is absolutely nothing, just a big target for the heroes to punch a bunch of times. The heroes have potential to be really cool but they are all weighed down by the script and the direction of Zack Snyder.

If there is any bright side to the movie is that it ends on a hopeful note with the characters in the places they should have been to begin with. If you’re looking to see a movie this weekend, see what else is playing because “Justice League” does not do justice to the legacy of DC.

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‘Justice League’ falls short