Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Justice League (2017)

Having several superheroes in the same movie can be problematic for several reasons.  First off, you have to write a story for all of them rather than a story for each of them.  Try to showcase them individually, and the story suffers.  The second problem tends to show up in superhero movies.  You might have a movie that might rely on several other movies for backstory.  One of the things keeping me from seeing some of the Marvel movies is that you have to have seen maybe 5 or  6 other movies, and not all of those movies are going to be available streaming.

Justice League calls upon at least three prior movies:  Man of Steel, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Wonder Woman.  I had seen Man of Steel and Wonder Woman, but not Batman v Superman.  I went into Justice League knowing this might be a problem, and it was, but not as much as I would have expected.

The movie starts with a threat by the name of Steppenwolf.  He had attacked Earth thousands of years ago, but was defeated through the efforts of several groups, including The Green Lantern Corps and the Atlanteans.  His power source is split up and hidden, but he’s back now and it will take another combined effort to defeat him.

Diana (Wonder Woman) and Bruce Wayne (Batman) team up to recruit other superheroes.  Wayne is able to make contact with Arthur Curry (Aquaman) and Barry Allen (The Flash).  Meanwhile, Diana tries to make contact with Victor Stone (Cyborg).  The Flash is eager to join the team whereas Aquaman and Cyborg need some convincing.  Those that have seen the movie poster may wonder what Superman’s logo is doing there.  Yes, he does play a part in the Justice League.  (And yes, this is where my confusion came from.)

Part of the problem with a movie like this is finding balance.  We’ve already seen the origin story for several of the superheroes with several more standalone movies coming over the next several years.  While I knew I missed out on some of that, it also sort of feels like I missed out on the origin stories for The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg.  (Speaking of which, I didn’t get the impression that this movie shared continuity with the Flash TV series.)

It also seemed to have a good balance of action to story.  It’s tempting to focus on uniting the main characters and save the action for the last 20-30 minutes.  Here, we get a few scenes of Steppenwolf trying to get what he wants scattered throughout the movie.

The plot was fairly even and entertaining.  The only thing I took issue with was a key item being left unattended when several of the heroes were nearby.  Yes, they knew the importance.  You’d think someone would have kept an eye on it.  Those not familiar with the comics may be lost, especially if you haven’t seen the previous movies.  There are a few throwaway jokes that play to familiarity with the characters, such as Barry Allen needing to eat a lot.

Being a superhero movie, you know there’s a good chance the bad guy will be sent packing.  The movie even ends with the heroes talking of setting up a building with a desk to accommodate several more heroes.  And yes, you do get a post-credits scene hinting at a possible future storyline.  Although IMDb doesn’t have a year next to the second part’s listing,  I’d say that there’s a pretty good chance we’ll be seeing a coming attraction for DCEU movie in the near future.

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