Warner Bros & DC Comics superhero conglomerate ‘Justice League‘ is unlike anything you have seen before, not even in ‘Man of Steel’, ‘Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice‘ or ‘Wonder Woman’ – the films which knowingly or unknowingly set the stage for what the DCEU has been looking forward to since the dawn of Marvel’s ‘The Avengers‘.
It’s unfair though to compare the two Universes: for one, because DC’s Extended Universe is often a darker and grimmer more privileged plane of existence where our superheroes’ powers are considered a gift more than a curse, and the locations are more fictional rather than real.
But therein lies the blurred lines: because DC is so late to the amalgamated party, it’s increasingly finding that it has to tap into the Marvel formula of relate-ability and humor in order to appeal to the modern fan. It’s a world where Cyborg is uncomfortable with his newfound ‘gift’ and Wonder Woman is more of this realm than the next.
The immediacy with which we’re flung into an action sequence in ‘Justice League‘ is a hint at how fast paced the entire film is. We all love to watch Wonder Woman kick ass so effortlessly, stand up for the helpless and deliver witty yet seemingly unassuming phrases, and then at the end of the day act like she had a pretty much usual day. It’s already evident how the use of interlaced slow- and fast-motion is pretty much genius. It’s a special effects formula that’s applied pretty much throughout the entire film and helps keep things in the perspective of our mortal eyes.
Following the cataclysmic events (I really won’t spoil anything) of ‘Dawn of Justice‘, the world faces the more imminent threat of having to fend for itself, and Diana Prince (played by Gal Gadot) has to heed the call of her long time friend and ally Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) to form a group of meta humans who can help defend the planet from any would-be assailants. It sounds easy enough, but assembling the team, which includes Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and The Flash (Ezra Miller) takes well over a heavy introductory quarter of the film. *It’s a wonder Joss Wheddon could not stretch this to 3 hours.
Considering that it’s taken years, decades even, to give us the origin stories of Batman and Superman, and a stand alone film for Wonder Woman, it was going to be an ardent task from the beginning to sell to us the importance of Aquaman and Cyborg [the Flash already has a TV series to his name]. However, Aquaman is already the next film in the DCEU line-up, already in post production, and one which I would highly recommend you start looking forward to. Cyborg and Aquaman both got considerable screen time, aside from each of the group photos, so it would only be fitting that we get an expanded look at what we’re dealing with here.
My favourite scene of the entire film has to be a quick but necessary trip back to Wonder Woman’s home, Themyscira, where one of the three mother boxes which were left in the care of the three races in the realm, suddenly awakens. It was good to see Mama-Wonder Woman and the Amazons swing into action, paying homage to the success of the previous Box Office triumph, and probably how we’ll often reference back there. We get the first look at a heavily computer-generated version of the antagonist of the film, Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciaran Hinds) and his plans of morphing the planet into a graveyard.
READ ALSO: A review of ‘Thor: Ragnarok’
The Justice League has to band together to ensure this does not happen, but the increasing difficulty makes them turn to a more supernatural-mixed-with-science method to bring back an old friend and ally, albeit with much resistance from Diana. With the manner in which ‘Batman v Superman‘ had ended, I’d have hoped for a more intricate means, but the end does justify it all doesn’t it?
‘Justice League’ is a great film, full of dry humor, spectacular special effects, and surprisingly good acting from the wide ensemble of stars. I’m kind of borderline disappointed with Ben Affleck’s aura as Batman though, because I can’t help but compare him at every step of the way, with the frankly more charismatic Robert Downing Jr who plays Iron Man. But we’re back to comparisons again aren’t we? Sigh.
Diana Prince is as virtuous as she’s always been and we should be in for a great run with Momoa’s Aquaman, if his performance, and a brief but succinct action sequence underwater was anything to go by here. The action choreography is mind blowing and goes beyond expectations, but as with earlier this year’s Wonder Woman (2017), the ending could have done with a bit more finesse.
Don’t leave the theater too early though, because you’re in for not one, but two treats, in the post credits.
‘Justice League’ is in cinemas in Kenya from November 17th 2017
| *EDITOR’S NOTE – 21/11/2017: an earlier version of this article indicated that the length of the film is close to 3 hours. The run time has since been corrected to reflect its correct 2 hours.