As the DC superheroes desperately try to mimic the cinematic success of Marvel, their rollout of films has been like watching a Fiat try to race a Ferrari.
Probably the biggest mistake they’ve made is having director Zack Snyder be the architect of the DC cinematic universe.
Snyder as a director certainly has a talent for visual spectacle, but the dude’s about a subtle as a sledgehammer in a nitroglycerine plant, and his first two DC films, “Man of Steel” and “Batman v. Superman,” proved that out by being as lumbering as they were clunky.
DC’s only bright spot has been “Wonder Woman,” which proved away from Snyder these characters could have something fresh and interesting to say.
This all brings us to “Justice League,” DC’s answer to “The Avengers” which brings a big bunch of heroes together and proves sometimes the sum of the parts is actually greater than the whole.
Snyder directed the lion’s share of this movie but had to step away before he was finished due to the tragic death of his daughter. Super-nerd auteur Joss Whedon stepped in to finish it up. It’s tempting to give the credit for what works in “Justice League” to Whedon and what doesn’t to Snyder, but since his name is on the final product, I’ll credit Snyder with clearing the low bar of producing his best movie since “300.”
Left is a world where Superman (Henry Cavill) is dead, Batman (Ben Affleck reprising his passable take on the Dark Knight) and Wonder Woman (Hero of 2017 Gal Gadot) look to assemble a team of formidable heroes when an alien threat looks to destroy the earth.
The trio they turn to are the son of Atlantis Aquaman (Jason Momoa, who does the impossible of making Aquaman cool), super-fast smart-aleck The Flash (Ezra Miller, who brings a healthy amount of comic relief to the table), and part man, part robot, all brooding Cyborg (newcomer Ray Fisher).
Everyone works to overcome their differences to punch and destroy wave after wave of computer-generated creatures to save the day. Hooray.
There’s certainly more of a sense of humor this time around with these characters and, while the end result is just a notch above so-so, there at least is a ray of hope for DC moving into the future.
Plus, with Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg all slated to get their own standalone films, the characters are all played by interesting enough actors that, with the right script and director, there is nothing holding them back from replicating Wonder Woman’s success.
Until then, while DC continues to play second fiddle cinematically to Marvel, “Justice League” at least moved them one step closer instead of the previous trend of two steps back.
“Justice League” is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action.