Let's get something very important out of the way first: I love Zack Snyder's Man of Steel and I've grown to really like the Ultimate Edition of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Some of you probably just left this page, some of you are totally judging me but still reading, and some of you are happy to meet another fan of those polarizing films. Because of this, I'm going into Justice League with a completely different mindset than many people. I'm obviously keeping an open mind every time I see a new movie, but I'm hoping for a balance that wins over the people critical of the DC Extended Universe and keeps pre-existing DCEU fans happy. I imagine many people out there want something that feels nothing like MoS and BvS.
Look, I completely understand why some people don't enjoy MoS and BvS and it's totally understandable that the studio wants to move in a direction that will earn critical acclaim and praise from a majority of fans. I get it, and Wonder Woman appeared to be the first step in the DCEU's new direction, which is clearly being led by Geoff Johns. Justice League is the second step, and I'm happy to say that it's a very entertaining movie; however, as someone who appreciates MoS and BvS, it is a little difficult not feeling like they're trying a little too hard to "course correct" during a few points. These are extremely brief moments, so those who don't share my opinion of Snyder's DC films likely won't mind and may even love 'em. Those who do share my love for MoS and BvS UE may also feel like the film goes a little too light at times to earn a laugh from the audience.
The overall story is nothing out of the ordinary and that's perfectly fine because this story isn't really about Steppenwolf trying to destroy the planet; it's about the heroes improving themselves and joining forces - that's what's important. Steppenwolf leaps into the picture and he has one simple role: Be a big and seriously formidable dude. I think he plays that role well while we get basic info about him. He's not someone I cared about, but he did entertain and his presence had my mind racing about all of the cosmic possibilities for the future of the DCEU. He's never as intimidating or engaging as Michael Shannon's General Zod - few villains are, though - but he's there to pose a threat and he absolutely delivers. That said, I was hoping for a little more when the conflict wrapped up, but that's a small, personal complaint. The film feels like it's playing things a little too safe and predictable at times, but it's entertaining throughout the whole ride. As for Steppenwolf's CGI, it never dropped my jaw like the visuals from the rebooted Apes films did, but it never felt too fake to me, either.
Everyone's going to walk out of the theater with different favorite heroes. Thanks to his lovable and awkward banter, the Flash (Ezra Miller) is going to become very popular and I can't wait for the potential Flashpoint film. If you loved Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, you definitely still will; Ray Fisher's Cyborg is critical to the story and I love his growth and chemistry with Flash; Jason Momoa's Aquaman will make you believe that a man can swim - the dude's good fun. Ben Affleck's Batman still makes me want to cheer whenever I see a cool shot of the Caped Crusader and, if you didn't understand how he changed at the end of BvS, you will in this film. Again, I stand by that guy as a great Bruce Wayne and Batman - hopefully he sticks around for Matt Reeves' upcoming Batman film.
While Cyborg, Wonder Woman, and Batman receive some extra insight, Aquaman and Flash have dialogue dedicated to quickly teasing their origins - it's basically "go see their solo films" and I'm totally fine with that because, as a fan of both characters, it feels like a super brief teaser for both of their movies. Please don't read too much into that! I don't mean to imply there are huge reveals or anything, I'm just saying it's cool seeing a scene or two revolve around Flash and his father as well as Aquaman and Mera. I had the same feeling watching Batman fighting a Parademon in Gotham. It's surreal that we're witnessing this on the big screen!
What can I say about Superman without blatantly spoiling anything? Well, I guess I can say that we do see more of the Man of Steel than I expected and I really enjoyed it. If you consider yourself a fan of the Last Son of Krypton, I'm pretty sure you'll be happy, even if you didn't enjoy MoS and BvS. To keep spoiler-free, I'll leave it at that, but I'm really excited to talk about those moments after the film opens!There are a few surprises and I sincerely hope you're able avoid spoilers before seeing the movie. There are so many times I had goosebumps and wanted to applaud. Whether it was a simple namedrop or witnessing something completely unexpected, I had a total blast. I can't elaborate because, well, spoilers, but both credits scenes are amazing and for entirely different reasons, too. That said, several promising moments from the trailers didn't make the cut. Hopefully we'll see them in a potential extended edition!
Director Tim Burton's Batman (1989) was my introduction to the Dark Knight so the film and its music holds a very special place in my heart. Because of that, it's tough not to have a fanboy moment when I heard a sample of Batman's classic theme in this movie. It immediately made me think of how big of a role this character has had in my life and how amazing it is to still be awe-struck by the fictional hero. The second time I heard a sample of the theme during a Batmobile scene, it took me out of the moment. Instead of this general feeling of witnessing something larger than life, I was left comparing this new Batmobile scene to the one from 1989. You may agree, you may not. Who knows, this is all subjective, right? Hans Zimmer's score also makes a brief appearance and boy, that really made me miss it. Obviously, I mean no disrespect to the talented Danny Elfman, but Zimmers' music has played such a big role in this cinematic universe and it's so powerful. Its absence is definitely felt, but Elfman's score does feel appropriate at times for the "lighter" direction.
Did you like Zack Snyder's other DC movies? Go see Justice League, but you may think it doesn't have the same emotional impact as the other films. Did you not like Zack Snyder's DC movies but you enjoyed Wonder Woman? Go see Justice League and hopefully you'll feel more optimistic about the future of the DCEU. Basically, if you're a human, I think you should go see Justice League. The plot won't blow your mind and the film doesn't take any risks but it's a very good time at the movies and there's plenty of fan service and teasers for the future of the DCEU. This one's all about the selling us on the heroes and I'd say it delivered. This cinematic universe is still so young and I can't wait to see what the future has in store for us, especially after witnessing that credits scene...