“I think there’s an attack coming,” says Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck). “Not coming, Bruce,” says Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), “already begun.” Satanic villain Steppenwolf (voice of Ciaran Hinds) wants three magical Motherboxes which, united, will reconfigure the earth, destroying mankind. Only if Batman and Wonder Woman can bring new heroes into the Justice League is there hope for a planet in deep mourning after the death of Superman (“Batman v. Superman” 2016). That’s the bleak setup for this dark superhero action/adventure/sci-fi flick.
Will Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Aquaman (Jason Momoa) join the League? Can Steppenwolf and his demonic minions be defeated? Will “Justice League” live up to your expectations? If answers seem necessary, see “Justice League.” Otherwise, you can miss it.
Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck’s characters bring both hope and despair to their work. Wonder Woman’s positive: “She helps us all see our better selves,” says Batman. He, on the other hand, “smells only fear,” as he puts it. Asked, “How many of you are there?” Batman can only say, “Not enough.” Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher and Jason Momoa are the recruits — Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman. As lightning-fast Flash, Miller brings welcome comic relief: “I don’t fight,” he says. “I just push people and run away.” Ray Fisher is Cyborg — part man, part machine — a creation, in part, of the Motherboxes. “Every day,” he says, I wake up different, modified.” Jason Momoa’s Aquaman has issues. “You must be out of your mind,” he tells Batman. “Well,” says Batman, “You’re the one that brought a pitchfork to the fight.” (He means trident.)
Others in the cast include Amy Adams and Diane Lane as Lois Lane and Martha Kent, each mourning the loss of Superman. Jeremy Irons is Alfred, Bruce Wayne’s loyal adviser, and (no spoiler) Henry Cavill is Superman. Ciaran Hinds is the voice CGI villain Steppenwolf.
“Justice League” tells origin stories for three new League members, brings back Superman (no surprise), and battles exceedingly unattractive Steppenwolf for control of Earth. That’s a lot for co-writer/director Zack Snyder and writers Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon to pull off and, at the same time include some heart (Lois and Martha mourning Superman, backstories for new heroes), humor (“Tell me again,” says Flash, “what’s your superpower?” “I’m rich,” says Bruce), and, of course, lots of dark brooding, visual clutter and noise.
Rated PG-13 for sci-fi violence and action, “Justice League” runs 120 minutes, a full half-hour shorter than “Batman v. Superman.” A good thing.
“Justice League” brings together
Wonder Woman and the boys:
Some heart, a little humor,
Screen clutter, and lots of noise.