“Justice League” is a less than super movie

It has been an exciting past few years in the world of cinema for superhero fans. With the continual expansion of Marvel’s The Avengers films, along with the somewhat less successful attempts by DC Comics to release their own blockbusters, those of us who enjoy watching heroic fantasies explode across the big screen have had plenty of new material to consume. On November 17th, DC continued the feeding frenzy by releasing Justice League, a long awaited title that seems to finally bring to a climax all the origin stories DC’s been putting out since Man of Steel was released in 2013.
Beyond incorporating a great deal of background knowledge provided by its predecessors, however, Justice League attempts to initiate and resolve the quasi-origin stories of three heroes that have yet to play any major role in a recent DC movie: Aquaman, Cyborg, and the Flash. While each of these characters does seem interesting and worthy of a good origin story-telling, I found that the combination of these introductions made the film feel a bit rushed and cluttered.
As the movie speedily introduces the new heroes and their potential usefulness to Batman in his pursuit of forming a team of super-pals, so too does it introduce us to the primary antagonist, Steppenwolf, and his gaggle of space demons. While the audience is still getting to know three of the six heroes that make up the Justice League, they are also made aware of three magical boxes, their ability to destroy worlds, the war that erupted in order to keep them out of Steppenwolf’s hands, and Steppenwolf’s desire to use them to contact his mother in order to end his own exile. Of course, I enjoy watching a ragtag group of superhuman loners band together to stop an alien warrior-god from calling his mommy as much as the next guy, but even I must admit that all of this content may have been a bit too much for one two-hour film.
For anyone who has seen all of DC’s other most recent cinematic releases, including Man of SteelBatman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and the extremely popular Wonder WomanJustice League‘s use of these movies’ protagonists is both exciting and meaningful. However, a great deal of this sense of meaningfulness, as well as a lot of screen time, is lost in the film’s attempt to simultaneously apply that same level of meaning to three new and complex characters. The details surrounding the nature of Steppenwolf and his plans are somewhat confusing and complicated as it is, so I think the addition of three equally underdeveloped “origin stories” may have been a little too ambitious for what is otherwise an exceedingly entertaining action movie. Over all, in spite of its unfortunate issues with pacing, I enjoyed watching Justice League. The acting is phenomenal, the effects are stunning, and the fight scenes are some of the best I’ve seen from a superhero flick. I simply wish that the makers of the film would not have tried to fit so much explanation into so little time, so that we might better enjoy this truly entertaining installment of the DC Extended Universe.