Justice League

 

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As the Metahumans assemble to combat a new extraterrestrial menace, the heroic congestion proves to be a metaphysical goulash too far.

   
Justice League

Pulling a fast one: Ezra Miller

 

This may come as a shock: but the future of the planet is in peril. A horned devil called Steppenwolf – dubbed ‘the End of Worlds’ – returns to Earth to try his hand at global domination. Once beaten into eternity by a coalition of Atlanteans, ancient humans, strapping Amazons (on horseback) and even the gods of Olympus, Steppenwolf withered away, deprived of the nutrition of fear. But following the death of Superman at the end of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, the world is gripped by a new pessimism: nectar to Steppenwolf and his screaming hordes of demons. So it’s up to Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) to rustle up a handful of metahumans to combat this new extraterrestrial threat.

 

With the Superman films starring Christopher Reeve, we discovered that a flying man in tights could be fun. With his Dark Knight trilogy, Christopher Nolan showed that the superhero genre could be elevated to an art form. Sadly, Zack Snyder's Justice League is just a pale imitation of those glory days. The current fad for pitching superheroes together is proving to be a case of diminishing returns. Teamwork is fine in the office, and in the military, but it’s just not tennis. There is something indefinably elemental in watching two Wimbledon champions smash their way to victory or loss. A doubles’ game just doesn’t cut it. And so it goes with superheroes assembled.

 

There’s a bunch of decent one-liners in Justice League, but the banter between the metahumans has none of the comic zing exhibited in Avengers Assemble. The funniest presence arrives in the form of Flash, played by, of all people, Ezra Miller (Kevin from We Need to Talk About Kevin). Flash is a geek in awe of his prodigious peers and is reticent to hype his own powers. He admits that he’s good at the viola, ice skating and sign language, but his real faculty is speed – he can move faster than light. He wants to join the super-league because, in his own words, “I need friends.” And, in a rare moment of quiet, he asks Batman, “What are your superpowers again?” To which the Caped Crusader replies, “I’m rich.” More of this would have given the film some comic oomph before the inevitable onslaught of digital disorder. Too much of it feels recycled, barmy and meretricious. There is no astonishment, no emotional engagement and certainly no real tears before bedtime.

JAMES CAMERON-WILSON

Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, J.K. Simmons, Ciarán Hinds, Joe Morton, Amber Heard, Billy Crudup, Michael McElhatton, Richard Clifford, Jesse Eisenberg, Joe Manganiello.

Dir Zack Snyder, Pro Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Jon Berg and Geoff Johns, Screenplay Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, Ph Fabian Wagner, Pro Des Patrick Tatopoulos, Ed David Brenner, Richard Pearson and Martin Walsh, Music Danny Elfman, Costumes Michael Wilkinson.

DC Films/RatPac Entertainment/Atlas Entertainment/Cruel and Unusual Films-Warner Brothers.
119 mins. USA. 2017. Rel: 17 November 2017. Cert. 12A.