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Justice League Review

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Some fans might sneer at the thought of the Marvel Cinematic Universe facing some competition by DC Comics, but based on this year alone, it looks like the DCEU isn’t bowing out anytime soon. We’ll take a closer look at the recent success from the DCEU, and also the wildly anticipated Justice League film, which is currently in theaters.

Earlier this year, DC Comics struck box office gold with the release of the standalone film of Wonder Woman. According to Box Office Mojo, the origin story of Diana Prince cashed in with a total of $412 billion through the domestic box office, and a massive $821 billion worldwide. Director Patty Jenkins broke box office records and made history books for having the most lucrative opening weekend for a female director ever. Despite the success of Wonder Woman, there have been some complications surrounding the sequel. Although director Patty Jenkins is officially on board for Wonder Woman 2, actress Gal Gadot has firmly stood her ground and refused to be a part of the project if Brett Ratner was also involved. Over the past few weeks, Ratner has been accused of sexual harassment, rape, and abuse from at least six different actresses. While on the Today show, Gadot spoke out against the filmmaker.

“So, at the end of the day, a lot has been written about my views and the way that I feel, and everyone knows the way that I feel because I’m not hiding anything. But the truth is, there’s so many people involved in making this movie, it’s not just me, and they all echoed the same sentiments. You know what I mean?” Gadot said during the recent interview. “Everyone knew what was the right thing to do, but there was nothing for me to actually come and say, ’cause it was already done before this article came out, you know?” According to Entertainment Weekly, Ratner is no longer linked to the project, which is slated for a 2019 release.

Leading up to its highly anticipated release, Justice League had more than few obstacles to overcome while still in production. In May, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that director Zack Snyder stepped down from the project, after the traumatic death of his daughter by suicide. Director Joss Whedon was hired to finish the film, and there were numerous reports of extensive reshoots involved with the production. This week, Rotten Tomatoes has fallen under fire by fans after refusing to post any scores of Justice League for over a day. Regardless, scores of nerds and comic book fans will eagerly step into theaters this weekend, and we’d have to admit, don’t be too quick to judge it by what the critics say. With an open mind, it can be an entertaining winter blockbuster. Sure, it’s corny at times, but the latest addition to the DCEU acts as a solid segue into the next lineup of standalone films to come.

When it comes to the film, let’s start off by saying Justice League is a huge step up from the convoluted tale of Batman v Superman, but it’s certainly not without flaws. The first half of the film has it’s fair share of clunky moments and bumps in the road—it often seems like it’s trying to find it’s footing. But when it’s all said and done, seeing the squad in action is pretty rewarding for fans. This time around, the newest additions include Jason Momoa as Aquaman, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, and the charming Ezra Miller as The Flash. Of course, actress Gal Gadot reprises her role as Wonder Woman, and returning actors Henry Cavill as Clark Kent / Superman and Ben Affleck as Batman / Bruce Wayne join the fray.

The film starts off rather oddly, with a few jarring cuts and abrupt transitions which seem more fitted for a low-budget music video, but not so much for a holiday blockbuster. After Batman discovers a mysterious winged alien creature upon a rooftop, and Diana Prince rushes out to save a group of hostages from a potential suicide bombing. Things start to pick up the pace when Bruce decides to seek out Aquaman, and we’re finally given an introduction to the fresh faces of the cast. In a role that seems tailor made for him, Jason Momoa shines with his performance as the gruff Arthur Curry. The film could have definitely benefitted from more exchanges between the main squad, and Aquaman’s lack of screen time is certainly no exception.

Photo: Michael Esmeralda

We ran into these two awesome Aquaman and Green Arrow cosplayers at New York Comic Con.

Momoa, who played Khal Drogo in HBO’s colossal success Game of Thrones, felt sorely underused in Justice League. One of our biggest complaints on our end is the lack of character development for Aquaman and an additional look at the backstory of Atlantis. But alas, there’s only so much time and so many plot threads to fill. Maybe if they opted out of the sappy, half-assed attempt at a sentimental music video from the beginning sequence, they could have spent that time a little more wisely.

Aquaman wasn’t the only character who seemed to be a bit cut short on screen time. While actor Ray Fisher is a promising new addition to the DCEU as Victor Stone, he’s also in dire need of a more solid introduction. Fans will have to wait and see what’s in store for Victor with his standalone film in 2020.

Out of all the newcomers, Ezra Miller as Barry Allen definitely stole the show. Sure, we all have a soft spot for the comic relief characters, but Miller truly captures the wide-eyed wonder and geeky enthusiasm that we all love. Whether it was from his laugh-out-loud one liners, or his childlike excitement, Miller added some personality and an element of fun into the mix. Naturally, fans can’t wait to see Miller don his red suit as The Flash once again, and it looks like they’ll have to wait until 2020. Stay tuned for more details on our blog!

As for the rest of the film, we won’t delve too deep into spoiler territory, but we’ll comment on some of the other plotlines in the film. The film’s villain, Steppenwolf, seemed a little shallow, and the chase sequence involving the Amazons was practically laughable. Director Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman did wonders (no pun intended) for the Amazon tribe of Themyscira, but in director Zack Snyder’s attempt, they become cringe-worthy caricatures of their former greatness. Let’s hope Wonder Woman 2 injects a little more badassery into the mix. P.S. Six pack’s are great, but we prefer actual substance over mere eye-candy. Earlier this week, fans sounded off on Twitter against the hypersexualized new costumes donned by the Amazon women in Justice League.

Overall, the action was entertaining, and the graphics seemed pretty good—albeit a little iffy at times. Critics have already taken to bashing Justice League like crazy, but if you’re a DC Comics fan, of course, you won’t pay any heed whatsoever. The addition of new cast members like Jason Momoa and Ray Fisher are a step in the right direction when it comes to diversity. Superhero films are severely lacking when it comes to diverse casting choices, and we’re completely thrilled at seeing a hapa actor portray Aquaman on screen in our lifetime. We’re looking forward to the expansion of the DC Extended Universe and what’s next in store.

Warning, spoiler alert! The post credit scene revealed a humorous exchange between Superman and the young Barry Allen. While we place our bets on the Flash, there’s also a pointed look at the formation of a devious new squad. The final post-credit scene introduced Deathstroke, a delightfully welcome addition to the DCEU. During our showing, we had quite a few fans meet the character’s introduction with wild cheers and a frenzy of enthusiasm, so it’s clear that there’s plenty of people who can’t wait to see Deathstroke in action.

Next up, we’ll be looking at a list of all the upcoming DC Extended Universe films currently in development. We’re excited to see what’s in store for the next standalone films and share our thoughts about Justice League 2 in 2019. Stay tuned for more nerd news and geeky updates here on our blog at Nerd Kung Fu!

Written by Jade NIcolette

Twitter: @nicolette_style

Photo Credit: Michael Esmeralda

Instagram: @mikee_bee_eezee


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