Justice League Review
November marks that time of year when big budget action movies begin to be released in the hopes that bored or procrastinating college students and teenagers will flock to the cinema with their wallets, ready to pay a hefty sum to view movies in 3D. This past weekend, I went to join my fellow pop culture consumers in viewing the highly anticipated new film from DC comics: Justice League.
I went in with my typical expectations for DC superhero movies: Huge explosions, sci-fi violence, and Gal Gadot’s beautiful face. In these aspects, the film did not disappoint. Along with those expectations, however, I had also hoped that DC would have come to its senses and realised three simple truths: The Amazons should have real armor, aliens are over-used as villains, and that there are heroes in this world other than Batman and Superman. Unfortunately, DC seems to have failed on all these counts.
Starting with the very beginning of the film, it was glaringly obvious that Bruce Wayne was the focal point of this particular story. Over the course of the plot, he is the one that searches for all the other members of the League, and it is he that gets the most screentime. I was willing to let this pass had it not been for the fact that an entire half of the film was simply about how he missed Clark Kent, and how very miserable the whole world was without him. In fact, the entire premise of the film was that the generalized grief that Superman’s death brought on the world had invited a race of aliens that were attracted to despair. Very subtle, DC.
Now, once again, perhaps I could have let that slide. Superman was a pretty big deal for the world, after all. However, rather than have a story about the strength of teamwork or individual effort, the film instead worked to illustrate that without Superman, there was no way for the other heroes to defend the world.
Now, if we apply any sort of analysis to this film, which I do guardedly, the message once again falls flat. The fact that the only thing the league could do in response to the aliens was to resuscitate Superman already serves to show us that without a designated leader, a group effort will fail. Worse than that, the group can’t even break through to him due to his identity crisis upon reanimation. In fact, the only person capable of that is the dependably dull Lois Lane. The power of the dry, heteronormative love between Lois and Clark is what ends up saving the Justice League from certain death. Essentially, the message here is that try as one might, the only thing you can truly rely on in the end is old-fashioned American ideals.
In summary, the film was fun if what you want is your typical superhero film. However if you were hoping for any kind of new story arc from DC, you will be sorely disappointed. Aliens are still bad, and the world, as well as the DC film franchise, still relies solely on Superman.