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Westside Steve

Justice League review

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Justice League
Warner Brothers
PG-13.                120 min


Sorry for the glut of superhero films but, gee whiz, the studio’s crank out a lot of them and they always take the number one box office spot at least for a while. And lately it’s a back and forth between Marvel and DC Comics. I’ve often expressed my loyalty to DC even though I think Stan Lee and the Marvel gang are pretty clever invitations and have actually done better at some of the more recent films.
The Justice League of America was a way to get money of DCs most popular heroes into a single comic back in 1960. The original members included Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Aquaman, The Flash and the Martian Manhunter.
In this particular film version Green Lantern and the Martian Manhunter are noticeably absent, Manhunter being replaced by a newer character, Cyborg, thanks to the modern-day need for racial diversity. We don’t dare piss off the National Association for the Advancement of Mechanical People. Hopefully there will be no protests or boycotts from Martian Americans. Let me say it’s been many decades since I followed the comics religiously and I have to hold myself back from the natural instinct to be a purist when it comes to these things. Also of the DC Comics the Justice League of America was not my favorite series. Still I like almost all of the individual characters and yes, there have been some personality changes made in recent years. Fair enough. The one that bothers me the most is this recent idea that there is animosity between Superman and Batman which they slapped together in the last film where the two clashed and Superman supposedly died again. Another is the inconsistency of Lex Luthor’s age oh, he was super boys best friend in Smallville, and the way he lost his hair. Sorry guys that doesn’t fly.  I can live with some of the other changes, including Aquaman portrayed as a dark-haired tough guy and Barry Allen, The Flash, a nerdy Jewish kid who provides what little comic relief there is in this film.
I’m also fine with the idea of keeping the number of superheroes to a minimum. Having too many big names on screen and you wind up not spending enough time with any of them kind of like Sylvester Stallone’s The Expendables. 
The plot, like the plots of so many superhero films, is a pretty mundane little affair. We’ve seen it so many times before, some super goon from ancient history or a mad scientist laboratory or outer space or the bowels of hell has decided he wants to rule the world, destroy it or both. This time the evil entity is named Steppenwolf (and I was surprised the director didn’t use a clip of Born to Be Wild) and his minions which look like a cross between giant steel Locust and the flying monkeys from THE WIZARD OF OZ. Somewhere in history, like the rings of power in the trilogy, a series of magic boxes has been distributed to different groups on Earth. These boxes have some kind of power that will restore the demon his rightful place on the throne of the universe. Or something. Since the writers are too lazy to figure out a better solution than just having the superheroes beat up the bad guy the problem is obvious. With Superman still dead none of the others really has enough power to smash Steppenwolf and his Chrome bugs. Because we saw Henry Cavill’s name in the credits we know that Superman will eventually make an appearance. I envisioned Batman calling Captain Kirk and asking about that Genesis thing that brought Spock back to life. You’ll see. So two hours later after a lot of very melodramatic dialogue, a few glimpses of humor and a lot of noise...
Frankly unlike a lot of folks I didn’t really mind Superman versus Batman even though I had to take a lot of it with a grain of salt. I didn’t like this one quite as well which, I assume, is damning with faint praise, but I will still give it the weakest of recommendations. That’s probably just because I like these characters.
Also we’ve seen this new tradition, in order to keep people sitting through the credits , when a prophecy of the sequel shows as the theater lights go on. This time it’s Lex Luthor sowing the seeds of the upcoming Legion of Super Villains or whatever they will be called.
C+
WSS
 

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