Justice League – “What are your superpowers?” asks Barren Allen a.k.a. Flash, to Bruce Wayne, “I’m rich” answers the alter ego of Batman. This line—one of the best in “Justice League”—sets a note of humour and irony in this story that reunites this old gang of superheroes. Batman (Ben Affleck) —indeed the only one with no real superpowers—undertakes the difficult task of reassembling the group to face a potentially catastrophic danger to humanity.
Some strange flying creatures are seen in Gotham City, in fact, Batman encounters one of them at the very beginning of the movie, which sets the underlying theme of the story: an alien menace is lurking, and a rapid action is needed to defend the Earth. On top of that, as the movie also reminds us by showing his image and some footage of his funeral, the planet would have to deal with the imminent threat without the presence of the greatest of all superheroes. Superman (Henry Cavill), as we know, was killed in a previous episode of this saga.
Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) a powerful enemy of humankind and of the ancient gods who had punished him, is back and intends to recover three boxes that contain unlimited power. To make the boxes work as intended, Steppenwolf needs, first of all, recover the three of them and then place them together so they can release their energy. The boxes were entrusted to three different groups of beings, the Amazons, the Atlantians, and the last one to humans. Steppenwolf’s first move is to attack the Amazons, which would alert Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) who would also be the first to join forces with Batman. Arthur Curry a.k.a. Aquaman (Jason Momoa) is initially reluctant to participate, but when Steppenwolf attacks his undersea realm, he has no choice but to join the fight too.
The other two members are the world’s fastest man, the Flash (Ezra Miller), who at one point confesses his dislike for weapons and violence, and the League’s only black superhero Cyborg or Victor Stone (Ray Fisher). Cyborg reached his superhuman condition in spite of himself and as a result of the experiment his father was conducting. This unfortunate event is something that Victor resents until he realizes that his abilities could be put to good use.
Steppenwolf is the greatest threat the world has faced and to battle it the combined efforts of all members of the Justice League would be necessary plus the technological savvy of Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons) and much more. In the end, the Justice League should again count on all its members, even if for that the superheroes would also have to engage in a heated debate of ethical connotations.
The film is directed by Zack Snyder and written by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon; I should say that they manage to create a good story in which action and fantasy are well integrated to deliver an entertaining story. Special effects are essential like in any such movie, but without them being overwhelming, instead, a well-structured plot and dialogues with some nuanced humour are more important. And, in the end, don’t leave when credits start rolling, a last—somewhat funny scene—is inserted right there.
No doubt that Justice League was released to become the year-end blockbuster, it would surely attract lots of viewers, and it may also raise questions as to what is the metaphorical enemy that Steppenwolf and his swarming army are representing. In a social analysis of pop culture, one cannot forget that superheroes emerge as a response to what society perceives as a threat at a given time. By society I mean the American one, although to make it perhaps more global, the Justice League has now dropped its jingoistic reference to “America.” When these characters were created in the late 1930s, that threat was organized crime, then during World War II it was the Nazis, the Cold War made that threat “Red,” now it could be terrorists and perhaps more specifically, the so-called Islamic State. We must wait for the saga’s next installments. In any case, this one offers 110 minutes of enjoyable entertainment.
By: Sergio Martinez – mtltimes.ca