If I had to describe the mood of the UR students on the bus to catch a preview screening of “Justice League” at the Little Theatre last Wednesday, I would note the mixture of giddiness and dread. I don’t think I have to tell you why.
Here’s what you need to know about “Justice League”: It’s a good time. Hooray. It’s also “The Avengers.”
You can trace, beat for beat, the parallels: The villain trying to get a key thing to open a portal thing, the team assembled by a grouchy guy with a cool plane, the first battle as a team going badly, the next battle improving.
So it’s “The Avengers,” but it works. The film’s dialogue, when not over-dramatic, is witty. Many of the film’s laughs come from “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” star Ezra Miller, who delivers a shifty-eyed, socially awkward performance as the Flash. The way in which director Zack Snyder displays the Flash’s superpower in the action sequences is clever and, at one point, awesomely chilling. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is as amazing, as expected. Henry Cavill’s Superman is fine, but a mustache removed by CGI casts his upper lip into an uncanny valley. Cyborg’s character arc feels underdone, but Ray Fisher does a good job with what he is given. Jason Momoa is good enough as Aquaman, though his homeland of Atlantis, which you’d expect to be epic, is disappointingly dinky. Ben Affleck’s Batman is an annoying jerk, which the filmmakers seem to be aware of but are not quite willing to change.
In a few ways, “Justice League” actually exceeds “The Avengers,” which was muted in color design and boring to look at. For all of the disdain he gets, Snyder knows how to make a tasty shot and has a knack for opening credit sequences. “Justice League” also feels concise at one hour and 59 minutes, while “The Avengers” overstayed its welcome at two hours and 23 minutes with a tedious battle sequence in which giant flying fish destroy New York City.
What bugged me most about “Justice League” was its use of CGI. The villain, Steppenwolf, rendered by motion-capture, is boring and forgettable. One scene in Wonder Woman’s homeland, Themyscira, shot on location in “Wonder Woman,” uses Skyrim-level CGI to create practically the whole set.
Every kid knows that you don’t get rewarded for always cleaning your room. Instead, you keep your room messy most of the time, cleaning up minimally only when you want something from your parents.
“Justice League” may do well or it may not, but one thing is certain: DC has done a stellar job of keeping the room messy.