Please be considerate towards me as I write this review for Justice League, while still reeling from the awesomeness that is Marvel's Thor: Ragnarok. While carrying my popcorn inside the hall, I knew from past experiences that [visually] it'd be another dark and serious movie. Little did I know I'd be getting out with an equally gloomy cloud over my head.
Seriously, what was Warner Bros. thinking?
As the title for this article suggests, Justice League really does feel like a typical Marvel movie [case in point: The Avengers (2012)]. To explain further, let me present the storyline for you.
Superman is dead from the previous movie of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), and therefore hopelessness looms around the world. A supervillain, Steppenwolf, has decided to act upon the absence of the hero to re-collect and activate the energy sources – Mother Boxes – and become a favourite of his master, the tyrant ruler of Apokolips, Darkseid.
On the earthly side of matters, things are even scarier: Batman has lost his edge. Terrified over what the fate of the planet holds, he plans to “put a team together” with the help of Wonder Woman who mostly plays the role of Batman's babysitter. He convinces one Barry Allen who is sold in a flash; Arthur Curry is steaming mad when he learns his identity has been compromised but joins anyway; and sad man Victor Stone hacks his way into the team. What happens next? Will the superheroes like each other? Why must villains always come through a weird-looking portal in the sky?
Lo and behold, here come *drum rolls and bat signals* the Justice League.
And now we cut to why I call this “the most Marvel movie by DC” – point by point.
We are all the same: The Hulk and Cyborg consider themselves monsters and stay in hiding; Thor and Wonder Woman are deities; Batman and Aquaman don't agree with each other just like Iron Man and Captain America; even the bad guys, Loki and Steppenwolf, wear a similar kind of headgear.
Darkseid and the Mother Boxes vs Thanos and the Infinity Stones: Evil dude from outer space wants to control the universe using the collective power of mysterious power sources or devices.
“What if I told you we were putting a team together” vs “I'm putting together a team of people with special abilities”: The richest members of both teams share more than their love for gadgets; they could pretty much complete each other's sentences. Ok, Tony Stark has a sense of humour, but still.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. While I do agree that most superhero movies follow a similar approach to storylines, in the parallel cases of MCU and DCEU, it feels like the directors were presented with a single raw idea; Zack Snyder did much of the work but even Joss Whedon and his introduction of acute one liners to make us laugh couldn't salvage the movie.
I would also spend some words on Steppenwolf and the ending of the movie. I was expecting an out of the world finale where the Justice League assembles to take on the villain. Sadly, and I must break this [spoiler] to you, the heroes were dispersed and Steppenwolf turned out to be an even bigger disappointment than the heroes with bare minimum character development.
In summation, Justice League is a movie with a ton of could-have-beens. The standalone DCEU flicks do their part well as we have seen, however, this particular movie felt like a weak shot in the dark from Warner Bros.
Kazi Akib Bin Asad is a Sub-editor at SHOUT.