Enough with superheroes ganging up.
The Avengers have done it so often they’re like bus buddies. They’ve also stopped enough megalomaniacs bent on destroying the world to last a lifetime.
Now, we’ve got the “Justice League” and, frankly, it’s more of the same. Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash and Cyclops unite to battle a creepy guy named Steppenwolf. He’s looking for boxes that can give him the power he needs to rule the world, universe, whatever. (Shades of “Dark Tower.”)
In the process, the five realize the one who could really settle this score is Superman. WWSD? They put their heads together to devise a plot.
Director Zack Snyder spends the first hour assembling the crime fighters. Even though he has no superhuman power, Batman (Ben Affleck) has plenty of money, which enables the quintet to create whatever they need in a pinch. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) has a lasso of truth (that actually comes in handy). The Flash (Ezra Miller) can zip around anywhere – except under water, which is Aquaman’s thing – and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) has some nebulous ability to hack into computers, charge electrical systems and play Robocop when the others aren’t willing. You’d think that’d be enough but, no.
Aquaman (Jason Momoa) is such a fish out of water it’s never quite clear what market he has cornered (rogue fish, perhaps?).
Together, they josh and plot with the best of them until it’s time to go to work, get the glowing boxes and stop Steppenwolf and his insect-like followers. The Superman reference is weak (particularly since it requires Amy Adams and Diane Lane to slip away from better films) and hardly the galvanizing moment you’d want near the 90-minute mark.
Henry Cavill, oddly enough, slips in and out of a British accent as Superman and, as The Flash says, has a “Pet Sematary” quality that’s unnerving.
Of the six, The Flash is the most intriguing. Because Miller plays it like Tom Holland in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” he’s not all business. He gets a few jokes out, too, and makes you wonder why Affleck would even bother with something as puny as this incarnation of Batman.
Gadot continues to solidify her place as the leading female superhero and Mamoa could be a good stand-alone hero if someone at DC Comics got a backbone and decided to concentrate on something other than Marvel’s success.
Because there’s such a hodgepodge of characters, “Justice League” is about as jarring as seeing TV people sitting next to movie stars at the Golden Globes.
It’s an OK film – if it had been made 10 years ago. Trying to make waves in a glutted market is virtually impossible. Thankfully, “Thor: Ragnarok” realized this and decided to spoof the very conventions this tries to uphold.
More humor could keep the “Justice League” from becoming the “Suicide Squad.” Miller tries but, too often, it’s gone in a flash.