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Blu-ray Review: Justice League

March 13, 2018

By John Corrado

★★½ (out of 4)

Picking up after Superman’s (Henry Cavill) self-sacrificial death in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Justice League finds Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) teaming up again when an alien threat attacks Gotham City, and recruiting a trio of new heroes to help them take down the ancient villain Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds), who has risen anew from the underworld.

The new heroes include Aquaman (Jason Momoa), a sort of merman who lives in the Scandinavian sea and often comes ashore to help the local fisherman; Cyborg (Ray Fisher), a young football star who was in an accident and brought back to life by his father (Joe Morton) with cybernetic upgrades; and The Flash (Ezra Miller), a hyper young guy who was struck by lightning and now moves really fast.

I never did end up seeing Justice League in theatres when it came out last fall, so watching it on Blu-ray was my first experience with the film.  Maybe it’s because my expectations were substantially lowered following the largely disappointing critical reaction that it got, but I actually kind of enjoyed Justice League, and had a decent amount of fun watching the film.  Now to be sure, it does have its share of problems.  The story can feels rushed, and at times it plays more like a collection of moments and set-pieces than a coherent whole.

The special effects are surprisingly cheesy at times, as are a lot of the one-liners, and the climactic fight is the sort of murky CGI battle that has plagued many a superhero film.  The film is credited to Zack Snyder, but also went through some reshoots that were guided along by Joss Whedon, who came on after Snyder had to step aside following a family tragedy and reportedly brought in a lot of the humour, and this mix of tones and styles sometimes clashes in the finished product.

While the shorter running time and lighter tone make this a slight step-up from Zack Snyder’s previous DC films Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and it also benefits from having a brighter aesthetic than those more self-serious films, Justice League also can’t compete with last year’s Wonder Woman, which remains the one big highpoint for this franchise.  But the film is also fun to watch, in a mindless sort of way.  There are plenty of entertaining character moments along the way, mainly courtesy of Ezra Miller’s scene-stealing performance.

This is still a flawed film, and it’s understandable why some fans who had been waiting years for this superhero team-up found the results to be disappointing.  But watching it with tempered expectations, I was able to just have some fun with Justice League, and found it entertaining enough to warrant a mild recommendation.  There are better superhero films out there, but if you can look past its shortcomings, this is one is fine for what it is.

The Blu-ray also includes The Return of Superman, which is essentially two short deleted scenes that were nixed from the final cut, as well as scene studies for four of the sequences, and a selection of six featurettes.  They are Road to Justice, which looks at the fifty year history of the Justice League from comics to cartoons; Heart of Justice focuses on the iconic trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman; Technology of the Justice League shows us the new gadgets they created for the film; Justice League: The New Heroes talks about the newer members of the team; Steppenwolf the Conqueror features Ciarán Hinds talking about his villain role; and Suit Up: The Look of the League focuses on costume designer Michael Wilkinson’s work in the film.

Justice League is a Warner Bros. Home Entertainment release.  It’s 120 minutes and rated PG.

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