Justice League (2017) Review

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After 4 pre-cursor films, the League is finally assembled. Bruce Wayne/Batman senses an imminent danger coming to Earth. He learns from Diana Prince/Wonder Woman of an ancient legend called Steppenwolf and he is returning claim Earth as his own. Together the pair seeks others with special abilities to help them.

While it’s been a rocky road for the DC Extended Universe, some films faring well than others, it’s all lead to our favorite heroes to finally unite. And man, this movie was everything I wanted it to be. What makes this film a hit for me was because it was such a simple superhero story, not an over-bloated and overlong film with no direction whatsoever. The film is visually striking, and it offers plenty of fun action sequences and character interactions with the heroes we love. Sure, some of the laughs may not be funny themselves (but at least they don’t overdo it like the Marvel films), but it’s still entertaining seeing these characters together and interacting with each other, taking jabs, but also clashing with their points of view. I have to admit at the same time though the simplicity can be TOO simple. There isn’t much conflict involved with the group as there should have been, it’s slightly touched upon, but it doesn’t play as much of a part as it should. In general, I feel like they could have spent more time not only fleshing out the individual characters (more so the new additions), and giving more development of them as a group while they assemble to fight against Steppenwolf. So here’s to hoping that we get an extended cut on Blu-Ray. The villain at the center of it all could also have been shown more on his own, because as a villain Steppenwolf is pretty good, he’s all-out evil and seeks only to bring harm.

Our returning actors once again do well with their reprising roles. Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot sell it. Henry Cavill is at his best as Clark Kent/Superman, and the character in general has never been better with this current version. But in terms of our newest cast members, I welcomed them with open arms. Ezra Miller bring a lot charm and humor to this version of Barry Allen/The Flash, Ray Fisher also does well as Victor Stone/Cyborg (though he is easily the most underdeveloped of our new characters), but the standout of this movie is Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman. Momoa portrays the cocky, bad-ass, and very comical Aquaman with so much perfection and it only makes me more excited to his solo film next year. Our supporting characters (while they may not have much screen time) like Amy Adams, Diane Lane, J.K. Simmons, and Jeremy Irons give it their all to at least make their limited time on-screen worth it. And finally, Ciaran Hinds displays great evil in his performance as Steppenwolf. Again, more time with this character could probably have given Hinds more opportunity to push his performance even further.

While it has its flaws, I thought this was an overall fantastic and entertaining result to years of waiting. Everything you love about these heroes is present, and more than anything it makes me want a sequel even more now that we’ve had our group assembled. And going by the very last tag at the very end of the credits, I am even more excited. Not only am I excited for another Justice League film, but for more individual films for our heroes. Highly recommend this film.

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Wonder Woman (2017) Review

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Diana (Gal Gadot) is a descendant from a league of female warriors. They’ve lived in a hidden location in the middle of the sea so their mortal enemy Ares (the god of war). When a young spy in WWI named Steve (Chris Pine) manages to break through the hidden barrier and discovers their world, Diana is informed the war forming outside her world. Feeling that Ares is responsible for this war, she goes with Steve to destroy Ares and put an end to the war.

After the less than impressive DCEU films of Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, director Patty Jenkins delivers the most brilliant DC film since The Dark Knight. What sets Wonder Woman apart from most origin stories is that it doesn’t drag on aspect that aren’t important. We didn’t linger on Diana’s childhood too long, nor her teen years. We are given enough of each to cover the first half hour, and from there we have Diana as a grown woman. As the first entry in a superhero film (not counting BVS), the story is really straightforward, but also has a lot of depth to it. The movie is 2 hours and 20 minutes, and never once does it drag or go by slow. Diana is an extremely compelling and strong character who isn’t tortured by demons. She’s a strong and brave woman from the start and believes in herself as well as others, especially the good in others. Towards the end we do see her falter but she does rise above it. But what’s a superhero movie without great action sequences? It does take place during WWI, and I thought this was going to make is extremely boring (like the first Captain America film), but the war is merely the backdrop and plot device. It’s not entirely focused on, nor is it the point of the story. It is what sets things in motion and what gives Diana her mission, but that’s it. But nothing has been a more exciting feat than seeing Wonder Woman kicking ass in the middle of huge battles. Along with this is the gorgeous cinematography. Another plus is that it doesn’t waste our time with pointless plot points, worthless characters, and senseless drama. It really is the superhero we go to the movies for. Gal Gadot is just incredible as our titular hero. She brings her A-game for the fight sequences and looks like a bad ass doing it. During the humorous moments it comes off as genuine and not over-done, and it’s really during the heartfelt moments that Gadot really shows how rounded of a character Diana is. Chris Pine is also portrayed as the leading man who is tough in his own way, but isn’t afraid to seek the help of Diana when he knows he needs it.

Wonder Woman is the perfect superhero film. It’s filled with fun, action, laughs, plenty of heart, and a hero worth admiring. The script itself is straightforward and consistent, and it’s all under the brilliant eye of Patty Jenkins (whom truly saved the DCEU hands-down). And the film certainly wouldn’t be complete without the outstanding performance of Gadot as Wonder Woman.

5/5