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Review: Justice League sees superhero overkill beginning to creep in

PUBLISHED: 08:32 17 November 2017

Ezra Miller as Flash, Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in Justice League. Photo: Warner Bros/RatPac-Dune Entertainment/DC Comics

Ezra Miller as Flash, Ben Affleck as Batman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in Justice League. Photo: Warner Bros/RatPac-Dune Entertainment/DC Comics

Warner Bros/RatPac-Dune Entertainment/DC Comics

DC's gathering of the clan, their equivalent of the Avengers Assembling, has had a low-key arrival in cinemas after the hubris of their Batman Vs Superman and Suicide Squad fiascos, and this film feels like a chore, a contractual obligation.

Ben Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Ezra Miller as Flash and Jason Momoa as Aquaman in Justice League. Photo: Warner Bros/RatPac-Dune Entertainment/DC ComicsBen Affleck as Batman, Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Ray Fisher as Cyborg, Ezra Miller as Flash and Jason Momoa as Aquaman in Justice League. Photo: Warner Bros/RatPac-Dune Entertainment/DC Comics

Justice League (12A)

**

What is happening when a Thor film is one of the year’s most anticipated releases, drumming up unheard of amounts of noise for what had previously been one of Marvel’s least heralded characters, while this DC gathering of the clan, their equivalent of the Avengers Assembling, has advanced towards cinemas in a campaign marked by silence and stealth?

The publicity campaign for Batman vs Superman seemed to last for years but the first posters for its sequel didn’t appear on the side of buses until a couple of weeks ago.

You’d have thought that the success of Wonder Woman might have put the spring back into Warner’s attempt to build a superhero universe of its very own but they still seem stricken by the hubris of their Batman Vs Superman and Suicide Squad fiascos.

Ray Fisher as Cyborg in Justice League. Photo: Warner Bros/RatPac-Dune Entertainment/DC ComicsRay Fisher as Cyborg in Justice League. Photo: Warner Bros/RatPac-Dune Entertainment/DC Comics

So, is this still supposed to be a big deal or not? I think the answer is probably not. Rather than some culminating epic, Justice League feels like a chore, a contractual obligation. Having set it all up by killing off Superman at the end of BvS, they can’t really get out of doing it, but the attitude is definitely let’s get this over and done with as quickly and cheaply as possible.

“Visionary” director Zack Synder’s gifts are limited but, given time and money, he can usually come up with a pretty picture or two for the audience to take home with them. There isn’t a striking or memorable image in this whole film. Everything is Computer Generated Mush.

Not that lessons haven’t been learned. It is much lighter than the previous Superman films though you may stop short of calling it fun.

Superman is brought back from the dead but his comeback is so nondescript you wonder why they bothered killing him off in the first place.

The main fun bringer is The Flash, played by Ezra Miller in the style of Jimmy Fallon. He’s nerdy, brash and uncertain and will probably be the breakout performer. The other news additions, Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher), make less of an impression.

Ezra Miller as Barry Allen in Justice League. Photo: Warner Bros/RatPac-Dune Entertainment/DC ComicsEzra Miller as Barry Allen in Justice League. Photo: Warner Bros/RatPac-Dune Entertainment/DC Comics

The big hope-sinking moment in BvS came right at the start when it went about going through the Batman origins again but this time we learn next nothing about how these fellows came to be.

The real problem here is that everybody is stepping on each other’s toes. Superhero overkill is beginning to creep into all of these movies but it is that bit acuter in the ensemble pieces where everybody seems to have more or less identical powers.

Flash, being able to run very fast, would seem to have the most distinctive powers in the group but when we see him in action, the world in slow motion while he moves a normal speed, the impact is lessened by the fact that we have seen Wonder Woman perform something very similar at the start of this film. Not to mention the two incarnations of Quicksilver over in the rival Marvel films.

Our all-conquering baddy this time is born-to-be-mild Steppenwolf, an all-conquering, all CGI, villain much like all the others, played by Ciarán Hinds but not so as you would notice. To get his power he has to collect a series of magic boxes, just like the Infinity Stones that are going to round off things over in the Wonderful World of Marvel’s Avengers series.

I believe fans might find some satisfaction here but if this is Justice, I’m a banana.

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