As a lifelong DC fan, of both comics and films, I was immeasurably excited to see Justice League. Despite my many grievances with most of the previous entries in this DC cinematic universe, (Man of steel, Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad) I was looking forward to seeing my favourite superhero team on the big screen for the first time. Throughout the entirety of its production, rumours of reshoots, disagreements and tonal changes were rampant, and with the switch between directors happening mere months before the film was due out things were not looking good for Justice League. Admittedly, I was dubious by the time I finally got to see it. As I got into the cinema, I found myself praying fervently that the film would be, at the very least, fun as opposed to the monochromatic mess of Batman V Superman. I was not disappointed. Objectively this is not a well made film, with rather obvious green screen, evident reshoots and countless scenes cut that appeared in the trailers. While objectively from the point of view of the average filmgoer this film was a muddled mess whose weak villain, watered down plot and frankly horhorrific cgi Superman face may have been enough to turn them away, I simply could not move. As a fan, I absolutely loved this film. Despite its plethora of aforementioned problems what was eventually delivered was a fun romp through the DC universe, with just enough fan service to make a fanboy swoon. I found myself squealing with delight when Superman used his freeze breath and to see Steppenwolf (the admittedly weak villain) carve through amazons like cake was pure, unadulterated awesomeness.
Throughout the superman films of yesteryear, the prevailing issue through them all has been Superman's characterisation. The Christopher Reeve films of the 70s leaned too heavily into the golden age boy scout rendition of the character, while the grim and gritty Man of Steel bombarded us with elements of the brooding post-crisis version of the character, feeling more like a stereotype than a living, breathing character. This film nailed his characterisation to a T. Granted it took death itself to give us the true Superman, but this is truly Superman. Gone is the stoic, isolated outsider, replaced instead with a quippy, slightly arrogant Superman who takes joy out of being the most powerful being to ever exist. The one caveat for this is, of course, the weirdly pasted out, distended face of Henry Cavill. While his actual face is fine, due to a legal dispute between Warner Bros. and Paramount the editors were forced to green screen out a moustache that the actor had grew for a different role. Wonder Woman was awesomely characterised, with her arc carrying over from her solo film seamlessly. Characterising Cyborg was a positively herculean task, but one that they pulled off far better than I could imagine. Aquaman, while not really resembling his classic 60s persona is surprisingly pleasant to watch, despite being a nigh complete departure from his actual character. The three weakest characters were by far Batman, The Flash and the villain, Steppenwolf. While not necessarily a bad character, the Flash we got resembles more the Wally West incarnation of the character as opposed to being Barry Allen. Steppenwolf is a fairly one dimensional character, with little being known about him besides his coveting of the three mystery macguffins of this film, the Mother Boxes. This is in part due to the copious editing the film endured before release, but also due in part to the significantly shorter runtime of 2 hours, seemingly a ploy by Warner Bros. in an attempt to recoup their losses. . Arguably the single worst characterisation in the film was Batman. In this film, Batman comes across more as a bumbling, self-aware wise guy instead of the brooding, burly badass we have come to love. After a standout performance in last year's Batman V Superman, Ben Affleck seems to have lost all of the initial enthusiasm that made his portrayal so good, with his lines obviously being phoned in, and his fight scenes leave a lot to be desired, especially after the universally lauded warehouse scene from BVS. While originally this Batman seemed able to go toe to toe with Superman, this version seems incapable of fighting his way out of a paper bag.
Despite these issues, I loved Justice League and while it didn't hit all of the right beats in order to make it a standout hit it is definitely a step in the right direction for DC comics' film division, and I am definitely excited for where they take this franchise next.