WHAT IS IT ABOUT?
After regaining his hope in humanity, Batman enlists the help of other superheroes such as Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg to stop a looming threat to the planet.
IS IT ANY GOOD? (GRADE: A-)
The Justice League is finally here and, while the film has its flaws, I am very happy to say that it’s an absolute blast! The previous DC films (with the exception of Wonder Woman) have all been met with mixed-to-negative reactions. Many have found that Warner Brothers’ more serious and skeptical approach to characters like Superman just didn't work. While I admire that they were willing to take some risks on well-known characters, I am also very happy to see that they are finally getting these heroes right (especially Superman).
The biggest strength of Justice League is its cast and their shared chemistry. Each member of the team gets their moments to shine and each actor embodies their character flawlessly. Ben Affleck does great work this time around portraying Batman/Bruce Wayne as much more hopeful and as the leader the team needs. Gal Gadot is once again mesmerizing as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman. She has one of the best character arcs of the film and Gal Gadot really nails the performance once again. Ezra Miller’s Flash was a blast to watch and adds a much need youthfulness to the team.
Jason Momoa as Aquaman is another standout. He does a wonderful job of portraying the character as both intimidating and vulnerable. Ray Fisher as Cyborg might be my favorite new character in the franchise; his character goes through a relatable journey of learning to accept who he is. Last, but not least (spoilers), we have Superman. He’s not in the marketing but, come on, of course he’s back. I won’t say much, but I will say his performance put a big smile on my face. Those that were disappointed with his broodiness in Batman v Superman are sure to be pleased with him here, as he embodies the promise of hope so often associated with the Man of Steel.
Director Zack Synder had to step away from the film near the end of production due to a family tragedy, inviting Avengers director Joss Whedon to step in and complete the project. Their two distinct styles actually merge really well here. The action is powerful in a way that we’ve come to expect from Synder, but the dialogue is definitely elevated by Whedon (who’s credited as co-writer).
While the film is a lot of fun, it’s not without its shortcomings. The villain isn’t the most interesting villain, but he’s also not terrible. The movie has some clunky moments and jumps around quite a bit at times but finds a pretty steady pacing once the team unites. The film's biggest flaw is its over-reliance on CGI. There were times I found myself being a bit distracted by it. Overall, however, Justice League is a great time at the movies thanks to its fantastic cast that truly embodies what it means to be heroes. Also, make sure to stay for the two fantastic post-credit scenes!
IS IT OKAY FOR YOUR FAMILY?
Justice League is rated PG-13. There is sci-fi action violence all through the film. Lots of fist fighting, alien laser guns, and sword fighting. A few people are impaled with swords and spears. There is no blood, except for a little bit of alien blood. Most of the action takes place away from large places of the population so there are few civilian causalities implied. Mild profanities throughout, and no sexuality.
ANY WORTHWHILE MESSAGES?
In order to overcome great obstacles, it’s important to learn to work with others. United we can do more good than standing alone (see D&C 38:27). Good leaders have to make tough choices and work side by side with those they lead. Grief can be a crippling experience; it’s important that we are understanding of those experiencing it.
Forgiveness includes learning to forgive yourself. Elder Richard G. Scott taught: “Now if you are one who cannot forgive yourself… if you feel compelled to continually condemn yourself and suffer by frequently recalling the details of past errors, I plead with all of my soul that you ponder this statement of the Savior: ‘He who has repented of his sins, the same is forgiven, and I, the Lord, remember them no more. By this ye may know if a man repenteth of his sins … he will confess them and forsake them,’” ("Peace of Conscience and Peace of Mind," October 2004 General Conference).
For movie night recommendations and Gospel discussion guides, order 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families, available in paperback and Kindle.