Justice League

JusticeLeague2
Why don’t they just call The Avengers?

D C should be winning this battle. The battle of good v. evil? Of course not. It’s the battle of DC v. Marvel. DC owned my youth; it probably owned your youth, too. Batman and Superman are iconic throughout the entire world; they will always carry more name recognition than Thor or Captain America. Marvel has no answer for Wonder Woman. None. There’s no feminist equivalent in the Marvel world. “Black Widow?” “Scarlet Witch?” Yeah, wake me when they’re not window dressing. And yet, Wonder Woman notwithstanding, Marvel is wiping its Iron Ass with DC and November, 2017, when the two went head-to-head, is prima facie evidence: Marvel movies are better.

But hey, don’t let that deter you. I’m sure Aquaman has plenty to offer for future films.

In case you missed it, Superman died last year. It wasn’t quite a “Who Shot JR?” mass media moment, but it’s possible the loss was felt in Gotham or Metropolis or whatever we’re calling NYC at the movies this week. The absence of Superman (Henry Cavill) should lead to a crime spree, but I think it just leaves Batman (Ben Affleck) a little heart-broken. As Batty Heartbreak thwarts the new threat of human/bug hybrids, we can see him all but wistfully reminisce about how Superman woulda squashed ‘em good. For plot point reasons alone, captured bugmen self-destruct, leaving a clue in the form of a triple XBOX configuration. Hmmm, will the key to defeating the new homo insectus threat lie in playing the inevitable Justice League video game? I wouldn’t put it past marketing people; you just know behind the scenes managers are saying, “Yes, this film will make a zillion dollars world-wide, but how can it make more?”

A new monster has arrived in the form of long banished god Steppenwolf (voice of Ciarán Hinds). This big blue meanie was born to be wild, and wants to take a magic carpet ride to collect the XBOXes from the ancient and non-existent cultures of the world. Seeing the threat, Batman decides it’s time to get the band back together take out the trash create the Justice League, which is nothing like The Avengers. Who said, “Avengers?” What Avengers? There’s no need for any Avenger talk around here, so stow it. All Batman is doing is collecting powerful beings for some sort of extra-human alliance to fight evil. That is nothing at all like The Avengers.

First he gets Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot); if you were awake this year, you already know her story. Then Batman finds Aquaman (Jason Momoa) whose invincibility in the realm of the sea is completely ignored by this film. Then there’s The Flash (Ezra Miller), a not-ready-for-prime-time hero … but the unready kid angle worked so well for the Avengers in Spider-Man: Homecoming, it’s impossible not to jump on the writing coup. Heck, I’m not arguing; the worst part of the DC world is lack of levity. If it takes Joss Whedon and a Spidey-kid ripoff to get some smiles up in this bitch, go for it. Finally, there’s Cyborg (Ray Fisher), a human-machine hybrid who sort of behaves as a superstrong weaponized personified mobile internet (without the cat videos and the trolling, I presume). Cyborg won’t remind you of Vision at all. No way.

I liked Justice League more than I didn’t, which, given DC’s recent cinematic track record, should be an accomplishment. It’s a Zack Snyder, so, naturally, every female in the film from Lois Lane (Amy Adams) to Superman’s stepmom (Diane Lane) had to have a generous neckline. Sorry, but as long as Snyder is at the helm, it’s impossible to imagine feminism has a stronghold within the DC realm. But Snyder didn’t ruin this picture, and neither did the fact that the Avengers already exist. I’m not sure what you tell children who ask why the two major groups of heroes (not to mention the X-Men) never get together or recognize the same global threats. Regardless, DC hasn’t played its final hand. There will be plenty more Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash and et cetera films in the future. Is “Et Cetera” a new DC hero? As long as he can do what Captain America does, sure.

♪Get your Batcar runnin’
Head into the melee
Lookin’ for companions
Or maybe just a cliché
Yeah, Alfred, gonna make a new team
Filled with guys from the DC works
Take aim at our sworn enemy:
Avenging Marvel jerks

Like long-form papers filed
It was born, born to mild
We can pass a few
And be #2

Born to be mild♫

Rated PG-13, 120 Minutes
Director: Zack Snyder
Writer: Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon
Genre: Anything you can do, I can do … also
Type of being most likely to enjoy this film: Stockholders and employees of DC Comics
Type of being least likely to enjoy this film: Makers of Spider-Man: Homecoming

♪ Parody Inspired by “Born to be Wild”

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