‘Justice League’ unites fun, classic story

The Earth is on the brink of destruction, and it’s up to the heroes of tomorrow to unite and protect Earth.

On Nov. 17, Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg united to bring the “Justice League” to the big screen for the first time ever.

The film begins with a childs’s cellphone footage of Superman (Henry Cavill) before he died, then goes into the title screen and what seems like the actual start of the movie. I thought it was weird to start the film with found-footage that seems like it was meant to remind the audience that Superman died in “Batman v. Superman.” It’s talked about so organically so many more times in the film that audiences should have just been left to pick up on it.

After the title screen, no time is wasted on the unnecessary dialogue that plagued “BvS.” Batman (Ben Affleck) seems to be on patrol, but he is actually using the fear of a thief to draw out, wait for it, a PARADEMON!

In the comics and in the movie, Parademons are the soldiers of Apokolips, the apocalyptic world of the New Gods. They are humanoid in appearance, with black skin, bright yellow eyes, and wings. They’re not pretty to look at, and they’re portrayed quite perfectly. Seeing Batman fight a Parademon on the big screen is not only extremely satisfying for comic book readers, but the fact that it happens so early in the movie all but guarantees that the movie is going to be full of action.

After Batman wrestles with the Parademon for a minute or so, he captures it in a bat-net on a wall. It explodes, leaving a pattern on the wall. Batman, A.K.A. Bruce Wayne, radios Alfred (Jeremy Irons), and they discuss how this pattern of three boxes has been popping up in other places around the world.

Wonder Woman busts in on a bank robbery as the inciter of the robbery cocks his gun and prepares to kill all of the hostages. But Wonder Woman moves with super-speed to stop every bullet from hitting someone innocent. Then she waltzes off the scene in civilian clothes as Diana Prince, with the perpetrators tied up in in the Lasso of Truth, willingly telling an officer all about the heist.

Batman’s fight scene followed by another action-packed sequence with Wonder Woman whole heartedly pleased me because the pacing in “BvS” was slow and borderline boring.

Then, Batman begins trying to put this team together that he’s been talking about since the end of “BvS.”

JLA not cutoutBruce Wayne stops at a small boat town looking for Arthur Curry, A.K.A. Aquaman (Jason Momoa). Bruce finds him, and (apparently) Aquaman doesn’t really associate with Atlantis. So, he’s just a loner who helps this small fishing town? I don’t know if I buy this. I was taken aback when this was revealed, then I thought about it a little more. I decided that I’m open to this different, newer interpretation of Aquaman, because the rest of the role is done so well. Snyder and Momoa kind of brought this dude-bro essence to Aquaman, which was a fun and refreshing take on a character that could rip you apart with his bare hands or a wall of water. Momoa’s Aquaman is a great portrayal of the character, and I can’t wait to get more of him in the solo Aquaman film, as well as a fleshed-out backstory.

Aquaman initially turns down Batman, so his next stop is with the fastest man alive, The Flash, A.K.A. Barry Allen (Ezra Miller). When Barry shows up at his place and turns the power on, “Rick and Morty” comes on the TV and Bruce Wayne is sitting in a chair in Barry’s place.

Bruce makes advances at Barry about him being The Flash, and Barry smoothly shrugs them off. Bruce throws a batarang at Barry, and with Barry’s super speed, time seems to slow down as he dodges and grabs Batman’s batarangs. Filled with excitement after realizing Batman was standing right in front of him, he enthusiastically agreed to join Batman’s team.

While all of this was going on, Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds), one of the New Gods of Apokolips, boom-tubed (teleported) his way into a vault in Themyscira, Wonder Woman’s homeland. In the vault is a Mother Box.

In the comics, a Mother Box is something that, typically, all the New Gods have. It’s essentially extremely advanced and powerful organic technology.

In the movie, the idea of a Mother Box is kind of condensed and molded to fit the narrative of the film. But seeing the Mother Boxes on the big screen in a live-action film is still really cool.

Apparently, Steppenwolf had been to Earth thousands of years ago, which is how the Mother Boxes got to Earth in the first place. The flashback that shows Steppenwolf coming to conquer Earth also pleased the comic community.

Basically, the three factions of the world, the Amazons, the Atlanteans, and man fought Steppenwolf back, with some help from a Green Lantern, separating the three Mother Boxes. Each group did what they could to safeguard the Mother Box in their possession. The one that man had is the one that scientists were researching and the one that turned Vic Stone into Cyborg.

Diana is in the Batcave researching Victor Stone, A.K.A. Cyborg (Ray Fisher), when he hacks into the computers and asks Diana why she’s looking for him. He agrees to meet her, even though he’s been dealing with processing all of the information he stores now. In the comics and the DC cinematic universe, Vic Stone is visiting his dad at S.T.A.R. Labs when an accident occurs, and Vic almost dies. His dad uses technology from a Mother Box to save his son’s life, turning him into Cyborg. At the beginning of the movie, Cyborg is in possession of the Mother Box that turned him into what he is now.

Aquaman didn’t join up until he failed to thwart Steppenwolf from taking the Mother Box in Atlantis. He realized that it’s his duty as heir to the Atlantean throne to stop Steppenwolf.

Superman is dead when the movie begins, and it’s a big part of what the heroes are dealing with while facing the world-ending threat that Steppenwolf presents.

The Mother Box in Cyborg’s possession gives Bruce the idea of using it to resurrect Superman. When they do, Superman wakes up angry and delusional, leaving the League to do damage control. While they’re trying to calm down Superman, Steppenwolf takes the Mother Box that they left behind.

Steppenwolf now has all three Mother Boxes and the movie is reaching its climax, while Superman flew away to gain control of himself with Lois Lane.

Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, and Cyborg are trying to take on Steppenwolf and stop the Mother Boxes from destroying Earth, to no avail, when Superman shows up and helps the heroes put the beat down on Steppenwolf.

He gets scared and a bunch of Parademons begin attacking him when he and the Parademons get boom-tubed to an undisclosed location, although he probably got pulled back to Apokolips.

The heroes then settle down a bit. Bruce helps Clark get his family’s house back, and they start discussing plans to turn the run-down Wayne Manor into a Justice League Watchtower of sorts, even though they don’t actually use that term in the movie. They don’t even call themselves or are they ever referred to as the Justice League in the movie.

There’s a mid-credits scene that depicts the classic scenario from the comics of Superman and Flash racing, which put a huge smile on my face, although I was smiling through most of the movie.

The post-credits scene, which I almost cheered about, shows Jesse Eisneburg’s Lex Luthor meeting with Joe Manganello’s Deathstroke. I did not expect a Deathstroke appearance in this movie, and the fact that he was there, and looked great, was a great teaser to get me excited to see what’s next in the DC cinematic universe.

After being disappointed with “Batman v. Superman,” and “Suicide Squad” being OK, it makes me quite happy to say that “Justice League” delivered a classic take on the superhero team.

There is great chemistry between the League, which I wasn’t really expecting. I felt that all the heroes were defined by the end of the film. Batman isn’t stiff like he has been portrayed in earlier films. Wonder Woman is still kicking butt. Cavil seems to have embraced more of who Superman is and what he stands for. Cyborg was portrayed well with the screen time he had, and Aquaman and Flash really shined in the film.

There are some imperfections in the movie, but it delivered an extremely classic story of the Justice League that seemed like it was right out of a Justice League graphic novel.

I give “Justice League” an 8 out of 10.


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