Still playing catchup with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the DC Extended Universe somewhat redeems itself for the failure of “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” with “Justice League.”
A joint effort between Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon (who stepped in after the suicide of Snyder’s daughter), “Justice League” continues right where the “Batman v. Superman” leaves off: the death of Superman (Henry Cavill). The world seems to have gone a little crazy without the Man of Steel and Metropolis and Gotham are both ridden with crime. Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) are doing their best to keep things in check but when a new villain arrives on the scene, they realize they need help.
The villain, Steppenwolf (a weird CGI creation whose only redeeming quality is that he’s voiced by Ciaran Hinds), arrives on the scene looking for…wait for it…the power to overthrow the world. What a surprise. Just like the Allspark of the Transformers and the Tesseract of Thor’s Asgard, the power source here is also a box, in this case Mother Boxes. There are three and when put together they form The Unity, which would give Steppenwolf the power to rule the universe. It’s not a very imaginative plot point as far as superhero movies go, but it gives “Justice League” just enough reason to exist at all.
The Mother Boxes are guarded by the Amazonians of Themyscira, the home of Wonder Woman, the Atlanteans, home of Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and men, who basically buried it somewhere. Aided by his hoard of metallic flying man-bugs, Steppenwolf seizes the Mother Boxes.
Realizing they can’t stop Steppenwolf alone, Batman and Wonder Woman go recruiting. Having heard of others with powers they reach out. Bruce Wayne/Batman heads off to Central City to visit Barry Allen (Ezra Miller), otherwise known as The Flash. Meanwhile, Diana Prince/Wonder Woman goes to meet Victor Stone (Ray Fisher) who, after almost dying in a car accident, is turned into Cyborg by his dad (Joe Morton).
The best part of an otherwise been-there-done-that film, is Ezra Miller’s Flash. Reminiscent of Tom Holland’s Spiderman, Barry Allen is the kid who’s totally geeking out over the chance to work with the big boys (and girl!). He provides most of the funny lines. Jason Momoa as Arthur Curry/Aquaman provides big muscles and lots of punches to Steppenwolf but doesn’t really add much to the film except that as part of the Justice League of the comics he has to be there.
The quality of the supporting cast members give “Justice League” a leg up. Jeremy Irons as Alfred, Amy Adams as Lois Lane, Diane Lane as Martha Kent, Joe Morton as Silas Stone, Connie Nielson as Queen Hippolyta, and J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon (although I still see him as J. Jonah Jameson, the newspaper editor in the Tobey Maguire Spiderman films), all lend the acting chops needed to make “Justice League” a watchable film.
In our day and age, superhero films retain their popularity as moviegoers applaud the selfless sacrifices made by the hero in order to protect those who cannot protect themselves. In the real world, service professions such as doctors, firefighters, and police officers sometimes get tagged as being heroic. “Justice League” brings home the fact that heroes also need help. No one can do it alone. We are made to need each other, whether our actions are heroic or not. Just as Jesus needed the companionship and help of the apostles, so we, too, need the help of others as we go through life. Hey, if Batman and Wonder Woman need The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg to help save the world, who are we to think we can solve our own problems alone? So reach out, ask for help, and be willing to be a helper for someone else.