Visually stunning. The story was better than I had expected as it kept me engaged for the run-time, but it was so over-the-top that it’s not surprising to see DC needing to review its ongoing slate 😉
The first half started out like a rollercoaster action sequence. Suspend belief and go along for the ride – it’s a good one. But we needed to look at the plot which sees the fairly usual corruption within the benevolent organisation which began it all and tries to tie things back to the founders of the original Jurassic Park. In general, the action is good but some of the threads linking the pieces together, not so much. And you have Dr Malcolm’s monologue bookending the whole proceedings earning us of the dangers of opening Pandora’s box of the ‘genetic age’. This felt a little like reworking some of the earlier messages of Crighton’s work, as well as the dialogue, and didn’t really do anything aside from setting up the next instalment where a few dinos are on the loose on the mainland (sorry, spoiler). But the mainland has significantly more resources than the characters do in their sandbox environments on the island or in the house, so I can’t see them posing a real threat – more like Bigfoot tales.
My main gripe was the handling of the Indo-raptor hybrid when it decided to go outside, climb up on the roof, then climb down the front of the building and in through the little girl’s window, shadows from lightning and all showing clawed hands and teeth. It felt like we were drawing too much from the days of Nosferatu and shadow play for easy scares. And the now-famous T-Rex was seen periodically doing its posing roar that, in an earlier instalment set it up as an A-list carnivore, but now looks like it’s simply posing for the camera like a celebrity does (see Alex in the original Madagascar movie).
Other than that, a good popcorn movie.
I enjoyed the movie but thought it could have been better. My main gripe was when Aries spontaneously appeared for the final smack-down with Wonder Woman towards the end of the movie.
There were so many opportunities for the film to hint at his hand throughout (rather than just hearing Diana tell us that Aries was behind the war), and so many squandered opportunities for both of them to posture throughout the script, that it felt quite odd for him to suddenly appear in the watchtower and then escalate into the atypical DCEU smackdown-of-the-gods as we have seen before. We also saw some of the standard tropes during the movie in the exposition dialogue (“is that all you’ve got” et al) which felt like more work could have been done, even though it still stands above the Justice League work by far.
Gal Gadot’s performance was excellent and the script was well grounded throughout the rest of the film which gave it a more human element than other DCEU scripts have had. It was more relatable and her “fish out of water” performance was funny. Themyscira (her island home) was also beautifully rendered.
Superhero movies are everywhere these days, but I find ones that deal with god-like beings more challenging because they are an ‘outside context problem’ for mere mortals. Marvel has taken much of the god-like stuff off-world, isolating it in context from humanity, which makes it more engaging. Marvel also has a cast of superheroes who aren’t all god-like beings but are instead humans with augmented abilities which can make it easier to write relatable stories, and also more vulnerable as characters.
I don’t find it surprising that Warner Brothers has chosen now to focus more on individual films (the DCU) rather than trying to run with an integrated universe from the get-go (the DCEU) and I think the slow and steady approach that worked with Marvel will benefit them. Assuming the superhero genre remains popular in the long term!
As a movie, this sort-a worked out OK. Lots of big action sequences, a team of heroes and heroines, some comedic moments though not much emotion. The “good” guys spent all but an instant wrestling with the morality of resurrection hingeing on the old adage of “the greater good” for example.
Yet as a film, you have to wonder why two of the tribes (Atlanteans and Amazonians) went to extraordinary lengths to “seal” the unity/mother boxes in temples/tombs when the Steppenwolf just teleported into them, and then teleported out again. All seemed a little pointless other than to show off some set design and set pieces. And the box of Man was just buried so nobody could ever find it, yet somebody did (which was not explained) and, even if they hadn’t, these boxes send out a homing signal when they wake up so Steppenwolf would know where they are. Odd that.
We’ve seen the Green Lanterns in other incarnations, so it might have been more prudent to spread the stones far and wide and take a bit longer getting to the big endgame (assimilate earth) than rush to it in a fraction of the time that Marvel did getting to Avengers: Infinity War. Though, if they had restricted it that way there is a lot of similarity between the ideas (megalomaniac seeks multiple power stones/crystals to ensure destruction).
Justice League felt like a collection of pieces that didn’t add up to more than the sum of its parts. It was still a visually good movie, and worth the runtime, but there wasn’t the payoff we have come to expect with the Marvel canon.
This is another good move from the Marvel stable. It may be ‘groundbreaking’ in its casting, but the story felt somewhat formulaic and many characters remained two-dimensional. The story kept good pace (though felt a little long for me). Some backstory was left to voiceover over the opening titles, and didn’t really have a huge impact when it came to leveraging this during the story. But, this is Marvel and not something like the Planet of the Apes trilogy.