|Image courtesy of Warner Bros.|
Zack Snyder's film isn't a bad one - although there are some cringe-inducing scenes, most notably the ones in which villain Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) attacks with a marauding band of flying insects that give off the vibe of scenes that didn't make the final cut in "The Hobbit" sequels - but it is lacking a personality and a raison d'etre, other than - to quote the finale of "Spaceballs" - the search for more money.
Gal Godot and Ezra Miller add a little flavor to the proceedings as Wonder Woman and The Flash, respectively. Ben Affleck is back as Batman and he's given a little more personality than in the flop "Batman v Superman," while Henry Cavill reprises his role as Superman. A great cast - Diane Lane, Amy Adams, J.K. Simmons, Joe Morton and Jason Mamoa, providing a snippy Aquaman portrayal - doesn't go far enough to make up for the lack of inspiration here.
As the film opens, Steppenwolf and his band of insects are planning to attack Earth in the wake of Superman's death. Batman and Wonder Woman round up Aquaman, Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and The Flash to form their own Avengers-style superhero team to take on the menace. This mostly results in Batman brooding, Aquaman complaining, Cyborg sulking and The Flash babbling, although the latter's incessant banter provides a little levity amid all the nonstop battle scenes and expensive special effects.
An odd plot point in the film involves a Russian family, whose home is repeatedly threatened by Steppenwolf's crew for no other point than to be saved late in the movie by two of the heroes and then quickly forgotten. Another minor and unnecessary plot strand involves the sale of Superman's old home. Moving on.
Although I am as equally fatigued by "The Avengers" movies as I am the DC output, the former - at least - is lighter on its feet - that is, when it's not attempting to tackle such topics as the overstepping of Homeland Security - and quicker to poke fun at itself. "Justice League" is, similar to other Snyder films, often so straight-faced that it provokes a question once posed by one of DC's top villains: Why so serious?
Earlier this year, "Wonder Woman" showed how to do a comic book movie the right way. Should DC move forward with a "Flash" movie - as I'm sure they will - it could be fun, especially with Miller in the lead. But despite the fact that the villain in this latest entry is named Steppenwolf, the mantra for this picture could be "Born to Be Mild."