When Man of Steel was released in 2013, I saw it four times in theaters because it was such a dang cool spectacle with christological symbolism and pro-life themes. Later the following year, I realized that none of that stuff is enough if the characters aren’t interesting, with my last rewatch of Man of Steel revealing itself to be the bland destruction fest it is. I didn’t have expectations for Batman v. Superman or Suicide Squad, so I can’t say I was let down by those; however, as I’ve covered earlier on this blog, I was let down by the DC Extended Universe again when Wonder Woman fell apart on repeated viewings. So, all my expectations were set to expect nothing but disposable entertainment from Justice League.
Actually, my expectations for superhero movies period have been set at have-fun-watching-with-your-friends disposability since Age of Ultron turned out to be just alright after all the hype. Heck, Justice League is less of a DC movie than it is an Avengers movie with DC characters, though one closer to Age of Ultron than The Avengers in its occasionally forced humor. Gone is the admirable if failed ambition of the overly gloomy, too-much-too-soon Batman v. Superman; Justice League is generic, fluffy prevent-the-apocalypse stuff we’ve all seen before, complete with a CG cardboard cutout villain who looks like he stepped out of a PS3 game.
Nonetheless, I’ve known about the team members who haven’t gotten their cinematic due until now since I was a kid, so seeing The Flash—especially with the comic relief he brings here—, Cyborg, and Aquaman team up with Batman—who’s cooler here than he was in Batman v. Superman—and Wonder Woman team up is often a joy to watch; heck, I was having the most fun when their dynamics had me forgetting that this series’s mopey and cynical Superman was a thing. Unlike The Avengers, there’s no SHIELD-type organization bringing the League together; they’re on their own, and there’s only one instance of in-fighting, which has my favorite moment in the movie in the form of The Flash’s reaction to unexpectedly meeting his match.
So yeah, Justice League was beaten by The Avengers to what it’s trying to do, and it’s also trying to apologize for its predecessors’ mistakes while having to remind us of the wrong foot this DC universe started on. While I’m not entirely persuaded by the ending narration which means to promise this universe’s more hopeful future (a narration that ironically starts with the word “Darkness…” to which my friend and I both whispered “NO PARENTS“), I can call Justice League satisfyingly fun, if as forgettable as most superhero movies these days.