I don't want to think very much about this right now; I just want to get my first impressions down as quickly as I can.
I saw the new Justice League movie Monday night, a few nights later than I originally planned. And I loved it, loved it so much more than I would have thought likely. It struck all the right chords, maintained an agreeable balance of action and humor, executed the character interplay that prevents this sort of thing from devolving into a two-hour video game, and just soared from start to finish with the ease of a beloved hero leaping over tall buildings in a single bound. I won't spoil any of it for those still wishing to see it. But I do have a few quick points:
Although Justice League is a sequel, it is most definitely not another Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, a film which a lot of people despised. I was okay with BvS and its predecessor Man Of Steel, but I understand why so many seemed to hate them both; they were dark and somber, with far too little light, and far too eager to follow the tone of Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy and writer/artist Frank Miller's scowling epic The Dark Knight Returns. They weren't...fun.
Well, Justice League is fun. Yet it doesn't seem frothy. It takes itself seriously enough to lend gravitas, but not so seriously that it gets in its own way. For all the perceived faults of Man Of Steel and Batman V Superman, I don't think Justice League would be able to hit its heights without having those films as a foundation upon which to build something...grand. And it also wouldn't work if this year's superb Wonder Woman movie hadn't already begun the task of bringing all the threads together. (It does work best if we ignore Suicide Squad, though; God, that movie was terrible.)
|"Terrible?" You're so negative!|
If you hate superhero movies, this probably won't convert you. If you love superhero movies, Justice League is about as good as they get, nearly on a par with Wonder Woman. It has what you expect in the genre. Explosions! Super fight scenes! Cataclysmic threat! Petty squabbling among the good guys! It also has the one not-so-secret ingredient essential in making these flights of fancy sustain themselves: heart. Justice League believes in itself, and that inspires the audience to believe as well. To believe a man can fly. To believe that criminals are a superstitious and cowardly lot. To believe that strength comes from love, and that love is strong enough to conquer hate. To believe in justice. To believe in hope.
I believe. I've believed since I was a kid, watching and reading Batman, and my occasional flirtations with cynicism have never come close to robbing me of my sense of wonder. Justice League is a tale of redemption and heroism, humans rising to be whatever best thing they can be as gods battle and cities crumble. There is one specific moment in the film where I almost teared up, as an emotional scene on the screen achieved a moving, affecting jolt of sentimental catharsis. There were many, many moments throughout the film that made me smile, blissful and content, as comic books came to life before my eyes. I went into this film with my expectations managed. It was so much better than I anticipated, so much better than its commercials and trailers made it seem. This is the stuff my dreams are made of.
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