THEY PLAY WELL TOGETHER

FIRST LOOK: An Action Filled, Slightly Tongue in Cheeck "Justice League" Inspires

Updated 3 weeks ago by Tony Rutherford , HNN Entertainment Editor
FIRST LOOK: An Action Filled, Slightly Tongue in Cheeck "Justice League" Inspires

Bug duty, rope tricks, and playing well together all provide devious hints to the enjoyable content of "Justice League of America" on the big screen. The preview audience lightly clapped and all stayed through closing credits.

Me? It recalled a youthful experience. As an asthmatic , dad often in the evening had to pick up a prescription at the drug store while I lay in bed. He brought items with the meds, hoping I would not complain about "taste" of the cough medicine. One night he brought two "Justice League" comics to gently tide me over until I felt better. They were the first one's I'd read. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, and more. I was in comic book heaven.

Many of those same characters came to life last night on a big digital screen with state of the art sound. They battled Steppenwolf , a powerful godly cosmic being , determined to end life on Earth.

FIRST LOOK: An Action Filled, Slightly Tongue in Cheeck "Justice League" Inspires

Unlike most initial "team up" films, "Justice League" does not waste time on origin set ups. Aside from Cyborg, the characters are icons to comic readers. They require little introduction, resulting in Wonder Woman bouncing bullets off bracelets in the film's earliest portion. As the heroes concede aliens are now on earth , news media report that "aliens stole my man." Steppenwolf and his mosquito type flying henchmen interrogate those snatched for locations of powerful "box" weaponry that dates back to early Amazonian (Wonder Woman)  and Atlantis (Aquaman) history. 

Recruiting The Flash (a fast moving slow thinking defacto young nerd) and Cyborg (a man turned part machine by his dad to keep him alive) flow well. Ezra Miller (Flash/Barry Allen) steals the movie with his naive , teen Spider Man styled persona. His "newness" allows for curt, cutting, zinging one-liners that do not lesson the seriousness of the storyline.

FIRST LOOK: An Action Filled, Slightly Tongue in Cheeck "Justice League" Inspires

Director Zack Snyder has wisely chosen a battleground that does not contain bridges, highways and skyscrapers. The refreshing venue is near an abandoned Russian nuclear plant --- the exhaust tower becomes the headquarters for the cosmic villain.

Of course, there are inconsistent flubs, of sorts. For instance, the JLA flies in their jet, but nearly all but Batman more than once spiral to the sky and land unharmed on their feet. 

Treading lightly on the open secret spoiler --- Superman's resurrection --- the aftermath has a "Field of Dreams" overture and a downtrodden Lois Lane given over to "fluff" news is pivotal in post-resurrection action.  Alluding to the spoiler scenario, the Flash worries about a Stephen King “Pet Sematary” occurrence. Now, pen and mouth shut.

FIRST LOOK: An Action Filled, Slightly Tongue in Cheeck "Justice League" Inspires

Speaking of which, a male accompanied me to this one, and he praised the solid action and adventure of the film. Lots of tosses and bumps of character; a few dislocations and red scrapes are the only injuries. 

DC and Marvel have for 50 years been rivals. DC's universe , generally, shed their secret identity in a quick phone booth and head off to battle. Marvel's universe tend to converse in and out of spandex about imperfect lives and express emotions. Ironically, Snyder seems to have learned expressive emotions and hints of non-costumed lives from his competition. Same with spiffy , short sweet, laughingly quirky conversations. And, when it's time to "clobber" the super villain(s), the heroes do so without joking.  

FIRST LOOK: An Action Filled, Slightly Tongue in Cheeck "Justice League" Inspires

"JLA" is a film that caters to those who followed the characters adventures whether in comics, on TV, or big screen. They assemble. They try working together. They kick ass. 

Yes, initially there's a gloomy mood encompassing which fades from Wonder Woma's  (Gale Gadot) hopeful and upbeat acceptance of a challenge without Superman and risky choices that eventually glorify hope and brightness. 

Snyder's chosen cinematic elements and persona blending exceeds The Avengers (ok, that's a declaration of war!) particularly if the D.C. heroes were your youthful fantasies (I was always Superman in my dreams as a way of countering tremendous bullying in public school.) But, "JLA" has an "Avengers" connection --- it's director Jess Whedon. Hired for dialogue rewrites, Whedon finished post production (amid expensive re-shoots) after Snyder and his producer wife, Deborah, lost their daughter, Autumn to suicide in the Spring. That likely explains the near seamless transition from serious to jokingly upbeat. Only Affleck's Batman sticks with downbeat observations, yet, he does lose some of his uptightness joking about his power as "a rich man" and a comment about undoing injustice by "buying the bank."

Many critics disagree with me. But it's certainly NOT " a lugubrious mess that has a few engaging moments and performances that are often overwhelmed by noisy setpieces, a screenplay that only flirts with coherence..."

Expect, at worst: 

Superman from "Batman v. Superman"
Superman from "Batman v. Superman"

"...as grand as Man of Steel, as murky as Batman v Superman, as messy as Suicide Squad, and as optimistic as Wonder Woman."

And, I agree: "Justice League is one of those superhero films that you can't help but cheer on. Those smiles and laughs by these heroes, as it turns out, are as contagious as their frowns." But Richard Roeper, Chicago Sun Times, accurately called it a "putting the band together origins movie , executed with fun and energy."

During a press conference Ben Affleck revealed he may soon gracefully step aside from the Batman role. Meantime, he said  in USA Today of the Justice League opening:  

.“There’s a lot of stuff going on in the world, from natural to man-made disasters, and it’s really scary. Part of the appeal of this genre is wish fulfillment: Wouldn’t it be nice if there was somebody who can save us from all this, save us from ourselves, save us from the consequences of our actions and save us from people who are evil?”

FIRST LOOK: An Action Filled, Slightly Tongue in Cheeck "Justice League" Inspires

Adds Gal Gadot: “People planned on making this movie 10 years ago, and even 20 years ago, and it just never happened. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason and things take time. Only in retrospect can you understand why. 


 Speaking of Superman, Dean Cain who played the man of steel in Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman stopped by the Ceredo, WV police department where he filmed a scene for an upcoming movie. The shoot took place Thursday, Nov. 16. 

 ALL PHOTOS WARNER BROS. ENTERTAINMENT

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