WB's Justice League Succeeds Where Batman v Superman Failed

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Justice League on Blu-ray

So I've just watched JUSTICE LEAGUE for the first time, thanks to the Blu-ray / DVD / Digital release of the film, and I have to admit that I'm happily impressed. For the most part, anyway. After having been sorely disappointed with many of the aspects of its predecessor, BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, JUSTICE LEAGUE was a film that took the DCEU leaps and bounds into better territory.

The film quickly establishes that Batman is aware of the presence of parademons on Earth, using one of his recent street crime conquests to lure one out with the smell of fear. From there, we discover that he is trying to put together a team of people he has identified: Arthur Curry, Barry Allen and Victor Stone. Arthur is better known as Aquaman, a strong fighter from Atlantis who acts like he'd be more at home in a biker gang at an Allman Brothers concert. Barry, as anyone with a television set should be able to tell you, is The Flash, although in the DCEU vision he's more of a socially stunted basket case.

And then there's Victor. Victor is the Cyborg, his body repaired after an explosion by his scientist father using technology from a crashed Kryptonian spacecraft and activated by a "change engine" aka a Mother Box. Now he's wired into the system. When you gaze into the Internet, Victor Stone gazes back into you. He's fully aware that Bruce Wayne is looking for him, because he can hear him searching for him.

Of all the potential new recruits, only Barry is quick to join. However, when it become apparent to the others that an invasion from space has begun, they agree to ally their forces. This is a battle that has been fought before, thousands of years ago, against the New God known as Steppenwolf, uncle to Darkseid. We get to see this ancient battle, which found him trying to unite three Mother Boxes into a Unity that would turn Earth into another Apokolips like his homeworld. Thanks to the alliance of Amazons, Atlanteans, men, gods...and GREEN LANTERNS, Steppenwolf was driven away and the Mother Boxes kept separate. But now Steppenwolf has two of the Mother Boxes -- and Victor Stone has the third.

Upon learning how the Mother Box works and what it does, Batman concocts a plan to use it and the technology in the Kryptonian ship to do what Luthor did with the body of General Zod -- resurrect Superman. Wonder Woman is against the idea, and Flash worries that the Superman they get will be an evil zombie. Naturally, Batman does it anyway, and sure enough what they get is an unthinking Kal-El who fights the Justice League to a standstill -- until Batman brings out the "big guns." In this case, his secret weapon is Lois Lane.

It's a fun story, with a lot of character interactions that may be more fun for an audience already familiar with the characters. As in BvS:DOJ, Batman proves on more than one occasion that he's got a bit of a potty-mouth when faced with enormous odds. Flash's awkwardness, to the point of tripping over his own feet or his embarrassment at shielding Wonder Woman with his body, got a little old. And Lex Luthor (who thankfully only appears in the post-credits scene) is still more of a creepy nephew than an evil genius threat. But other than that, JUSTICE LEAGUE is a successful foray for the DCEU characters, taking advantage of the momentum given them from the stupendous WONDER WOMAN blockbuster.

This Blu-ray / DVD / Digital release includes a number of bonus features. Ray Fisher does a small bit bout the new hero, Cyborg, where we see him acting alongside his fellow JUSTICE LEAGUE cast members. Since his entire body is CGI, he wears pajamas, motion capture dots, and a ping-pong ball on his eye, while the rest are in costume. And speaking of costumes, there's a whole bit on the look of the League that has a wonderful little moment where Gal Gadot, in full Wonder Woman attire, is trying on Ben Affleck's Batman cowl (reflective of the moment where Batman tells Wonder Woman that if this doesn't work, she can go back to hiding in the shadows, that she can even dress like a bat and he won't sue).

JUSTICE LEAGUE is the film DC fans have been waiting for. It's not perfect, but it's not nearly as imperfect as you may have heard, and it's definitely leading up to what comes next in the DCEU film franchises. I fully expect an Injustice League to be fully formed by JUSTICE LEAGUE 2, complete with Luthor, Deathstroke and Cheeta, as well as whomever might appear in the Aquaman and Flash films as villains.

4.5 / 5.0