It has been said that, especially when it comes to comics, where superheroes face terrible new threats out to destroy the planet on a weekly basis, character is king. And in that regard, Zack Snyder's "Justice League" is successful.
It knew it had to stand as an origin story for three new heroes, as well as for the team, and it wasted little time in doing so — trading in what could have been a more thought-provoking and timely plot about finding hope during the bleakest of days for a blitzkrieg of heroic introductions.
As Ben Affleck's Batman hurries to arrange a new supergroup to fend off an impending invasion in the wake of Superman's awful fate, we get to meet Erza Miller's The Flash, an eager yet insecure speedster; Jason Momoa's Aquaman, brutish, stubborn, and immature; and Ray Fisher's Cyborg, the heart of the team whose angst-driven conflict about finding purpose is eternally relatable.
All three are given ample time to establish these rather simple traits, which should be enough, at least for now, to whet the appetite for the solo films ("Aquaman" is slated for 2018).
There's also some space to build on familiar faces like Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman, who, we find, is harboring guilt over her decision to shy away from her responsibilities to humanity as she struggles to come to terms with the death of Steve Trevor; and an aging Batman, who is understandably distant and broody, fully aware that he'll soon have to hang up his cape.
Unfortunately, however, Steppenwolf, the big baddie of the month, got the short end of the stick and is reduced to yet another forgettable villain in the same vein DC's rival, Marvel Studios, are guilty of peppering their films with.
His actions ultimately felt inconsequential, most evident during that scene when the league decides to save Batman first from parademons -- flying, bug-like creatures who feed on fear -- rather than stop him and his nefarious-sounding plan to end Earth while still avoiding any major backlash.
Time constraints -- just two hours long -- also contribute to the oversimplification of the narrative, which could have been a worthy inclusion to the mythos of a Tolkien-esque ancient war as opposed to just a convenient excuse to "unite the seven."
Stories aren't supposed to be merely a series of events, which "Justice League" feels like at times. One of the pitfalls of an ensemble structure is that it makes for a very fragmented watch —and the flick never really finds the right patch to piece everything together as it rushes towards its end.
Tonal inconsistencies are also apparent, with scenes like The Flash and Cyborg's graveyard conversation, which would have been praised as a gallant attempt to humanize the two if only it didn't look cheap and out of place in comparison to the rest of the film.
Nonetheless, if you love the characters, you'll find plenty to enjoy in "Justice League." The action has some pretty awesome moments (unpolished CGI and garish, ugly lightning effects aside), the characters are likeable enough, charming even to warrant excitement for future installments, and there are moments that will genuinely make you feel like a giddy kid again reading their favorite comic.
Should you choose to see it this weekend, you won't regret it.