Movie Review: Justice League

My sister Linda and I enjoyed an afternoon movie yesterday. The new release, Justice League, has been on our list of movies to see for a couple of weeks. I’m so glad we had the opportunity to take in this fun film from the DC Comic universe.

Justice League features Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams, Henry Cavill, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, and Ciarán Hinds. This action adventure film was directed by Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon. The movie has a PG-13 rating, for intense action and violence, and has a run time of 2 hours.

Shortly after the death of Superman (Cavill), alias Clark Kent, the world tips into shadow. For Lois Lane (Adams) and Clark’s mother, Martha (Lane), it is a time of grieving for the man both loved. For Bruce Wayne (Affleck), Batman’s alter ego, there is remorse and regret, and a recognition of the sacrifice Superman made. He is also acutely aware of how desperately the world needs the man from Krypton.

Because a powerful enemy has returned to Earth, to claim the mother boxes denied to him eons ago. These three cubes, which emit a destructive energy, were separated after Steppenwolf (voiced by Hinds) was driven from the earth by a unified force of heroes…Amazons, Aquarians, men and legends of old. Two of the boxes have been guarded for thousands of years by the Amazons and the Aquarians. The men of that time buried the third box to protect it, and it has only recently been discovered again. The current generation has no knowledge or remembrance of what the box is.

Batman and Wonder Woman, also called Diana (Gadot), agree that they need help to combat this new threat. The boxes have awakened since Superman’s death, and they have called Steppenwolf back to Earth. He has transformed humans into a legion of demon like creatures. His intention is to destroy the planet.

Bruce and Diana separate to recruit three meta humans that they are aware of: Aquaman (Momoa), also called Arthur, who is an Aquarian living in the sea, a young man named Barry (Miller) who is called The Flash because of his ability to move extremely quickly, and another young man named Victor (Fisher), who is struggling to adjust after a horrific accident. His scientist father used the energy from one of the cubes, in an attempt to save his life. Victor was spared, but he is forever changed, more machine, or Cyborg, than flesh.

The five form an uneasy alliance. Each has something to overcome, a darkness within to purge before they can trust each other and save humanity from a greater darkness without. In the end, will they be enough? Is it possible that the same energy that saved Victor’s life, even while transforming him, might bring back the one hero they most need right now?

This was another exciting, action packed, super hero movie. Like its counterparts in the Marvel universe, the Justice League film was liberally laced with humor. The millennial Flash, with his many phobias, provides the most comic relief. However, all of the heroes got to reveal their comedic side. And dear Alfred (Irons), Batman’s faithful butler, father figure and longtime friend, anchors everyone while feeding them vital information.

There were moments when tears filled my eyes as well. These are flawed heroes, after all, learning as they journey. Batman is aging, and as as the only hero without a superpower, other than his ability to afford high end technology, he wonders how much longer he can keep up. Most have lost someone, or lost part of themselves. This movie is as much about the personal transformations of the members of the League, as it is about figuring out how to unite as a cohesive team.

For that reason, I enjoyed this film immensely. The new team members…Aquaman, Cyborg and Flash were welcomed additions and I look forward to their solo movies that will reveal more of their stories.

I have always been a Superman fan. As a child, the Man of Steel, with his pure heart, was my absolute favorite. I am glad to see him back. Batman has truly transitioned into the Dark Knight, but with a stronger desire to defend the helpless. He has become a more complex, and therefore, more interesting character. And this new Wonder Woman has at last captured my appreciation for her character. She is a Warrior with strong leadership qualities. I look forward to her further development.

Lois Lane delivers a great epilogue at the end of the film. “The truest darkness is not absence of light…but the belief that the light will never return. But the light always returns. Hope is real.” That’s the power of the Justice League, and of all good stories. The light wins. Hope is restored.

United, these guardians are so much stronger than they could be as individuals. The group hero pose toward the end of the movie was ever so satisfying…and promising. I await the next movie with anticipation.

Movie Review: Wonder Woman

My sister Linda and I declared this evening a movie night. For our viewing enjoyment, we selected the latest installment in the DC series that is leading to the formation of the Justice League. We were excited to see Wonder Woman. 


Wonder Woman stars Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, Danny Huston, David Thewlis, Saïd Taghmaoui, Ewen Bremner, Eugene Brave Rock and Elena Anaya. The fantasy adventure was directed by Patty Jenkins. It’s rated PG-13, for action sequences and violence, and has a run time of 2 hours and 21 minutes. 

Diana (Gadot) is raised on an island of warrior women, known as the Amazons, hidden from the world by Zeus. Fiercely trained in combat by her aunt, Antiope (Wright), and fretted over by her mother, Queen Hippolyta (Nielsen), Diana grows up believing it is her destiny to protect mankind from the war god, Ares. 

Movie Review: Wonder Woman
Movie Review: Wonder Woman
When a pilot named Steve Trevor (Pine) crashes into the sea near the island, Diana encounters her first man. He brings news of a mighty world war that is destroying millions of lives, and of an evil woman, Dr Maru (Anaya), who is developing bioweapons that will have catastrophic effects. Against the wishes of her mother, Diana leaves with Steve, bearing a shield, a magical lasso and a sword she refers to as the “god destroyer”. She believes if she kills Ares the war will immediately stop. 

Away from Themyscira, Diana discovers that humans are more complex and the world more strange than she imagined. Dr Maru, also know as Dr Poison, is working a sinister plan with Germany’s General Ludendorff (Huston). While in England, meetings led by Sir Patrick Morgan (Thewlis) are underway to negotiate an armistice with Germany. 

Fearing resolution will come too late, Steve and Diana gather a group of experts and head to the front lines, searching for Ludendorff, whom Diana believes to be the god Ares in disguise. Sameer (Taghmaoui) is a spy who specializes in languages. Charlie the Scotsman (Bremner) is a skilled marksman. And Chief is a smuggler. 

Movie Review: Wonder Woman
The team must stop a threat that is greater than anyone realizes. As they battle to save the world, Diana discovers who she really is and what she is capable of. 

I enjoyed this movie so much! As a child, I read all the Marvel and DC comics, so I was familiar with Wonder Woman. However, as a wee girl and then a teen, I was never particularly drawn to the only female character among a host of superheroes. She seemed like the token girl to me. I’m curious if I missed her courage and “wonder” when I was a child or if that was an accurate perception. 

Regardless, I found plenty to admire about Gal Gadot’s fresh portrayal. This was indeed an epic adventure and she wasn’t a token female. I loved Diana’s convictions about her purpose in life. She never wavered on her desire to offer to humanity by destroying evil. Even as she discovered more about the mankind she had vowed to protect, and learned who she truly was, she never backed down from living out of those desires. 

Movie Review: Wonder Woman
There was humor to balance the action sequences, and a fun performance by Chris Pine. And at the core of the film, and Diana’s journey, lay the realization that we are all of us a mixture of light and dark. We choose, daily, which we will surrender to…the Light or Darkness. In the end, says Wonder Woman, “It’s about what you believe. And I believe in love. Only love will truly save the world.” 

I am so looking forward to seeing Wonder Woman own her space in the Justice League!

Movie Review: Wonder Woman

Surrender 55: DC’s Legends of Tomorrow

My grandson Dayan and I get together every Wednesday afternoon. I pick him up from school, we grab Chinese food, and spend time together chatting and watching interesting shows on TV. For more than a year, our series of choice was BBC’s Doctor Who. In catching me up to the current series, we moved through nine seasons. Now that I’m caught up, we’ve discovered a new series to watch, while Doctor Who is in between seasons. 

 

Legends of Tomorrow stars Victor Garber, Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz, Arthur Darvill, Ciara Renee, Franz Drameh, Dominic Purcell, Wentworth Miller and Casper Crump. This sci-fi action drama is part of the DC Comic universe. 

Time traveler Rip Hunter (Darvill) assembles a ragtag group of heroes and villains in an attempt to save the future, and his family, from an evil nemesis, Vandal Savage (Crump). More than the earth’s future is at stake…time itself is threatened. 

 Vandal Savage 

Rip tells his group that he has seen the future, and that they are all known as the heroes who save mankind. Each person brings gifts to the team…and also quirks, egos, and pasts full of angst and challenges. 

Ray Palmer (Routh), is Atom, whose ability is to shrink his body. Sara Lance (Lotz), also known as White Canary, is a trained assassin. Jax Jackson (Drameh) and Dr. Martin Stein (Garber) together form the symbiotic hero, Firestorm, with the ability to fly, pass through solid objects, generate destructive blasts of fusion energy from his hands, absorb radiation harmlessly, and demonstrate superhuman levels of strength and resistance to injury.

 

Mick Rory (Purcell), is Heat Wave. He possesses a handgun sized flamethrower and knowledge of pyrotechnics and combustibles. His partner in crime, literally, is Leonard Snart (Miller), also known as Captain Cold. He has a cold gun that freezes objects to absolute zero and he possess knowledge of cryonics. These two are the “bad boys” of the group. 

And lastly, Kendra Saunders (Renee), who is Hawkgirl, has the ability to fly, thanks to a electromagnetic/gravitational belt. It also grants superhuman strength, super-acute vision, and an enhanced healing/regeneration ability. Kendra’s partner, Carter, also known as Hawkman, has been with her through centuries of regenerations. His character died in episode 2. 

 

This is a fun, fast paced series, which premiered last month on CW. Dayan and I both enjoy superhero type shows, and we have seen many of the DC Comic and Marvel Comic movies and series. We were initially drawn to Legends of Tomorrow because the main character, Rip Hunter, is played by Arthur Darvill, who also portrayed Rory on Doctor Who. It’s been interesting to see him as a time traveler in this show, and to get to know this cast of characters. 

I like that this group of people, with their unique gifts and common flaws, were told that in the future, they are all called heroes. The truth is, none of them are. Rip selected them because extraordinary as they are, they live ordinary lives. Their possible deaths don’t greatly affect the future timeline. 

However, as the group slowly becomes a team, united in their purpose of defeating Vandal Savage and securing the future for all mankind, they will most assuredly be known as legends…Legends of Tomorrow. In acknowledging who they are, and offering out of their strengths, they are sure to create their own futures. I’d call that heroic.