by Mark Mayhugh


Tonight I took my six year old son to see Justice League.  He was NOT disappointed.  Truth be told, neither was I.

This isn’t a review.  I’m not going to break down the acts or the writing or special effects.  I’m not going to give you a play by play.  There are a few minor complaints, but if you’re looking for some stuffy review written by someone who doesn’t understand what this movie was meant to do or who it was made for this isn’t the place.





I LOVED this movie.  You can tell the scenes that were shot later and added to the final mix.  First off, they’re funny as hell.  Second off Superman’s face looks…weird to say the least.  And honestly that’s putting it mildly.  That’s one of the few complaints I have about the movie.  And DEAR GOD, I wish I had a picture to show you of this.

Steppenwolf_Earth_2_1Let’s get the complaints out of the way, and they are few and far between.  First off, Steppenwolf.  In the New 52 DC Universe he had a much more modern and not embarrassing costumer, as seen to the left.  It seems fairly easy and straightforward to adapt to the big screen, even if it does look a lot like Wonder Woman baddie Ares.

In the movie he’s just so plain and boring.  He doesn’t look human at all.  The goatee is gone, replaced with some weird horns and a face that even a mother couldn’t love.  His costume is dull and drab.  It’s monochromatic and boring.  It’s also remarkably similar to the big CGI bad guy from Suicide Squad.  He’s completely CGI and not good looking.

Steppenwolf_Profil_2I have the same issue with the costume on the Flash, but I feel like it’s a homemade costume that serves a purpose given his lack of control.  And he’s hilarious.  Not at all Barry Allen, more Wally West, but still he made me laugh a lot.

The Motherboxes are also really weird.  In the comics they were small, like a Rubix Cube and a box from Hellraiser had a baby that grew up to be somewhere in between the two.  Here they are HUGE.  Think of a 32″ TV from 1995 and you’ll get the idea…or if you’re under 25, think of a giant box you might get from Amazon.

The only other thing I really disliked was the lack of a black Superman suit!  WTF?!?!  I was so disappointed by this I just don’t have words that will adequately convey the heartbreak I felt.


Now, on to the positives!  The movie opens with a video of Superman (with the weird face) talking to some kids after some super feat.  It’s a funny interaction that shows a completely different side of Superman.  It sets the tone for later in the movie.  Superman is Superman, end of story.

When he first comes back, in a strange combination similar to how Doomsday was created mixed with the comic Return of Superman, he is not in his right mind.  It’s kind of like the Lazarus Pit from Batman.  He is bad ass.  He tears through the League without much difficulty.  It’s great to watch him open up a can of whoop ass.

There’s a lot of movie in between the opening video and Superman’s return.  There’s the Wonder Woman scene from the previews, Batman tracking down the others, some pretty cool stuff with Cyborg and Parademons…actually a lot of cool stuff.  There’s even some Batman being Batman.  It’s funny, smart, entertaining…everything most DC movies have been missing.


There are scenes of Steppenwolf’s raid on Middle Earth…I mean ancient DCU where the Amazons, Atlanteans and tribes of man united to take him down.  There are even Green Lanterns fighting in the battle!  One dies and his ring flies off to find a new host!

There are some absolutely incredible fight scenes on Themyscira and sunken Atlantis.  They are fantastic!  Especially watching Aquaman not be a joke.

You know how music can make or break a movie?  You know how annoying the DCU movie music has been?  Well kiss that goodbye.  This movie is a return to form.  Batman has the old Batman theme from the very first movie!  More importantly, there was a moment that brought a literal tear to my eye.

When Superman returns to battle…swooping in to help his friends in a new, bright, shiny costume…JOHN WILLIAMS Superman theme plays.  It has been modified slightly, but by God it was incredible.  You should have heard the audience pop.  It was just a feeling I never thought I would have in a DC movie.

Ironically I wish this movie had been longer.  It had so much good stuff that it felt like it went by in a flash…no pun intended.  Whereas other DC movies have felt bloated and dragged out you never felt that way here.  Maybe it was the humor.  Maybe it was the characters seeming more like themselves.  Ma Kent, Lois Lane, Commissioner Gordon, Alfred, Amazons, Queen Mera, the League, Cyborgs dad and useful background characters all felt like they served a purpose.  They gave you a feeling of what this world was like without Superman.


It was bleak, hopeless and dark.  You could feel it when Martha and Lois interacted.  You could see it when Lois slept alone, reaching for the pillow where Clark had been.  It called to Steppenwolf across the cosmos.  But it brought the League together.  It showed Superman what he NEEDED to be.  He brought hope.  He brought levity.  He not only saved the world, he saved the DCEU.

When the battle is over the destruction and chaos Steppenwolf brought turns into new, beautiful, alien life in a desolate, lifeless place.  More hope for a hopeless world.  We don’t need to believe a man can fly, we need to believe a man can be better.  The movie closes out with Bruce, Alfred and Diana heading into the dilapidated Wayne Manor to create a Hall of Justice.  There will be a big, round table with six chairs…and room to expand!


In the first post credit sequence Superman and Flash get together to settle one of the oldest debates in comics.  Who is faster, Flash or Superman?!?!  It’s a beautiful, funny, touching scene that ends with them racing toward the camera in slow-mo, actually ENJOYING being heroes!

justice-league-deathstroke-and-lex-luthor-211904.jpgIf you stay until the very end of the credits you are rewarded with a second sequence.  Lex Luthor is in prison, facing away from the camera, ignoring the guard.  But wait, that’s not Lex!  Nope.  He has escaped.  He’s on a yacht somewhere having a blast when DEATHSTROKE arrives!  The two chat as Deathstroke removes his helmet to warn Luthor not to waste his time.  Lex tells him that if Superman has a League of heroes, then perhaps they need their own league!

All said, it’s a good time, which is saying a lot for a DC movie.  This isn’t a cinematic masterpiece or some deep socially aware take on society.  This is a summer blockbuster.  It’s comic book characters come to life.  It’s DC trying to give fans what they want.  What is that?  Humor.  Characters true to who they are.  Bright costumes.  Big action scenes.  Useful interactions.  Classic themes that we all know and recognize.  Basically that familiarity that we all long for.

My six year old loved it.  He was on the edge of his seat.  He laughed hard and got mad when I wanted to go to the bathroom, he didn’t want to miss anything.  He enjoyed it a lot more than Batman V Superman.

It’s a great movie if you go in expecting a superhero team up movie.  If you want to laugh and have a good time watching something, this is the flick for you.  It gives me a lot of hope for the future of the DCEU.  I just wish there was another JL movie on the horizon.