‘Justice League’ Struggles to Give Its Superheroes Equal Screen Time

The first in what will likely be a multi-part series that includes superheroes such as Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), the Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher), Justice League, which opens today areawide, struggles to tell a cohesive story and give its heroes equal screen time.

The film begins with a series of scattered subplots: Victor Stone/Cyborg is still recovering from a near-fatal car crash; Aquaman has isolated himself to a remote part of the world; the Flash regularly visits his father (Billy Crudup) in prison, hoping to one day free him; and Superman is dead. Oh yeah, and Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane) are still struggling to return to their daily routines after Superman's death. Their storylines are decidedly underdeveloped.

Given that the Man of Steel no longer reigns supreme, chaos has descended on the city, and Batman has failed to step in and provide some order to Gotham, much to the chagrin of Commissioner Gordon (J.K. Simmons). Batman seems troubled (more so, than usual) and regularly questions his self-worth.

When a bad guy named Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciarán Hinds) starts sending giant fly-like creatures into the city to kidnap people, a crisis emerges. Batman turns recruiter and gathers a team together to take on Steppenwolf and try to prevent him from destroying the planet. Of course, without Superman, the group just doesn’t have the firepower it needs. So they try to devise a way to bring the Man of Steel back to life.

Picking up a bit where last year’s Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice left off, Justice League sets the stage for its sequel (stick around to the bitter end of the film to catch a glimpse of what’s to come), but after such an uneven start, it’s hard to get excited about the inevitable follow-up film.

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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