Justice League (M)

In a Word: Adequate

Justice League 

HEROES UNITED: The team gets together - Wonder Woman, Cyborg, Batman and the Flash.

Expectations were high after Wonder Woman delivered with a refreshing storyline and well-developed new characters (along with, of course, the usual action and special effects). In Justice League, however, its creators fall back on the old formula - a group of superheroes come together to find a new world-threatening villain - but go no further.

The story, set in the DC Universe, opens with the world reeling after the death of Superman (Henry Cavill)  - you'll have to have seen Batman vs Superman to find out how that came about. Batman (Ben Affleck) encounters a strange insect-like creature and together with Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), soon ascertains that there is a new doomsday threat to the world led by a horn-headed monster known as Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciaran Hinds).

Batman decides to recruit a team to fight the creature which is attempting to gather up three powerful cubes and join them in a "unity" to transform (terraform) the Earth into a planet like his homeworld (yes, you have come across the idea in the Transformers franchise). With Wonder Woman at his side, he manages to bring a very reluctant Aquaman (Jason Momoa), an overly eager Flash (Ezra Miller) and the ever grim Cyborg (Ray Fisher) on side. But the firepower is still not enough and so there's one more recruit they have to bring to the team (no prizes for guessing but it's not hard to work out who it is) to ensure they have a chance at overcoming the beast.

The rest is fairly obvious - good guys fight bad guys in a do or die contest - and...well, to say any more would be telling (although we all know where its headed). While you'll get a flurry of action, and some great effects, Justice League is, in the end, a bit of a missed opportunity. We get drip-fed small parts of the backstories of the Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg but nothing more than that - it's almost as though having such a large cast of characters leaves too little time for their development.

That said, it's not an awful movie, there's just nothing much here to make Justice League stand out from the crowd. There's humour but it largely falls a bit flat, the action scenes aren't really anything beyond what we've seen before, and while we get faint glimpses of director Zach Snyder's signature dark and brooding style (he apparently had to leave halfway through the movie due to a death in the family leaving Joss Whedon to finish up), they remain just that - glimpses. There's plenty of scope for the story to go into some interesting places given the uneasy relationships between some of the Justice League but these don't get near enough air time to make them a point of interest.

This is a standard, steak and three veg, superhero film which lacks that extra bit of flair to make it jump off the screen. Fans will want to watch to keep in touch with where the franchise is headed (and make sure you hang around until the credits finish rolling to catch a glimpse of where to next) but there's not much to attract a new audience into the DC world here.