When heroes get together

(From left) Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck and Ezra Miller star in Justice League.
(From left) Gal Gadot, Ben Affleck and Ezra Miller star in Justice League.PHOTO: WARNER BROS

Batman and Wonder Woman join forces with other good guys to take on supervillain Steppenwolf

REVIEW / ACTION

JUSTICE LEAGUE (PG)

120 minutes/Now showing

3 stars

The story: A powerful new supervillain, Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds), appears on Earth. With Superman dead (Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice, 2016), Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) and Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) cannot stop the evil force as a duo, so they scour the earth for recruits.

It is weird how the comic book worlds of Marvel (Iron Man, Thor, Spider-Man) and DC (Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman) are converging. This heroes-assembled chapter has stuff we have seen before, except in Marvel films.

Such as: flashbacks showing how, a long time ago, a villain was vanquished by mighty armies, but has since risen anew; glowing blocks of infinite power, protected by the good and sought after by the bad; swarms of flying minions whose sole purpose in life is to get swatted like flies.

All these elements are here. It would be unfair to say DC and director Zack Snyder stole them because they might be in the comic book sources. Also, DC is late to making movie adaptations.

On the bright side, Snyder seems to have learnt from the fiasco that was 2016's Batman V Superman. Gone is the semi-pornographic depiction of muscles and male angst, and also missing is the grey-on-grey colour scheme.

And the less lethargic Ben Affleck is seen, the better, Snyder seems to have learnt. Good plan. Replacing him in screen time, thankfully, is Gal Gadot's livelier Diana Prince and newcomer Ezra Miller playing Barry Allen - The Flash.

Jason Momoa's Arthur Curry - Aquaman introduction takes place in some Nordic village and feels rushed and confusing. The attention lavished on Ray Fisher's Victor Stone - Cyborg is a sign that a standalone movie about him is coming soon.

The weakest link is Steppenwolf, a supervillain with such an insultingly under-developed backstory he feels as if he were created on a computer the night before shooting began.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 16, 2017, with the headline 'When heroes get together'. Print Edition | Subscribe