Streaming service HBO Max Latin America has ordered the said original animated film reports Deadline.
‘Iam working with children,” Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) sighs in mock exasperation toward the end of Zack Snyder’s Justice League. She has a point. This is surely the most infantile of recent superhero yarns — a film that squanders the talents of an impressive ensemble cast and eschews any meaningful characterisation in favour of ever more overblown special effects.
It’s a grievous disappointment by comparison with this summer’s impressive Wonder Woman and is very far removed from the Gothic brilliance of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies.
As in so many superhero films with more than one main protagonist, the filmmakers jump around in frantic fashion, trying to make sure everybody gets more or less the same amount of screen time. As the film begins, Superman is dead and buried. (We saw him die at the end of Batman vs.Superman.) It is hardly a spoiler alert given that he is listed in the credits, and that actor Henry Cavill has been doing plenty of press, to reveal that Superman’s death is on a par with that of Jon Snow in Game Of Thrones or Bobby.
That’s to say, it’s a temporary condition which only needs a little shock treatment to cure. The world is in a terrible state with no Man of Steel to protect it. A very plaintive rendition of Leonard Cohen’s Everybody Knows” on the soundtrack lets us know just how bad matters have become.
The villain here, wearing mighty, goat-like horns and looking suitably grotesque, is “Steppenwolf”, played by Ciarán Hinds beneath very thick layers of green make-up.
As Hippolyta (Connie Nielsen) and the Amazons find out in one of the film’s best action sequences, Steppenwolf is quite a handful. He is assisted by an army of flying, verminous, drone-like creatures. Batman and Wonder Woman realise they can’t deal with Steppenwolf on their own. They need superhero reinforcements.
That leads to them working together with The Flash (Ezra Miller), a nerd who can harness massive amounts of electricity and is always fretting about his blood sugar levels; the very hairy Aquaman (Jason Mamoa), who talks to the fishes and functions best underwater; and Cyborg (Ray Fisher), recovering from terrible injuries and who is halfman, half-robot. Director Snyder has some tremendous character actors playing non-superheroes at his disposal but most are used in only the most token way. JK Simmons plays Commissioner Gordon but isn’t given the chance to do anything like as much with the role as Gary Oldman did in the Nolan films. Amy Adams is back as the brilliant investigative journalist and Clark Kent love interest Lois Lane, but she is very much in Superman’s shadow, there to remind Clark of his roots and his identity. So is Diane Lane as Clark’s bereaved mom. Affleck tries not very successfully to convey Bruce Wayne’s world-weariness and inner angst. As Alfred Pennyworth, the devoted butler, Jeremy Irons lends a little self-deprecating British irony. “We might not have thought this through,” he observes to Batman when one of his plans to thwart Steppenwolf doesn’t work in the way envisaged. The same observation could also be made of Snyder and his scatter gun approach to Justice League. With the latest Thor film still hammering away at the box office and Batman vs Superman (2016) grossing close to $900m (£684) worldwide in spite of lack lustre reviews, there is no sign yet that the public is falling out of love with superhero movies, whether from Marvel or the DC Camp. It is to be hoped, though, that Hollywood can find some way of injecting new life into these increasingly wearisome and childish stories of caped crusaders and masked avengers.