Justice League (2017) ☆ ☆ 1/2

Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are back together again in Justice League, joined for the first time by The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg.  This is DC’s ultimate superhero mash-up, at least until the next big to-do.  While it is fun to bring iconic figures together it also gives each participant less to do, since attention must be lavished on others as well.  But I’m glad to see Arthur Curry — Aquaman (Jason Momoa) — finally join the party, while Barry Allen — The Flash (Ezra Miller) — steals the show.

Zack Snyder’s film is better than either of his two Superman movies, both of which I disliked.  Here, Snyder brings the Kryptonian hero (Henry Cavill) back to life, reuniting him with reporter Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and his human mom (Diane Lane, who provides the film’s nicest moment).  The film’s funniest moment is when Superman tracks the Flash as he moves in, and the Flash is dumbfounded that anyone can follow his movements.  This movie, unlike Snyder’s two dark Superman stories, has a preponderance of humor, which is most welcome.

The story is convoluted and clumsy, involving a villain called Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) who, naturally, wants to conquer or destroy the world; I don’t really remember which or why.  Does it really matter?  Our group of costumed crusaders must team together to beat Steppenwolf and send him back to his own dimension, or something.  The joy of the story is watching these alpha males (and Wonder Woman, who leads) put aside their egos to work together to save the world.  It’s cotton candy for the mind and senses, and it is certainly fun while it lasts.

Comic book purists seem to be in a tizzy that the characters aren’t as dramatic or authentic as they are in print, but that’s like arguing that West Side Story ruins Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.  It’s a different animal.  The humor and interaction between intriguing characters make this first Justice League movie enjoyable, if not profound.  And it is good to welcome Superman back to the fold; we need him now more than ever.  ☆ ☆ 1/2.  1 January 2018.

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