Movie reviews

Movie review: 'Justice League'

DC super hero movie reveals flaws in series direction

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Another super hero movie, hot on the heels of another, creates a bizarre kind of competition for the hearts and minds of fanboys. While a slightly better film than “Thor: Ragnarok,” the more conservative “Justice League” rolls out a highly anticipated yet fairly standard adventure drama with good points and some bad.

What struck this reviewer, though, is that at some point I half-expected Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) to turn to Batman to pointedly ask, “What are you doing here?” In a way, he answers, but more to The Flash (Ezra Miller), by saying, “I’m rich.” The reason for this hypothetical exchange is the fact that Batman, even though he has been inspired to do better as a “super hero” after Superman (Henry Cavill) gave his life in the last outing, really does nothing but stand around in his special suit, bark orders and act important — even though he is clearly not the equal of any of the Justice League members.

And, then there’s Wonder Woman’s rather interesting portrayal as a being who is so evolved she could easily stand alone against any foe. Why then does she have to act as a de facto den mother to this gang of monumentally ego-driven hunks — minus Flash, sorry.

Those are but a few of the oddities in this rather dysfunctional collection of heroes gathered to battle yet another epic villain, this one named Steppenwolf, a mostly CGI character voiced by Ciarán Hinds.

See, Steppenwolf is a creature possessed of enormous powers who almost ruled the Earth thousands of years ago. “Using three Mother Boxes that combined to form the ‘unity,’ Steppenwolf set about laying waste to Earth’s resistance, but a union of Amazonians, Atlanteans, Men, and even a Green Lantern battled Steppenwolf, forcing him into his first ever retreat,” according to Collider. Now, after Superman’s demise, he’s back and ready to throw down once again.

As Steppenwolf gathers his forces, we meet the members of the newly forming Justice League by way of brief semi-origin stories. Some aforementioned heroes we already know: Batman, The Flash, Wonder Woman, and just maybe, Superman. But, joining them are Aquaman (Jason Mamoa), who has a way of making the hearts of some audience members flutter when he shows up shirtless on-screen and flexing his tattooed muscles; and Cyborg (Ray Fisher), whose story is dark and tragic having been the subject of techno-experiments by his father (Joe Morton) who was desperate to save his life. Now, Cyborg’s enhancements are developing on their own, giving him strange and amazing powers almost every day.

So, now it’s up to the Justice League and a few helpers to take on Steppenwolf and save the world again.

This film was directed by Zack Snyder, and it has his fingerprints all over it, but during production he suffered a very personal tragedy causing him to leave the show. In stepped Joss Whedon to take the reigns, and it is this move that had fan boys in a major snit. The finished film is relatively uneven in spots and, to me, could have used some tweaking in terms of story and some dialogue. But, it is what it is and what it shall be.

“Justice League” is rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action.

It is showing daily at Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4145 or visit storyteller7.com.

Also showing in Taos

The following were compiled from press materials.

The Star

MPAA rating: PG for some thematic elements

Mitchell Storyteller 7

In this film from Sony Pictures Animation, a small but brave donkey named Bo (voiced by Steven Yeun) yearns for a life beyond his daily grind at the village mill. One day he finds the courage to break free and finally goes on the adventure of his dreams. On his journey, he teams up with Ruth (Aidy Bryant), a lovable sheep who has lost her flock and Dave (Keegan-Michael Key), a dove with lofty aspirations. Along with three wisecracking camels and some eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new friends follow the Star and become accidental heroes in the greatest story ever told — the first Christmas.

This film will be screened daily.

Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

Victoria and Abdul

MPAA rating: PG-13 for some thematic elements and language

Movies at the TCA

In this period drama from director Stephen Frears, an East Indian man named Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) arrives from his homeland to participate in Queen Victoria’s golden jubilee. The young clerk is surprised to find favor with the queen (played by Judi Dench) herself.

As Victoria questions the constrictions of her long-held position, the two forge an unlikely and devoted alliance that her household and inner circle try to destroy. As their friendship deepens, the queen begins to see a changing world through new eyes, joyfully reclaiming her humanity.

Also stars Eddie Izzard, Michael Gambon, Olivia Williams and Simon Callow.

This film will be screened Friday (Nov. 24) through Dec. 2. Show times are 7 p.m., except for Sunday (Nov. 26) and Thursday Nov. 30) at 2 p.m.

Movies at the TCA film series, Taos Community Auditorium, 145 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. For tickets and additional information, call the Taos Center for the Arts at (575) 758-2052 or visit tcataos.org.

Wonder

MPAA rating: PG for thematic elements including bullying and some mild language

Mitchell Storyteller 7

Based on The New York Times best seller, this film directed by Stephen Chbosky tells the inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman (Jacob Tremblay). Born with facial differences that, up until now, have prevented him from going to a mainstream school, Auggie becomes the most unlikely of heroes when he enters the local fifth grade. As his family, his new classmates and the larger community all struggle to discover their compassion and acceptance, Auggie’s extraordinary journey will unite them all and prove you can’t blend in when you were born to stand out.

Co-stars Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Mandy Patinkin.

This film will be screened daily.

Mitchell Storyteller 7 Theatres, 110 Old Talpa Cañón Road. For show times, tickets and additional information, call (575) 751-4245 or visit storyteller7.com.

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