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Jacqueline Monahan's Movie Reviews

Justice League IMAX

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Jacqueline  Monahan

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Jacqueline Monahan is an educator for the GEAR UP program at UNLV.
She is also an entertainment reporter for
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Justice League IMAX | Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Henry Clavill, Ciarán Hinds | Review

Superman (Henry Cavill) is dead.  Crime and chaos threaten a mourning world. Three ancient “Mother Boxes” when combined, contain the power to dominate the…well, everything.  Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) doesn’t know about the boxes, he just knows that the climate is ripe for a crime-fighting team the likes of which has never been seen before.  He begins a talent search, aided by loyal manservant and chief of security, Albert (Jeremy Irons).

Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) is the first to join Batman in the quest for a good guy (and Gal) team to vanquish the evil that emerges in Superman’s absence.
Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) is an alien military super villain who, along with his hordes of metal insect-like parademons, begins searching for and collecting the three Mother Boxes from their hiding places.  One is underwater in the City of Atlantis; one is in a cave on the island nation of Themyscira (Wonder Woman’s home); and one is shown being buried in a forest somewhere is Eastern Europe.

The boxes are capable of teleportation, energy manipulation, force field creation, telepathic communication, and just about any type of –ation that would be coveted by a one-note villain, a horned giant with a face that looks like he once put on a clay face mask and forget to rinse.  Possessing all three will make Steppenwolf into an even bigger, nastier, uglier bee-yotch than he already is.
The film takes a good part of its 121 minute running time (which includes two mid and post-credit snippets) to coalesce the titular team.  Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Barry Allen/Flash (Ezra Miller) and Victor Stone/Cyborg (Ray Fisher) come aboard, laden with their own back stories and emotional baggage.
Batman is chided more than once about his lack of superpowers amid all of the assembled talent. Flash is an inept young man, easily scared and easily impressed, with an imprisoned father and murdered mother. Cyborg mourns for his human existence before an accident led his scientist father Silas (Joe Morton) to fuse him with technology that morphs daily to take over his body. Aquaman can breathe underwater, telepathically communicate with sea life, and part the waves like a certain biblical character.

The somewhat thin plot that brings these charismatic beings together is given heft by Aquaman, heart by the well meaning but inept Flash, wisdom from Wonder Woman, evolution, forgiveness and redemption by Cyborg, and humility by Batman.  Here is where I do not put in any Superman spoilers.  He’s dead, you know.  This is the DC Universe.  That is all I’m going to say.

IMAX makes for an epic viewing.  Battle scenes extend into large increments of time that tend to make the viewer glaze over from too much action in every direction. Our heroes charge, they deflect, and they defy physics.  Over and over again.

That being said, director Zack Snyder (Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice) allows his heroes to embody human traits like kindness, self-doubt, cynicism, and even fear. League members show their flaws, foibles, and vulnerabilities to each other, cementing the team instead of fracturing it. Gadot is the jewel in this superhero crown.

The film is entertaining, fun, full of energy, camaraderie, and moments that make you want to cheer for the good guys.  They stand for truth, justice, and the American way.  Or was that Superman?  He’s dead you know.  I’d like to see them try to bring him back.  You will, too.

Two sneak peeks, one mid-credit and one post-credit, prime the viewer for more banter and battles to come.

With Billy Crudup, Amber Heard, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, and J.K. Simmons

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