By Gregg Shapiro
Presented in IMAX, the origin story “Justice League” (WB/DC) crams a lot of information into its two-hour runtime. Regardless of whether you are a fanboy or fangirl, if you are an audience member of the LGBTQ persuasion, “Justice League” is a feast for the eyes.
A couple of years after the tragic death of Clark Kent/Superman (Henry Cavill), not only are crime rates on the rise in Metropolis and Gotham City, but evil aliens led by Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) have plans for the destruction of Earth. Bruce Wayne/Batman (a restrained Ben Affleck) is still wracked with guilt, feeling unnecessarily responsible for Superman’s demise.
When Batman encounters one of Steppenwolf’s fear-feeding gigantic vampire bug henchmen (think metal-winged monkeys), he realizes that he must assemble a team of like-minded crime-fighters to stop the scourge and save the planet. His wish-list includes Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), who turns out to be his easiest recruit, especially after Steppenwolf attacks her Amazon homeland.
The other potential teammates are less easily swayed. Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa) is unimpressed by Wayne when he comes to his village to present his proposition. “Saved” by his scientist father Silas (Joe Morton), following an accident in which his mother is killed, Victor Stone/Cyborg (Ray Fisher), is essentially a robot with a human face. Uncomfortable with his appearance, and afraid to appear in public because everyone thinks he’s dead, he is as hesitant as Aquaman. When Barry Allen/The Flash (out actor Ezra Miller) returns from visiting his father Henry (Billy Crudup) in prison, Wayne is waiting for him. Barry, who can best be described as being on the spectrum, turns out to be a willing, if inexperienced, participant.
Nevertheless, when Aquaman and Cyborg’s worlds are disrupted by Steppenwolf’s attacks, they do become members of the league. Of course, the last piece of the puzzle is Superman, who is raised from the dead. Naturally, he’s more than a little pissed off about and confused by having his eternal rest disturbed. However, after a destructive battle with the other Justice League team members, as well as a reunion with his one great love Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and his adoptive mother Martha (Diane Lane), he comes to his senses and joins the gang.
Landing somewhere between the amazing 2017 “Wonder Woman” feature film and the failed flop “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice”, “Justice League” goes a long way in re-establishing the brand and setting the stage for all that is to come in the franchise (you know there’s more!). As for the LGBTQ fans referenced at the beginning of this review, the rewards are plentiful and include the often shirtless Cavill (for those who like a hairy, developed chest) and Momoa (for those who prefer their chests muscular, but smooth and tattooed). The openly queer Miller, whose Flash provides much-needed humor throughout, is sure to be a favorite with moviegoers. Lesbians and bi women are also treated to prolonged exposure to Wonder Woman in all of her Amazonian glory, as well as her fellow female warriors.