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Justice-League-2

What's On? 16.11.17

I've never watched a Justice League film. I'm going to take a leap of faith and assume you'd like to know why, with the added question: will Gina finally go to the cinema this weekend and break her vow with this awful-looking franchise?

But first, my reservations. Let's start with Superman, even if he died last year or the year before that in that other film, because they'll surely bring him back for more. Here's my beef: he's invincible and utterly righteous. The only possible fun you could have with such a boring figure is if you have him fighting for Trump or Bush or some similar nationalistic American President in the name of truth, justice and the American way. Then, after all the carnage, have him wake up and smell the coffee, a Homer Simpson in tights who goes D'oh! just like Colin Powell did after Iraq, only with more integrity.

Wonder Woman? That costume: a strapless basque, a mini-skirt and high-heeled boots. The wrist bracelets that block bullets. Yes I know, a man in a blue body-stocking and a cape, with red underpants on view, isn't really much more practical. I think it's all that naked flesh with Wonder Woman that makes me worry for her with the cold, or with bullets flying around. But now I think about it, a body stocking isn't that much better.

So is it just the costumes that make the Justice League heroes seem so preposterous? Let's switch over to the Avengers. The Hulk, when played by Mark Ruffalo, is a thing of beauty, the kind of raging monster we can identify with, for good or bad, as aspiration or in fear, whether physically or verbally or just by email. He is the id gone out of control, the thing we wake up hoping we avoided when we lost our rag the other day. Meanwhile, Iron Man is perfect for our tech-savvy times, he has the kind of I.T. skills you wish you had, and the swagger and the lifestyle too. Black Widow wears proper, Ninja-style clothing and is played by charismatic Scarlett Johansson. Thor should be rubbish but Chris Hemsworth and Tom Hiddlestone have that brotherly feud going on to humanize them, as any pair of brothers will testify. So already we have some reasons why the Avengers has potential: many of the heroes don't have a super power.

Still, there are lots of reasons why the Avengers could have been awful too. Why aren't they? The actors that they've chosen are amazing. The chemistry between them really works. They all have their vulnerabilities. None of them looks ridiculous, with the exception of Captain America and his giant Frisbee shield. Helpful advice to all his future enemies: aim for the legs.

This posting is already getting out of control, like the Hulk on one of his rampages. Time for my own sense of personal grievance. It's not really about the costumes or the po-faced seriousness and lack of chemistry of the Justice League characters. It's something else that bothers me about the franchise.

I loved Chris Nolan's Batman. I loved Christian Bale as Batman, with Michael Cane as Alfred, and Gary Oldman and Morgan Freeman in support. With Heath Ledger as The Joker, the thing was nigh on unsurpassable. So introducing Ben Affleck and Jeremy Irons in a new iteration just makes me feel like I'm watching Casablanca with Zac Efron and Anne Hathaway. Or a reboot of Star Wars with Adam Sandler as Han Solo. It can't be done. Don't even bother. And seriously, the Justice League has a gazillion superheroes to choose from. Why go for the ones that have been done before? Let's have superheroes based in other parts of the world. Or with mainly women, in the same way that the Avengers is mainly men. The Justice League cannot out-do the Avengers when it comes to mainly men arguing with each other in that funny, snarky way with the tension still discernible. Even if it seems tokenistic – and I don't think it needs to be, because women need super-power role models too - let's make room for a gang of female superheroes, and see how different it can be.

In the meantime, this weekend, the Justice League is released upon our screens, like Superman hurtling against an anti-American village, full of good intentions. The reviews are nothing special, it's a two-star movie, so I've read. But I'm going to give it a chance regardless, because Thor: Ragnarok was better than I thought it would be, and I'm a broad-minded kind of trans gal, and really, what could go wrong?
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