Outsiders abound in this week’s new movie releases, including The Shape of Water and The Other Side of Hope
Matthew Lickona 3 p.m., Dec. 8
Did you like Joss Whedon’s The Avengers? Then you’ll love, or at least maybe be able to mostly tolerate, Justice League, and not just because Whedon helped out with the script and direction. (Don’t worry, though: Zack Snyder still leaves his gritty, operatic fingerprints on the project, especially early on.) You’ve got your super-powerful magic geegaw – Motherboxes instead of the Tesseract. You’ve got your evil dude from another dimension bringing an alien army to invade earth — Steppenwolf instead of Loki, Parademons instead of the Chitauri. And you’ve got your team of heroes who have to overcome their personal issues and mutual dislike in order to come together and save the day. Wonder Woman? A leader afraid to lead. The Flash? Stuck running in place, lifewise. Aquaman? Caught between two worlds and resenting both. Cyborg? Would maybe rather be dead than mashed up with intelligent alien tech. Batman? Actually, he seems okay, despite his protestations that he’s not good with people. And Superman? He’s dead, leaving humanity especially vulnerable to an army of critters that feed on fear. Sadly, very little of all this plays into the story, except to serve as fodder for between-battles bickering. (Sample resolution: Wonder Woman turns to the others and says, “On my lead,” before not doing any actual leading.) There’s some welcome levity, some genuine conversation (as when Bats and Diana share a drink), and a few moments that feel like really good comic book panels (especially mid-credits). For some, that may be enough. Next up: Aquaman. 2017.
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