It’s no secret that Marvel has a firm stronghold in the comic book films market. DC keeps striking out, film after film, and though there’s some hope on the horizon in Justice League and Wonder Woman, there’s still a ways to go if they’re to wrestle back any kind of leverage from Captain America and company.
The problems with these films number in the hundreds—I mean Suicide Squad is a hot mess—though, I admit they’re a bit of a guilty pleasure to me regardless of that. That said, there are a few areas in which Injustice 2 manages to absolutely crush DC’s cinematic turds.
The Killing Jokes
Unlike films in the DCEU up until this point — Justice League pending — Injustice 2 has a lot of well-timed humour that manages to lighten the mood in what is largely a grim tale of warring former allies coming together to save the world once more.
Green Arrow, in particular, is a laugh a minute. In the face of danger, he quips non-stop and isn’t afraid of making light of any situation. His perpetually tongue-in-cheek relationship with Black Canary, his wife, is enough to put a smile on the dial, also.
Humour even comes from the most unlikely of characters. There’s a scene after the Regime and Insurgency put their differences aside for a meeting. After the meeting’s conclusion, Superman vaguely asks why Batman kept ‘it’. It’s soon revealed the Clark is referring to the Justice League table, which was hidden under a cloth, to which Bruce quickly remarks in his typical deadpan tone.
“Hm. Forgot that was there.”
It’s an epic scene that is capped off with a nice touch of levity.
Respects the Bonds
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice rushed along the so-called friendship between the two ‘sons of Marthas’ with Batman referring to Supes as a friend, not twenty minutes after nearing stoving his head in with a Kryptonite-infused spear. Before the credits, Batfleck even waxes lyrical about letting Superman down in life, hoping he can do right by him after his death, as though they were life-long friends.
Injustice pays respect to the enduring friendship of the now opposing forces. There’s a brief lapse in the chaos near the game’s climax where Bruce and Clark reflect on a nice memory they share from a life long ago, and it sort of makes you really hope they might work things out, regardless of how far past redemption Superman may be.
There’s a great deal of respect paid to not only the bond between Batman and Superman but to the bonds shared by many of the other characters decorating the game’s cast.
That’s a testament to the fine writing, something Dawn of Justice sorely lacked.
A Motivated Villain
One huge fault with Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex was that his motivations were so clouded and non-sensical. His plan to get Superman and Batman at odds falls flat so he conjures up a Ninja Turtle reject from a fetid pool of toilet water to kill them both. This is despite the fact his construction business is a-booming thanks to all of the property damage Supes tends to cause throwing baddies around Metropolis.
Like, what’s his aim? He goes off on tangents about wanting to kill a God, but I think it’s simpler to just chalk him up as an unhinged lunatic with no clear end-goal.
Brainiac, on the other hand, arrives on the scene in Injustice 2 with one singular purpose, to correct the oversights of his past and obliterate the final remnants of Krypton. He also has a thirst for knowledge, which he obtains by consuming entire worlds and downloading their intellect. He’s pure evil and reprehensible throughout, but he’s menacing and captivating, two qualities a villain should obviously possess.
While David Ayer’s Suicide Squad did place Harley Quinn at the fore, co-leading with Deadshot, it’s hard not to think she might have been a little too hung up on Joker throughout. Margot Robbie was sublime, though her Harley barely had time to grow in her own right.
Injustice 2 has a score of strong female characters. The feud between Batman’s insurgency and Superman’s regime might be the crux of the proceedings, though it’s Supergirl’s inner-war that’s at the heart of it. Purposed with protecting her cousin, Kal-El, it’s clear to Supergirl that he’s beyond redemption as she hopes to reinstil the hope House of El’s symbol once stood for.
Beyond her story, you’ve then got Black Canary and Harley Quinn who carry out some pretty interesting arcs of their own.