Justice League Review: It’s No ‘Wonder Woman’
Justice League is now in theaters, but if you were hoping it offer the same level of excellence that Wonder Woman brought to the DC Cinematic Universe this past summer, I’m here to inform you to give up that dream. While it’s not a complete disaster, Justice League is the first DC live-action film that I can’t put a spin on to convince myself it’s not as bad as other are saying. It’s just messy and feels uninspired and overworked, which completely overshadows its few shining moments. Trust me, it pains me to say all of this, because I’m a DC guy for life, but once again it’s clear that Warner Bros. has zero clue on how to handle the storied DC franchises and characters it owns licenses for. It’s passable at best, but nothing that blows your socks off like the recent Thor: Ragnarok, or the first ever completely solid DC film – Wonder Woman.
You can check out my full review below via the video or embedded script. There are very light but obvious spoilers, but I do give a bit of warning before those reveals. Trust me, they’re far from legit spoilers, but just in case I do warn you about them in the video.
Hey now DC fans, Matt Heywood here to review Justice League, or what will become known as the next mediocre entry in the fizzling DC cinematic universe.
And it pains me to say that, because I’m a DC movie apologist who has tried to stick up for the universe up until this point, but Snyder-Whedon’s Justice League is a bit messy with only a few redeeming qualities.
It’s clear from the get go that too many cooks were in the kitchen on this one, because the plot is extremely disjointed, lacks exposition for characters we’ve only briefly heard about in BvS, and just never feels like it hits any sort of stride.
The plot feels like it’s missing a traditional three act arc. It just feels like one long lead up to the inevitable showdown between the forces of good and evil. I credit this to the fact that it has to not only deal with setting up the meat of Justice League’s plot, but it also has to spend time briefly introducing the audience to three brand new major characters. There’s no clear flow between them, so at times it feels like you’re watching two different films, and neither is very interesting.
You sense that this movie has two identities, which further muddies up its narrative. There’s the grittier in your face identity, which clearly comes from Snyder, but then there’s a forced infusion of levity, which in turn is the product of Whedon’s work. It just feels like a lot of what this film was supposed to be was cut in an effort to make it feel more like a Marvel movie after the fan backlash on BvS and Suicide Squad.
The film tries too hard to be funny, but almost every joke falls flat. Not a single laugh could be heard in my screening, and it is just as awkward of a feeling as watching a comedian bomb, so at times I felt bad for the actors, because they come off looking like bozos in these moments.
The Flash definitely shines the most in the comedy department, but even his schtick gets old because his funny lines tend to miss the mark more often than not. Ezra miller does offer up a solid take on the character, but like Aquaman and Cyborg, the Flash doesn’t feel fully fleshed out because we didn’t have a stand alone movie to set up his character before this ensemble film.
This to me is Justice League’s biggest issue. It feels forced and overly convenient. There’s no gravity to it, because outside of Batman and Wonder Woman, and oh by the way obvious spoiler……..Superman, none of the characters have a developed backstory, so they feel a bit hollow and not as interesting because we only see shells of who we think these characters are.
As they stand in Justice League Flash is a fast talking dude who doesn’t really know how to be a hero yet. Aquaman is King of the Dude-bros and has a drinking problem. And Cyborg is a brooding robot who has a thing for hoodies and sweatpants. None of them feel like deep characters because we weren’t given time to see them develop. That’s what sets Justice League apart from the first Avengers movie. That ensemble was preceded by multiple stand alone movies to set up each character, but also to tie them altogether through end-credit scenes.
Justice League on the other hand feels like a board room reaction to the success of the Avengers and the MCU in general. Whoever runs the DC cinematic universe just said, “Fuck it, throw all the big DC characters into one movie and sprinkle some VFX dust on it and the geeks will hand over their money. I mean we have Superman and Batman for Christ’s sake, what can go wrong?”
Well as Justice League has proven, a lot can go wrong when you don’t carefully plan out movies about characters people have loved for over 50 years.
Justice League does have its moments, and there are a few pretty radical action sequences and DC fanboy nods that help to carry it along. There are also some spectacular cinematic shots, and plenty of heroic team money shots, and again SPOILERS………………You get to see Superman do some pretty Superman-like stuff, while also coming out of his shell a bit. Unfortunately, these moments don’t outweigh the clunkiness of Justice League’s plot, so rather than coming out with a huge DC grin on your face, you’re left with another ho-hum expression after watching the latest DC live-action movie. It really made me wish that Patty Jenkins was in charge of the whole damn universe and not just Wonder Woman, because so far she seems to be the only person who understands how to use DC’s comic book character royalty correctly.
When it comes down to it, Justice League is an average film, so it earns a 6.9 out of 10 review score from Team EB. I was definitely disappointed, and for the first time I had no argument for why this DC film is better than what the critics were saying, because it is not. It’s a shame, because this movie had more potential for me than the Avengers, because when it comes down to it I’m a DC guy first and you can’t top Batman and Superman, but so far the powers at be at Warner Bros. just have no clue how to handle them and their do gooder friends.
Thanks for watching, Matt Heywood here for Entertainment Buddha.com, where we make you a better geek, one post at a time.
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