Rating 1.5/5 – By rights Justice Lauge should get a 0 out of 5, but It had one or two promising things in it if nothing else. Justice League will mark the 5th movie in the DCEU and was as bad as expected. The problem with Justice League is Justice League had problems. Lots of problems. Johnny comes lately problem, hero problems, movie problems, story problems and action problems. I’m the last guy to really give a shit about CGI yet the CGI in this movie was bugging me. I actually like Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, and in this movie, she bugged me. Nothing about Affleck’s Batman impressed me and I expected the same Batman in Justice League. Yet, in Justice League Batman bugged me I think it’s safe to say my general impression of Justice League is that it bugged me. I did not have the million visceral cringes that Batman v Superman gave me with just about every scene, but there was a sense of “This is just wrong” throughout the movie.
Does Justice League Stand Alone? No.
No one told Warner Brothers or DC to announce a shared universe leading up to the Justice League. Nor did Marvel or MCU fans or anyone else. Like 20th Century Fox and Sony, they took it upon themselves to jump out with the announcement because Marvel is kicking ass with their shared universe experiment and pretty much no one else it. Warner announced the DCEU, they said it was going to start with Man of Steel, so it perfectly legitimate to judge the end-product (the team movie) by how the other movies leading up to it. I’ve been very clear on how I feel about Man of Steel and Batman v Superman. The mistakes they made were simple, they should have just imitated Marvel. Give different directors – the right directors – a character, tell the guidelines are these characters share a universe with each other, and let them do their thing. Get the right actors for the rolls. Warner Brothers is responsible for the Lego Movie, Inception, Harry Potter, 300, Lord of the Ring, etc. So I know they know how to do that shit. And there’s another thing, stop interfering with the director’s vision. You did it with Wonder Woman, why the fuck couldn’t you do it with the goddamn Justice League.
Justice League = No Earned Hero Moments
The “Team Moment” was pretty much introduced by the Avengers. You know exactly the moment I’m talking about. When the team was altogether in full customs, the camera slowly circling around them as they got ready to fight again, that Alan Silvestri scores booming triumphantly as we got the promise of the previous movies. You did not have to be a comic fan to practically have your chest puffed out feeling the grandeur of that moment. Justice League tried to have that moment a few times during their moment. But it wasn’t earned. Not with Man of Steel, not with Batman v Superman and most certainly not with Wonder Woman. The Justice League were all together at least three times in this movie, and each time was supposed to evoke a sense of “YES! AT LAST! THEY’RE FINALLY TOGETHER.” Instead, it was more like, “Look, they’re standing in a line. Yeah?”
Justice League Jokes
None of the jokes landed. None of them. There wasn’t any smiles or even a chuckle. There were several supposedly humorous beats and none of them landed for the adults or even the kids. Ezra Miller was supposed to be the comedy relief, but everything he said just didn’t make me laugh. Jason Momoa had one good line and a nearly good moment. But the one good line was supposed to be a callback and was shown in every trailer. At best, the moment elicited a chuckle but would have worked better if his. In the trailer, his line seemed to work. I’ll cop to agreeing it was spoiled in the trailer, but it shouldn’t have been really. Or at least there should have been some other strong jokes to surround it. Could someone tell me how one of the most interesting characters on Game of Thrones has the big screen presence of a block of wood? Aquaman looked so cool in the trailer. What a letdown.
Can’t Compare One Company to the Other? That’s Bullshit.
Since everyone keeps announcing connective universes because Marvel went from “They’re going to do what?” what to “Let’s do it like them.? I’m going to expand further upon this sub-topic as a response to something MovieBob said in his latest essay “Really That Bad: Batman v Superman part II” There these false assumptions that fanboys want beat-for-beat adaptations of our favorite comics and characters and stories. Okay, it’s true but when it comes to how big companies handle comic character our arguments are far more reasonable then we’re often portrayed. We are not saying we need you to reenact Knightfall when you have Batman and Bane in the same movie. What we are asking is that if you stick to the elements that make these characters successful, if you follow the basics of a story even if you had to update it, these movies would see success. There are exceptions to this rule (Blade, anyone) but the rule remains the same. The Crow was not a shot-for-shot recreation of James O’Barr independent comic series, but the basics of the story and the Crow felt like the goddamn Crow. Spider-Man left out a lot of things from the comic but the Rami kept the heart of what makes Spider-Man, well, Spider-Man and therefore the first two movies are considered classics.
Marvel, on the other hand, has been playing the game doing exactly that. Think about it. Before Iron -Man the difference between Marvel and DC essentially came to DC had an entire pantheon of well-known characters. People had an idea of Marvel, but mostly because of that Stan Lee guy with the unique way of saying things. The world didn’t know the Avengers beyond the 1960’a with the kick-ass woman in black leather, but the entire world knew who Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern are even if they never picked up a four-color book in their lives. Now the entire world can recite a Marvel Universe style knowledge of character origins because Marvel took it’s time delivering those origins in family-friendly comedy action movies that promise to be connected and, for the most part, delivered on that promise. When Marvel reinvented the hero moment they earned it. When they put out Guardians of the Galaxy they earned the praise. They earn Ant-Man and Thor Ragnarok. These things happened because they had confidence in their plans and properties and it shows.
WTF Warner Brothers? Seriously.
That last part is long because I want to stress this because everyone gets caught up in the rivalry and not the facts. The fact is Warner Brothers has acted like cowards when it comes to their Super Hero properties. Patti fucking Jenkins just showed them what happens when you don’t allow so much of the corporate crap to get in the way of artistic visions. I did not need to see a recreation of the Perez or Williamson or (God help us) Marston’s versions of Wonder Woman. But she has a specific personality set, if from a specific place and must be framed in a specific way. Superman strayed so far from Superman it got silly. Let’s be clear, I don’t mean Superman the Movie, I mean Superman the character. He’s not brooding. He’s not dour. He does not allow his fucking father to die in a storm he could easily save him from without being seen. Superman does not allow kids to die in a bus to protect his identity. He most certainly does not rip across populated city wrecking everything on site to have a college “who can hit harder bro” fight. That’s what a 12-year-old wants from Superman.
Because of the fear of flying approach Warner took we come to this mess of a movie called Justice League. I can’t even blame it on Snyder, and I most certainly will not put this at the feet of Whedon. Justice League is a ship that was headed for disaster and Warner was the iceberg. The end result of this movie was no different than the kind of thinking that leads to Superman III or Batman Forever or Catwoman. Everyone has reached the “tired of this shit” point with the DCU. It’s only saving grace is something they try not to acknowledge because Warner is just another sausage party huddling the shadows in case SJW’s attack them. Wonder Woman was good, but not enough. Everything else has been one steaming turd after the other, and the team movie had too many glaring flaws to dismiss as nit-picks or dashed fanboy hopes. This is not a good movie or even an interesting movie. Justice League is going to end up one of those flicks they repeat on Cinemax Family for years to come.