Alright Zack Snyder, third time's the charm right? Well, apparently not. DC's much awaited superhero team is finally here and man does it suck. You'd think that after clearly rushing their previous movies just so they could get to the Justice League film out there, the DCEU might actually have something substantial to offer this time around. However, a rushed and generic plot along with a villain who seems to have no clear motive or agenda of his own, coupled with the movie's identity crisis was always doomed to fail. Here's my review of Justice League:
The story picks up right after the events of BVS, where Bruce is off to recruit a team of metahumans to fight alongside him for an impending invasion. While the movie does start out okay with a pretty sweet scene where we see Batman's first parademon encounter that felt like it was ripped right out of a comic book and introductions of the other heroes to get things moving. The movie, however clearly struggles to squeeze in as much as it can for its 2 hour duration. Whether it's introducing the audience to Mera or Jim Gordon, it's clear that the filmmakers had a lot to do and lot a lot of time to do it in, resulting in majority of the scenes seeming half baked.
One would expect characters like Lois to have more scenes to show just how she copes with the loss of Superman but there just isn't enough of that. All she does is remind the audience that still exists with like one scene in between and then just shows up again when the plot requires her to motivate Clark to get back to being Superman.
When it comes to the heroes themselves, they are this movie's saving grace. While each character has been fleshed out enough to make the viewers root for them, the issue lies with two characters in particular, Steppenwolf and Superman.
Steppenwolf's presence in this movie seems to be just so that the league would have someone to punch. Granted we couldn't really expect much from an already supporting villain shoved into the front lines, but this is ridiculous. He literally had no business invading Earth in the first place apart from the fact that he claims to do so just because Superman isn't around anymore. With a villain this weak, there is no sense of tension or danger this film, which in turn barely justifies Bruce going out of his way to form the league in the first place.
While we have a disposable villain on one hand, we have a hero suffering a severe identity crisis on the other. Henry Cavill's performance in this movie is so out of character from what he's been doing so far that he might as well have been paying a different hero altogether. It feels like the writers of the movie just made Cavill watch Chris Reeve's Superman and said "Do that! Exactly that! Don't question the continuity, just do it!". With some of the most cringe worthy dialogues ever written for the man of steel along with a clearly forced sense of humor, Henry Cavill has managed to make Superman insufferable. At this point, I'm pretty sure they are going to make Clark Kent an intolerable, bumbling idiot the next time we see him on screen.
Now, getting back to the plot, this collection of scenes jammed together so it could be called a movie really started becoming pointless, after the league suffered their first defeat at the hands of Steppenwolf. Wait, did I say defeat? I meant a minor setback wherein the villain just manages to escapes and Bruce decides to use this as a justification to bring a dead alien back to life, because why not right? This again stresses on the point I mentioned earlier on how this movie lacked a scene of high stakes. Reviving a hero like Superman who selflessly gave his life and is now at peace should have been out of sheer desperation. Instead it just all boils down to the fact that technically you can't have a Justice League without Superman.
Scenes that followed, especially watching Barry and Victor dig up Superman's grave felt really out of place. I mean heroes to grave robbers? It was like watching Ben Affleck putting on eye liner before he can wear the cowl. No one needs to see it happen!!
In terms of the general tone of the film, while the did opt for a more lighter approach, which mostly worked, this movie is such a clear departure from what the DCEU has been building up to so far, that when Hans Zimmer's Superman theme stated playing in the Kryptonian ship scene, I actually though to myself, "holy shit, are these movies really connected?"
Up till now, the DCEU has always focused on a more dark and grounded approach to their characters and it's something I really respected them for even though the movies themselves were poorly executed. The fact that they at least tired to do something different and be their own thing was commendable. Now, however, they seem to have given up and just decided to follow Marvel's strategy for shoehorning a joke every 30 seconds.
I get that the filmmakers chose to go in this direction because viewers complained that the movies weren't "fun". But was the lack of humor really to blame or was it just poor storytelling? I mean, no one watches The Dark Knight and says, "man I wish that movie made me laugh"
Another thing I couldn't help but notice was just how much each movie keeps degrading in terms of quality. Don't take my word for it, just watch the fight choreography in Man of Steel and then watch the 5 minute punching session in Justice League.
To sum up, Justice League does not seem to be much of an improvement over the previous films. To me, it seems like with each installment they fix old mistakes by replacing them with new ones. The DCEU still has a long way to go if it wants to go toe to toe with the MCU, or just make watchable movies in general. I'd score this movie a 2.5 out of 5 stars.
So those are my thoughts on the movie, do let me know yours in comments below. Also, everything I've stated above is just my opinion on the film, no offence to those who enjoyed it. Cheers!