All the Superheroes
Justice League (2017): Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.
You can probably guess where this review is going to go. Justice League is........fine. It has some decent action set pieces, a good cast, and some good effects. (Good in the sense that never once did I sit there and think everything in front of me was CGI, so kind of a low bar there) But there's a lot of problems too. The film is, once again, ugly to look at, everything feels rushed, (again) and the witty dialogue WB marketed the crap out of feels out of place. Especially coming from Thor: Ragnarok just a few weeks earlier. But, at the end of the day.....the superhero movie fatigue is in full swing at this point. I'm glad DC is only releasing one film next year, though we'll get no shortage of Marvel movies so I don't expect this fatigue to go away anytime soon. Anyway, let's dive into it, shall we?
First off, the good. Let's start with the cast. The cast for this film is massive, and I managed to have some fun watching big names like Diane Lane, Amy Adams, J.K. Simmons, Amber Heard, and Billy Crudup all show up for a scene or two. Ironically, Diane Lane provided the most emotional moment of the entire film in one of her two scenes. While Amy Adams was definitely sleepwalking in her role as Lois Lane, (though she's still a great actress in her sleep so that's not saying much) most of the new members did everything they could to establish their characters for the upcoming films in the 2-3 scenes they got. Additionally, the main cast was pretty good. Ben Affleck is......Ben Affleck, but the rest of the crew seems right at home with their new roles. Ezra Miller stole the show here for me personally. His portrayal of Barry Allen was fantastic! I think DC may have found lightning in a bottle again with that casting. (Pun intended) They need it, too, because there's really only so much Gal Gadot can do to carry the DC franchise. (Though the execs at WB definitely realize that Gadot as Wonder Woman is DC's equivalent of the Wolverine/Iron Man portrayals so they are trying to get her as much screen time as possible.) Ray Fisher was fine as Cyborg, but there's only so much you can do when all you get to work with is half your face. He was definitely featured enough, but.....eh? Not much you can do with that character. He's just a cyborg. Jason Momoa was as charming and charismatic as Aquaman as you would expect. But, because they're not around water in the major battles, he basically just flew around and did ridiculous things during the set pieces. It was cool, but again.....eh? Speaking of! The set pieces here are way better than that of Batman vs. Superman. WB figured out that they were being rightly criticized for that final battle in BvS because it was shot in rainy darkness for some inexplicable reason, so they told Snyder to not only film this final set piece during the day, but have the sky be a BRIGHT color so we could see everything! Yay! To be fair, though, I'll take that over what we got in BvS. Finally, the effects were pretty good. I WISH we had a chance to see Ciaran Hinds as the villain, Steppenwolf, because he was so covered in makeup and effects it was only after I watched the movie and entered it into IMDB that I realized "Hey! That was Ciaran Hinds!" But his bug-like minions looked pretty good, and he did too.
But now it's time to talk about the bad. Let's talk about how rushed this movie feels, shall we? The negative of having this giant cast in Justice League means this film is inevitably going to feel very bloated. It definitely feels like the crew is trying to set up 18 films at once here, (hey, they are!) and it definitely makes me a tad cynical as I'm watching this. It's like watching teasers for upcoming films while watching a movie. Those work, right? Additionally, even though the final set piece was decently shot, there's still a lot of Snyder-esque scenes throughout this film. It worked for Watchmen, but it STILL doesn't work here. We don't need shot after shot at night or in the rain, do we? Do we really? Also, can we PLEASE get some silence every once in a while! There are several attempts at some intimate scenes scattered throughout this film, but there's still so much extra crap going on in these sequences (like the forgettable and unnecessary score underneath and all these grand shots with a lot of action happening in them) that you can't really appreciate them. It's like watching Michael Bay try and have an intimate moment surrounded by explosions. It just doesn't work! Diane Lane almost makes it work as there's a close up of her in one of the more emotional moments, but then we cut to a wide shot of corn! And wind! And a grand sunset! You just can't really get those intimate, emotional points across with so much crap happening. Also, can we take a minute to talk about the humor? Because.....it's here, but dear GOD does it feel out of place. And it's not even all that good! I think I chuckled maybe 4 or 5 times? But it was definitely unnecessary and out-of-place for our heroes to be cracking one-liners as the world is falling around them. This was a mandate from WB, and it feels very, VERY forced most of the time. Humor just doesn't work in Zack Snyder's world.
All of this combines to make Justice League a fine film, but not one that I plan on seeing again any time soon. At least this one was shorter, clocking in at exactly 2 hours. Sure better than the 150 minute endeavor that was BvS. I don't even know what they could do to make the DC Universe better. Wonder Woman worked because of its star and its director, so maybe Snyder is the common thread in all of this? I really don't want to just blame him for all of DC's problems, but him being out of the picture entirely, and WB being willing to take a chance, like Marvel did with Taika Waititi for Thor: Ragnarok, may make this franchise feel less cynical than it is. Hey! James Wan is leading Aquaman, so maybe it'll be good! I just don't know how many more chances I'm willing to give DC/WB.
The Critique: Despite a huge and great cast, Justice League still feels corporate-mandated with out-of-place humor and a rushed and bloated story, which, combined with the Zack Snyder's dismal touch, leads to an average film.
The Recommendation: If you want to see this you probably already have, but there are DEFINITELY better films out there at the theater right now. Like Thor: Ragnarok! And Lady Bird! And heck, I've heard Wonder is pretty good so spend your money on that before you go see this.
Rewatchability: Moderately Low
The Verdict: 5/10 Average
https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/M/MV5BMTY5MDU2MjAxN15BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwODA2NDAxNDM@._V1_SY1000_CR0,0,1499,1000_AL_.jpg (Gordon pic)
"Like" Enter the Movies on Facebook for the latest and greatest on all things movies! OR ELSE FACE THE CONSEQUENCES OF A KILLER RABBIT. Sorry about this one, guys. Not my decision. He volunteered. And is just absolute dynamite!