Well, here we go again. Justice League is the movie that we have all been waiting but for all the wrong reasons. After the bombshell in the form of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice that released in 2016, many had very low expectations for this film. However, regardless of how bleak the outlook of the movie may seem, no real fan of superhero movies can resist going to see Justice League just out of sheer curiosity. Thankfully, director Zack Snyder showed he was able to take some criticism because this movie was not nearly as dark and intense as Batman vs. Superman. Is this the movie that final moves DC back into the conversation with Marvel as the best superhero movie studio? (Warning: Spoilers Ahead)
If you have been reading up on the news relating to this movie in recent weeks, then have probably noticed that it has undergone a lot of reshoots. The reason for these reshoots is the mandate from Warner Brothers that it does not exceed 2hrs. At this point, the movie was slated to be 2hrs and 45 minutes long, so removing 45 minutes was not an easy task. They had to bring the crew back in and spend a lot more money, bumping the movie up to the second most expensive movie of all time at $300 million. It also meant bringing back the actors, many of whom were currently working on other projects. Henry Cavill was in the middle of shooting for Mission Impossible 6, a role for which he grew out a nice mustache. He couldn’t shave his mustache for the Justice League reshoots so they were forced to just roll with it and CGI his upper-lip without a mustache. Pretty weird, but I would have never noticed it if I wouldn’t have been looking for it. Anyway, in addition to reshoots, they had to cut a lot of scenes from the movie to get it down to the 2hr mark. I personally think that the first two-thirds of this movie was very choppy, and there were definitely places where it cut and I felt like there probably used to be more there. For a while during the beginning, the film would switch back and forth so often trying to set up all of the characters’ backgrounds, that it seemed like we never saw a scene longer than 3-5 minutes long until pretty late in the movie. I suppose I could summarize this point into one sentence. This film was poorly written and the storyline lacked organization.
Steppenwolf was definitely one of my least favorite villains I’ve ever seen in a superhero movie. He just seemed kind of pathetic. First of all, he was 100% CGI. Second, he was really cliche when it came to his one-liners or his motivation to destroy. In fact, you never exactly figure out what he is planning on doing; it just seems like he wants to destroy the earth. And thirdly, he was pretty weak for a villain that was supposed to be the ender of worlds. Superman beat him up so easily in the end that it almost seemed anti-climactic. Overall, it just seemed like the purpose of the movie was to unite the team, not to create a quality plotline or a formidable opponent.
Moving on to the characters, I wasn’t a big fan of Cyborg. They gave him a little more background than I think they really gave The Flash or Aquaman, but it was still pretty thin. My biggest problem with him is how emotionally intense he was throughout the whole thing. I understand the kid has been throughout a lot, but he was a high school kid and it seemed like he should’ve had the opportunity to loosen up and have a little fun towards the end of the movie. I don’t know, maybe big DC fanatics will tear me apart on that nitpick, but I just didn’t like it. Also, his CGI was a little off from time to time. I didn’t particularly mind Barry Allen (The Flash), but a few of my friends that have watched The Flash show that’s on Netflix have voiced their disdain for the character. It seems the consensus among them is that Barry Allen, played by Ezra Miller, is supposed to have a cool factor. They also thought he was just over-the-top nerdy and awkward but wasn’t really as intelligent as he should be.
This was actually a rather enjoyable movie. Sure, there were lots of problems, but they were much more lighthearted with this movie. They were actually cracking some jokes this time. I thought it was a much more enjoyable film to look at as well. Whereas in Batman vs. Superman, the backgrounds were all dark and colorless, it seemed like Snyder tried to add a splash of color to Justice League. The backgrounds were still much blander than I would prefer in a movie, but it wasn’t as much the greys and blacks that I hated in his previous film.
The character dynamic of the group is actually pretty good. Though I didn’t like all of the new characters, I did like the way they all worked together. I especially enjoyed Jason Mamoa as Aquaman. Not only did he have the Aquaman look, he also had this kind of raw attitude that I think fit the character perfectly. I still consider Ben Affleck’s Batman to be somewhat of a good character as well, just because we only really have about half of a bad movie to use as the background for his character. He was pretty good in this movie but I do think it’s kind of a bummer that the Justice League stuff is just now getting started and it is in the twilight of this Batman’s career. It just feels like he is on the verge of retiring but he is really just getting started in the DCEU. I did like how the show the true leadership ability that he has in this movie. It is obvious that he doesn’t have half of the ability of the other members of the team. However, he proves to be selfless and a great leader of the group. Wonder Woman, played again by Gal Gadot, was one of my favorite characters in the movie. She continues bringing the same flare to the big screen that made her stand-alone movie so popular last summer. Henry Cavill comes back as Superman and does a solid job after the first scene where he is brought back which I found to be weird and pretty offbeat compared to what I am used to with his character. They did a great job in showing just how incredibly powerful Superman really is, that the other five characters combined had no chance to keep him under control.
I left the theater thinking that this movie clearly outperformed my expectations. It was after that revelation that I thought to myself, “Exactly how low were my expectations?” The answer is very low. This movie isn’t great, it may not even be good, but it is a lot more watchable that Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice and that is a huge step in the right direction for director Zack Snyder. It is not a universal must watch but I think it still warrants a watch from anyone who proclaims themselves as a fan of superhero movies.