Justice League: Promise, Quips and Quick Trips (spoiler free)

Justice League (2017) is directed by Zack Snyder and stars Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller,Ciariàn Hinds, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons and Henry Cavill.

This movie is one of those films that you can’t really discuss effectively without spoilers. However, since it only released a day or so ago as of me writing this critique I will keep it spoiler free as possible, and then address the spoilers in another post! Also it’s impossible to discuss this landmark film without discussing the development that led to it, and although I’m going to do so to set the tone, watch out for a more in depth analysis of the DC and Marvel film media franchises!

Let’s discuss the DCEU. Launched after the already rolling success of rival company Marvel’s MCU, and trailing the legacy of the highly acclaimed and influential Dark Knight Trilogy the company didn’t know where it was going. Whilst it was impossible to make a shared universe with characters as realistic as Nolan’s Batman franchise, DC had also suffered disappointed in what (they felt would be) a VERY traditional Superman movie, Superman Returns (2006) which tried to pay homage to the Donner classics. Nor did they want to seem to similar to rival brand Marvel’s quirky tone, but wanted to differentiate themselves after the successful of Nolan’s aforementioned trilogy. Warner Bros were terrified and needed to make money fast. As a result of this reactionism, the studio didn’t quite know what they wanted or what they NEEDED to be successful in their own light. The result was 4 experimental films rushing to launch the DCEU in the span of 5 years, and although the movies were far from box office failures, none thus far have broken into the billion dollar elite status reserved for comic book films, and only Wonder Woman (2017) was universally praised.

In the context of this pressure to succeed, alongside a stupid Warner Bros quota length of 2 hours max, the formal retirement of maestro composer Hans Zimmer from superhero films and the tragic suicide of director Zack Snyder’s daughter forcing him to take time off shooting, and subsequent replacement with director Joss Whedon the odds of this film collapsing were high.

And in light of these obstacles they actually managed to pull off a decent flick. Justice League is an enjoyable, pleasing, albeit flawed ride.

What does work for the most part is the characters. I honestly compare the individual characters as more interesting than I did with the initial Avengers characters. I’m very interested in the potential their personal stories can have. The newcomers : Fisher’s Cyborg, Momoa’s Aquaman and Miller’s Flash, are all very likeable. None stand out above the other, and all are very different and unique, which makes for potentially exciting individual films.

Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is the Wonder Woman we’ve seen thus far. She’s virtually the same as she was in her previous two appearances. Which is a good thing. If one thing the DCEU have gotten very correct so far, it’s everything about Wonder Woman.

Due to his overly grizzly and dour tone (whether justifiable or not) in Batman v Superman (2016) and his character development due to the events of the film, Affleck’s Batman feels somewhat different. He’s chirpier, smiles more and even makes jokes and is surprisingly the butt of some of those jokes. This detracts a little bit. I do know they wanted to redeem him as a character after his reception in the last film, but it’s unlike Batman – especially this Batman. The lighter tone detracted from the coolness we’ve come to expect from the Caped Crusader. It certainly hasn’t ruined him in anyway, I still think this is the best live-screen Batman we’ve ever gotten, and we get to see him put his detective skills to more use in this film than previously. But perhaps if they kept his brooding persona, it wouldn’t break with the Batman mythos.

Ciriàn Hinds is a weak link in this strong cast. It’s him, the writing for Steppenwolf, and the CGI that makes this a weak villain. And I mean very weak villain. While Marvel are criticised for their forgettable villains, Steppenwolf is almost unbearable. Hinds doesn’t seem all to convinced in his own performance and it seemed like he was phoning it in. I think the dialogue didn’t help either. Very campy and out of place, like Lord of the Rings character would seem in a James Bond film perhaps. His CGI is honestly pitiful. I realise that it’s bad and he looks like clay-motion, but what makes it worse is that we have no understanding of this character and so can’t relate to him the way we do with other fully CGI characters, such as the aliens in Avatar. As a result of this, the CGI is more apparent and the villain seems nothing more than a big stupid video game boss fight. Now, I understand the comics and realise that Steppenwolf is nothing but a henchmen to a much, much more sinister force. But if this was discussed in more detail, it would have made him more compelling. I really feel like a lot of this would have been dealt with had the film been 45 minutes to an hour longer.

In the context of this pressure to succeed, alongside a stupid Warner Bros quota length of 2 hours max, the formal retirement of maestro composer Hans Zimmer from superhero films and the tragic suicide of director Zack Snyder’s daughter forcing him to take time off shooting, and subsequent replacement with director Joss Whedon the odds of this film collapsing were high.

Henry Cavill’s superman. A character that has caused so much controversy and anger in the past 4 years. I always had faith in the actor, and I appreciated the direction and growth arc they were taking in the past films but I just wished they got where they needed to be cleaner. But finally my intuition came to fruition – this is the best modern version of Superman I’ve seen. He finally embodies what makes Superman, Superman. From brighter colours to a more commanding presence, the film was raised a few bars due to this improvement alone. I do believe there is somewhat of a negative bias against DC. Henry Cavill due to his commitments with the next Mission Impossible film is obliged not to shave his moustache. They removed it digitally in post production and to be honest…it kinda shows but only if you look for it. I’ve read other critics pan the entire movie just because of a little CGI upper lip. Unlike them, I was very very pleased with what I saw. Welcome home Superman.

The character interactions are perfect. When I heard they were doing practically the opposite of Marvel’s formula i.e launching the franchise with a team up rather than individual movies that lead to them I was shocked. There was no way there would be enough room time for character development, and certain characters would definitely overshadow others. But the script was pretty tight, and the dedication and chemistry of the cast put away such doubts. I’m looking forward to seeing them work together again.

Although there is a noted absence of Man of Steel’s theme, Danny Elfman does provide a fun upbeat score that may not be as memorable as Zimmer’s is still pretty enjoyable to listen to. And ofcourse, hearing his iconic 1989 soundtrack used was every fan’s dream. I’m not complaining about that one bit.

To me the biggest flaw was the pacing of this movie. I understand there was once again studio interference which really really pisses me off. It felt like…Justice League: the summary. The movie was certainly rushed especially in the start, with information and action thrown at you without you getting a chance to take it in. There are also two scenes that I simply didn’t understand, and I know a lot more could have been done to explain them, but the film was cut down too much. There’s a lot from the trailers that sadly doesn’t make it to the movie! I’m hoping a director’s cut can answer all that. I also understand I’m being superficial in my description but my spoiler review should answer the rest. There’s also some continuity errors that need to be addressed, and I’ll do those later too..but they aren’t enough to ruin the film at all either.

This certainly felt like the least Zack Snyder film he’s ever made. There’s no over use of dull filter, the slow motion is there, but it doesn’t take out too much. The CGI isn’t that good. I know Snyder’s films are visually stunning masterpieces and I’m disappointed in this regard. Still, I understand the film had a lot of reshoots especially after the tragedy his family faced. I understand what went wrong. Unfortunately we won’t know for sure how much in our Wheddon has on the movie. He’s credited with the screenplay, it’s difficult to know what changes he made but the changes are most certainly there.

Well – so far the RT score for this film is really low. I don’t know why. It’s honestly a pretty nice film especially considering what they went through to get it off the ground. It certainly isn’t life changing like the Avengers was but that novelty will unfortunately never be relived. It was a one off thing. I do recommend this film, and I’m happy with the final product if it means more of the same thing.

Essentially this film potentially puts the DCEU in a very interesting position by way of how the franchise will developed. They’ve exposed us all to this vast open world with infinite enjoyable possibilities. I heard the Flash film will be a flashpoint reboot as a contingency plan if this film fails, however now that I’ve watched it, I certainly hope it doesn’t fail.

3 thoughts on “Justice League: Promise, Quips and Quick Trips (spoiler free)

  1. As always a very entertaining and informative review😊 So far the reviews for this movie have described pretty much what I expected for this film. I did not expect too much for this film but as long as I am entertained for the majority of the time, I’m not going to complain. I hope to see it this week. Thanks for sharing your thoughts for this one 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I just watched it today! I thought it was awesome! I do recognize however that i am totally biased, they could have thrown anything at me and i would have been pleased as long as i got to see some of my childhood hero’s in action. Some of the action scenes were great and the Flash (my favorite superhero) gave me some good chuckles. On the other hand, I definitely noted some mismatched scenes that didn’t make any sense and i think some of these miss-timed moments will be corrected in the directors cut (That 2 hour limit is crap!). All in all i had a good time, maybe when i eventually re-watch it again i’ll be in more critique mode than fanboy mode haha

    Liked by 1 person

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