“I certainly didn’t hate it as much as I expected to, and even on it’s own it wasn’t a terrible movie.”
So last night I went and saw Justice League and let’s suffice it to say that I was not excited. Scratch that, I was terrified. After the shit show that was Batman v. Superman, on top of having to rewatch it only a few days ago, I was dreading having to sit in a theatre for three more hours watching Batman brood and The Flash crack jokes. Let’s just suffice this all to say that I was not in the best headspace, at least for Justice League’s sake. So what is Justice League about? Well, after Superman’s death in the last film, earth is up for grabs. This causes an alien dude, Steppenwolf, to try and take control of earth with his thousands of bug-like creatures. To try and prevent this catastrophe from happening, Batman has to unite all of the superheroes that he found on Lex Luther’s flash drive. That’s pretty much all there is to this movie, so let’s get into the review.
So Justice League starts off with it’s best foot forward; CGI-moustache Superman. That’s right, because of scheduling conflicts Henry Cavill had to return to reshoot a lot of Superman scenes while adorning a moustache the likes of which Tom Selleck would be proud of. Unfortunately Superman doesn’t traditionally have any facial hair, and Cavill was contractually obligated to keep his magical flavour-saver, so the solution was of course to CGI Cavill’s face to remove the moustache. This looked absolutely abysmal, and as I have mentioned it is literally the first thing you see in the movie. A shitty, puffy-faced Superman whose appearance barely passes the uncanny valley. And it wasn’t just the weird Superman face that I was disappointed with (although it was easily the worst CGI in the film), but other moments stuck out to me as well. One of these moments was the appearance of Cyborg. Cyborg actually looked better than I assumed he would when I first saw the Justice League trailer, but his face just didn’t look right. This is because taking a human face, especially half of a human face, and transplanting it onto a digital body is guaranteed to create a weird effect. Cyborg constantly looked as though he was a renaissance painting attached to a fucking robot, and that’s not a good thing. But apart from those missteps I actually found the CGI in Justice League to be pretty passable. It wasn’t amazing, but it did what it was supposed to do. One of the best parts of Justice League was actually the segments with The Flash doing his thing. Although I did find them a little reminiscent of similar scenes featuring Quick Silver in the X-Men films, they were pretty fun and they looked great. And the same can be said for the action sequences, but with a caveat. All of the fights in Justice League loosed great, but I found they lacked quite a bit of substance. I’m not sure if it was because I lacked attachment to the characters or if another factor was at play, but I found a lot of the action scenes to be kind of boring. And even if they weren’t boring, they were forgettable as all hell (as I’m sitting here I’m struggling to remember any of them).
But those are just surface-level critiques; how was the actual story in Justice League? Well, it wasn’t great. Much like in Batman v. Superman I found that Justice League was trying really hard to cram too much into a short amount of time. This really took toll on the introduction of three of the six current Justice League members, as their introductions are essentially truncated into “Hey, there’s a superhero. Want to fight with us?”. Now there is a silver lining to this bastardization of these beloved characters, and that is the pacing of the film was actually pretty fucking great. Justice League is about two hours long, but it felt to only be about an hour. This is most likely due to the story jumping around a lot and only including the “highlights” of each of their characters. Of course there is yet another con to having the character introductions rushed and that is the fact that almost all of the newly introduced characters are exactly the same. This goes mainly for Cyborg and Aquaman (mainly because The Flash was comic relief), but I had a hard time differentiation who was on screen at any given time. Of course that’s a hyperbole, but it has roots in reality. Both of these characters played these brooding pieces of shit that didn’t want to help, but then did because they could get something out of it for themselves. They were the “straight men” of the group constantly grumbling and begrudgingly helping their fellow superheroes. And then of course by the end they both warm up to the idea of having friends and everything is hunky-dory. But what I found to be easily the worst part of Justice League was the tonal shift from the other movies to this. What’s the difference between DC and Marvel? If you responded “One franchise knows how to have a good time” in reference to Marvel, then you would be right. DC, in yet another effort to catch up to Marvel, tried to alter the tone of Justice League to make things more fun and light for the moviegoing audience. This would have worked in theory, had it not been for the other movies (namely Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman) fucking it up beforehand. Do you know what’s weird? Having Batman, who has only been portrayed as a fucking asshole who literally wanted to kill Superman for helping people, crack jokes. Nothing you’ve show us about this character so far has alluded to the fact that Bruce Wayne is actually a stand-up comedian, so why are you having him do his tight five in front of the other members. We. Don’t. Care. Have Batman be the fucking asshole of the group and everyone else play off of how much he sucks. That would have actually been funny. The way that you’ve portrayed these characters now makes it look like they took a fucking group improv class in between films. And even for the new characters, where the jokes actually made sense, the humour just wasn’t there. I shit you not, most of the jokes in Justice League fell completely flat. And I’m not talking about me personally, I’m talking about for my entire screening last night. Probably close to 100 people and most of the jokes uttered throughout those two hours were met by complete silence. It was probably a double-header of the jokes not being funny, and also people not expecting to laugh when the last movie made them want to kill themselves. There was one moment in Justice League that is probably the funniest thing I’ve seen all year, but it didn’t come from the screen. In the movie Superman (who came back to life by the way, in case you missed the last three seconds of Batman v., Superman) was asked what coming back from the dead felt like. He replied “itchy”. This was obviously supposed to be a joke taking what is a very serious, emotional subject and getting a very cold, very real answer to it; but that wasn’t what made me laugh. What made me laugh was the person behind me giving the most earnest “What??” I’ve ever heard in my life. This summed up most of the jokes in Justice League for me, and it will be the one thing that I remember about this movie.
Now despite me kind of shitting on Justice League over the past little while I want to say that I didn’t hate it. I certainly didn’t hate it as much as I expected to, and even on it’s own it wasn’t a terrible movie. Apart from Wonder Woman, Justice League is the only DCEU movie that I would rewatch. It managed to be lighter than the other films, and actually present a pretty good time. Sure the story was weak, the jokes weren’t any stronger, and the fights were forgettable; but at least I didn’t have to be put on suicide watch just to get to the credits.
I give Justice League a C