The time has come for WB/ DC to assemble one of the greatest teams to ever grace the pages of a comic book, the JUSTICE LEAGUE! The DC movie universe has had a few missteps on the way but WONDER WOMAN was a beacon of light in a somewhat dreary, morose and at times boring post-Nolan DC movie universe. Nonetheless, WB/ DC has thankfully pressed forward, scraped the plan for back-to-back JUSTICE LEAGUE movies, and decided to give this (and maybe more of their movies) a lighter, more fun tone. Does it pay off? Did they simply make another sloppy movie ala BATMAN v SUPERMAN? Did Joss Whedon swoop in and turn this in to an AVENGERS level home run? Will this be WB/DC’s final nail in the coffin pushing them to use FLASHPOINT as an immediate reset which in and of itself is a very, very DC thing to do? Humphrey Lee and KletusCassidy form a Legion of Doom of our own and take on Zack Snyder’s JUSTICE LEAGUE.
In theaters now!
JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017)
Directed by Zack Snyder & Joss Whedon
Written by Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon, Zack Snyder
Starring Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, J.K. Simmons, Ciarán Hinds, Amber Heard, Joe Morton, Lisa Loven Kongsli, Ingvar Eggert Sigurðsson, David Thewlis, Sergi Constance, Julian Lewis Jones, Salome R. Gunnarsdottir, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Francis Magee, Aurore Lauzeral, Samantha Jo, Ann Ogbomo, Brooke Ence, Doutzen Kroes, Jack Yang, Karen Bryson, Billy Crudup, Jesse Eisenberg, Joe Manganiello, Eleanor Matsuura, Omri Rose, Robin Wright
Find out more about this film here, @justiceleaguewb, and on Facebook here
KLETUS CASSIDY (KC): What were your thoughts going in to this movie? What were you hoping to see and what were you expecting to see?
HUMPHREY LEE (HL): I think FUCK THE HATERS; I liked this movie! Wooooooo!!!!
Okay, time to extrapolate. Expectations? Honestly, I didn’t have many and was just trying to let myself take it all in stride, for better or worse. I was admittedly getting to the point coming into JUSTICE LEAGUE where, given the low-bar quality of three of the four movies preceding it, this was going to be my last straw on indulging my inner fanboy and automatically watching these WB/DC productions on opening night, which has been a tendency of mine for basically all comic book movies (Not you “Fant4stic”) dating back to BATMAN BEGINS honestly.
Basically, I was keeping my expectations hopeful – something I’m not exactly renowned for – because even if the final products haven’t matched up to those hopes and expectations, there have been aspects of the DCU movies thus far I have liked and I was hoping would converge into a good DCU movie, or at least carry over now that they have had one in WONDER WOMAN earlier this year. I’ve personally loved and enjoyed most of the casting decisions across all these movies, from Henry Cavill to Ben Affleck to Gal Gadot especially and so on. But, man, the material they have been given so far has been pretty rough, especially in SUPERMAN V BATMAN, which is why I was properly braced to walk away from this universe with this production if it just continued the very haphazard path the DCU productions have tread basically since inception. If the course could correct itself in some framework regards, though, whether it had been under some creative soul searching by Zack Snyder in the face of heavy criticism, or more input from people who should know how to pull these characters back on track, like Geoff Johns now that he’s in an executive position there or the aforementioned Joss Whedon, though his input came on due to tragic circumstances.
But as I said before, we were getting close to my last straw because at this point there’s almost no excuse right? It’s one thing to have these things come out and they just end up being okay, breezy entertainment, but to have a track record of mostly mediocre to bad films coming into your fifth movie, and something as big a cultural touchstone as the goddamn Justice League, and especially while Marvel is nearing twenty movies deep and at the WORST they are creating just “breezy entertainment,” well, something had to give eventually. And I think it did a lot bit with WONDER WOMAN and also just a little bit with JUSTICE LEAGUE here, which I opened with saying I did like, but it suffers a lot for the sins of its predecessors.
But, yeah, in the end I liked this big dumb movie, even if it was far from the ideal way I wanted to see the Justice League finally debut on the big screen.
KC: I’m with you; I actually liked it as well! I was pleasantly surprised by how ‘not bad’ it was. I had pretty low expectations, the trailer just kind of made me think that JUSTICE LEAGUE would just be another BATMAN v SUPERMAN with more characters. I try to give any movie I see the benefit of the doubt, it is very easy to go into a movie with preconceived notions and allow those notions to over influence how someone feels about a movie. So, as far as a movie suffering for the sins of past movies, I think a lot of people will dismiss and dislike JUSTICE LEAGUE because of the mess BATMAN v SUPERMAN made. I understand this feeling to some degree but I really think Snyder and Co. actively tried to correct the problems of BvS and make something better. Hell, they even made Hope the theme of the movie, which is something this movie’s predecessor sorely lacked.
I was just hoping that this movie was at the very least fun and better than BvS and in my opinion, it was. This was not a perfect movie by any means, it isn’t the best comic book movie of the year but goddammit it’s an entertaining movie despite its flaws.
I actually didn’t go see this on opening night and while I was very curious about this movie, I still had my reservations and didn’t feel an overwhelming desire to rush out a see it on Thursday night no matter what. Marvel has a formula that is tried and true and while the origin movies can be a little repetitive and some of the third act of MARVEL STUDIOS movies (and comic book movies in general) suffer from some of that same repetitiveness, THEY ARE AT LEAST FUN TO WATCH! As you said, at worst they are just fun popcorn movies and most post-Nolan DC movies even struggle just to be that…but we may be on a path where that’s starting to change.
HL: Expectation, I think, is what is driving a lot of the enjoyment or derision I’m seeing about this movie the past couple days. Again, the track record leading into this was so mediocre at best (abysmal by critical score valuation) that I’ve seen a lot of “I wasn’t expecting anything and was pleasantly surprised!” and that still feels awful given my love of these characters in print and my overall engagement with this offering of the League. “It wasn’t the trainwreck I was expecting” is not what the world’s greatest superheroes deserve as the faintest of praise. And some people were just going to hate this no matter what given what came before and, given that material, they have a just bit of a claim to that line of thought, though I think it’s bad form to completely dismiss any creative work until it actually comes together, even if a track record shows a pattern of, well, shit.
All that out of the way I did, in fact, like this movie, but I think it barely borders on “good” with something like 90% of my enjoyment of it being derived by the cast and how they each represented these icons in their own way. As I said before, this movie suffers from the sins of what came before and it was really hard for me to buy this world in just desperate mourning over a Superman who died for them and they loved so much even though for one-and-a-half movies before this they feared him because of the destruction of Metropolis by other Kryptonians, his killing of Zod, and then the frame job Jesse Eisenberg’s Lex Luthor did on him in BvS. Considering the first half of this movie hinged on that and a repentant Batman that went from the ultra-extreme of murdering criminals to wanting to be better as a person and a hero, it’s a lot to have to swallow down to get to this version of the best and brightest the DCU has to offer. Add on that a generic CG beast of a villain and a pacing that actually could have benefitted from an extra 10-20 minutes of developing the overall plot beats of the Mother Boxes, or the realms of Atlantis, or just a couple more team building exercises, and the movie has flaws beyond just having to run with a tone that’s playing with a deaf ear to what actually established this movie.
And yet, thanks to the efforts of the established and glorious Gal Gadot and an almost as good Ben Affleck, the delightful newcomers Ezra Miller, Jason Mamoa, and a solid Ray Fisher, and then a rejuvenated (and mustache-less) Henry Cavill that I think FINALLY got to be the Superman I always thought he could be, I had a good enough time in my two hours with these characters to like this movie, flaws and all. So what did you think about the actual Justice Gang, especially the newbies?
KC: Right and I don’t want to harp on BvS but that movie left a lot of loose ends that JUSTICE LEAGUE had to tie up, some things were just ignored but for the most part, this movie took care of those loose ends. Pretty much all of BvS, Superman and the world couldn’t decide if he was a menace or a savior and Batman had his mind made up, which is why the third act of BvS seemed like it came from a different movie. JUSTICE LEAGUE really used Superman’s death to jump start Batman and the world into believing in significance of Superman as well as kick the Man of Steel in to high gear and give him a new lease on life and thank god because up until this movie Superman was boring as hell and grim… I think he smiled maybe once in BvS?
It’s definitely a big pill to swallow before you can enjoy this movie but at some point you have to move on from hating BvS and try to enjoy a movie for what it is. I think BvS is awful and I won’t try to convince anyone otherwise but for you ‘glass half full’ people I think there’s a lot to enjoy in this movie. The newbies? I’ll start with my favorite JUSTICE LEAGUE member of all time…
THE FLASH was better than I expected. At first, I was kind of bummed on the clunky suit because I love CW’s FLASH suit so much and I just couldn’t wrap my head around why his suit had to look like that (I mean how could he ever fit that in to a ring, hehe) BUT seeing it in action alleviated my fears and it seemed less cumbersome in motion. FLASH has always been the comic relief in the Justice League and I think they nailed it here. Flash is a little younger than usual – I feel like Barry Allen has always been about the same age as the other members in the comics – but it works with him not taking things seriously, making awkward jokes and being afraid of large scale fights. I will say that the ‘over awkward socially inept’ character can be kind of eye rolling at times but Ezra Miller was no where near the eye roll level that the mega awkward Lex Luthor was in BvS. I liked the Speed Force and how it was represented here; lightning would crackle and it would kind of seems as though he’s stepping into another dimension before he was about to run off. I’ve never seen Flash’s speed represented like that and it was cool to see on the big screen. I especially loved the moment right before they first go in to first battle and Flash says to Batman, “I don’t know how to battle.” What Batman says to him is one of the little things that makes this movie decent and I think that’s what works in this movie and what makes Marvel movies so great…they get the little details right. Needless to say Flash is really fast in this movie but is he the fastest man alive (wink wink)? I want to say more but…I won’t.
Cyborg was good, he’s not an original Justice League member but that kind of thing doesn’t really bother me for the movie universe, if the character works for the story then so be it. I thought the actor that played him did a excellent job, I’ve read a decent amount of Wolfman & Perez’s NEW TEEN TITANS and Cyborg’s depression about his appearance and general feeling that he was monster that needed to hide was dead on here. The also did a decent job not just making him an Ironman rip-off which would have been an easy and expected route to take. They even gave him a new Blue Beetle angle to him, as far as his cybernetic body reacting to danger without him commanding it to. I honestly think that Ray Fisher did a great job in this role. Despite the CGI being crap in this movie, Cyborg looked better than I expected and dare I say actually looked cool! Also, the little touch that his suit was evolving on its own and he had to try to keep up with the ‘upgrades’ was another nice little touch and separated him from the Iron Avenger.
Sooo, you liked Jason Momoa as AQUAMAN?
HL: I basically enjoyed all the newcomers to varying degrees, and that addendum mainly comes at how they were and how much more they could have been used or screen time given to flesh them out. Like Ray Fisher as Cyborg, who I think did admirably conveying his despair and anger over his man-machine state of life because he only had a couple scenes to do so, but I think just one or two more interactions of him with his father or a member of the league could have sold him much more. Or, even just a flashback to the accident he suffered since he also lost his mother in the same incident, which would have really given him a lot of added sympathy.
And it goes down the line too. I really liked Ezra Miller and his rendition of the Flash because it was endearing but also genuinely new. Barry Allen has always been a bit of an outcast but this one wasn’t as glum about it as comic book Barry nor was he the “aw schucks” little brother of the group like Gavin Guster’s (also enjoyable) depiction of the character in the TV show. Miller had this quirky, almost Austic type approach to the character where he was swallowing a lot or burden but just couldn’t help but light up when something intrigued him, like Bruce Wayne popping up and throwing a Batarang at him in his off the grid lair. Again, though, one more sequence selling that kind of interaction with the other characters, and especially like the one where he was visiting his father in jail, would have done wonders to pushing his approach and selling him. I am led to believe there’s an awkward Iris West encounter laying on a cutting room floor somewhere and that seems a shame, even though it’s so rote at this point since Barry Allen is basically just the sum of his daddy issues and Iris obsession at this point.
And I wish he had explored his powers more in the movie. As he openly admits, he’s not a crime fighter as much as a super speed “pusher” but still, him doing some improv like, I dunno, knocking down a company of Parademons with a twister he generated or whatever would have been a start and a nice lead to his own movie and more self-discovery. That amateurish approach is why I didn’t mind his suit so much, as you were saying. Standing still, it looked so awkward but in the lens of it being something he rigged together with whatever he could “procure” it was fine, and looked solid on him while in motion. I’m sure in his next appearance on the big screen it’ll be something more streamlined and proper, probably loaded with Wayne Tech as well.
And Momoa, just come on man. The guy is a champ. He’s somehow brash and yet feels like a “bro” in the good sense of having your back no matter how stupid the circumstances. It’s a divergent approach to Aquaman but yet I felt like it tapped into some depictions of the character – mainly the Justice League cartoon days back in the Dini/Timm era – that it worked enough. Again, more background work on him, especially selling just how his relationship with Atlantis and royal bloodline works would have really sold the character more, but Momoa’s natural charms sell him a lot on the screen; especially the gratuitous, shirtless charms that you can’t help but admire even if you don’t swing that way. This performance of his also really made me feel dead on in believing that if WB/DC has the balls to double dip or if this universe folds under however JUSTICE LEAGUE performs, Momoa should be the universe’s biggest bastich and take a Lobo turn looking for some of that Deadpool money.
KC: I’m by no means an Aquaman purist (is that even a thing??) and he could have been way worse, but his attitude just doesn’t really fit Aquaman for me. I had a hard time believing that he is the king of an entire society. He also littered in the ocean! Haha. Honestly he wasn’t THAT bad and they seemed to reign him in a bit by not giving him a ton of lines but damn, I really could have done without him. He did not ruin this movie for me but he could have easily not been in it and the movie would not have really changed too much…there also would have been more room for those couple extra scenes you mentioned. He wasn’t horrible but you could tell they were trying for a Thor type character without the charm.
I honestly don’t see how that the AQUAMAN movie is going to work, I mean can they only communicate telepathically unless they are in an air bubble? Are the rooms filled with water or is there a dome? I have so many questions but I haven’t seen one second of it so I know I don’t have any room to complain. In a movie with bad CGI, Atlantis was hurt the most by this. I know that most likely the movie will improve on the way things looked, but damn. The air bubble conversation was kind of off putting but thankfully it didn’t last that long.
Again, Aquaman did not ruin this movie for me and as I said it could have been way worse but his dialog was cringe worthy at points and nothing he did got me amped, I could be in the minority here but that’s just how I feel currently. I thought he looked great as Aquaman but as soon as he talked, Poseidon help us! I do like all the scenes at the Nordic bar with him and Bruce. I like Momoa, he’s a certified bad ass, BUT he came off a little to bro-ey for me and really this is just a minor gripe.
Dude! He would be perfect for Lobo…like scary perfect. I mean hell he pretty much already looked and acted like him in this movie. DC please double dip and make Make Momoa Great Lobo Again…well that didn’t really work but you know what I mean!
I read somewhere that WB forced Snyder to make this movie less than two hours, so maybe they did actually film the additional scenes like what you wanted to see, but they just couldn’t tack on too much to the overall run time. We can get to the Trinity in a minute but since I mentioned it, can we talk about the CGI? Why does it seem so bad in DC movies?
HL: Yeah I’m at the point where I have to assume WB’s CGI house is just bad, and on top of the heavy usage they get in Snyder’s films, it’s a combination from hell. Lackluster CGI in the climax of WONDER WOMAN is really my only quibble with that movie, but here it gets piled on to the downfall of the JUSTICE LEAGUE, which is the thin/rushed plot I mentioned earlier combined with a CG villain in Steppenwolf that looks like he was pulled straight from a last generation video game.
It’s just that EVERYTHING is CG and when it breaks the world breaks, and that especially was the case in the third act. Now, it’s not like WB/DC are on an island here, AVENGERS looked every bit the CGfest in its final act, but that was five years ago. How have things not gotten better in these movies in half a decade, and how does it look like WB/DC have actually regressed?
It even put a bit of a damper on the “triumphant” return of the Big Blue Boy Scout because no one earned his or her “CG Mustache Removal” merit badge with this one.
KC: I glad you said that because I feel the same way about WW. As excellent as the movie was the final fight did like a video game just as it did here. This is one small advantage SUICIDE SQAUD has is that it had actually locations thus had to rely less on CGI. In JUSTICE LEAGUE, just as you said, EVERYTHING is CGI, which is strange to me because most of the movie takes place on the surface of the earth! I would have loved to see Ciarán Hinds, who plays Mance Rayder in Game of Thrones, decked out in the Steppenwolf gear talking shit and taking on the Justice League. Obviously, some stuff has to be CGI in comic book movies but some companies have found ways to use it in conjunction with practical effects, which at least adds a sense of realism and weight to what we are seeing on the screen.
The first scene of the movie with Superman was the only time I noticed Mustace-gate but after that it didn’t bother me. What’s weird is that, isn’t it easier (and cheaper) to put on a fake mustache than to CGI one off of someone’s face??
On to the matter of the Trinity, I really think the big three hit their stride in this movie, which was essential in this being an enjoyable production. Gal Gadot has been great all the way through but Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill did a much better job settling in to their roles in this movie and actually having a little fun with them as well!
HL: The Trinity! Yeah, the Trinity. Again, the vast majority of my reasoning on giving this movie the thumbs up is that I enjoyed all the actors in these iconic roles and I think this movie was a great step forward for the Cavill Superman and Affleck Batman versions. Not so much Gal’s Wonder Woman for reasons I’ll get to – I am still completely enamored by Gal’s Diana, but some of the world building and scripting choices are awkward for her in this movie and her place in this DCEU Earth.
But Hank Cavill, man of such glorious facial hair only tens of thousands of dollars in computing power could tame it, was finally the Superman I always thought he could be in the previous two movies. The broody introspection is gone, he’s sold into being the beacon of hope for the world he’s supposed to be, and except for his return scene, he is all smirks and boyish charm when back on the scene. This is the guy who should have set the tone for the DCEU. He’s such a great presence on screen, it’s a shame it took two and a half movies to get here.
Likewise, Affleck’s Batman is relieved of the burden of being a senseless fucking murderer to a guy who is desperate to save the world and knows it’s something that is out of his grasp to do as a mere mortal, despite his billions of dead parents dollars. All he can do is pay the bills, recruit people with the power he doesn’t have himself, and make the hard calls no one else finds themselves capable of making. I have liked Affleck’s Bat in both his appearances so far, honestly, but his rendition was so fucking excessive in BATMAN V SUPERMAN, especially with the, y’know, goddamn murder, that it was fantastic to see here that they basically just said “that was fucking dumb, let’s move past that.” With that out of the way we still have a Batman that is gruff and insensitive to an almost comical degree, but is determined, trying to come out of his shell with other people, and has one of the more brutal physical presences of our live action Batmen.
And that leaves us with Wonder Woman. Oh Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot is just a vision in the role again. Simultaneously vicious and elegant, she just demands all the attention when she’s on screen. My qualm with her in this movie isn’t anything to do with Gal’s performance – 90% of that 90% of my enjoyment of this movie is probably just from seeing more Gal Wonder Woman – but she’s left a little out to hang when it comes her role on the team. Yeah, she gets her fair due as the second biggest heavy on the team and the only one who can at least hold her own against Steppenwolf, but she’s not so much the heart of the team as she is the house mother trying to keep all the boys in check and from lighting everything on fire. Also, the movie indirectly raises a point of her own isolation from aiding the world in the century since World War I and the death of Steve Trevor that you kind of sort of have to reconcile that she, y’know, held back while Nazis were exterminating an entire group of people. Maybe the WONDER WOMAN sequel will actually address this (hopefully with some sweet, sweet Spear of Destiny action), but her character actually gets dinged up a little bit while Superman and Batman shake off a lot of the dirt they got on them in the movies leading up to this.
But still, I would pay all the ticket money just to watch Gal read an economics text book as Diana, and I’m not even adding an addendum of wanting more of the fucking gratuitous up-skirt shots of her Snyder made sure to grab while making this movie. Not that she isn’t possibly the most fetching woman walking across film today, but lets be adults here guys.
KC: Wonder Woman is Gal Gadot and Gal Gadot is Wonder Woman! She is as perfect in this role as Hemsworth is to Thor. WW had some damn good fight scenes in this movie and when she said, “On my lead!” I got giddy as hell. She and The Amazons were some of my favorite parts of this movie. Gal Gadot nails the sensitive parts but also can switch to hard battle mode and still be totally believable. Two things that makes Wonder Woman so special at least to me, is not only her compassion (captured perfectly in the comic WONDER WOMAN: EARTH ONE) but also her warrior background and brutal fighting ability. And Gadot nails both sides while being, in my opinion, the best casted in this movie. I agree though, she does get kind of pushed in the background a little and relegated to babysitter but I think she still gets her moments. That’s the problem with team movies though, your favorite character most likely won’t get the as much screen time as you’d like. Those butt shots were definitely gratuitous, I mean she is a beautiful woman but as you said, we could be a little more adult about it and avoid the trap of over objectification.
Batman was one of the best parts of the mess that was BvS, Ben Affleck did an amazing job as Batman despite him having to be a borderline psychopath willing to murder and maim to get the job done…don’t get me started. Anywho, he’s great again here and they’ve allowed Bruce Wayne/ Batman to lighten up some, now I know some will say maybe a little too much in that Batman had more than a few comedic lines and some hit and some didn’t but that kind of looseness is what sets this movie apart from the rest of the post Nolan DC movies. Batman is smart in this and he kick’s ass! Seeing Batman swing in and kick the shit out of Parademons got my heart a pitter-patter. Also, I like Jeremy Irons as Alfred, he brings a new fresh angle on Alfred that is still very familiar. I think it’s because Irons can belt out sass like Tom Jones belts out “Thunderball” (not sure if anyone will get that). I wish JUSTICE LEAGUE would have a little more Clark and Bruce bro-ing out (for some reason I just really want them to shake hands) but I there was a little of that peppered in, so I’m happy.
Superman has some great moments in this movie and it is about fucking time that he fights with some goddamn purpose instead of floating over people who are about to drown, wondering whether he should do anything or not. This Superman fought with purpose and quite fiercely if you ask me, no matter who he is fighting – wink, wink, nudge, nudge time – but if you know what I’m talking about that scene was cool! The way Superman came back was, wow, pretty unexpected. I really had no idea there were going to go that way and I can’t say anything bad about it. The ethics of it are pretty out of character for pretty much all involved but I have to give it to any movie that can surprise me in that way. Henry Cavil is perfect for Superman and he does more of what I liked about him in past movies and added some things such as smiling more, whipping people’s asses and having a good time doing it. He just seemed to be filled with more life but maybe that was the point of his “resurrection”. While it did absolutely take two and half movies to get to this point, I glad we finally did because I don’t think I could take another full movie of a boring Superman standing around being sad and perplexed. Praise Rao, Superman actually smiled…and laughed!
HL: Wow, lot of enthusiasm there! But fitting because, as I’ve said multiple times, getting those characters together and with actors and actresses that do them justice was key to any hope of this series of movies going forward. The past is the past and that sucks because the mess ups they made there are hard to wipe away, as the first 30 minutes or so of this movie show, but I like all these actors, think they have done really well with the characters despite poor to outright shitty material for a couple of them up to now, and think the majority really got to shine here, even if the overall script is pretty standard affair. I really would hate to lose them if this universe has to get scrapped and rebooted; they have shown in this movie, and Gal especially in this in WONDER WOMAN, that they deserve another shot.
That’s why – and I know how this sounds – I didn’t mind that this movie was about as generic as can be when it came to plotting. It set up just enough for the future with character backgrounds executed out and the Mother Box mythos that they have material to work with, but overall it was a movie thrown together to get these characters side-by-side and then put them back into their own segments again. Believe me, I would have much preferred these iconic characters got the grand unveiling they deserved, but DC/WB ran that ship aground already. This movie was about them saying “okay, that ship was decrepit and very much not seaworthy, here’s a new ship” and I do like the cut of this ships jib, mainly because I love the crew helming it and they all seem to have collectively pulled the oars out of their asses.
This movie did absolutely nothing that a superhero movie has done before, which sucks, but it did do what only one of the previous four DCEU movies had done up until now, and that’s make me think they finally have the right tone of these characters going into their solo projects and that they have the right actors lined up for the jobs. I just wish I could say the same about the animators that will be building their worlds around them though.
KC: The simple plot was ok by me as well because I felt like one of the major issues with BvS was that it had an overly complicated plot with little payoff. Because this plot so straightforward and kind of vanilla, JUSTICE LEAGUE relied more on the characters to drive the story which as you said did a lot for showing that DC can handle its universe correctly when heads are pulled out of asses.
It’s not a perfect movie by any means but it is at least fun. In my opinion BvS was just kind of boring and brutal just for the sake of being brutal (two people are executed close range within the first 15 minutes, one of which is Jimmy Olsen, wtf?!!) and there’s really a morose feeling throughout and it never really changes leading to Superman dying at the end.
The difference in this movie is that there’s actually a sense of hope that things will be better now that these heroes exist. The heroes have a purpose now, whereas in past movies Superman mainly was complacent and brooding. Batman was obsessive and more violent than ever, there wasn’t anything pushing these characters towards a common goal and this movie FINALLY gave them something to hit besides each other.
If I had to rank the Post-Nolan DC movies;
#1: WONDER WOMAN
#2: JUSTICE LEAGUE
#3: MAN OF STEEL
#4: SUCIDE SQUAD
#5: BATMAN v SUPERMAN
#6: GREEN LANTERN
Overall, I liked this movie and maybe it’s because I had low expectations but I really think they made an effort to lighten up the mood and tone and inject some damn fun in these movies. BvS starts so brutally and ends so brutally as well that it’s just not really fun at all. This movie had humor, all the members of the Justice League got to shine a little (especially Batman) and there were genuine parts that got me excited and cheering. The first post credits scene was fantastic and really put a big smile on my face, in my opinion, these are the types of things that fans will appreciate and rejoice over. DC please just push on, this movie may not make the most money and may seem that fans are stoutly divided on this but dammit it’s a good start and while it may be a small foundation, it’s a foundation nonetheless and absolutely can be expanded on. Should you rush out and go see this the same way I’d say you should do for THOR: RAGNAROK? No. BUT I enjoyed this movie despite a few eye-rolling parts (mostly having to do with Aquaman). It was fun, exciting and dare I say somewhat unpredictable. I think it was all around well acted but in my humble opinion Aquaman was a little “extra” as the kids say. The CGI is once again bad, overused and the third act looks like a video game much like the previous WB/ DC movies but sadly it’s something I’ve come to expect. I liked this movie, not as much as THOR: RAGNAROK, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2, SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING or WONDER WOMAN but I thought this movie was fun definitely a step in the right direction for DC.
HL: Yeah my overall opinion of it is that it’s basically on par with the bottom third tier of the Marvel movies; the ones that are watchable but also have glaring flaws, like THOR: THE DARK WORLD or IRON MAN 2. And I hate that it sounds like I’m “being easy” on JUSTICE LEAGUE but I’m really not. It’s a fun movie with two of its main aspects – visuals and scripting – being mediocre as fuck and is saved by a great cast. And as I said before, I really didn’t want to be in a position of having to swallow an “okay” movie for these larger than life characters I’ve loved for decades, but compared to what came before it, it’s a win, not that I’m giving it bonus points for not being as terrible as some of those.
But it is a step forward and I did have fun with it. I get why it’s not lighting up the aggregate on RT but when you see movies like the two Marvel examples I posted – and, fuck, even X-MEN: APOCALYPSE is higher than this? – I think things have gone a little too far, though I understand the weight of disappointment being a factor.
Now, here’s a thought line for you as we should definitely start to wrap this up: Are you feeling the idea that with these characters at least well done and things about to clean out a little bit with the focus on individual movies for the foreseeable future, the idea of a “Flashpoint” movie for the Flash is the way to go? Do a bit of a soft reboot, maybe clean out some of the more nefariously bad parts of these movies thus far, like Pa Kent going out in the dumbest way possible or Batman killing and/or being as old has he is, with rumors Affleck may really be out and Chesty Jake Gyllenhaal in?
KC: I say they hold off on FLASHPOINT, keep it in their back pocket until they absolutely need it. While it would be a very DC thing to reboot the universe after 5 or so movies, I think they should push on even if they have to replace Batman at some point (not really feeling Jake Gyllenhaal as Batman but who knows it could work). I imagine that ticket sales will influence WB/ DC’s decision more than what the fans want and FLASHPOINT could allow them to clean up a few things but it could lead to them forcing a storyline (much like BvS) before they’ve had time to properly set the stage for it.
I think this was the deepest WB/ DC has dipped in to the DC mythos and I like to see them continue to do so before going back to square one. Speaking of which, was that Shazam we saw in the Lord of the Rings flashback?
I’m absolutely giving them points for the movie not being as bad as it could have been, they made a conscious effort to right the ship as it were and actually put together a decent, fun movie. I remember thinking something similar about AVENGERS, that there was potential for it to go wrong but it turned out so far from bad that I was surprised and excited. JUSTICE LEAGUE is nowhere near that level but I was even more surprised that this movie wasn’t a total flop (I guess ticket sales may say otherwise). As you said at the beginning of the review, FUCK THE HATERS, bring on JUSTICE LEAGUE 2!
HL: Man, that montage was actually pretty great. It did more for this universe than three of the four movies before this.
But, yes, I’m not “all caps” into my “fuck the haters”ing, but I think this movie took more of a critical beating than it deserved. I’m not sky high about the future as I was after WONDER WOMAN, but I feel like things have settled into a place where some lessons have been learned and redemption could be at hand if the right people start making more calls into how all this should progress. Which is why I wouldn’t care either way if the powers that be decided to either “Flashpoint” out the obvious shitty decisions that have been made so far or if they just played dumb about them and focused more on building goodwill just through good, consistent output from here onward.
So, anything else to note on the way out the door, or whatever the hell entryway the Internet would have if it were a physical thing? I’m not actively trying to change people’s minds with my contribution to this piece, but I do think if anyone’s on the fence, still holding out on this movie, I wouldn’t feel bad saying this is worth one potentially last chance at the DCEU and seeing if this divines them the same glimmer of a bright future I’m seeing here. Especially in a $5 matinee sense, not that those exist anymore because fuck everything. Again, not the absolute fanboy epiphany this team coming together should have been, but it’s not any less enjoyable than the lower tier Marvel movies that have been coming at us over the past decade.
KC: Yeah I see what your saying about FLASHPOINT but part of me feels like if they do it, DC will throw the baby out with the bath water and just reset everything and start from ground zero. That being said, FLASHPOINT very well could be the kick in the butt WB /DC needs to come out of the gate swinging for the stars. I am also open to getting different multiverse versions of the Justice League on screen and possibly interacting together, so if FLASHPOINT does that, then bring it on!
Agreed, if you hate everything WB/DC has done post Nolan then you this move may not sway you but if you’re someone that saw some potential in the previous movies, JUSTICE LEAGUE may actually surprise and entertain you. There are also the people out there who were going to hate this movie no matter what, I’m friends with some of these people, and since they’ve already made up their minds nothing is going to change that, not even a fairly decent movie with some really fun moments. I know I heaped a lot of praise on this movie but really only because I was expecting way less and left the movie thinking, “you know what, I liked it!” JUSTICE LEAGUE managed to keep hope alive for future WB/ DC movies in my opinion, as you said it may just be a glimmer of hope but there’s definitely potential here. If you’re a DC fan, I think this movie is worth your time…maybe just go in with low expectations like I did.
Aaaand there it is folks, an RT defying two positive reviews in one, and it was only as long to read as it would have been to just watch the movie! Hopefully some of you all made your way through food comas to go see the flick and make your own judgments over the Holiday weekend and you got some of the enjoyment we did out of this film. Feel free to comment and discuss as you will and Cheers from Kletus and Humphrey!
If you’d like to hear more from Kletus Cassidy (I know, why would you right?), you can listen to him and his good buddy Steve discuss comics, comic news and more on the SANCTUM SEQUENTIAL podcast now on iTunes. Email questions, comments and hate mail here! Thanks!
Humphrey Lee has been an avid comic book reader going on fifteen years now and a contributor to AICN COMICS and now at MLMILLERWRITES.COM. In fact, reading comics is about all he does in his free time and where all the money from his day job wages goes to – funding his comic book habit so he can talk about them to you, our loyal readers (lucky you). He’s a bit of a social networking whore, so you can find him all over the Interwebs on sites like Twitter, Facebookand a blog where he also mostly talks about comics with his free time because he hasn’t the slightest semblance of a life. Sad but true, and he gladly encourages you to add, read, and comment as you will.