Posted by: Tate Kandi | Reviews No Comments on Justice League

Justice League

Director: Zack Snyder (and Joss Whedon)

Stars: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa

Synopsis: The film follows in the wake of Batman vs Superman. Superman is dead and the evil Steppenwolf decides to invade Earth. Bruce Wayne assembles a team of heroes to defend the Earth.  

The output of DC’s cinematic universe has so far been very disappointing, with Wonder Woman being the only bright spot. They have suffered from being a mess plot wise and putting style over substance. This is especially true with Zack Snyder’s films in general. I went into Justice League hoping that the filmmakers would walk away from those excesses and focus on building a strong narrative which makes sense.

Mixed opinion

I would summarise my opinion on the film as mixed. On the one hand I can clearly see an effort to fix what was so wrong with BVS (Batman Vs. Superman) and Suicide Squad. The film at least has a coherent plot which is fairly easy to follow and actually feels like it’s going somewhere. There are no subplots or diversions, the film is always focused on moving the plot forward in some way. There are no stupid subplots about radioactive bullets or whatever rubbish was in BVS. This makes the film less tedious and pointless as the other two films, which felt like endurance tests rather than pieces of entertainment. But then again, congratulating a film for having a coherent plot is rather like congratulating someone for breathing, it shouldn’t be that difficult.

In terms of other positives, the overall performances are decent. None of them really stand out except perhaps Ezra Miller, who does well to bring some charisma and humor into the film. You can definitely tell that Joss Whedon came on board to help with this film. There are moments where you can really see his fingerprints, including one with Flash and Superman which is one of the highlights of the film.

My favourite moment of the film would be near the start when Wonder Woman saves some people in London from terrorists. That moment seemed to really capture the idea of the superhero which DC has defined. It felt like the only moment of the film which had that same idealistic heroism that set Wonder Woman apart.

Justice League weaknesses

In terms of negatives, the film is way too short. For a superhero team assembly film with six members, three of which haven’t been established before, 120 minutes is not long enough to sufficiently do everything you need to. The new characters don’t have enough time to be developed properly, what’s there is okay but there isn’t enough. The film quickly gives up on establishing backstory and focuses on the fight against Steppenwolf.

Being “to the point” can definitely work but unfortunately not in this case. The narrative might be competent but it isn’t interesting. The villain is just intensely boring, undeveloped, and lacks any sense of danger. The marvel films can be excused for their uninteresting villains because the action with the main characters makes up for it, but again this isn’t the case for Justice League. The interactions between the team just aren’t given enough time to breath and therefore feel contrived.

There’s something really off about the action scenes in this film. They are paced in such a way that feels very unnatural. The action is filmed in such a way that you can’t tell what’s going on and this makes the action scenes jarring and alienating. The viewer is taken out of the action and makes them wonder what is actually going on. Also, how does a high-profile film with a mega budget like this manage to have awful CGI? It looked incredibly tacky and unbelievable, another thing that takes you out of the film.

Justice League tries to ditch the Zack Snyder indulgences and go for the Joss Whedon style fun superhero flick. Unfortunately they can’t do a decent job of that either. DC really needs to figure out what their identity is.

Pulse Rating: Disappointing, 4/10

-JM

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