Monday, November 20, 2017

Justice League Review




I was driving home from the theater, daughter in the back seat behind me, and we discussed what we thought of the new film Justice League. We both agreed that it was a fun, enjoyable time at the movies, myself applauding the fact that there was surprisingly no bloat whatsoever on it (although maybe it actually could have used some, but I will get to that later), as this superhero team up picture runs less than 2 hours and moves briskly with plenty of very entertaining scenes. The kid continues to love Wonder Woman, and who can blame her, although I will take Gal Gadot teaming up with director Patty Jenkins over her fighting alongside Batman and Superman any day, and she thought The Flash was really funny.

After our mini discussion ended, I thought about it for a second and I looked in the rear view mirror and asked, "Do you remember a single thing the bad guy does or says the entire movie?".

She couldn't. Neither could I.

That villain is Steppenwolf and frankly, he's terrible. The sub-genre is riddled with examples of completely uninteresting bad guys, so it isn't solely a DC issue, but if they want to tell compelling stories they are going to need some new actually interesting blood on that side of the fight going forward. Man of Steel cast Michael Shannon as General Zod, and I love Michael Shannon a whole hell of a lot so I assumed that would be assume, but it really wasn't. He was fine, certainly not the worst of the bunch, but I can't fathom anyone walking out of a Man of Steel screening saying "Zod was so awesome!". Batman v Superman went the best direction with Jesse Eisenberg as Lex Luthor in concept at least, playing him as a young ego-maniacal billionaire who's lost his damn mind was a cool idea, but I didn't care for the performance as I found him to be too much, too often. Suicide Squad is entirely made up of bad guys and it is an atrocious film, so that is a good example of bad villains. Wonder Woman is a great film with so-so bad guys, sort of stock World War I evil characters and one super villain in disguise, but the rest of the movie is so beautifully handled that I completely forgive it for lacking any form of epic opposition.

All of those examples though, even the awful Suicide Squad, are better than two specific characters that have popped up in the two team up pictures. First it was Doomsday, who was basically a giant, ugly pile of shit but he isn't enough to really bring BvS down any notches because he isn't THE bad guy, he is just A bad guy. Steppenwolf is the worst failure of a adversary thus far in the DCEU because he is the force that the Justice League is fighting throughout the entire film, and he is just a total waste. He's another grey CG thing thrown into the frame, as aesthetically and narratively exciting as watching someone paint a room beige, and I legit couldn't remember a single interesting thing he did throughout the movie. Nothing.





Let me get another issue I have with this movie out of the way right now. I remember like 18 months ago when a Facebook/Twitter debate was whether or not Ben Affleck was the best Batman. On November 18th, 2017, I exited the theater and declared his portrayal of the Bat deceased. I have zero interest in seeing him continue the character in any way. No life, no charisma of any kind to be found in Justice League and even the demons that haunted him in BvS seem to have vanished, as I gave him some credit in the previous film for seeming tortured and complex. I'm the one who feels tortured now trying to figure out some way to enjoy my personal favorite comic book character in this movie, because he gave me nothing. Let's move on to someone else for Matt Reeve's The Batman, thank you.

I mentioned in the first paragraph how perhaps Justice League could have used a little bit more fat on his bones in terms of its story because it flies by so fast basically, well, without a story, but I'm not sure I mean that. I have no issue with the fact that there wasn't much story to tell here, honestly, which sounds odd but maybe I just really wanted an action spectacle that hit the right notes for me, and a lot of the time Justice League did. The problem here is that you can't do a film with no story while introducing 50 percent of the league without previous origin story solo films. You just can't, as proven this weekend, it doesn't work. Aquaman lives and fights in the ocean and Amber Heard plays someone, I'm sure we will learn more about that next year when his movie comes out. The Flash has no friends and his dad is in prison, which sounds like it could be the foundation for a story that I would care about, but when you dedicated roughly 7 minutes to building it up, it is hard for me to feel anything in the end when they spend 2 more minutes on it again wrapping it up with a nice little bow. Cyborg is a machine monster man who ended up that way because of an accident that also killed his mom, but that's the extent of information we gather on him. I guess we will know more when Cyborg hits theaters in 2020!




Despite all of this complaining I have done for multiple paragraphs here, I liked Justice League? No, no question mark needed. I liked Justice League. It was a lot of fun, some of the action sequences specifically involving the Flash were extremely well done, but being totally honest, this isn't a good movie. It's fun, which is something that couldn't be said about the DCEU until Wonder Woman came along, and the characters are all good minus a kinda brooding but mostly boring Batman, but removing my own desire to be entertained and accomplishing that, this is otherwise a misfire.



3/5

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