Justice League came out in different countries last week and just like clockwork, Fiefo has already published our official non-spoiler review of DC’s latest superhero flick. He didn’t cover the film in detail though as it was a non-spoiler review for people who have yet to see the movie, so here I am again to discuss my spoiler-heavy thoughts on it. And I’ve got quite a bit to say – the movie is currently a hot topic, especially given it’s mixed-to-negative critical reception and it’s lower than expected performance at the box office, so let’s get on with it.
Again, what comes next after this wonderful image of Gal Gadot is spoiler-heavy so if you haven’t seen Justice League and want to avoid spoilers, you shouldn’t read any further.
Alright, let’s begin!
- I actually enjoyed Justice League more than I thought I would. Sure, it doesn’t have as many laugh out loud moments as the usual Marvel fare (and this couldn’t have been more obvious coming right after Thor: Ragnarok) but that’s not how DCEU films are supposed to be. Much has been said about Whedon’s reshoots adding humor to the movie but my enjoyment of the film comes more from the plot making more sense than either Batman V Superman (what was Lex Luthor planning to do with Zod after it had killed Superman?) or Suicide Squad (what was the Enchantress really trying to do?).
- One good thing to come out of Superman’s death in the previous film – it served as a means to “correct” the characterizations of both Batman and Superman. One of my gripes with Batman V Superman and Man of Steel was how Superman struggled with the idea of being a hero. I don’t want to see an angst-filled Supes – I want the Big Blue Boy Scout who inspires everyone to be at their best, and it looks like we’re finally getting that version moving forward. As for the Dark Knight, I loved seeing a normal and now older human trying to keep up with super-powered beings simply because he wants to save the World. No more of the bloodthirsty version please.
- What little I saw of the backstories of the new characters was enough to get me onboard with their solo movies. The Aquaman character didn’t do much for me but I liked the brief glimpse of Atlantis and want to see more of that world; I want to see Barry Allen follow his quest to prove his father’s innocence; and I want to see Cyborg come to terms with what he is now.
- While I did like that the overall plot made sense, I can’t help but feel that DC could have done more. I mean, what was General Zod trying to do back in Man of Steel? Terraform the Earth and turn it into a new Krypton right? What is Steppenwolf trying to do? Use the motherboxes to terraform the Earth and turn it into a new Apokolips? That’s the same exact thing! Here’s one idea that I’ve been thinking about, and it might not be comic accurate but bear with me – what if, instead of wanting to take over Earth, Steppenwolf instead wanted to revive Superman and turn him into one of Darkseid’s soldiers? Wouldn’t that be a more interesting plot? Supes vs the League was one of the more interesting moments of the film and this suggested plot would have given us more of that.
- Speaking of Steppenwolf, this is where I’ll have to disagree with Fiefo’s review – he looked so off to me! Every time the film went to a closeup of his face, I got taken out of the movie because his expressions didn’t look natural. I wish DC/WB went with an actual actor and practical effects with CG enhancements instead of a full CGI character. And please don’t get me started on his one-note personality or his lack of depth.
- Back to Superman – can we all agree that killing him off in Batman V Superman was such a waste? He didn’t stay dead long enough for his death to have any meaning, and the manner in which he was revived makes his death even more meaningless. And now that he’s been killed off and revived, DC can not only no longer play that card, the threat of a being so powerful he can kill off Superman no longer holds any sort of tension in future movies.
- I totally disagree with DC’s/WB’s decision to cut the running time of Justice League short – this film could have gone 2 hours 20 minutes easily. The film had several moments where I felt that parts were missing – one especially jarring scene is when the heroes were trying to escape that abandoned facility under Gotham Harbor that was being flooded. Bats, Wondy, and Flash were all grabbing onto the side of Bats’ vehicle with Cyborg trying to drive it upward. Cyborg suddenly flies away and the scene jumps to the heroes all safe and sound, talking to Commissioner Gordon. What just happened there??? I don’t know. Doesn’t damage the film that much but still takes you out of the experience.
- While I did love the older, battered version of Batman that we got, I wonder why he has not been presented as a highly intelligent and strategic mastermind. I was expecting him to formulate a sound plan of attack once the Justice League had figured out where Steppenwolf was uniting the mother boxes. His strategy? “I’ll take out the shield, the rest of you attack Steppenwolf” and then he almost gets himself killed by luring the Parademons away. In comparison, the first Avengers film showed how Captain America was a master strategist when it comes to warfare, giving each Avengers member a specific and logical role in keeping the Chitauri contained.
- Justice League illustrates how problematic it can be to have a character like Superman who is quite powerful. He effectively renders the other heroes redundant or irrelevant once he makes his appearance in the film’s final act. He saves more civilians than the Flash and handles Steppenwolf with such ease (something that Wonder Woman can’t do even with Aquaman backing her up). Cyborg remained relevant because he was the only one who could stop the mother boxes from unifying, and Batman didn’t even bother mixing it up with Steppenwolf. I love seeing the Justice League in a live action film, I just wish that the writers/producers would find ways on making each character important even if Superman can do almost everything that they can – and more.
- And on a related note, how I wish that Warner Bros. weren’t so reactionary. A Green Lantern (Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, even Kyle Rayner) would have been a good fit in Justice League and would have added another character who could do things that Superman couldn’t. But alas, WB/DC was too concerned about distancing the DCEU from the flopped Ryan Reynolds Green Lantern. Oh well, maybe next time.
While I had more complaints than specific things that I liked about the film, I would still say that Justice League is a good enough superhero film. I guess that’s where the problem is – Justice League should have been better simply because this is the first time that we’re seeing these characters. It’s good enough, but a film like Justice League deserves to be much better than what we got. Again, I enjoyed the movie and it did convince me to get it on Blu-Ray once it comes out.
Have you seen Justice League? What did you think about it? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment or two below!