will it save the DCEU? Will this finally right the wrongs from Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad. With the combined efforts of Zack Snyder, Josh Whedon, and the micromanaged oversight of the studio, what could go wrong?
The trailers before the movie
Tomb Raider, Pacific Rim Uprising, Black Panther, Star Wars The Last Jedi
An ancient power revisits earth to plunder civilization into darkness. It will take an allegiance of meta-humans and super-heroes to repel an intergalactic invasion.
Seen on opening Friday night to a sympathetic audience with a giant screen and Atmos sound.
As a production, the “JL” is disjointed mess. From different tones attributed to the joint efforts of Zack Snyder and Josh Whedon, a nonsensical villain, and Superman’s upper lip, the film appears dysfunctional and incomplete. Yet, there is fun what DC would does with their league of supers. There is entertainment value with Batman, Wonder Woman, and Flash. Aquaman and Cyborg, on the other hand, grades incomplete.
The story, alien invasion of a small patch of earth by faceless beings, was a bore. At best described as a video game cut scene. The parademons, like many superhero opponents, are mindless drones whose deaths are worth nothing more than the computer ones and zeroes the CGI is made with. Their leader, the villain Steppenwolf may be the only superhero film villain I end up knowing less when the movie was over than when it started. He’s an ancient power-hungry figure who wants to rule Earth after losing a battle centuries ago. There’s an artifact that got split up among different races on Earth in which Steppenwolf wants to recombine, because you know, three boxes will rule them all. Too bad we’ve seen this done before by Marvel and Lord of the Rings. There’s even an obligatory Russian family that don’t seem to have a purpose in the film other than to linger around, look worried, and eventually get help from Flash. They got more attention than poor Cyborg.
Speaking of Cyborg, he’s a walking dues ex machina. He’s the Iron Man suit without the charisma, charm, or wit inside. I have reservations how he was shoehorned into the franchise with an abbreviated and clumsy origin. Unless you’re loyal to the comics, in which I am not, I wasn’t persuaded to care about him or the humanity he had lost. Perhaps, a stand alone film will do him “justice” in the league.
It’s interesting to see how Batman works within a story of superheroes. “JL” tries hard to keeping him a key figure. However, he’s just a messenger. Ultimately, Batman reminds me why I don’t like to see him part of the League. In the end, he’s out of his league. Regardless of his money and toys, he’s delegated to 2nd assistant apprenticeship in a room of gods and goddesses.
Zack Snyder has wrestled Wonder Woman away from Patty Jenkins. Diana Prince is returned to Snyder’s place in his man’s world with prolonged cuts with her and tight pants. We no longer see the surprise through her eyes in her stand alone film. She returns to her chiseled one-dimensional character from “BvS”.
Aquaman, once thought as the most useless of superheroes in some circles, is little more than a henchman. He’s interesting, sometimes funny, but his introduction as an established, legacy hero is brief. He’s written into the story contributing few powers described as “aqua”.
I found Flash funny, self-depreciating, and exhibiting the closest thing to a character arc as he begins to understand how his power can help others. Unlike Cyborg, I know who Flash is and didn’t need an origin. Flash is also funnier.
The resurrection of Superman could have been a movie all by itself. But an impatient, panicking studio mucked up this story line too. Instead, we get a Superman with a CGI upper lip and unanswered question what will happen to his other identity, Clark Kent. I will say, if you want to see Superman fight, he delivers. With Whedon’s influence, we get a daytime, Marvel-like combat with a confused dark Superman vs. the rest of the league.
Justice League and the DCEU is like that soap opera you can’t look away from. It’s flawed, silly, and you feel embarrassed to admit you watched it. But the characters have nostalgic significance and you feel compelled to contribute to the box office today even if snarky commentaries follow tomorrow. Is it fresh? Surely not. But is it enjoyable and worth watching? If you came this far in the DCEU, yes.