Film Reviews

Justice League Review- Everything Wrong with the Superhero Genre

After a rushed production, months of re-shoots, two directors and a CGI moustache problem, Justice League has finally arrived in theatres and result is exactly what you’d expect – meh.

The first thing that must be said is Justice League never reaches the lows of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or Suicide Squad but it never quite reaches the heights of Wonder Woman. DC’s cinematic universe has had a rough start, and Justice League does not leave me anymore excited for the future of this universe – and that’s a shame.

The first problem with Justice League is its miniscule run-time coming in at just under two hours. It seems bizarre that DC’s epic team up film with characters larger than life is about the same length as an Adam Sandler comedy. Throughout the film, it’s clear that so much is missing. Set pieces seem to jump from one to another with zero time put aside to breathe or flesh out the characters.

“It rushes through all the character introductions and hastily sets up a forgettable plot”

As soon as the film begins, it rushes through all the character introductions and hastily sets up a forgettable plot and villain so it can get to the action. This film has to introduce Aquaman, The Flash and Cyborg and could have used at least thirty more minutes to get to know these characters better. As a result, Cyborg is boiled down to an uninteresting plot device and Aquaman seems to just shouts dumb lines like “My man!” and “Oh Yeah!”.

However, Ezra Miller’s The Flash is a standout character here, bringing levity, wit and charisma to the film. As for Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman and Ben Affleck’s Batman, they both shine and seem comfortable in their roles by now. Henry Cavill returns as Superman and is more akin to the 1978 Superman, bringing an inspiring sense of optimism and fun to the character which is a much-needed change after the solemn and brooding Clark Kent in 2013’s Man of Steel.

“It’s clear that the film is directed by two different people”

Right off the get go, it’s clear that the film is directed by two different people. The scenes shot by Zack Snyder (Man of Steel, BvS) are so distinctive from the scenes shot by Joss Whedon (The Avengers) to the point where it completely pulls you out of the film. There are dark and gritty moments that feel like a continuation of BvS which feel so different to scenes where characters (such as Batman) are cracking jokes even if it goes against their character.

Then there are the re-shoots which are just plain lazy. Hairstyles change between cuts; the green screen looks like something from the early 90s and Henry Caville’s CGI’d-off moustache is just plain laughable.

“It’s just a lot of CGI explosions, noise and slow motion”

While the dynamic in the team in enjoyable to watch, it feels like everyone is having far too much fun time despite this looming, world ending threat. A lack of stakes is a big issue throughout Justice League. Characters come back from the dead, everyone is indestructible and nothing truly matters. By the time the final climax of the film happens it’s just a lot of CGI explosions, noise and slow motion. The action lacks any weight and it feels more in line with a cartoon than a live action blockbuster.

The fundamental issue with Justice League is that it suffers from an identity crisis. It tries so hard to be a Marvel film and plays it so safe in almost every single way it just becomes forgettable. This is DC’s answer to The Avengers and should be an epic cinematic event seeing all our favourite heroes on screen for the first time but the real tragedy is that all we get is another generic sub-par superhero film. While BvS was an incoherent mess, at least it took risks and tried to be different from an average superhero film.

“It’s hard to watch this adaptation be so aggressively average”

As someone who read the comics and watched the cartoon growing up, it’s hard to watch this adaptation be so aggressively average. This film wants the audience to be excited to see all these heroes on screen for the first time like Marvel did with The Avengers but DC haven’t earnt this privilege yet. When the League is assembled by the end of the film, you feel like it should be a breath-taking moment but it simply isn’t.

Justice League is a missed opportunity on so many levels. It feels like a film made by a studio and not an individual who has passion for the story or the characters. When the inevitable reboot comes, we can only hope that someone does this film justice.


Rory Lennon

Image courtesy of Justice League official webpage

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