Cast: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gat Gadot, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, Connie Nielsen, Amber Heard, Diane Lane, J.K. Simmons, Ciarán Hinds, Jeremy Irons, Joe Morton
Director: Zack Snyder
Synopsis: Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.
Cousin Jose – Writer, DC Specialist, “Expert” Batman Dude
What can I say about Justice League? Not a lot since it was an advanced screening that the Digital Crack crew got to see. But there’s enough here to be able to give you basic impressions.
First, a little about where I stand here. Yes, I am a DC fanboy. I know I will be called out on it, but that doesn’t mean that I am biased towards DC only. Honestly, I am probably rougher on the DCEU as I don’t want them to fail.
I have been waiting for the Justice League movie for a long time, way before it was announced because Marvel came out with the first Avengers movie. My thought at that time was, “well, why in the hell don’t WB and DC do a Justice League movie and stop with the usual only Batman and Superman movies? Fast forward to 2017 and I am sitting front row (not my usual favorite place to sit in a theater) and excited to see this new movie. This review will be spoiler free so that way we don’t start getting death threats. All I want to know is this: Uncle Willy, do you bleed?
(Ed. Note: Yes I do. Your point?)
Justice League is a movie that has Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Batman (Ben Affleck), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), and the Flash (Ezra Miller) come together to take on Steppenwolf from taking over the world. The movie was not that long, running 1: 59. But throughout that 1:59 I kept geeking out. There were a lot of Easter eggs and references from comics.
Miller’s portrayal of the Flash was well done. You can tell he is the youngest there, is still new to this whole superhero thing, and is trying to find a way to fit in. This movie is not perfect, though. You can tell that this movie was done by two different people. Some portion of the movie didn’t flow as fluidly as much as I would have liked, and some dialogs didn’t work.
To me, Steppenwolf seemed more one-sided and could have been used a lot more and a lot better. The action of this movie was heavy, including when Steppenwolf was there. I just wish he wasn’t purely CGI. There are big actions scenes and moments where we can take a breather, but sometimes that slowed things down too much.
Again for being such a short movie, it did feel rushed. I don’t know if they meant to do that or that was ordered from higher up. But given more time, we would have more time with certain characters and not just have them there just because.
The story felt a lot like a New 52 comic. A lot of things were going on but stayed more consistent this time, more than Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. There are light-hearted moments, which were needed, but sometimes it felt out of place.
One thing that kept bugging me was the CGI moments. Some were good and looked well done, but others were so extremely noticeable that it became cringe-worthy for me.
The DCEU looks like it may be going in the right direction. I was pleased and enjoyed myself. I couldn’t stop grinning and laughing when the humorous spots came. Even though this movie was done by two different directors, it was shot better than Suicide Squad, which I still enjoyed but could have been done way better.
Justice League is a well-done movie and people should watch it. I felt like a kid and, being the DC nerd that I am, I was happy. With a little more time and some fixes, it would have been better. If I had to rate it, I would say B or 8 out of 10
Punisher – Podcast Personality, Writer, Half-Glass-Full Dude
Let’s start off that I’m not a huge DC fan, but I like some of comics and movies. I was a little worried about the movie due to BvS, but then again Wonder Woman did great. My team and I were pretty much hoping DC would make a good team up movie. My friends, they did well! Seeing them work together was pretty much a relief. I had some minor issues with the movie, but not huge ones. Some I can’t really say here since it will ruin some parts of the movie. With that being said let’s get started.
This movie was fun, but there are times where you can spot and notice where the two directors were working. It’s not big, but you notice it. For a two hour movie, they really try to bring you up to speed quickly. But I felt it was a bit rushed. Some parts are not really explained well. Then again this is maybe a build up for solo movies for our heroes.
Because some parts are not explained well, if you’re not into comics you’ll have a hard time understanding some of the things going on here. For example, I had my little nephew with me and most of the time he was wondering why some people were laughing at some parts. Just in case you say well he’s a kid, I also had my best friend there and he asked the same thing. So, it hit me this was made for comic book readers that would understand the concept, little jokes, and some Easter eggs. Also, whatever you saw in the trailers might not be in this film. Of course, they might be on the DVD or Blu-Ray extras.
The characters were played off right. Aquaman, Cyborg, Batman, Wonder Woman, and Flash were great on the screen. Just like Suicide Squad, they tried to put the focus on certain characters. It’s not bad, but I would have loved to get into the minds of the others and see their thoughts or what makes them tick. Our villain, Steppenwolf, was good but not on screen long enough in my opinion. He also felt a little off at times when fighting him, but I can honestly say he lasted way longer than what I expected. There was a family in the movie where they really put a lot of focus on them for no reason. To me, it was to build the climax, but I felt like it was a complete waste. They had no purpose in the film.
I don’t want you to think this is a negative impression but these are things I feel they should have worked on. I still enjoyed it and honestly planning on seeing it again with the family. If I were to give this movie a rating I would honestly give it a B- or a 7 out of 10.
I want to hear your thoughts about this movie. Please comment below.
Uncle Willy – Editor-in-Chief, Podcast Personality, Clueless Old Fart
I guess we’ll start here: although I love the DC Trinity, I grew up mostly reading Marvel comics. That doesn’t mean I prefer Marvel, only that I’m more familiar with Marvel source material. But I know the stories involved here enough to more than hold my own here. I mean, these are only some of the most recognized and loved superheroes in history. Still, there were moments where Cousin Jose geeked out and I was mute. I usually prefer being on his side.
When I did my write-up of the 2017 superhero movies and what I wanted from them, I hinged my interest on this movie on whether or not Wonder Woman was good. I was pleasantly pleased with Diana Prince’s solo film, so Justice League was left on my calendar to see.
After watching it, I’m not disappointed that I did. It’s not as well-done as Wonder Woman, but it was enjoyable in its own right. Considering all the production problems and studio interference that plagued this film, I’m happy it’s not entirely a tire fire. At least it’s better Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or Suicide Squad, the latter of which had similar problems.
Justice League as a movie was somewhat more coherent than BvS. Most of that is because this movie is much simpler in concept than the other. Unfortunately, that’s because this narrative doesn’t really take any chances. As disjointed and melodramatic BvS is, it was really trying to tackle serious themes. Here, the premise couldn’t be simpler: heroes get together to stop a big baddie from taking over the world. It’s simple and straightforward, but it’s relatively dull.
I’m sure some of that simplification of theme is partially due to the input of two different directors. Zack Snyder handled the initial filming. Joss Whedon took over after Snyder left the production following a family tragedy. Though Whedon strove to maintain the essence of Snyder’s work, he did order changes and reshoots after Snyder’s exit. The results show the differences inherent in two different visions.
The result is most apparent to me in the writing. Many times, Diana, Bruce Wayne, or another character go into monologues that seem out of place and forced. It’s as if some dialogue is cut out wholesale from the script to meet a target running time. Warner did decide to consolidate two planned Justice League movies into one, so that’s to be expected. It was one of the big knocks against Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice: too much story, not enough time. It’s present here, and the writing is where it’s most apparent.
The characters themselves are a mixed bag. Gadot’s Wonder Woman and Affleck’s Batman are almost the same as they were before, save the aforementioned odd monologues. Miller’s Flash was a bit too dorky for my taste, but he otherwise did well as an insecure neophyte. Fisher’s Cyborg was not used very well, seeming to be a walking deus ex machina more than anything else.
For me, though, it was Jason Momoa as Aquaman that grated on me the most. Watching the trailers, I feared he would just be the hero that would deliver all the silly one-liners. He still does plenty of that, but he’s given a bit more meat to work with than Cyborg. Still, his delivery lacked all the charisma I would have expected him to bring. But’s still cool seeing him body surf a para-demon to the ground like in the trailer.
Steppenwolf was similarly devoid of charisma. He basically plays only one note, and that note gets tired quickly. He’s like Guardians of the Galaxy’s Ronan in that sense, though he’s at least more menacing and does more. When he throws down, he’s not playing around. The para-demons are nothing more than almost-literal insects buzzing around and being nuisances. I will say, though, that seeing a million of those things flying around in real life would make my skin crawl.
Steppenwolf is also curiously all-CGI, and that CGI isn’t always convincing. Neither are some other areas, particularly Cyborg. In the trailers, he had a “CGI-Lite” look to him. He’s more noticeably cleaned up here but reverts to an inferior look at a few times during the movie. The lapses in effects are more prominent in the action scenes. Some elements seem low-quality when the furniture’s moving and the battlefield is teeming with action. It’s not unique to this movie; Thor: Ragnarok has a few CGI slip-ups. But there were much more here.
Despite all that, it wasn’t a bad movie. The action scenes are weighty and full of energy. From close-quarters brawls to epic battles featuring huge armies, the action is frenetic. Seeing the six heroes in action still makes me giddy. Flash’s Speed Force is awesome every time it’s shown, and the action underwater is pretty slick as well.
The chemistry could’ve used a bit of work, but in some places, it shone. Here, Whedon may have actually helped as expected. He’s known for working well with ensemble casts; it’s that skill that helped him land the first two Avengers movies. Affleck seemed to play relatively well off of the others, particularly Miller, but some pairings weren’t too great. I personally liked the off-the-cuff aloofness of Flash countered by Cyborg’s over-seriousness.
How does the movie work as a whole? It’s pretty straightforward and manages to tell a story that’s (somewhat) self-contained and inoffensive. Considering the template the MCU has provided, it may seem like it’s not enough. But considering how many ways Justice League could have gone wrong, that’s a minor miracle. The shuffling directors, studio mandates, reshoots, and cumulative baggage of the DCEU’s last few movies could’ve sunk this movie – and the DCEU with it. Instead, it’s a by-the-numbers movie that manages to entertain a bit. For a superhero movie lover like me, that’s just fine. I was able to enjoy a movie that combined some of the most iconic superheroes ever. The little kid in me was squealing in glee, even as the old curmudgeon in me kept bitching. I’ll mark that as a win every time.
For some reason, I went away from giving movies a review score. Since my colleagues did so, I’ll add it here. I say it’s a 5 out of 10. Again, considering all the issues this production had, a 5 is great.