Justice League (2017)

"Divided we are not enough. The world needs Superman. I made him a promise. This is why I brought you together.""Divided we are not enough. The world needs Superman. I made him a promise. This is why I brought you together."

“Divided we are not enough. The world needs Superman. I made him a promise. This is why I brought you together.”

It’s finally been done; Warner & DC has come together to unite the seven. The world’s greatest heroes ever created. But wait a minute there are only six members of the Justice League that appear in this film. Yet the marketing brought hope of seven members; so, what gives? Why use that slogan as a marketing campaign if one hero is missing. It’s odd if you ask me but the entire film from pre-production to the final cut has been odd. Along with the misrepresentation the marketing campaign promises, the film as a whole doesn’t quite live up to those promises.

Loosely adapted on one of the most successful comic book runs “The Death of Superman” among others, Justice League follows Bruce Wayne / Batman (Ben Affleck), Diana Prince / Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Arthur Curry / Aquaman (Jason Mamoa), Barry Allen / The Flash (Ezra Miller), & Victor Stone / Cyborg (Ray Fisher) as they face off against an alien named Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) who looks to take over Earth with an army of Parademons. Steppenwolf is doing the bidding for an even more powerful villain Darkseid to capture 3 devices known as Mother Boxes one each held by the Amazons, the Atlantean’s and the humans. 

What is a Mother Box you ask? Great question – Justice League doesn’t explain what these devices are nor why Steppenwolf is after them. Yet they are the central force for his motivation and the focus of the story as a whole. Mother Boxes are a creation of an Apokoliptian scientist that possess many different powers or effects. Sounds vaguely familiar to what Infinity Stones are with what powers they can unleash. Each character in Justice League describes the urgency to protect these devices but that’s as how in depth the description is. Steppenwolf just shows up out of nowhere and battles the gods, Amazons, extraterrestrials and the Atlantean’s. 

“No protectors here. No Lanterns. No Kryptonian. This world will fall, like all the others.”

The point is to terraform earth into Steppenwolf’s home world but again, this was done before in Man of Steel or did screenwriters Chris Terrio and Zack Snyder forget about this? Seems like a massive oversight to make two of your films with the same plot. Only this time Superman is dead, and the Justice League is here to help. Out of the 80 plus years these DC Characters have been around there was no other story that could have worked. Granted, DC’s original slate was to include a second Justice League film that brings Darkseid up against our seven heroes but that never happened and that original slate along with the Unite the Seven is no longer valid.

Justice League is a puzzling entry in the expanding DCEU. Everything that director Zack Snyder started feels like a distant memory. The shift in tone noticeable from Man of Steel & Batman v Superman, the gritty, dark, serious and overbearing blacks and grays are non-existent anymore. Wonder Woman and now Justice League are infused with a lighter tone, a more pleasing color palette and more humor.

The humor is a complete missfire in Justice League. The change in directors after Zack Snyder stepped down to mourn a personal tragedy was the beginning of the changing tides. In walks Joss Whedon (Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron) and the differences are easily spotted. Characters who have never historically said a funny one liner get multiple jokes – I’m looking at you Batman. It all feels like a huge disservice to the characters and what they have stood for since the inception of their creation. For characters like Barry Allen, the humor works. It’s as if Joss borrowed the Marvel formula and tried to inject it into DC’s. Barry is the only character whose humor holds any substance in the film, everyone else’s is plain wrong and out of place.

“Why, because of your guilt? Bruce, I was there. You didn’t kill Superman. At some point, even you have to learn to move on.”

With the amount of pressure and the standard Marvel set – DC has been struggling to play catch up ever since Man of Steel. DC has had no real plan to their universe where Marvel has been perfectly crafted and structured to make everything fit like the proverbial glove. These are the most recognizable superheroes ever created but in Justice League none of these characters are developed to where we would care for them on a deeper level than what is on the surface. 

Yeah, Jason Momoa is a total bad ass as Aquaman and finally gives him a good name where Aquaman has always been mocked in pop culture. Besides the trinity there is no real depth to Cyborg, Flash or Aquaman. Part of that lost connection (if you don’t read comics) is the structure of the DCEU. The lack of origin stories is the culprit here. We can’t be expected to form emotional connections to these characters if this is someone’s first introduction to them. 

Justice League creates more problems than it solves. The CGI is laughable during certain moments that can take you out of the film. The whole thing with Henry Cavill and Paramount not letting him shave the mustache he grew for Mission ImpossibleFallout sparked the biggest story of behind-the-scenes chaos in mustache gate. Each scene Cavill is in, you can’t help but stare at his upper lip and wonder if that is his actual lip or his CGI lip. Was the grave scene intended to induce panic and feel like this is completely wrong? The return of Superman is wasted because of this “Pet Sematary” feeling to it.

The silver lining in Justice League is the score from Danny Elfman. He combines the trinity’s individual pieces of music and places them perfectly throughout the film giving a sense of nostalgia that brings you back to older films like 1989’s Batman and the Christopher Reeves Superman.

Overall, Justice League is a disaster that came too early in this universe. Finally seeing all these heroes on the same screen in live action should have been the draw anyone needed but the film is riddled with issues top to bottom. It’s because of this failure that we are getting Zack Snyder’s Justice League all thanks to the famous hashtag. If I were to rate Justice League, I’d rate it a 1.5 out of 5.

So, tell me guys, have you seen Justice League and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think. 

Justice League is written by Chris Terrio and Zack Snyder & directed by Zack Snyder is Rated PG-13 and has a 40% on Rotten Tomatoes. Justice League was released on November 17, 2017 and has a runtime of 2 hours. Justice League can be streamed on HBO Max or purchased on Retailers such as iTunes, Google, & Vudu.

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