Justice League (2017): ‘DC’s attempt at a Film’ – A Film Review

Introduction

DC just can’t get a break. Where Marvel have been climbing the ladder and dropping hit after hit to further expand upon their cinematic universe joining superhero CGI smash to another, DC have been late to the game. So late, in fact, that they’ve felt the need to play quick catch up. With Zack Snyder at the helm, Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (even in name) was a rushed attempt to establish DC’s answer to Avengers Assemble in Justice League, five years late and the flaws really show. Top this off with the problems that befell Suicide Squad with its last minute reshoots and DC had firm grounds for making every attempted film a disaster. Wonder Woman managed to win back a lot of people but still hit many problems along the way – style over substance, lack of tension and weak villain. So with each film making hints at the upcoming Justice League, they were building a huge amount of anticipation that needs a huge payoff. It’ll be the first time that Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman, Flash and Aquaman would fight together and the first on screen performance for Cyborg – all something that fans had hoped for.

 

Ratings

Entertainment:

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Performances:

 starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Predictability:

 starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

Technical:

 starfish starfish starfish starfish starfish

 

The Threat

The villain and primary antagonist for the Justice League and consequently a reason for the team to exist, takes a lot after the villain in… just about every other super hero film. Reminiscent of Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Apocalypse in X-Men: Apocalypse, Ares in Wonder Woman and Hela in Thor: Ragnarok, especially in a bad Motion Capture/CGI kind of way, there is little to give life to the rehash. They are villains with a huge amount of destructive power trying to destroy the world (also read Asgard). They are also villains with a lot of unfortunate CGI work and little substance to make them a force to be reckoned with. For Wonder Woman, there isn’t really a step up from Ares and therefore there is little suspense to her fight scenes – not helped by her increased abilities. Consistently there is no challenge for the protagonists, except themselves, which lessens the need for them and weakens any threat the antagonists may have had.

SPOILERS: This isn’t helped by the return of Superman (which was well established in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice – so why is it made a focal point of this film as it’s essentially spoiled by that film), who is shown to vastly overshadow the rest of his team – especially Batman. There’s a confrontation with Batman that seemed to make him completely powerless. It feels as if any presence Batman had in Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice is now gone. END OF SPOILERS.

 

The Help

The protagonists were one of the biggest points of excitement for Justice League and their story here is a surprisingly paint-by-numbers approach to narrative. Very few moments hold a real sense of character development and what we’re left with is a lot of ‘exposition heavy’ plot points as we hit what’s necessary with boredom. We end up with a predictable tread through the same moments as many films before but without any likeability for any of the characters. Furthermore the fight scenes lack any tension as characters confidently and ‘cheesily’ go through the motions. It’s actually surprising how eagerly awaited for characters can destroy any on screen presence that they might have had and completely miss the mark – like a bad dad joke, you’re just embarrassed.

SPOILERS: It seems that Superman’s return is at the heart of the film, however it doesn’t have any real bearing on the central conflict and no real interaction with the antagonist. We are told that a lot of people grieve for him, the other superheroes also miss him but they never really need him – though Batman needs everyone. If the villain had more than just a prophecy working for them and the superheroes were shown to be genuinely struggling with protecting the people, then perhaps there would be more to Superman’s return, which seems to be what they were going for but missing completely. END OF SPOILERS.

 

Conclusion

So, once again, DC fails to make a competent film. It’s a big shame as there is potential amongst some of the characters. The strength of Batman and Superman shouldn’t be their unbalance of abilities but their moral fibre to do the right thing when it is hardest. To show people struggling against the hardships that humanity faces and genuinely struggle. Perhaps Wonder Woman was closest to succeed here, though the film lacked any true struggle, which is why it is the strongest but still flawed DC film. DC may come to get this right someday but it isn’t with Justice League.

 

A Note on My Reviews

Please read ‘On Reviews‘ for a guide to how I write film reviews. Any spoilers are appropriately marked and, though I personally prefer to know little about a film before seeing it, there is a synopsis below for any who wish to see one.

 

Synopsis

After the death of Superman, everyone is in moaning. Batman soon finds that there are aliens, that Wonder Woman informs him, are of their prophesized leader destroying the world. They form the Justice League in preparation of this threat and with the use of an ancient relic, sought by the villain, they attempt to bring back Superman.

 

Films Mentioned

Avengers: Age of Ultron (d. Joss Whedon USA 2015)

Avengers Assemble (d. Joss Whedon  USA 2012)

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (d. Zack Snyder USA 2016)

Justice League (d. Zack Snyder USA 2017)

Suicide Squad (d. David Ayer USA 2016)

Thor: Ragnarok  (d. Taika Waititi USA 2017)

Wonder Woman (d. Patty Jenkins USA/China/Hong Kong 2017)

X-Men: Apocalypse (d. Bryan Singer USA 2016)

 

Further Reading

rottentomatoes.com

metacritic.com

Official Site

Interview with Cast

Interview with Zack Snyder

Interview with Cinematographer

Easter Eggs

Behind the Scenes

A look to Deleted Scenes and Missing Characters

DC calls it quits

 

If you liked this…

Wonder Woman (2017) – A Film Review

Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) – A Film Review

Suicide Squad (2016) – A Film Review

Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015) – A Film Review

 

This was an analytical review of….

 

Justice League (d. Zack Snyder USA 2017)



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