Breaking down the good, the bad and the unknown of “Justice League,” why it’s gathered so much criticism and whether the film actually deserves it
After an entire year of fantastic superhero movies such as “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” “Wonder Woman,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Thor: Ragnarok,” the final superhero film of the year belonged to DC’s “Justice League.”
This was a critical movie for both Warner Brothers and DC Comics, as they have not had the greatest track record when it comes to movies, especially when compared to their rival Marvel Comics and the theatrical success they have had in theaters. However, DC was coming off one of their most successful movies ever with “Wonder Woman,” so there was hope for “Justice League.”
Yet there was also concern about failure as the movie began with one director and ended with another, and some feared that Warner Brothers would go back to their old habits of screwing up DC movies. Unfortunately, what should have been another great superhero film turned into a box office failure, with the movie not meeting box office expectations and earning terrible reviews from film critics. Two weeks after “Justice League’s” initial release, with the success of films such as Disney Pixar’s “Coco” and the first trailer of Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War” hitting the Internet, the film has dropped by 72 percent in theaters and will make less than DC’s “Man of Steel” from 2013.
But does the film actually deserve this? Is the movie actually bad? According to Rotten Tomatoes, the film is currently certified as “rotten” with a 41 percent rating; however, the audience score remains positive, with an 81 percent rating. The biggest critiques that I’ve either seen or heard is that there is too much CGI (computer-generated imagery) or that the plot is weak, and that the film just cannot be saved by its star-power because it’s simply too messy.
As a fan of both the Marvel and DC extended universe, I decided to give my opinion and criticism of the film, explaining and differentiating the good, the bad and the unknown. Here is my “Justice League” review:
By no means is this film perfect, but it simply does not deserve the criticism that it has received from movie critics. These criticisms are an injustice to this movie and have played a big part in the less-than-stellar turnout of the movie.
With that said, let’s begin with the bad parts of the film. First off, there seemed to be some CGI issues, but none that bothered me greatly. Many of the CGI action sequences appear to be fun and entertaining; the main villain of the film is completely CGI-generated, but that is not my biggest complaint, as just about all superhero movies today rely heavily on CGI. The biggest CGI issue of the whole film comes from Henry Cavill’s mustache fiasco that had to be digitally removed – this is only bad if one is looking for it or it’s noticed by people who work with these CGI digital programs – for the average moviegoer who may not have known about Cavill’s situation, it is hardly noticeable.
Secondly, the plot may not be the strongest, but it is easy to see that DC is working up to something bigger in a later film. Personally, my biggest issue with the film was its main villain, Steppenwolf. The problem with Steppenwolf is that he has absolutely no character development. He is the average or stereotypical villain that has a lot of power, wants to destroy the world and beat up the good guys. There is nothing that has shaped or molded him into becoming a monster – he just is, and that makes him more of a boring villain. DC has had this issue in the past as well with characters such as Lex Luthor and Doomsday in “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice.”
Transitioning over to the good of the film, it is clear to see that this film isn’t necessarily about the villain. It is about the Justice League themselves and uniting a powerful team of superheros with bigger threats looming in the future. The heroes themselves are all fantastic: Ben Affleck’s “Batman,” Gal Gadot’s “Wonder Woman,” Jason Momoa’s “Aquaman,” Ezra Miller’s “The Flash,” Ray Fisher’s “Cyborg” and Cavill’s “Superman” all nail their respective roles. Overall, the audience gains insight on the backgrounds of characters that are hitting the big screen for the first time, and once they all come together, the chemistry between the team members is magical. The only part of the movie more magical than the team itself is what is hinted at in the future with the final end credit scene.
It also appears that DC is learning from their past mistakes by being able to add some humor to what was a very dark universe. They are trying to reach audiences better by not being a dark and depressing comic movie series, but still want to be able to be taken seriously.
As for the unknown parts of the movie, or the ‘what could have been,’ it is very evident that there are parts of this movie that are missing. Apparently, a majority of the storyline was changed during filming; casting, locations and the original script for “Justice League” were set just a month after “Batman v. Superman” came out. When “Batman v. Superman” faced extreme backlash, that led to changes of this film. Then, when “Wonder Woman” exceeded its expectations this year, Warner Brothers felt that they had to make more changes, and they began reshooting parts of this film in July of this year. In the end, a small cameo featuring the villain Darkseid and an early post-credit scene featuring members of the Green Lantern corps were removed. About an entire hour of footage was deleted from the film to make it fit within a two-hour time period, which was a requirement given down to director Zach Snyder from Warner Brothers. The full cut will only be seen if the studio allows Zach Synder to create his extended director’s cut when the movie releases on DVD. This decision leads many to believe that Warner Brothers screwed up a good portion of the movie, despite DC taking a step in the right direction, and also leading to its financial box office disaster.
Nonetheless, with everything that had happened to the film, it is still enjoyable. It is the second-best DC film behind “Wonder Woman” since the “Man of Steel” era began in 2013. If any moviegoers enjoyed “Dawn of Justice” or “Wonder Woman,” then there is a good chance that they also would have greatly enjoyed Justice League.
Too many times today, when there are terrible reviews of movies, moviegoers will decide not to go to them because they believe the critics. They let the critics decide for them if the movie is good or bad without actually forming their own opinion by seeing it themselves. It should be the audience score that matters more than the critics – let the fans decide what is good and what is bad. As a fan, I rate this movie as a 7.5/10, and I encourage the average moviegoer to go out and see the film for themselves.