To quote the great Ian Malcolm – “That is one big pile of shit”.
That’s not to say there are no redeeming qualities in Justice League. It has some moments of awe, but those golden nuggets are so deep inside the aforementioned turd that I can’t think about them without also retching.
So why the strong reaction? It might help to take a lot at my thoughts on Zack Snyder’s last film – Batman v Superman – and in particular the Ultimate Edition. Here’s an excerpt from my review.
“Batman v Superman is almost a trilogy on its own. It’s not your standard comic book film and I think that put off a lot of people last year. It is a layered film that rewards multiple viewings. We’re saturated with Marvel and Fox stories that have created a standard template for what these kind of film should be, so a story that is harder to follow and relies heavily on metaphors and imagery is going to be tricky to accept.”
It was one man’s vision, so whatever you thought of it, you could at least appreciate what it was going for.
But people didn’t want it. There was a backlash. There was sad Affleck. People wanted levity, and more colour, and something easier to follow.
I hope those people are happy. You got your saviour in Joss Whedon, and you got everything that comes with him.
Because despite the colour, the great new characters, and a near unrivalled feeling of joy at times, Justice League is a mess.
The often-discussed reshoots are jarringly inserted, misjudged, and shoddily executed. They supposedly cost $25 million, but we’re left with an uncanny valley Superman, a puffy Batman, and a lot of footage from the trailers left on the cutting room floor, seemingly replaced with quips and banter. That’s fine in the MCU, but I’m pretty sure I watched Affleck die a little each time he had to deliver a Whedon zinger. Nothing of note has been added, no character, just the one character Whedon always writes.
Speaking of Affleck, here’s something on what should be my favourite aspect of the entire film. If you’re not going to do Batman justice…leave it. Maybe the reshoots caught you at a bad time. I don’t care. Immediately noticing that you’re in a reshoot scene because you’re pasty and overweight with a different wig on doesn’t do much for me. Granted, Batman shouldn’t really be much good against aliens, and I do appreciate seeing a dinged-up Bruce struggle with the pressures put on his older body. But commit to it or don’t. You don’t come out of this film well.
It’s just so damn frustrating! Several scenes come to mind that I adore. But then the CGI lets it down, or the humour doesn’t work, or Danny Elfman’s phoned-in score starts up, or the story is generic as hell, and I’m angry again. I feel bad for Henry Cavill, I really do. He’s such a good Superman; but he’s wasted by those around him making ridiculous decisions.
There’s a good chance you’ll enjoy Justice League. But there was a different film here at one point—Snyder’s film—and I’d wager it was better than this. Justice League can’t even figure out what sort of film it wants to be, so goes down as another missed opportunity.