By Aaron J. Derton
**Spoilers ahead – read at your own peril.**
It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…a mediocre film! Simply put, Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the third film in the DC cinematic universe he has directed, was not as bad as Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, but it’s still a far cry from a good superhero flick.
The musical score was forgettable. One thing I did enjoy was hearing snippets of music from Batman: The Animated Series, Superman: The Movie, and CW’s The Flash. They were few and in between, but noticeable at certain points.
Some movies nowadays attempt to make their villains more sympathetic. Not Justice League. No, Justice League’s villain fell flat. Going into the film, I was expecting Darkseid (one of the biggest villains Superman faces). Instead, we’re served up one of his lackeys. He was complete CGI, and it was noticeable.
Where Wonder Woman succeeded in introducing and fleshing out fascinating new characters, Justice League fails spectacularly. We are introduced to the three new members of the team (Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Mamoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher)) through a haphazard combination of poorly-executed scenes, whose sole purpose are to take a peek into the past of our new heroes.
While some scenes in the film were genuinely amusing, many jokes seemed to be screaming to the audience, “I want to be funny just like Marvel! Pay attention to me!” Most of the performances (with the exception of Wonder Woman and Aquaman) were cripplingly wooden. Cyborg’s CGI (everything except one side of his face) was distracting. For a film that relies on CGI, the effects are astoundingly horrendous. Affleck’s Bruce Wayne isn’t just broody, he just doesn’t seem to care. Scenes where he’s fighting are boxy and hard to follow. If you replaced Affleck with a wooden plank and painted it a dark grey, it would likely offer a more fulfilling performance.
Amy Adams’ Lois Lane has always been a low point for me in the new DC movies. She’s always jammed into scenes where she doesn’t belong (the airplane in Man of Steel), or in the case of Justice League, she’s just a mess without her man. Clark Kent dies and six months to a year later she’s still moping around. She’s not doing her job and isn’t taking care of Clark’s mother. My favorite live-action Lois Lanes will always be Margot Kidder (Superman: The Movie) and Erica Durance (Smallville). Amy Adams is light years behind them in terms of being about to act like Lois Lane.
Perhaps the best thing about the film (aside from Wonder Woman) is Superman. Not for the whole film – he’s mopey and boring until the boss fight – but near the end, after being Superman for for three whole films, he finally finds what it means to be Superman. I imagine if director Zack Snyder had his way, the Big Blue Boy Scout would have been broody the entire film. Thankfully Joss Whedon stepped in and fixed that. His costume was brighter, his mood was brighter, and I could actually imagine him saving kittens from trees.
The golden age of superhero movies is nearing its end. DC is trying to play catch up with the juggernaut that is the Marvel cinematic universe, and they’re not doing it well. If they want to make money and compete with Marvel, DC should put all of its money into the TV shows they have on the CW (Supergirl, The Flash, Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow) and on Fox (Gotham). That’s where you can create art. That is where people come back week after week after week to see what’s going to happen next. The same can’t be said for their films. How does a film with a $300 million budget and a great cast (minus Ezra Miller. The kid can’t act) look and feel so awful? Do I want to see what’s next for this rag-tag Justice League? Kinda. Am I excited to? Not really.
Featured image via imdb.com.