Hello all you emotionally stunted man-children in nocturnal mammal costumes! Super Hubs here with a review of Justice League! We’ve got brooding, we’ve got punching, and we’ve got a crazy fan theory with basically no real evidence! Should be a good time…even if the movie kind of wasn’t. As always, spoilers follow so tread lightly if you’re concerned about that sort of thing. Pro-Tip: There’s not a whole lot to be spoiled in this movie. Let’s go!
So we start with Batman. There’s some kind of…criminal(?)…doing something on a roof and Batman shows up to stop him. I guess. It’s not really clear what’s going on. Anyway Batman hangs him over the ledge of the roof and the guy is freaking out – probably for good reason since we saw in BvS that the Batman of this universe is psycho kill crazy. Batman says “they can smell fear” and a Parademon shows up. You’ll recognize these things as the flying things from Batman’s paranoid NRA dream. They look like ass. Like, the effects on these things are reeeeeeeeally bad. It explodes and there’s a pattern in its blood showing three squares which match up with a similar pattern in “Luthor’s notes.” What are Luthor’s notes? Where did they get them? What do they say? Doesn’t matter. There are three squares and they’re a BIG DEAL. So Batman’s leaving and the criminal – who he just let’s go – is figures out that there’s an alien invasion coming and is like “it’s because he’s dead isn’t it? Superman.”
Then we get a SADNESS MONTAGE. The world is in a state of despair as shown by a dude kicking over a crate of oranges while screaming some probably racist shit at a Muslim woman and her son and then a homeless man looking sad. So I guess there were no homeless people when Superman was around. Then there’s a random scene with Wonder Woman who stops Roose Bolton from blowing up a city block. It serves no purpose other than to give us an awesome visual of Wonder Woman standing on a lady justice statue and show her kicking people’s asses. It’s pointless but I love it anyway. Then we immediately cut back to Batman who’s talking to Aquaman. Then we cut to Cyborg brooding about being a Cyborg and just being grumpy all around. We already have a Batman, Cyborg. We don’t need you to be Batman too.
Then a news report makes fun of a lady for believing in aliens despite everyone on the planet knowing that aliens exist. Thanks Joss Whedon!
Then we get some backstory about the squares, which are called Mother Boxes, and we realize that holy shit this movie is just Lord of the Rings! Seriously. There’s a flashback involving Amazons, Atlanteans, and Men (and one Green Lantern!) fighting the main villain in a final alliance to keep him from using his MAGICAL ARTIFACT OF ULTIMATE DESTRUCTION and driving him back into the darkness. Then the three races each get a piece of the MAGICAL ARTIFACT OF ULTIMATE DESTRUCTION to hide and wait for the villain to come back so they can fight him off. In the meantime, they all separate and don’t really talk anymore. Then, in the present when the Amazons need help, they light a big beacon fire. Cyborg is carrying the final piece of the MAGICAL ARTIFACT OF ULTIMATE EVIL and at the end Batman lures out all the parademons from the evil place so that Cyborg can go inside to destroy the artifact. It’s just Lord of the Ring’s ya’ll. S’weird.
There’s a cool ass scene where the Amazonians – now in the present – play an epic game of keepaway with one of the Mother Boxes and we get a quick shot of Atlantis and Mera shows up and her hair is fabulous and then Wonder Woman talks to Cyborg and convinces him to stop brooding very easily. Also the same thing happens with Aquaman. He’s broody and grumpy and doesn’t want to talk to anyone, then he has one conversation with woman who’s like “stop being stupid” and he stops being stupid. Cyborg and Aquaman have the same story. It’s dumb.
Then there’s the Flash. Who I expected to hate going in and who…I don’t hate but I wouldn’t mind if he wasn’t in the movie. He’s pretty irritating and they are trying waaaaaaaaaaaay too hard to make him funny. Then they bring Superman back to life and he’s crazy for about a minute. Then they go fight the villain, Superman comes to help them and wipes the floor with him, Lois Lane writes a pretty terrible article, and the movie ends.
It was….okay. It was better than BvS. But tonally it was all over the place, the pacing was really bad, a lot of the visuals were REALLY bad, and the villain is lame. Super lame. His name is Steppenwolfe by the way. It barely matters. He sucks. But hey, let’s talk about what works.
First of all, Wonder Woman. Gal Gadot is phenomenal. As a person, as an actress, as Wonder Woman. Whenever she’s on screen the movie is 10 times better. She’s got charisma, she’s a badass, she goes toe to toe with Superman and holds her own; I love her. Secondly, Batman. Kind of. Ben Affleck seems tired and it’s pretty obvious how much he doesn’t want to be Batman anymore. But Batman in this movie isn’t bad. He’s wracked with guilt about the events of BvS, he recognizes how limited he is and how old he’s getting, he works pretty well as a mentor for The Flash. It works.
Some of the action scenes are pretty fun. When they first bring Superman back he’s super confused and Cyborg’s tech accidentally shoots him so the whole League has to fight him. This is probably the best scene in the movie. There’s some cool stuff between Supes and The Flash, Wonder Woman gets to headbutt Supes in the face and it’s awesome, Batman gets tossed around like a fly but still manages to win the fight using logic. It’s pretty cool.
JK Simmons is fun as Commissioner Gordon, even if there’s only a few minutes of him.
And Superman. Friggin Superman is finally who he’s supposed to be. His costume is bright, he’s full of hope, and HE SMILES. A lot. He actually really smiles. He is what he should have been since Man of Steel.
What doesn’t work is…everything else. Zack Snyder’s slowmo fetish is all over the place and I hate it so much. Joss Whedon’s contributions are way too obvious and don’t mesh very well with Zack Snyder’s parts. The glowing red hellscape that is the setting of the final battle is ugly. The League’s coming together as a team doesn’t really feel earned. And there’s this stupid subplot where Batman and Wonder Woman are having a fight that lasts for 30 minutes and is completely pointless. And there are waaaaaaaaaay too many shots that are framed on Gal Gadot’s ass. Just camera low, pointing up, centered on Gal Gadot’s butt. It’s distracting and disrespectful.
Speaking of disrespectful they give a reason for why Wonder Woman hasn’t been heroing for 100 years and it is so stupid! The reason is literally that Steve Trevor died. That’s it. She gave up being a hero because her boyfriend died. Which totally goes against the ending of her own movie! And then, to make things worse, there’s a semi love triangle thing going on between her, Batman, and Cyborg. It’s irritating and disrespectful to her character. It’s bullshit.
Also the climax is The Lion King. So get this. They’re having a battle in the middle of a flaming hellscape, the villain’s minions turn on him and eat him, and then the sun comes out and the hellscape gets covered in flowers and grass. It’s just The Lion King. So the movie is Lord of the Rings mixed with the Lion King. S’crazy.
And now time for a crazy fan theory!
I think this movie – and by extension all of the DCEU – is a sequel to the Tim Burton Batman movies. So I don’t have a lot of evidence for this but just go with me. The Batman and Tim Burton’s movies was always more unhinged than the others. He was darker and seemed closer to going over the edge than any others. He had a predilection for guns and killing people, and he had two guns mounted in the Batmobile. And in the first Batman movie we see that he has a thing for Japanese culture, specifically he had samurai armor on display in his mansion. And, for all we know, he was the only superhero in his world.
In Justice League, we see that he has samurai armor on display in his house, his Batmobile not only looks like the Batmobile in Tim Burton’s movie, but he has two machine guns mounted in it, and Alfred makes a reference to wind up exploding penguins at one point. And, the Danny Elfman Batman theme is used constantly in the movie. I think BvS takes place decades after the first Batman movie. It ain’t likely, but it’s my headcanon now and it adds something interesting that the DCEU desperately needs.
Anyway, the movie was okay. Okay enough that I might buy it on bluray. I mean I would watch it again, which is more than I can say about BvS. And Wonder Woman is fuggin rad. There are some plot inconsistencies, a lot of them actually, but I don’t feel like listing them all.
5/10: Better than BvS, worse than Wonder Woman.
Remember when the first poster of Aquaman came out and the tagline was “Unite the Seven?” Yeah there are only six people in the League in this movie. This bothers me greatly.
Henry Cavill’s CGI non-mustache is super distracting. Henry Cavill is one of the only people in the world who actually looks good with a mustache. They should have just let him have the mustache.
See ya next time guys!