Justice League: (2017) Runtime: 2hr 0min Rating: PG-13
Studio: Warner Bros. Screenwriters: Zack Snyder, Chris Terrio
I was beyond excited when I heard a Justice League movie was being made. It’s hands down my favorite comic team-up. Like many of you, I’m sure.
This version of the Justice League is comprised of Wonder Woman, Batman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg. Bruce/Batman and Diana/Wonder Woman seek out the others to help prevent Earth’s destruction. It’s set not too long after the end of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice though it doesn’t state it specifically.
If you haven’t seen Batman v Superman, you will be a little lost. I have a review on it, in which I state the only reason to watch it is to follow along with the movies that come after it, like this one. You can watch this movie without seeing Wonder Woman first, but her stand-alone film is excellent.
Compared to Batman v Superman this movie is a one-eighty. This story is easier to follow along with, even though there is a plot within a plot. In terms of moving from one scene to another, it’s more smooth. I didn’t get the “this scene shouldn’t be in this movie” feeling like I did with the other one. Ben Affleck, as Batman, was a stark contrast as well. I really hated him in Batman v Superman absolutely loathed the character. Here Bruce/Batman is calm, rational, and resembles the detective with gadgets we expect.
The action sequences and visual effects that are in this version are good as well. The work done with wires and rigs, green screen, and motion capture suits are done so that I’m not questioning or raising my eyebrow at something. Ray Fisher, who plays Cyborg, is a great example of this because not one part of him is in an actual costume while filming. He even has one eye covered the whole time, so the cybernetic one can be put in correctly later. He does a great job of going through the literal movements pretending he’s got mechanical parts as he performs. That’s got to be complicated. Imagining how to move your body like that; what that would feel like to operate.
Jason Momoa gets tattooed up, more than he naturally is, as Aquaman, and receives some pale ice-blue contacts. He pulls it off, but it takes a short bit for that adjustment to sink in. It’s a good intro to who he is and what he’s about as a character. Aquaman has a stand-alone live-action film in theaters a year after this film comes out.
For me, the best part of the movie was The Flash/Barry Allen, played by Ezra Miller. His portrayal is a lovely mix of vulnerable, funny, and honest. This version isn’t carried seriously like recent versions of him. He (Barry) has this enthusiasm, appreciation, and awe when meeting everyone and figuring out who they are. It’s like a gobsmacked Harry Potter discovering magic for the first time. He knows he just joined something significant. His reactions are a tremendous difference from everyone else and everything else going on. Also, his suit is held together by wires. Wires! The way he moves in it, the lighting coming off of him, and it stays on. You understand he’s smart without having to say it. It’s a wonderful costume concept. I see this version growing effortlessly into the one who makes puns and quips on purpose but without being cheesy.
As it stands, I would say put it on your watch list, but I do so with reservations. There are all these moving parts at the start of the film where each character is introduced. They are separate but come together to solve a common issue among them. The assumption is that you’ve seen the other DC films and know about these characters. I got it, but I know who the characters are, so it was OK to watch for me. For a lineup of characters with nearly eighty years of history, this movie should have been so much better.
This is credited as being directed by Zack Snyder. Months before the film box office release in October 2017, he withdrew from the project to be with his family. Google why yourselves. At that time, the film was in post-production when Joss Whedon took over with Warner Bros. oversight. The cause of my reservations. It has been reported in multiple interviews with cast members that what made it into the box office release was not what Snyder worked on. Mainly it’s what Whedon chose to do with the project. If Joss Whedon’s name sound familiar, it’s probably because of his involvement in writing and directing The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and for his work on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Why is that problem? On so many levels-I’m thinking of creating another blog so I can talk with spoilers. It would probably be more of a rant.
The trailers for the Justice League movie are a good indicator. There were a couple that was released, including the two from Comic-Con 2016 and 2017. They were the best trailers, the ones that pulled me in any way. The reality is that so much of what was in those trailers never made it into the film. Creative differences are one thing, but that much cut is like false advertisement. The others that followed, in contrast, are the first indicators of the shift.
Some parts of this movie made me seriously wonder how much Joss Whedon knew beforehand about DC comics. If he did any research or went back and looked at the previous DC films or talked to the other films’ directors or in pre-production. Some blatant plot holes are in this film that shouldn’t have been if someone had. It’s just sloppy and lazy.
At this point, between the screenwriters, the studio’s interference, and the directors pissing contests of whose ideas are better than the others, I’m amazed this movie was released at all.
-a pen lady