Reviews

‘Justice League’ Review/Thoughts

Something I’ve learned recently, don’t listen to anyone, if you want to see a movie go see it and form your own opinion about it, but clearly still read my review.

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(WARNER BROS.)

This is something I need to say before I get into the review!

Ever since Nick Fury was waiting inside Tony Starks condo at the end credits of Iron Man, all the way back in 2008, I knew I wanted nothing more than a Justice League movie in my life. Weird starting a Justice League review with an insight at Marvel, but well they certainly had a game plan all the way back in 2008 and here we are 9 years later, and their plan is still in motion. The DCEU on the other hand, hasn’t had the same luck, the financial success or the critics appraise as we have come accustomed to in the MCU. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy the MCU movies as much as the next person, but when it comes to the heroes over at DC, well I know more about those characters and who they are and what they stand for, then most people on planet Earth. I love each and everyone of the heroes for DC and do so in a unique way for each one. So when it was announced a few years ago that we would FINALLY be seeing all these people come together one the big screen I was a little more than excited. Even with the mixed reviews with BvS, which I have come to grips with. Overall I just don’t like it, not the manner in which the movie was made, I think Zack Snyder has a very creative and stylish way of doing his movies, but they just tried way to hard to keep up with Marvel, it ended up diluting the product. I put that all behind me, because I knew the people over at WB heard what the complaints from both the fans and the critics were and tried a little bit of “course correction.” Which is something that was needed, I’m all for a bare knuckle boxer Batman, but he doesn’t need to hate the entire world, because that isn’t who Batman is as character, and they certainly needed to adjust Superman’s character arc, because he is suppose to stand for hope and kind of be the ultimate good guy/good person, and they haven’t really shown that to date. They hit a grand slam this summer with Wonder Woman, and it appeared that DC was once again King of the castle, even if only for a short period of time. Going into Justice League, I knew a few things; first, I knew this movie would get ripped apart by critics and it would divide fans alike. There are “DC Fanboys” and there are “Marvel Fanboys” who love to prick and pry on every little detail about each others movies. Critics just kind of don’t like Zack Snyder, his style, the way he shoots movies. The fact he kind of likes grittiness and brooding and things to be maybe a little more complex then they have to be. That being said, for the most part, everyone knew that half way through production, he had to leave Justice League because of the tragic events, that was his daughters suicide. It happened before the movie began production, and he thought he could work through it, but he couldn’t. So now hearing people shitting on this guy, who went through the hardest thing a parent can go through, just isn’t right. The guy is a genius and brilliant film maker, and if you don’t happen to like his style, then so be it, but don’t ostracize the man. Clearly from the get go, his heart was never fully on board with Justice League, even though Zack himself is such a fan boy and loves this stuff probably more than the majority of people sitting in the theatres this weekend to watch his movie. I don’t always agree with his work, and I would have taken Batman v. Superman in a million other directions but that’s all in the past, and from everything that I saw up to his departure looked so promising for this movie. Not to mention after BvS came out and the script and pre-production was already in full force for Justice League, the execs at Warner Bros realized that something needed to be done, and things needed to change. Imagine this big of a blockbuster weeks before shooting, that the script needs to be lighter, the movie needs to be shorter, and pretty much whatever you had done so far, may or may not be thrown out. At one point this movie was rumoured to be almost 3 hours, it’s actually 1 hour 59 minutes, so where the fuck is the other 40 minutes of this movie? In steps in Joss Whedon to finish off the movie, do a little rewriting and could they have picked a guy who is pretty much the polar opposite of Zack Snyder? Like come on WB, that was not going to mesh well at all. Pretty much like vinegar and oil at this point, it’s pretty apparent in the movie as well, if you know these kinds of things, and of course geeks like me do. I’m not going to say Joss ruined the movie, because he didn’t, I’ll get more into that in my actual review, but that was never going to work. I thought it could, I think I even wrote a blog post about it. I was wrong and when I think about it, I should have known back then, but I guess I had Avengers on my mind, because Joss is responsible for directing the first two Avengers movies. I just honestly feel bad for Zack Snyder at this point, he’s gone through enough, and I would have loved to see his full version and vision for this thing, maybe we will on the directors cut. The next big sore thumb going on during production. The Batfleck saga. Imagine your star just wanted nothing to do with the franchise and wants out more than anything. I love the Batfleck, Ben is the definitive Batman, I know people love Christian Bale, but if you read enough Batman comics like I have, you’ll realized that he is the Batman. The Nolan movies are so incredible and The Dark Knight is truly a wonder that will forever stand the test of time, but Ben Affleck is Batman. So it breaks my heart to know we will never see him wear the cape and cowl ever again, because it’s just not happening, and I understand why he wants out, he has a lot of outside stuff going on in his life. He is battling demons and I think when he signed on, Zack Snyder might have pitched “The Dark Knight Returns” to him and who wouldn’t want to be the Batman for that movie, and the final product certainly was not it. Then came the backlash and the awful reviews for BvS, the Sadfleck meme and everything else in between. His own movie ‘Live By Night’ completely bombed and I think that really broke him. He puts so much into his work, especially when it’s his own work, and I just know in my heart, he ain’t coming back. Which sucks because I can’t wait to see what Matt Reeves brings to the table for the Batman franchise, so that must have been awkward and just over putting on the set. Ben is a professional and he’s really good in Justice League, he certainly didn’t mail it in or take a back seat, but still at the same time, there as just constant bad press and bad behind the scenes things going on mainly because of Affleck over the past year. It’s warranted but that would never happen over at Marvel, I’ll just say that. So like I said going in, I knew this movie would have problems, because it’s been having problems since the very beginning, and if you didn’t realize that, you just don’t pay attention to this stuff so it won’t even affect your judgement on the film, or you did and you can’t allow to affect your judgement. I’ve never seen another film this grande in scale switch directors half way through, the amount of re-shoots was record breaking, and not to mention moustache gate involving Henry Cavill. Justice League was simply doomed from the get go, no matter what, everyone has a bad taste in their mouth still from BvS, it’s like a bad fart that just won’t go away. I have no idea what WB is going to do next, I know I’m excited to see more of these characters and now I want to share my thoughts on Justice League!

Review

First things first, I saw this movie 3 times in a 36-hour span. Does that tell you anything about how I feel about this movie? I’ll start the review by saying I totally understand where the critics and some fans are coming from with this film. Justice League is a flawed one, but all in all I think the good (which there is a lot of) totally outweighs the bad of the movie. Like I mentioned above, if you bothered reading it, some critics and a lot of fans were skeptical going in Justice League, because of the track record of the DCEU this far, especially those films made by Zack Snyder. I waited till the end of the weekend to write the review, because I wanted to see box-office numbers, and it’s being reported that Justice League is going to make less than 100 million dollars at the box-office this weekend. Pulling in 96 million, is a total and complete disaster for the studio, and we are about to see a major shake up. The next DC movie is slated to be released in 13 months when Aquaman comes to theatres next December. I have no idea what kind of changes are coming, but I know for certain Justice League will be Affleck’s final time wearing the cape and cowl. I just wanted to get that off my chest before I dive into the movie.

So after the events of Batman v. Superman, everyone knows Superman is dead and Batman is trying to come to grips with his guilt and try to turn a new leaf. When it appears that a threat from far away is on the horizon, he takes it on himself to recruit a group of “warriors” to defend the human race from extinction. We got our first taste of Wonder Woman in BvS and we got our full dose this summer with her solo flick. One thing this movie does really well is the characters, their introductions, the banter and chemistry between the team is really special. I knew that would be the case the entire cast of the League is great, Batman (Ben Affleck), Superman (Henry Cavill), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Mamoa), Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher). People give DC a hard time, because unlike the Avengers who all had their own solo flicks before teaming up to save the world, we got a good taste of who these characters were, and became very familiar with them. I didn’t mind the whole no solo flicks before the team up, as long as they did a good enough job introducing the three new members of the league in this movie. I would say they did a pretty good job, and now rumblings are coming out of all the scenes that were cut from the film, including a bunch of Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg stuff, which is super disheartening. They all get their own “hero” moment, which was incredible to see, there’s one scene involving Aquaman, it’s kind of like his true introduction, when we get to see Atlantis, which just makes me laugh and smile overtime it comes on the screen. James Wan is going to direct the hell out of his solo movie. I want to see more from all of these characters, and that should have been one of the big goals going into production. Jason Mamoa kind of looks like he isn’t from this world to begin with, so I thought it made sense for him to play Aquaman. This kind of reminded me of a little Oceans 11, you know going around recruiting a team, different characters, witty banter, it all work really well. Whenever all of these characters were on screen together, I couldn’t take my eyes off it. What they do next is beyond me at this point, I expect in the next few weeks a lot of information will be coming out about future plans and future movies, even maybe new cast members. Everyone kills it in their roles, they did such a great job casting the League. Ray Fisher was my favourite I think, he really had a great character arc from start to finish in this, and I really love the character of Cyborg. Flash and Aquaman are also so cool, and they need solo movies like now.

Now lets start with some of the mess that is Justice League. This movie certainly has its problems, but several re-writes, two directors, changing the landscape and the tone of the DCEU as a whole. The CGI in this movie is not great, especially in certain places and certain characters. The big baddie of Justice League, Steppenwolf, is 100 percent CGI. They did not have anyone do motion capture for his character, which I thought was a massive mistake. So essentially he’s never in the movie, he is rendered in afterwards, and in some parts of the movie, he just looks awful. Like this is the Justice League movie, you can’t have your villain not even appear physically on the screen at least once. Ciara Hinds who voices him does an excellent job, like his voice is menacing and he has some pretty badass moments. This was just another serviceable bad guy, for our heroes to punch and he only talks in depositions, and this just wasn’t who I wanted our heroes to take on, especially in the Justice League movie. This is suppose to be big, and grande in size and scale, like this is the kind of movie some people have been waiting their whole lives for, and it just didn’t feel like the Avengers. This feels like the movie before the “movie” you know. The build up, we didn’t even get to see the big-baddie Darkseid, who I wanted to see so badly. Overall, they really dropped the ball for the villain in this movie, you can’t have him be 100 CGI, especially with how far motion-capture has come recently. I just have a problem, with looking at a scene and just know NOTHING is there, just like Steppenwolf, he’s not actually in the scene, the actors are looking at nothing. There’s a few shots of our heroes, and you just know its a green screen behind them, and it was just bothering me a lot. Because it was so noticeable. All movies, especially comic book movies have CGI, so it’s difficult to talk about it, because they all the do the same thing, but the CGI in Justice League in certain moments was just really bad. And that upsets me because this is your most important movie, and it felt like they just said “fuck it” in certain scenes, and that isn’t right. This is your baby and should have been cared for, like this was the end of the world. There was so much riding on this movie and it came up short.

I’m not going to go into any spoilers or easter eggs because that’s not fair, but there are quite a few, and some are pretty wicked. The two post credit scenes are two of the best ever, but after the third time I walked out of the theatre I realized, they might not even matter. Because I have no idea what is in store for the DCEU and all of these characters. I don’t think they will hit the panic button the be exact, but my god someones hand is hovering over it. I had a lot of fun with this movie, regardless of what I have written above, I think it’s just more frustration at this point. Part of me doesn’t believe it deserves a 40 percent on Rotten Tomatoes but another part of me does. I’m very conflicted, but I love all of these characters so much that seeing them together on screen, I think outweighs the bad. I want too see them team up again, and I want the Justice League movie we the fans deserve, we deserve the big, grande spectacle that is the Justice League, this was suppose to be a really big deal, and this movie should have made 150 million dollars this past weekend, but it didn’t. WB needs to take a long look in the mirror and ask themselves, if they want to continue with this. If so, they need to find the right people to anchor this ship, because it looks like Zack Snyder is out the door, and thats a shame, because I wanted to see his vision for this movie. He may be a flawed film-maker, but he’s a great visionary film-maker. One of the best to be working today, I have no clue who can step in and right this ship, but something needs to be done quickly, before even the die hard fans like myself, finally just give up. Avengers Infinity War comes out in May, if I’m WB I’m taking a long hard look at that movie and telling myself, this is how you do a team up movie, and you need to start doing what they are doing. DC has all the best characters, their heroes and villains are vastly superior to that over at Marvel, we need to start getting the movies and the stories told that we deserve. It’s that simple. I’m just exhausted at this point, but in conclusion, I’m standing behind this movie, I hope and pray we get Zack Snyder’s cut, and we see the 40 minutes that was essentially cut from the movie. Ben Affleck it was fun my man, you did your best and I hope you had fun, you will always be my Batman, it’s a shame we will never get a solo Batfleck movie. Justice League isn’t as bad as some are making it out to be, but at the same time, this movie is not for everyone, plain and simple.

Check ya later,

Nate’s Movie Tour Reviews – Justice League = 80/100 – That hurts me

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