Justice League

“What movie are you seeing?” the waiter asks.

“Justice League!” I answer with all the enthusiasm of someone who has been waiting for this night and all the sheepishness of someone who is fully aware that this movie is going to suck.

“I didn’t even know that was out yet. Are you a fan of Marvel?”.

“DC,” I quickly correct him.I remind myself not to be offended, that it’s an easy mistake for anyone with a life to make.

“Whatever,” he replies.

That’s the thing though. It’s not whatever. For many comic fans, the rivalry between the two publishers is as bitter as that between Star Trek and Star Wars. And I’m a DC guy. It’s not that I can’t admit when Marvel does something right. I can admit that their movies- especially within their respective shared universes- have generally been much better than DC’s. It’s just that Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and Spider-Man will never mean as much to me as Superman, batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg, or even Aquaman.

I’m such a DC guy that I could even find something to love in the colossal messes that were Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad. I have rooted for this universe since it began with Man of Steel and celebrated when they finally did something amazing with Wonder Woman. But there’s something about Justice League that’s hard for even me to defend.

Maybe I’m just getting tired of making excuses for mediocre movies. Or myabe it was just different sitting next to Jay. I couldn’t help putting myself in her shoes and worrying about how painful this must be for her. Because a fan can find lots love if they’re feeling generous but those who haven’t read the comics are sure to have a harder time. Those who are unfamiliar with the Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg are counting on this movie to give them a reason to care about them  and it’s here where Justice League fails the most.

Ben Affleck continues to be a much better Batman than I ever would have expected him to be and he’s in most of the film’s best scenes. Wonder Woman continues to feel like a fully realized character mostly thanks to Gal Gadot’s performance and all the good work that she and Patty Jenkins did in her much better stand-alone film. The new characters are a little more awkward. Ezra Miller’s charm goes a long way in making Barry Allen?The Flash likeable (although, for the record, TV’s Flash is better) but his backstory feels vague and rushed and we don’t know nearly enough about who he even is or what makes him special. Aquaman and Cyborg get barely any introduction at all. They’re just there.

The good news is that Justice League is shorter and more focused than Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad were and is almost never boring. The bad news is that it’s not nearly as exciting as it should be, especially considering what a dream come true this big-screen live action team up really is for me and so many others. There’s just not nearly enough attention paid to what makes these characters great and what’s worse is that there is even less attention paid to their relationships with each other. The Zack Snyder era of DC movies has not ended on a high note.

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33 thoughts on “Justice League

  1. Lloyd Marken

    Man I don’t know what to say, its hard to put into words. I’ll just say this, I think Batman Vs. Superman was better. There were things to like her but…..Well thanks for the review Matt.

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    1. Matt Post author

      I think Batman v Superman may very well have been better. This one was less chaotic but played it way too safe to the point that very little was going on. I’d prefer too much (as in Batman v Superman) going on than too little any day.

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  2. Gabe Burkhardt

    I’m far less discerning than you. I’m happy to buy my ticket, and settle in for any of the 2+ hrs of cinematic greatness that is almost sure to follow any Marvel OR DC movie. haven’t seen Justice League yet, but totally excited to check it out.

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  3. Brittani

    I love comic book movies in general so even with the bad reviews, I’m still expecting to have fun with it when I see it on Monday. Plus, I really love Ezra Miller and I can’t wait to see him as The Flash

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  4. Carrie Rubin

    I was surprised at first that teen son didn’t want to see this one. Then today he told me he wanted to. I asked him why he changed his mind. He told me he wants to see it so he can write a review for his school newspaper criticizing it. He said he’s tired of seeing too many good reviews for mediocre movies there. 😄

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  5. raistlin0903

    Well, I am more of a Marvel fan, but I am turning slowly into a DC fan as well, because of the awesome tv series they do keep bringing out (I just love Arrow and the Flash). That said my hopes for this movie weren’t very high, and this review pretty much confirms them. That said, I’m still going to see it and hopefully at least get a kick out of some of the scenes. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the film. Let’s keep hoping that DC is going to improve their movies over the coming years 😀

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  6. J.

    I’m not all that inclined to see this. I didn’t even bother with Batman v Superman, even though there was an offer from a friend to loan me it (he didn’t rate it highly). I think Man of Steel just put me off… other than a really cool outfit, I don’t think it had any redeeming qualities. I accept that I may be being unfair.

    They’ve been dogged with troubles, eh? Maybe the weight of expectation is too much for those involved… looking at the success of the Marvel flicks and thinking about getting there, rather than just making a good, exciting and accessible flick.

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  7. Mr. Bobinsky

    It was a touching review, Matt! I almost cried, especially when reading this: “It’s just that Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and Spider-Man will never mean as much to me as Superman, batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg, or even Aquaman.”

    I must admit I know little about these characters, but the way DC movies present them doesn’t make me more interested…

    P. S. Poor batman… 😆

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  8. Pingback: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice

  9. Liz A.

    Yeah, I’ve not been hearing good things. Too bad. It’s such a great property that’s been mishandled by the Hollywood people.

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  10. Christopher

    The most disappointing thing for me is the treatment of Aquaman, who I think really deserves his own film, or perhaps even series. Because he’s human, or at least was in his original incarnation, his loyalties are divided, which makes him more complicated and interesting than Marvel’s Namor, and yet that’s who he more closely resembles now.

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  11. thatgeekywriterchick

    I definitely have to agree that I enjoyed the TV version of Flash better, but having said that, I really enjoyed Justice League. I have to admit, I do tend to sit on the Marvel side of things, but my partner is strongly DC, so I am developing a much greater appreciation for them, almost to the point I don’t have a preference anymore.

    I think Justice League did a better job of showing the actual risk to human life in the conflict than any Marvel film has in recent years and I was very impressed with that. I also really enjoyed how the heroes related to each other. Sure, it wasn’t as good a film as Wonder Woman, but it was still pretty good (at least in my opinion).

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  12. Jeff the Chef

    It was too big a story to tell in one movie. It had a couple of shirtless men that were worth far more than the price of admission, but other than that, it just seemed predictable. I didn’t dislike it, but I’d rater see Ragnarok twice than see this movie once.

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