Justice League is a technically better film than what the DCEU has produced so far. That being said, the execution is a bore comparatively. While not a wasted ticket, you’re truly not missing much either.
The Good: The cast seemed like they had a lot of fun, and the editing was sharp.
It’s right at 2 hours long! That’s a nice change of pace for DCEU movies.
Most importantly, everyone seemed to have a good time making the movie. Ezra Miller has great chemistry with everyone involved and Jason Mamoa and Ben Affleck have fun rapport. Gal Gadot steals every single scene she’s in to no one’s surprise.
The biggest win for this film was the editing. It’s a tight 2 hour cut that manages to make two distinct styles of filmmaking sync together in a palatable way.
The Bad: Everything else.
Unfortunately, no amount of editing could have saved Justice League.
The character arcs are nonexistent, sticking everyone in a perpetual second act. Flash has heart but is afraid. Aquaman knows he should help, but doesn’t see the value in a team. Wonder Woman turned her back on the world once, and knows she can’t anymore. Cyborg isn’t sure if he’s machine or man. Batman wants…something. How are those character conflicts resolved?
They’re not. They are either introduced and then ignored, or solved immediately with no further build up.
The depth of these character conflicts also varies. If you haven’t seen BvS or Wonder Woman then Diana/Wonder Woman has nothing going for her outside of Gadot’s gravitas. Bruce Wayne/Batman floats from one motivation to the next, doing well in each individual scene, but not connecting in any logical way. Arthur Curry/Aquaman is an angry dude with one liners. Victor Stone/Cyborg has a fascinating Frankenstein-esque internal conflict that never goes meaningfully beyond exposition. Barry Allen/The Flash is the most complex, though spends most of it being comedic relief.
So maybe the characterizations weren’t great. At least it looked good, right?
Nope. The CGI is the worst of of the DCEU. It is honestly embarrassing at times, where the one-room sets are painfully obvious, especially paired with the green screen halos around the characters.
OK fine, but at least the story was fine?
Nope. And this, more than anything, is where Snyder’s unfortunate exit from the film was felt the most. Love or hate his films, but at least they are about something. They dare to do something different, to go against the grain. And it doesn’t always work out, but at least there is something there.
Justice League is a mash em’ up sandbox story that goes no deeper than it’s premise. Villain shows up, get the gang together, beat the villain. And it’s not even particularly difficult. The stakes are incredibly low, so the victories feel unearned and contrived.
Listen, I wish this movie had been better, I really do. In the mostly made up culture war of DC vs. Marvel, I would be considered a DC fan. The real people with powers style of Marvel is fun, no doubt. But nothing compares to the pantheon, the mythic quality, of DC stories.
So to have this film, of all films, to fail so badly at capturing the core essence of the underlying intellectual property? The result has been painful to type.
The Ugly: Sure, follow up one of the most successful superhero films ever with up-skirt shots. Good plan.
This is gross. I don’t know who to blame for it either – the cinematographer? Snyder? Whedon? Either way, Wonder Woman’s butt pans, the Amazon’s ridiculous crop top breastplates, and the awkward romance chemistry between Bruce and Diana all reek of lack of awareness. It feels like they didn’t even watch their incredibly successful film with a woman lead, and instead guessed at what it made it so popular.
Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists newfound ally Diana Prince to face an even greater threat. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to recruit a team to stand against this newly awakened enemy. Despite the formation of an unprecedented league of heroes — Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and the Flash — it may be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions. – Fandango