Another joint review from Gothamgeekgirl and Skulldouggary. See what they thought of the new Justice League movie, what they agreed on and on what points they disagreed!
~ Skulldouggary ~
So this week has been full of anticipation! We purchased our Thursday night premiere tix for Justice League over a month ago and we couldn’t wait. Ironically enough I was offered advanced screening tix last minute from our pal and YouTube Toy Review Maestro SeanXLong last Tuesday. I decided to remain true to my friends that I had plans with on Thursday and passed, but boy was that a tough decision! Our theater, The Century Arden 14 has reserved seating, which is a bane and a boon all in one. Your friends are unable to join you unless EVERYONE buys tix at the same time, but the rush to the theater is eliminated…we even had time to get Starbucks, offered right at the snack-bar!
I tried to keep my expectations in check, while Wonder Woman was a cut above the rest of the DC Universe offerings, this film was a lot harder target to hit. That paired with the unforeseen tragedy that pulled Zack Snyder away from truly finishing the film (we wish him all the best) things did not look good. DC decided to call on another hero, Joss Whedon, to don a cape (and the director’s cap) and re-shoot some scenes and guide the film through post production. While Joss’ feminist awarded star is a bit tarnished at the moment, he managed to do an admirable job NOT walking all over Zack’s previous work. Other films where he has stepped in as a script doctor sometimes have a very schizophrenic flow to them (take the original X-Men movie, the last act). There were only a few times I felt I could ID Joss’ hand in the movie and that is really what you would want to see, a seamless finished product.
So I will, as always try to keep this spoiler free, but will look into a few items (with warning first) that give away plot points. The good first; I liked the movie…it was a satisfying ride and one I’ve been waiting to take since I was small. I finally got to see a big budget movie that featured a TEAM of DC heroes that was GOOD! I can’t wait to see it a second time and that is always a good sign. Each character felt balanced (save one, and I’ll get to that in the bad) and had their moments to shine. I did not feel that any one character walked out as the “star” of the film (that also will lead me to bad point #2). The film had fun moments, tragic moments, and those fist pumping triumphs of good over evil you need in a successful superhero movie. While the build up did take some time, I wasn’t bored with that part of the movie…plus there was enough action prior to the inevitable big showdown that kept me engaged. There were some things explained that helped me like the movie better, like why the Flash’s costume looks the way it does…let’s hope he gets a boost in the form of some Wayne tech for the next movie 😉 The two end credit scenes were almost worth the price of admission alone! So glad to see DC finally getting over the fact that while Marvel did it first, it doesn’t mean they can’t do it too. MINOR SPOILERS WILL FOLLOW IN MY REVIEW. You can stop reading now and just go see the film for yourself, or finish reading and I promise not to give too much away….just enough to make my points.
*******************MINOR SPOILERS BELOW********************
The opening battle on Earth with all the allied armies fighting back the first invasion was awesome, full of surprises, and reminded me a little bit of Lord of the Rings lol. After the set up, Steppenwolf returns to reclaim the Mother Boxes and wreak havoc…first stop Themyscira, the Isle of the Amazons! I do want to point out that all the hoopla over the Amazon’s changed armor (ie oversexualized by male costume designers) was all for not. There were only a few of the warriors wearing those outfits and they had a very specific role to play and NEEDED to be as mobile as possible…we all need to learn that lesson of waiting for a movie to come out before crucifying it over some perceived falling down point. I think those scenes were among my favorite for the whole movie. The quest for the Mother Boxes lead our heroes and their allies on a well fought journey, but we all know what had to happen in the end….Steppenwolf assembles the trinity and starts to go to town on the world. The battle at the end was done well, but did have me seeing some flashbacks to Age of Ultron (especially the turf where it takes place).
OK, now for the not so good stuff. As I said the cast was balanced, save one character and unfortunately that one character was the new kid on the block, Cyborg. Now if Joss had to tone down the emo and brighten this team member up I cannot imagine what he was like before…maybe he was giving L from Death Note a run for his money. He was way dark, not in the movie as much as the rest of the cast, and had this almost pointless vulnerability that did not move the story forward, but gave way to a couple of “wtf” moments. Here’s to hoping they brighten him up a bit in the future and give him a chance to really use his powers. My second point as promised had to do with no one character REALLY shining out in front…while that is great for an ensemble cast, every team needs a leader…and we all know the leader of the Justice League is…Wonder Woman??? I’m all for giving her full respect, but Batman has always lead the team…he assembled the team, it was his idea. The exchange about leadership between Bruce and Diana was pointless as she never really took the lead anyway. The one issue where they clearly did not see eye to eye Batman got his way anyway. Even with the bad, I enjoyed the film a lot. Let’s hope that DC continues to build on it’s successes and forges a universe that we can all enjoy watching unfold! …I do just have one more question, do only like 4 people live in Atlantis? Where was everyone???
***CONTAINS SOME SPOILERS***
DC’s Justice League is a super fun and engaging Super-Hero flick, and a sign of hope for the DC movie-verse. Although it is far from perfect, it is in no way the mess that critics are saying. It presents a fairly simple easy to follow plot, yet it is amusing, full of action, and super enjoyable.
With the success of Wonder Woman people have extremely high expectations for JL. I went in very open minded which I tend to do when it comes to DC live-action movies. Overall JL isn’t nearly as great as WW however, it is a movie that fans of super-hero movies as well as comics can definitely appreciate.
I loved the interactions between the cast, and the film felt very much like DC. There was a good balance between the dark grittiness we’re used to as well as some humor. It felt like pages direct from a comic book and DC Animated were literally brought to life. The opening sequence felt like such a Batman moment and the film was full of very Gothamesque looking scenes.
This movie takes place months after the events of BvS. Batman seeks out other heroes to form a team of allies to take on Steppenwolf; an alien invader who plans on conquering the world. With Wonder Woman’s help Bruce Wayne enlists Cyborg, Aquaman, and the Flash to help take on this menacing threat.
We got to see a glimpse of each member with cool introduction scenes as Bruce Wayne attempts to recruit each member. There was a good balance of the team, and each member makes an impact and has something to contribute with pretty equal camera time.
Ben Affleck does a fairly good job as the group’s leader Bruce Wayne. He toned it down a bit from the brutal gun-wielding Batman portrayed in BvS. He was pretty impressionable and did a good job of showing remorse and putting his ego aside. We also saw some pretty cool Bat-tech in action. Gal Gadot continued to amaze us with her onscreen portrayal of Diana Prince/ Wonder Woman. She was just as badass, graceful, and powerful as her solo flick and BvS appearance. I absolutely loved her dynamic and back and forth with Bruce as well as other League members.
Ezra Miller delivers as the Flash giving us a playful and wisecracking Barry Allen. The comedic elements from Barry worked for me. He gives the movie some comedic flair and lightens the tone. Ray Fisher’s Cyborg portrays the complete opposite. He is EMO, self-loathing and cynical. I think this kind of gives the film a balance and an understanding to Victors struggle as he starts to understand his technology and machine-like powers. Cyborg ends up playing an integral role in JL, especially learning that his technology derives from the same powers of the Mother Boxes. I really enjoyed some geeky moments like seeing Cyborg say “booyah”.
Other JL member Aquaman played by Jason Momoa also delivered a great performance. But we still could’ve seen a lot more from Aquaman/Arthur Curry and his fellow Atlanteans. His scene with Mera with his return home to Atlantis felt very rushed. His power and abilities also felt downsized. Aquaman’s abilities include superhuman strength, enhanced senses, and nearly impenetrable skin, we didn’t really get to see him this powerful.
So what didn’t work?
My main issue was the CGI. It was drastically overused and not well. The villain Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciaran Hinds) was an entirely digital character and so was his army of parademons. Reshoots are probably what really hurt this movie and resulted in some extensive CGI use. Due to scheduling between other projects Henry Cavill’s mustache had to be digitally removed in post-production. A lot of Superman/Clarks scenes looked overdone and made him look odd or even ill.
Aside from the shitty CGI needing a vast improvement, the movie could have used a better script. It felt a little rushed and should’ve been longer, and used more time to really flesh out the story. The studios tend to have ridiculous deadlines which end up hurting them in the long run.
Another thing I noticed was that Steppenwolf seemed to be a pretty weak villain and he wasn’t perceived as an imminent threat. He didn’t really cause much mass destruction as you would assume in warranting the assembling of the League in the first place. Aside from the small town no one was really affected, there were no scenes of pure destruction and chaos. Earth was largely untouched by this “invasion”.
7 out of 10
Overall for me JL was super fun and enjoyable. It is not perfect but there’s potential and it’s a step in the right direction. There is definitely hope for DC! There was a good balance of both directors, it looks and feels like a Zack Snyder film but with a Joss Whedon presence. Aside from the poorly over used and drowned out CGI, the movie looked decent. It also felt much more organized than the messy Batman vs. Superman.
I say ignore the critics and give it a shot. Overall FAN reactions have been pretty good. The cast had great chemistry and I am looking forward to seeing more from these heroes.
*Keep a look out for cool Easter eggs and cameos throughout the movie & end credits!
photos: Warner Bros. & mymbuzz.com