Movie Critique | “Justice League” Proves Money Doth Not Maketh The Movie


By: Brett Slaughenhaupt – Staff Writer

At this point where countless production companies are funneling out superhero movie after superhero movie—Marvel being the greatest example with producing two-three films a year with mediocre to great acclaim—audiences worldwide and in the U.S. are at home to the concept.

No longer are we in the days of “Iron Man” hinting in its final moments at a probable pairing of Bruce Banner/The Hulk and Iron Man to gasps from fanboys everywhere. Mega-budgeted superhero team-ups were not on anyone’s minds back in 2008. Now they are just a part of the norm for the genre’s norm.

With this year’s “Thor: Ragnarok” alone, we saw about a zillion (I’m underselling it) characters working together to defeat Thor’s goth drag queen sister, Cate Blanchett. Coming into the movie, people weren’t even focused on if the zillion characters (seriously there were so many) would be feasible for the film, they had seen it work before with both “Avengers” films and “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” amongst other examples.

Even with nearly countless examples pulling off this feat, “Justice League” decided not to take any notes, except maybe “add humor!,” and has succeeded only in making one of the most boring “epic” superhero films to date.

But really, after “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice,” an overlong scrapheap of flat characterizations and the mutual realization of moms being named “Martha,” are you surprised?

Plot-wise, this film is so bland and contrived, I could have come up with it. Steppenwolf, an entirely CGI alien (voiced to no excitability by Ciarán Hinds) has come back to Earth to locate three Mother Boxes (aka definitely not the tesseract). Once combined, the power is enough to destroy the Earth. Really, it’s that boring. Not even the sequences of “getting the team together” contain any ounce of flavor.

Blame may possibly lay on Bruce Wayne’s shoulders, a character that is written to be so heavily serious (and played to be even more stiff by Ben Affleck), we are never able to relax with him. Any source of fun is to be found from Ezra Miller, whose youthful countenance and lack of pure masculinity is a welcome change of pace. His performance provides a wit that bounces off of other characters and even adds a level of personality to a certain character, who up to this point has been a bit too “super.”

“Justice League” truly is the result of tunneling too much money into a concept with no vision. Coming off of “Wonder Woman’s” major critical and commercial success earlier this year, “Justice League” only showcases how disconnected the DC franchise is.

We have the Snyder path, full of biblical imagery and zero personality or humor. This lead us from “Man of Steel” to “BvS”, and now onto “Suicide Squad,” taking Snyder and adding minimal humor to minimal critical success. And out of left field entirely was “Wonder Woman,” Patty Jenkins vision with Gal Gadot as a singular hero and I’ll be damned if Gadot isn’t as close to a real wonder woman as any.

Unfortunately back in the world of “Justice League” she is left to be paraded around as a potential lover for Bruce (seriously?) and the object of many low-level ass shots. Nowhere to be found is the Wonder Woman who fought her way through No Man’s Land—a real shame and missed opportunity for this film. If I were Patty Jenkins, I would be demanding an override of the entire DC franchise.

In the end this movie can’t even strive to the “so bad, it’s…” levels that other misfires have gotten to. Instead, this take on the superhero team up is forgettable and joyless. If it had anything going for it, it made me excited for the solo trip of Miller’s Barry Allen/The Flash and Gadot’s next foray in showing how much DC needs her to take over the team from Batman.

On the other hand, it did provide us with weirdly waxy-faced Clark Kent, so maybe this movie was worth it after all?

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