Rating: 1 ½ out of 5 stars
So, it’s finally here: DC’s answer to Marvel’s “Avengers.” Ever since DC’s universe launched off its shaky foundation with its mediocre “Man of Steel,” they’ve been scrambling to catch up with Marvel and layout their own epic crossover spectacular that (they hope) would create the same kind of box office record-breaking results that Marvel’s team up produced. After five films and a dumpster fire of a success rate, we finally have “Justice League.” I won’t deny my flag flies pretty high for Marvel these days, but contrary to my scathing inclination, I don’t want DC to fail. I’d love nothing more than to see a high quality, kick ass Justice League movie and the best versions of heroes like Batman, Flash and Wonder Woman…I’m just not sure this is it.
Picking up right after “Batman V. Superman,” the world is still reeling from the death of Superman (Henry Cavill); including Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). When a demonic being known as Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) invades Earth looking for a trio of doomsday weapons to kick start the apocalypse, the two heroes must assemble a team of super-powered loners to fight as one. With the help of Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher), Batman and Wonder Woman must lead a team of newly formed heroes against an unstoppable force and save humanity from total annihilation.
You know, there was a reason Marvel gave solo films to its heroes, because if you don’t; you get this choke-inducing; overstuffed pizza that lacks any bite, flavor or purpose…in other words “Justice League.” Were bum rushed three major superhero players in one go; reducing any character or personality development to almost nothing. Most of these characters dialog consists of an exposition, like reading a character’s backstory off the box of their action figure than telling us who Cyborg or Aquaman is and why we’re supposed to care about them. While the Flash’s role is painfully clarified to be the comedic relief, it’s counterproductive when the jokes flat out suck. Ezra Miller plays Flash as a wide-eyed, bumbling teenager who has no idea what he’s doing. We hear others speak of Flash’s intelligence, but based on his unfunny jokes and wide-eyed performance, he’s a blatantly piss poor copy of Spider-man from “Homecoming.”
Ray Fisher is so stone-cold serious and boring; he’s a contender for biggest brooder next to Sad Affleck’s Batman. Affleck talks as if he’s on Zoloft most of the time, Gal Gadot tries her best but is clearly restrained by weak dialog and Momoa acts like a water-bound biker “bro.” The acting is a travesty that everyone has been sucked into. Amy Adams, J.K. Simmons, Jeremy Irons and so many talented actors get reduced to non-existent roles. It’s no wonder everyone phoned it in as they knew their characters weren’t written meaningfully to warrant any effort. The climax is an assault of disgustingly bad CGI. It’s like a tidal wave of bad green screen effects. Everything looks fake and cheaply put together, same goes for Cyborg’s terrible body designs and the most forgettable villain since Wonder Woman’s Ares.
Steppenwolf looks like a disgruntled piece of clay that was half-assedly sculpted into humanoid form. His dialog, motivations, personality, everything is atrociously bad. The minute he’s not onscreen, you forget he’s the big bad in this film or that he even showed up at all. Many critics have ignorantly blasted Marvel movies for claiming they produce lackluster villains. Even the most poorly received Marvel movie has produced villains better than “Justice League” has. Worst of all, this doesn’t feel like this was a team up worth waiting for. We barely know or like these characters, and it’s hard to do that when they lack the most crucial element for a team AND for a team-up movie: chemistry. None of these heroes has one scrap of chemistry among them!
They make painfully unfunny jokes; tease hollowed out attempts at development or romance and expects the magnitude of this team up of superheroes to impress you enough that you don’t pay attention to all of the awful mistakes this movie has made. The thing is, this is these are the same mistakes that DC has been making since the beginning. “Justice League” is only a slightly more tolerable DC movie and that’s not what we should be seeing at this juncture. This should be the home run that makes everyone’s teamwork and effort feel relevant, and unsurprisingly; it’s not. DC’s cinematic universe is a dead horse, and they need to stop beating it. To quote an infinitely superior DC movie (Batman Begins) with a far better Batman (Christian Bale): Please go. Stop smiling. It’s not a joke. Please leave. The party’s over. Get out.