***UPDATED*** MOVIE REVIEW - JUSTICE LEAGUE (2017)
(PHOTO PROVIDED VIA GOOGLE)
***WARNING: THERE ARE LOTS OF SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK***
RUNNING TIME: 2 Hours
RELEASE DATE: November 17, 2017
DIRECTOR: Zack Snyder
WRITERS: Chris Terrio, Zack Snyder, Joss Whedon
SUPERMAN: Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster
JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA: Gardner Fox
BATMAN: Bob Kane and Bill Finger
WONDER WOMAN: William Moulton Marston
CYBORG: Marv Wolfman and George Perez
AQUAMAN: Mort Weisinger and Paul Norris
THE FLASH: Harry Lampert and Gardner Fox
Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne
Henry Cavill as Superman/Clark Kent
Amy Adams as Lois Lane
Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince
Ezra Miller as The Flash/Barry Allen
Jason Momoa as Aquaman/Arthur Curry
Ray Fisher as Cyborg/Victor Stone
Diane Lane as Martha Kent
Connie Nielsen as Queen Hippolyta
J.K. Simmons as Commissioner Gordon
Ciaran Hinds as Steppenwolf (voice)
Amber Heard as Mera
(TRAILER PROVIDED VIA YOUTUBE.COM)
The Justice League follows Batman and Wonder Woman as they bring together an alliance of heroes to stop the invasion of Earth from Darkseid's general Steppenwolf and is army of Parademons. Yes that was the most spoiler free plot summary that I have ever given for a film. Don't worry, the spoilers are definitely coming as I find it more than difficult to discuss Justice League without any spoilers. In fact i try to go into every review trying not to spoil a film too much or better yet not at all. But Justice League is a film I've been waiting to see my entire life and I need to get a lot off of my chest. So I say screw it. This review will contain spoilers and and lots of them or at least as much as I need to give away so that I feel that I have gotten everything off my chest. So at this point I warn you, if you do not want to be spoiled please stop reading now. Again, if you want to see Justice League without being spoiled READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. STOP READING.
Now that you have been warned and if you want to keep readying, please do below.
(POSTER PROVIDED VIA GOOGLE)
Just to start off, I want to expand on what I said earlier about me waiting my entire life for this movie. Growing up I have always been a die hard Batman fan who has always been able to see the positive in every interpretation of the character from comic book to the campy 1960's TV series with Adam West to animation to the live action versions (except for 1997's Batman and Robin. That film is horrible). With that said, I have been a mark for DC for as long as I can remember. When I saw the older films for the first time such as Batman '89, Superman or any DC related film property; I never could understand why Warner Bros would not release a team film such as Justice League. We would end up with flops such as Catwoman or Steel that would destroy the characters integrity WHILE giving said characters new origins that had little to no reflection to their comic book counterparts. At the time, Warner Bros believed that the DC characters did not fit well in a shared universe and it would not translate well on film. What a crock of shit. That made no sense to me as the characters worked so well together on the comics. Look at the Dark Knight Trilogy, Christopher Nolan believed that Batman had no place on the same screen as Superman. Especially his version on Batman. Even so, he did help usher in Man of Steel and pretty much helped to mold the initial installment of the current DCEU.
Marvel has been working with a shared universe for years with the MCU and has proven that characters from different backgrounds whether one is a God, or a radioactive hulk, or a super soldier, or a mystical wizard, an alien from space or even a billionaire in an iron suit; the universe cam still come together and it can still work. Batman v Superman was the true first test. It was a success in my opinion. Justice League would truly bring not only DC's trinity together, but we would see Cyborg, The Flash and Aquaman all together on the big screen for the very first time. Talk about excitement.
We all had chances to get to know Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. Superman was a question mark due to him being killed in Batman v Superman. Fans didnt know how he was being brought back and when. The question was also raised in whether he would be differernt upon returning from the dead. Wonder Woman is well loved all over the world. We expected greatness from the character. Ben Affleck has also proven to be one hell of a Batman in Batman v Superman and his little cameo in Suicide Squad.
But how would the new characters fair in the silver screen? Fans were already not sure what to expect of Ezra Miller's Flash due to their love for the Grant Gustin version of Barry Allen on The CW. Ezra blew a lot of people away during my screening of the film. I honestly feel he stole the film and is the break away character of the DCEU. He played Barry Allen perfectly without taking away from his CW counterpart. He was funny when he was supposed to be and he was scared and amazed when he was supposed to me. One of my favorite scenes in Justice League is when Barry (as The Flash) is running around a newly resurrected Man of Steel and is stunned as he realizes that Superman can see him and able to keep up with him. It was obviously the first time that has happened to Barry. I found it exciting that they nailed that aspect of his suspense.
Aquaman is all bad ass. He's supper tough and not a joke of a character in any way. Honestly I have never felt that Aquaman was a weak or joke at all. He is portrayed as a serious player and he should. It was because of this that I found another of my favorite scenes. The League is in transport heading to the final battle. Aquaman begins to tell the team that even though he is willing to die, he does not want to. He's "too young and has a lifetime ahead of him and he doesn't want to miss it." He also admits he is scared. Then they all realize that Aquaman is sitting on the Lasso of Truth. They all have a big laugh about it except for Arthur. It gave Aquaman a human side that made you see him as someone other then the loner bad ass. It was a good moment.
Cyborg is a much better character than the internet is saying he is. How would you be if you woke up one day after thinking you were dead and being a cybernetic organism that you don't understand? I would be miserable. But as the movie progresses, so does he. He begins to like what he's become not because of a power thing or anything like that but because he is beginning to understand himself more. It's a very powerful journey and at the end, I felt happy for him.
(THE BEST EXAMPLE OF WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT BELOW. THE IMAGE ON THE RIGHT LOOKS LIKE A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT GUY. NOPE, IT'S HENRY WITH WITH CGI MOUTH)
I just want to spend a little more time on Superman before we continue. A little over half way through the film, we get to see the return of Superman. Even though I feel there should have been more time given to explore Superman getting his head straightened out (he was very confused when he first came back) and some time for him to get back to full power as he seemed to cpme back more powerful then ever. I personally thought that the black regeneration suit would come into play in this film sue to hearing about it from reputable sources. Hey, maybe it was cut from the film. I heard the film was originally close to 3 hours long. I just felt the return needed a little more time dedicated to it. Another area I could not help but not ignore is the sloppy CGI with Superman's mouth. I know why it was needed and there was no way around it, but I really wish there was. For those who don't know, Henry Cavill was contractually obligated to bit shave his mustache that he grew for his role in Mission Impossible. When Joss Whedon came aboard Justice League and began reshoots, there was no avoiding rebooting Superman and Henry had to keep the mustache. If he shaved it he would be in breach of contract and that is how we ended up with rushed CGI mouth. There were scenes where Superman looked like he was played by a different actor completely due to the CGI. It was weird and distracting to watch. That's the only issue I had with Superman. Other than that, I felt he was a great addition to the film. He seemed different after His return. He was more truth and justice than the brooding Superman of old (which I want to go on record that I did not mind and actually enjoyed). He looked as if he was more comfortable in his role as Superman and actually enjoyed it. Maybe it's the fact that he knows he is not alone anymore and is part of something that is actually bigger than him. He's part of the Justice League.
Out of all of the DCEU films, Justice League was by far the most comedic. The film is littered with one liners that even though can be seen as corny on occasion, each joke played off well and worked for the scene. I liked the team with a lighter and fun time. But remember, I still enjoyed the darker and more serious nature of the other films in the DCEU. I feel they served their purpose and DC could still go dark down the road. Honestly, I think Flashpoint may go the darker route due to the content it contains in the story. It made sense for Justice League to take the lighter tone. The movie we see is a reaction to the death of Superman and Superman's inspiration on Batman. The film lightens up because Bruce lightened up. It worked for me.
We also had small glimpses of some classic hero music. Danny Elfman snuck in the classic 1989 Batman theme here and there in the movie. You have to listen for it. But when you catch it, it's magic. John Williams' old Superman theme even made it into the film. I would have loved to hear what Junkie XL would have given us as a score, but Danny Feldman did a hell of a job. I would have also loved to have heard Hans Zimmer's Superman theme when Superman returned from the dead. I felt it should have been in there, but that's just one of my very few complaints on the movie.
For anyone who missed it, there was a great Green Lantern nod at the beginning of the film. When Diana is telling Bruce about the first time Steppenwolf tried to take over the Earth, she tells about beings from other worlds coming to Earth's defense. They showed an alien Green Lantern and I have to say, the depiction was incredible. It made me super excited for the Green Lantern Corps movie due for release in a few years.
DC isn't known for giving end credits scenes after their films (Suicide Squad had one), but Justice League had two. The first featured Superman and The Flash about to have their first race. This was really a cook scene, I just found myself distracted again by the bad CGI on Henry Cavill's mouth. I intend to see the film again to see if there is anything I missed. The second seen featured no other than Deathstroke played by Joe Manganiello (he looks perfect, I have very high hopes for his character). We also see Lex Luthor again. I get the feeling Jesse Eisenberg may play the part a little more traditional, which is great in my opinion. He seemed a little more classic Luthor.
Speaking of villains, the film found a great villian in Steppenwolf. It was great to meet a character that truly had a no nonsense point of view to his cause. I still cant believe that he was the main villian with Parademons along for the ride as well. It always seemsd DC would stick to more well known villians. They did a hreat job bring the. To the silver screen. It also made me even more excited for Darkseid. I really can't wait until he is on the big screen.
Justice League has a different feel.from the rest of the DCEU. It isn't just the lighter tone of the film. There is Joss Whedon feel to the film due to all of the reshoots, but still has the Zack Snyder influence. Snyder was still given the solo director's credit for the film. Even with all that went down behind the scenes, the film still found a footing and was very entertaining. I do wonder what Snyder's finished product would have looked like (especially the Superman scenes). There is currently a petition online pushing for a release of the Zack Snyder Directors Cut of the film. These petitions are gaining more and more steam. I believe these signatures are from the silent masses of Snyder fans that didn't defend Batman v Superman or Man of Steel (both great films in my opinion). The way that it looks, we may be getting the directors cut release, but who really knows at this point. I felt Justice League felt a little rushed and Snyder's cut scenes would have expanded on more of key elements of the story. I don't think the director's cut release whether theatrical or blue ray would hurt the current state of the film at all.
So where does the DCEU go from here? Aquaman is in the middle of production. The Batman is on its way. Wonder Woman 2 had it's release date moved up. Suicide Squad 2 is still green light while Flashpoint is also on the horizon. Not to mention Shazam and all of the other DCEU projects in the works. As a man who looked forward to a live action Justice League film his entire life, I can say whole heartedly that I enjoyed this film a great deal. I give it a 4 out of 5 stars. I went in expecting perfection especially with two A list directors attached to it and I want to give it a 5 out of 5 stars dues to my love for the DC Universe, but it was not a perfect film. I get so hard on the Superman CGI mouth issue because of the perfection I expected and the fact that the first ever superhero should have the rushed look he had. But again, I loved the film and I will get over it. Nothing is taken away from either director for the final product of the film. However Sunder does deserve to see his vision realized.
I know a lot went into this review due to the lifetime of waiting for this film to be made. I am about to do something I've never done before. After days of rethinking about my experience viewing this film I feel that the score I had given Justice League was not accurate. For the first time and hopefully the only time, I am changing the score I have given the film. Even though I had enjoyed the film, I still did not feel that this was the film we expected or deserve as fans of the content. This is the film that all of the other DCEU films had lead up to and it does not feel that way by any means. I am still hopeful we will see the Snyder cut and I cannot believe what Whedon had done to the film as he has a hell of a track record and I am a fan of his. My new score is 3 out of 5 stars. I hope DC and Warner fix what they had done with the film and I hope they find their path with the great characters that they have.