Justice League is Super Mediocre and Unmemorable [Review]
Directed by Zack Snyder
Screenplay by Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon
Based on Justice League by Gardner Fox and characters by Bob Kane, Bill Finger, William Moulton Marston, Joe Shuster, Jerry Siegel
Starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, J. K. Simmons, Ciarán Hinds
Production companies DC Films, RatPac Entertainment, Atlas Entertainment, Cruel and Unusual Films
Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures
Release date November 17, 2017
Running time 119 minutes
Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action
Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.
Justice League was not just mediocre, it was super mediocre. Even now hours after walking out of the theatre I am beginning to forget what I saw, and the parts that are sticking in my head are not fantastic. It is not that this film is bad, it’s honestly not bad, it’s just that it was unabashedly average with a few redeeming qualities. A structural mess of asymmetrical writing and uneven direction and inconsistent characters and timelines within the universe, which left much to be desired. It was far too obvious how much work went into turning out a cohesive film that did not repeat the failings of its predecessor without completely retconning the franchise. Coming in at just 2 hours long the film is far too short to have the type of impact it needs, and offers to little time to introduce and develop new characters that will be crucial to the climax of the film and the future of the franchise. These issues do not even address the problems with the overall narrative of the film, which was too disposable and offered no payout. Ultimately it felt like Justice League was weighed down with the burden of resolving the problems of Man of Steel, and Batman V. Superman, which it did, to some extent. At best I could say this reset the scorecard for the DCEU providing a clean path forward, provided they actually learn from the past failures.
Now for the good, because like I said this is not a bad movie, and it does have redeemable, even enjoyable, elements. The characters worked very well together, and played off each other exactly like they should. The cast displayed a good working chemistry, and they were all believable in their roles. The foundation for Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg were set such that they could be very well developed in future films. While I would very much like to see this ensemble work together again, I believe it would be more satisfying to first allow these characters to breath on their own and take on some life. Both Batman and Superman were more enjoyable to watch, and I feel after Wonder Woman were the most well developed. Granted Superman’s character had to be redeveloped in a very short time it was accomplished satisfactorily enough. Finally, there was some very pleasing comic relief which saved the entire film. I believe a large amount of credit for the salvation of Justice League should go to Joss Whedon, as each redeemable moment bears his distinctive fingerprints.
Overall, I am relieved Justice League was not an unwatchable catastrophic mess. However, I am still left wishing it had been better, as I believe this franchise deserves. I will happily wait for the next installment because I now believe it can become something great.