Why the new Justice League movie didn’t live up to the hype
Anthony Bowen ’18
Posted on Monday, December 25th, 2017
Riding off the highs of the very well received Wonder Woman, Justice League was expected to bring the DC Extended Universe to the same level as their rival, Marvel. Yet, once again, they still ended up a few feet shy.
In the movie, Batman and Wonder Woman go on an expedition to gather a group of metahumans in order to horde off the attack of the tyrannical Steppenwolf, the military officer of Apokolips and leader of an army of parademons, hell bent on ravaging Earth for an unknown object or goal.
One of the main complaints thrown at Justice League, and the DCEU as a whole, is that Warner Bros. don’t develop their characters and rush movies into production to try and keep up with the competition.
Many people argue that they should have taken steps towards what is now known as the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe) formula, which entails slowly building towards the central villain that will require all the heroes to work together against a threat none could withstand on their own. Warner Bros. decided that this was not the road to be tread for their franchise; they decided instead to just introduce most of their characters into this movie.
However, one praise that I will allow of Justice League is that, while worrisome, it does successfully introduce the new characters of Aquaman, the Flash, and Cyborg, with each getting their own little moments of limelight scattered throughout the movie, showing blips of their talents and personality. Viewers get the sense that the characters on the screen are real people. Nevertheless, this is still drawn down by the forced in jokes during certain scenes within the movie, as a result of the reshoots of the much talked about director, Joss Whedon.
You can clearly see the distinction between what original director Zack Snyder was trying to create and what Joss Whedon was brought in to try and “fix.” After Snyder left earlier in post production, due to family issues, Whedon stepped into the director’s chair and added additional funny moments or jokes to bring “levity” to certain scenes which were deemed too dour.
It is this conflict between the director’s vision and studio meddling that takes Justice League down an even deeper hole than what it would have been initially. This is evident when the original script was leaked on the internet which and, while still having its fare share of criticisms, overall received a much more positive reception than the movie that was released.
In the movie the central villain that brings all of our heroes together to face immeasurable odds is the aforementioned Steppenwolf, a devil-like figure of almighty strength sent to plague the world in fire and brimstone, who is supposed to invoke this feeling of grandeur. Through the leaks it was revealed that more depth would have been brought to the character with peeks into the motives of his onslaught, revealing a world weary being seeking to redeem himself in the eyes of his superior’s for past grievances.
What audiences received instead was a one dimensional villain who wished to take over the world so he could basically say he did. My belief is that, because of efforts to rush the movie out to theaters and make more money instead of taking more time with their earlier plan, they upended what was supposed to be another decent outing in their films.
Also, I understand the need to take a good look at the negatives presented by critics and fans alike to bring the best experience possible for future movies, but they shouldn’t be enslaved to this.
For example, many hated the representation of Super Man in Man of Steel, saying this was not what the character represented in “their” eyes. However, I am in the camp of those who loved Man of Steel, which is in my top ten superhero movies of all time, because of the realism of a god like indestructible being suddenly appearing in our world and the consequences of him protecting it from people who mean to do us harm.
This habit of worrying too much about how people will react, along with poorly placed humor, are things that Warner Bros. needs to address in their movies going forward if they ever hope to bring back people’s faith in their handling of such beloved characters. Countless individuals seemed to have this faith restored after Wonder Woman, with it continuing to grow from promises to bring to bring the lightheartedness that the characters are “supposed” to represent.
This was not the case however, and the movie in my eyes lost much of the goodwill I had towards it by trying too much to meet people’s demands instead of striving to do what they originally intended, which was being a darker, more realistic, and different take on the hero genre than Marvel introduced.
Still, I will wait for further exploration into the DC universe before I give up completely on these movies because, as previously stated, the one bright spot of Justice League is the characters; in particular the addition of solo movies for Batman, Aquaman, and the Flash.
While this movie will be on absolutely none of recommendation lists to even the most hardcore of comic book fans I suggest seeing it to keep up with the new developments of the spin offs coming afterward.
I give Justice League 2 out of 5 stars.