Image result for justice league movie

Justice League
Directed by: Zach Snyder and Joss Whedon
Written by: Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon, and Zack Snyder
Starring: Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ben Affleck, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, and Henry Cavill, among others
Produced by:  Geoff Johns, et al

Review by Dean Zeller

The second portion of the review contains spoilers of Justice League, by DC Entertainment.  The first portion can be found here.  

Question:  What does Justice League, Suicide Squad, and X-Men: Apocalypse all have in common?
Answer:  A generic ultra-powerful villain that was ultimately defeated by a single member of the team.

Well, damn.

Sorry, folks.  I really really wanted to like Justice League.  I wanted to stand up and cheer that DC has finally turned things around.  I even made my one-in-a-row joke in my pre-review, hoping that the DCEU would make me eat my words.  I went in with the anticipation that I would bea changed person as a result of this movie.

Nope.  Didn’t happen.  Throughout the movie, I was expecting some point where I get excited about what was going on, about the characters, and the plot.  But overall, the movie was flat.  There were occasional scenes that had some charm.  And everything looked good visually, with Snyder’s signature style.  But, like its predecessors, the plot was just too dumb for words.

Let’s start positive, with what I liked the most.  I did enjoy certain things about the movie, unlike both Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad.

Good #1:  Aquaman, the bad-ass!
Arthur Curry was my favorite part of the film.  He was reminiscent of the comic book Aquaman days, authored by Peter David, writer of stuff.  Overnight, Peter turned Aquaman from a boring fish-talker into a total bad-ass, with a harpoon for a hand.  While the movie didn’t sport the ‘poon-hand, it had the beard, long-hair, and grim attitude.  It looked like Momoa had a great time with the role.  My favorite scene is when he uncharacteristically blurts out that Wonder-Woman is beautiful.

Related image
Before Peter David.  “Talks to fish.”

 

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After Peter David.  “Bad ass!”

Good #2: The Flash.
I thought it was kinda silly that they didn’t use the TV-version of Flash, but I do see why it was necessary.  A very young Barry Allen had some great lines and fun scenes.  My favorite Flash-scene is when he realizes Superman is just as fast as he is.  I also thoroughly enjoyed the ending credits scene where they race, just the iconic scene in the comics.  There was a Flash scene in the trailer that never made it into the movie where a bad-guy is shooting repeatedly at him.  I thought it was cool, and I wish they could have put that one in there.

Missing from movie.

Good #3: Wonder Woman.
Gal Gadot was classy!  She did just as good of a job as in the last two of her movies.  She had exciting fight scenes, and was the only character that was well-developed in previous movies.

 

Good #4:  The overall humor.
It was refreshing to see DC using humor, after their declaration of “no jokes policy” from BvS.  It wasn’t just thrown in there, either.  I laughed out loud several times during the movie, so I must give it credit.

Okay, I think that’s about it.  Four things I liked.  Not bad.  Now, onto the bad.

Bad #1:  The BUGS.
My main complaint about any super-hero movie is generic villains.  Aliens, robots, zombies, and bugs are all very commonly used.  The filmmakers can make thousands of them, and because they’re not human, the heroes can kill them without violating the “no-kill” rule.  Avengers had aliens, Avengers 2 had robots, Suicide Squad had… I dunno, charcoal-monsters.  Justice League decided to mix their metaphors, with  reanimated zombie aliens, fitted with armor, to make them look like dragonflies.  They were called parademons, and, because it was CGI, there were *millions* of them. How can I get all excited about Bats or Aquaman taking out two or three of them when there are so many left behind?  I hated many aspects the movie, but I despised the bugs the most.  Whenever they were on-screen, I was completely  uninterested.

One down, 2,999,999 to go.

Bad #2:  Superman.
I always hated Henry Cavill’s Superman.  He was brooding, hateful, and seemed to revel in the destruction of humans.  I thought it was odd when he was raised from the dead.  Everybody was saying that he doesn’t know who he is.  “Well, actually, he’s acting just like he did in the last two movies.”  I was only kinda-sorta enjoying JL up to the point they brought him back.  And I enjoyed the big Everybody-vs.-Supes scene.  But after that, the entire movie turned downhill.  Which brings me to…

Image result for superman from man of steel killing zod  Image result for superman from batman vs superman

Bad #3:  Steppenwolf
Coming in third worst is the 2002 Grammy Hall-of-Fame musical group, Steppenwolf.  Okay, that didn’t happen, but it may have been more interesting.  I never knew Steppenwolf as anything other than the Born-to-be-Wild band, so it was distracting to me to have a villain with the same name.  Steppen looked quite real, and I could swear it looked like someone existing.  But yet, he had a huge axe… that never drew blood.  Every swing with his axe looked like a club.  Why didn’t he just have a club, mace, or hammer, like everybody else?  Now, if his alien-zombie-bug army wasn’t bad enough, he was just SO powerful.  I knew the plot would eventually boil down to inventing some way to defeat him.  And, just like in Suicide Squad, the big enemy that nobody was able to defeat, was eventually (and easily) taken down by one member.  We’re just supposed to accept that Superman’s sheer heroism is enough to take on the ‘Wolf, all by himself?  As it was, I didn’t exactly cheer when Supes beat the snot out of him; the moment was just empty.

The real enemy…

Bad #4:  Batman
Ole Bruce just looked off.  His first fight scene didn’t make much sense, and he just seemed to float in mid-air.  He’s the leader of the group, yet never really explained what was going on to the group.

Bad #5:  Cyborg
From the start, I had real issues in the comics when they yanked Cyborg from the Teen Titans, to put him in the Justice League.  Why?!  In the Titans, he was their leader, supporter, and father-figure.  He kept his head level and calm when the other members were off acting like teenage superheroes.  Maybe the Teen Titans didn’t get a movie, but they sure had the cartoon market.  Kids were always talking about the Teen Titans, and he was my favorite member.  In the League, he’s just one of the group.  The other members of the JL are long-standing members since the 60’s, whereas Cyborg is fresh meat.  I don’t know who is running the Titans now (probably Robin), but I bet it’s just not the same.

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Cyborg leading the Teen Titans GO!

 

First time every Cyborg was in the JL

However, they needed a minority hero of some kind, and unless they wanted Vixen or Bumblebee in this movie, they had to give Cyborg a transfer of sorts.  So, accepting the lack of historical consistency, how was Cyborg as a character?  Well, they decided to change his abilities from cybernetics to Kryptonian technology.  It looked like Cyborg could just shape-change his body.  So, my issue is that the “Cyb” in “Cyborg stands for cybernetics, not alien technology.  So, already, Vic Stone has two strikes against him.  The third strike was whenever he spoke; even though he was played by Ray Fisher, the synch was off, and it looked like he was CGI, even his human parts.  I’m guessing that certain shots were full CGI, which were about as realistic as Princess Leia at the end of Rogue One.

Creepy CGI

Bad #6:  Lois Lane and Commissioner Gordon
I really don’t see what people see in Amy Adams as Lois Lane.  Her character never adds to the plot, other than to have someone for Superman to save.  Her character in JL was completely auxiliary, and could have been removed.  Let’s just team her up with Hawkeye to talk some aliens to death.  However, I love J.K. Simmons.  He puts the most possible into every role he does.  But even his talented acting made him look bored in the movie.  These are two very important supporting roles to the Justice League, and both of them left me completely unsatisfied.

So, overall, it just wasn’t all that good.  It had a few very charming and cool scenes, but overall, it shows that the DCEU is still limited to “one-in-a-row.”

Best DC can do, for now.

It is unfortunate.  I was really hoping to root and cheer for DC, finding evidence they were turning things around.  But alas, this is evidence to the contrary.  They’ve had three chances to show us they can do an effective super-hero team, but none have truly panned out.  I think it’s time DC abandoned the extended universe, and went to standalone movies, to develop their characters more.  It worked for Wonder Woman.  (Oh, wait, they’ve already declared that…)

I will say this for it — it was better than Batman v Superman, Suicide Squad, and X-Men Apocalypse.

Before I end, there was a comment:  “Lois Lane is the thirstiest woman I’ve ever met.”  Um, do the writers understand what thirsty could mean in this context?

RANK: C- / 2 stars out of 5 / Thumbs Down

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