Justice League was not a “bad movie”, it is at its worst, palatable, and at its best, forgettably enjoyable. It is, however, objectively disappointing.
First, let’s start with the production values, of which there seemed to be none. It contained some of the most horrendous CGI to grace the silver screen in the past 10 years. Let’s put aside the CGI fueled, late-term abortion that was the main villain. Superman seemed to the victim of several botched plastic surgeries, having had some poor first-year vis arts students attempt to Photoshop his mustache off with what appears to be MS Paint. The fight scenes, while beautifully choreographed, were an eyesore as they were coupled with FIFA 14 graphics. If only we could pay to unlock the sense of accomplishment offered by EA, but alas, we’ve bought this shit sandwich and no amount of toppings will make it any better. Reshoots were done with little effort, as seen by the obvious and jarring transitions between the genuinely breathtaking landscape of Iceland to the poorly rendered elementary school painting of what a blind child imagines mountains to look like. But that’s just the visuals, and unfortunately, the mess doesn’t stop there.
The next great failure of this Cronenberg monster, this disgusting mutation of a decent film, is the dialogue. My god, the dialogue.
Never have I seen so many tonal shifts in one go. It is as if the screenwriters decided to follow a teenage girl on her first period and rewrite the script according to how she felt at that particular moment. The dramatic statements, the cheesy references to love and strength worked in Wonder Woman because the film followed through. It had the heart to back up its words. Justice League, however, chose to pluck words and references to call us back to a film of far superior quality. It emptied Wonder Woman of all its heart and soul and chose to wear its skin, much like if Luke had chosen to pretend that by being inside a tauntaun, he now WAS one. And so, we are tempted with possibly sweet sentiments, opening with a Superman we have no prior memory of but are supposed to accept as cinematically consistent. Then we are lead into contrived and embarrassing dialogue, “I’m a believer”, and you immediately begin to believe that this will be the longest two hours of your life.
But the film does not let down with this roller coaster of emotions. Well timed quips, as in “Well, at least that was funny”, help you forget that what should have been the biggest film of the year was outshined both critically and financially by the fucking Kingsman sequel. But fear not, because we’ve got more lacking sentiment to feed you! A (supposedly) heartfelt reunion between our freshly risen and thinly veiled Christ metaphor and his lady-love will remind you that even Academy Award nominees can’t make gold out of hay. “You smell good,” Yes Lois, your formerly dead boyfriend, who has been buried for several months and was just bathed in extraterrestrial amniotic fluid smells divine. Oh, how we laughed.
Batman, the socially awkward teenage boy, has apparently just learned how to talk to girls. Watching Ben Affleck play dress up as a genius detective with no gravitas or leadership qualities is a chore, to say the least, especially when BvS showed us all he could have been.
But maybe you enjoyed it. Maybe you laughed so hard at the Flash’s desperate quips that depression has not yet sunk it’s cold, shamefully rendered claws into your heart. We come, then, to the greatest flaw of this half-baked shit pie.
There is no cohesive anything.
It doesn’t look like the mutilated child of two vastly different directors. Nor is it the tortured product of warring opinions. No, it is a barely complete project. A paper submitted at 11:59 with the Wikipedia page run through Google translate a few times. It is the contents of an outhouse stationed outside a Taco Bell. It cannot be evaluated as a complete failure because simply put, it’s not complete. There is a film in there, yes. There’s a few. A film that Snyder made, a film Whedon wanted to make, and a film a WB’s executive’s wallet tried to make.
It is not, by any means, unwatchable or a complete failure of a film. For all it’s faults, of which there are plenty, I enjoyed it. The characters fit well, there were plenty of poster-worthy shots, and the humor landed more often than not. But that is not what a Justice League film should be. A Justice League film should not be struggling to make the opening box office of Minions. A Justice League film should be smashing records, it should be blowing minds. So this film is a disappointment, not just on its own merits, but for everything it could have been, everything it should have been. So, watch it, I suppose. Watch it like we watched Hangover 3, a lackluster ending that’s marginally better than its sequel, seen only for some empty feeling of completion.