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Before we begin I would just like to pay my respects to Zack Snyder and I hope he and his family members are coping as best they can at this time.
I would also like to stop anyone in the mind of 'Oh he's such a DC hater' or 'Marvel fanboy' and tell you to get out of here. There have been many great Batman installments through films, games and television. Justice League itself has had two wonderful animated shows ('Justice League' and 'Young Justice') as well as some animated movies like 'Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox' and games like 'Injustice'. I also enjoyed the many CW DC shows for the most part mainly season one of 'The Flash' and seasons one-three of 'Arrow'. Unfortunately I haven't delved too deep into the comics but I have read a few and they were incredibly enjoyable. So essentially back the fuck off.
The content below is separated into a spoiler free review and then a more in-depth spoiler review, both are clearly marked so you won't accidentally run into a massive spoiler. Don't want to ruin your fun before you even get to the cinema. So if you've seen the film you may as well scroll right pass the first chunk of this review.
Spoiler Free Review
Justice League is a comic book-superhero-ensemble movie which means it should cover a few marks at the bare minimum. Some sweet comic book imagery, superheroes exhibiting their powers and saving lives and finally interesting characters and how they mix with each other.
There are a few ways to show us iconic feeling comic book imagery, be it costume design, set design or through VFX. Justice League manages to give us strong and interesting looking designs for our main heroes with each member of the team having their own unique style but no one looking completely out of place and all meshing with this version of the DC world around them, although there are some disappointing choices with the Thymiscerians. Speaking of the world around them, it varies greatly from an incredibly beautiful straight from the page comic world to a clear use of badly integrated green screen. Coming from a film budget of $300 million and a franchise of over $3 billion this is completely unacceptable and feels cheap and disrespectful to those hardcore DC fans who have defended the DCEU through all of its many faults and stumbles. The film looks and feels as though there is only three of four real sets throughout and they're mostly used for conversations rather than anything that would put those sets to work. However, when the VFX is good it looks amazing it's just a shame it feels so hit and miss rather than the consistency you would expect from a film of this magnitude.
Let's move on to the second thing this film should be nailing from the off: Superheroes. Now I don't mean comic respecting versions of the characters, just the visualisation of their powers and how they save lives.
Throughout the film Batman is a mess, remember that badass detective we all know and love? He's gone home to make room for plenty of Bruce Wayne, zero fighting ability and actions that Batman just wouldn't do.
Active lives saved: Zero.
Wonder Woman has been taken down a sexist peg from her own film and spends most of this film in shots of her face reacting and her ass walking. Aside from that she does have the second best action scene in the film but that's not much of a saving grace when at one point The Flash trips over and has a quick lay down on her breasts, haha so funny, lolol, boys being boys...
Active lives saved: Maybe ten or so.
The Flash easily has the most visually pleasing powers even if the film and the character haven't a clue what to do with them. But at least he gets plenty of scenes tapping into the Speed Force and it's cool as fuck.
Active lives saved: Thirteenish?
Cyborg stands around eating up the budget and barely uses his powers except to complain and also at random because he doesn't have control of them sometimes for no reason at all; at least he looks good doing it.
Active lives saved: Technically nine I guess.
Aquaman spends plenty of time swimming around for the first half of this film and then he does some jumping about. Painfully underused as anything other than a real hardy guy with a trident. However he is one of two characters shown caring for civilians before the team is put together.
Active lives saved: A small village, consistently, by bringing fish to eat.
I don't see this as a spoiler thanks to the many articles and some of the trailers but maybe skip this paragraph if you haven't already figured out what comes next. Ok, so, I assume they've gone, that dead guy, you know the one he wears red and blue. His powers in this film are so incredibly overpowered they've probably ruined him but it's so satisfying to watch. A couple of his powers fall down thanks to VFX but the very first interaction between him and The Flash is honestly brilliant.
Active lives saved: Potentially a couple hundred, probably like twenty.
The third thing this movie should be able to do is create an effective ensemble piece. Justice League really tries to do this and on a few occasions manages to hit the mark. Characters views of each other and interactions with each other change throughout the film. With most of them starting out with a distaste or at least a wariness of others and leading up to cracking a joke and laughing with each other during their teamwork. Unfortunately some of this is rushed through and comes across as though the character is inconsistent rather than adapting.
Alright, it didn't really do that well with those three basic things I wanted it to manage. But what about the plot? The villain? The introductions? The meat on top of those building blocks? Unfortunately, the plot is very much a paint by numbers 'this bad guy wants to end the world better go stop him' but instead of being a streamlined concise version of this story we've heard a trillion times it's as if someone handed a toddler the paintbrush and she just made up her own lines with the end result all being the right colours but sort of bleeding out into each other and no longer really resembling the original picture. Also, throw the villain in the bin. Right next to his backstory and the team's competence. The new characters' introductions a little bit too quick which might have something to do with the two hour time limit placed on the film by Warner Bros at the last minute. Though that didn't stop the film feeling a tad long.
If you're going to see this film there's a couple end credit scenes you might like to wait for but I implore you, if you're not already heavily infested in this whole comic book movies thing or even DC, do not go. Don't provide them with more money so they can continue to ignore the consistent and repetitive complaints of practically everyone at this point. If you are invested and a DC fan then yeah sure go see the film, be ready for disappointment but this is Justice League and is therefore culturally important to this 'scene'.
It's shit though, 4/10.
Alright, we've covered a basic review and if you glance a couple lines up you can get an incredibly concise view on my thoughts. Let's break this up into character specific segments and then the general plot. I'll try not to be miserable or angry but... I won't promise anything.
A lot of people seem to have taken issue with the jokey nature of Barry Allen in this film. I disagree, The Flash was easily one of the better parts of the film. I do agree that on occasion he needed to tone it down a bit and honestly I don't know what the fuck that run was. Here's the one joke from The Flash that truly made no sense at all. All of the team vanishes when Gordon isn't looking and he's the only one left behind, caught off guard by the fact they've all left. HE'S THE FUCKING FLASH! He's the fast one, are you telling me he didn't spot Batman grappling out of there.
My only real issue with The Flash was the film's inability to utilise him effectively; there was multiple occasions he could have just gone fast and fixed everything. To avoid that they repeatedly sent him off elsewhere or cut his leg. Seriously, they had The Flash in this film and just cut his leg to put him out of action because he made the scene pointless. At one point he and Cyborg are digging up Superman's grave because they need to bring Superman back to help stop Steppenwolf. They're digging at regular speed?! Get Cyborg out of the way and get on with it, there's only a planet at risk. Please continue your small talk about being an accident you massive twat.
They did get the relationship between Barry and his father right though. Even the very short backstory from Alfred got the point across. However, do we have to have people from Barry's life who aren't aware he's The Flash speak in weird running metaphor things all the time? Barry's dad said things like 'running in circles' and 'running on the spot' when talking about Barry. It's just so cheesy and on the nose, get rid of it.
I'm not a big fan of Superman generally, but I really liked him in this film. You got a real sense of his obscene power and his calm and collected presence (after he'd seen Lois and calmed the fuck down). He even threw in a couple jokes here and there, made me feel like now Superman was about everything, would work out fine. Henry Cavill is consistently good at Superman and this is easily his best outing. It's a shame the actual film couldn't keep up with him.
I guess this film wants us to just delete the previous films from our mind and run with the idea that everyone loves Superman even though it was at best a 50/50 split on whether he was an alien menace or a saviour in the previous films. Remember when he was taken to court? Remember when his statues were graffitied over in protest? Justice League doesn't and would prefer if I'd stop bringing it up.
Also does anyone else remember Batman not killing Superman in BvS? If you're a bit fuzzy here's a recap.
Batman was like 'Imma fuck this bitch up.' and was doing so successfully and then Superman is like *cough splutter* 'Martha.' then everything is dandy between them because names and mothers and whatever. Skip a bit. Then Superman sacrifices himself to kill Doomsday with a kryptonite spear and Doomsday is like well shit better stab him back and then they both die.
So, my question is this. At what point does that give everyone including Superman to blame Batman for his death? You're correct it fucking doesn't so what the shit was going on there?
Even ignoring the plot making no sense the $300 million spent on this film couldn't make Henry Cavill's top lip look realistic and not like plastic or make his ice breath look like it wasn't from a bad tv show. At least The Flash's powers looking great gave us that glorious moment of side eye during the recently revived Superman fight.
Now, this is seriously just nitpicking but when they revive Superman there's an explosion that burns of the top half of his clothing (and I think his shoes but I'm not certain on that) but leaves his trousers intact? Just make him naked and then we can have an over the top butt shot that would make everyone feel less uncomfortable about the many Wonder Woman shots.
The backstory of Cyborg is a tad glossed over but we get it so that's fine. It's a bit difficult to follow who his dad actually is unless you already know he's just kind of there. The guy spends almost all of the film complaining about being a cyborg. I get it it's not what you wanted but is constant whining doing anything other than kicking my enjoyment of this film while it's trying to walk out the door. He manages to discover new things he can do any second that just so happens to be what he needed to do a thing. Except at the start of the film where he has a little bitch when he learns he can fly? Fuck you, man. Ray Fisher acts the character well though.
Booyah! I might vomit, so much cringe, stop.
What three in one what's happening? Well let me tell you. I took a long ass break from writing this review because it was depressing and irritating to think about because what a bust of a film.
Wonder Woman is not a sexual dumb object, get fucked.
Batman isn't this useless and don't be clearly done with this act before you're finished Affleck.
Aquaman, don't know what he's doing, vague backstory mention. 'My man!' 'Alright!'
Steppenwolf is a load of shit I'm actually bored of writing anything about this trash. But hey, this is a hobby not a job, I'm out. Goodbye.