Review: Justice League a desperate attempt to reboot DC movie universe

By Ryan Simmons (Twitter: RyanSimmonsVO)
November 26, 2017 - 11:03am

Well I did it. I wasn’t gonna do it… I was perfectly content to watch the whole Universe die from the sidelines… but morbid curiosity got the best of me. I’d heard too much about shoehorned jokes and weird CGI lips to ignore it, and so I saw Justice League: the most mediocre movie ever made.

You know, when I went and saw Suicide Squad it was terrible. Like memorably terrible. It was so bad it’s like a badge of honour to have seen it. They went all out on that movie. The flash, the bold character choices, the trailer-style cut scenes and neon title cards… I mean it was all a big, flashy, neon mess in the end… but they went for it at least and when they failed they failed spectacularly.

You can’t even say that about Justice League.

JL is just super, incredibly, fascinatingly OK. They play it safe enough to save the movie from being memorably terrible like Suicide Squad, but it only manages to raise the bar to “watchable” at best.

The villain is a great example of this. After a couple bold, flashy and terrible villains like Eisenberg ‘s Lex Luthor or Jared Leto’s Joker, they don’t even bother using a human actor to play the villain. Instead they just imported an actual video game bad guy I think. He’s pure CGI and he just shows up out of literally nowhere to destroy the world just because. I guess he wants to make our planet more like his home world, or something? I dunno.

This was supposed to be like the big, Avengers style proof of concept for the whole Universe. The moment you saw all your favourite heroes together, fighting side by side, leaving you absolutely starving for the next chance to see it all come together on screen again. I have a very hard time believing this movie will do this for anyone.

There are all your favourite heroes… but none of them are terribly cool. They definitely team up… but none of them have very good chemistry with one another. There are a ton of big fights with lots of bad guys… but none of them are all that amazing. There’s a big, world threatening bad guy… but he never really comes off as a credible threat. There are a lot more jokes… but none of them are especially funny. Everything in the movie is just… OK.

So I don’t know, if you think a franchise that can maybe rise to the level of “watchable” on its best day is worth putting up with things like a very likely recasting of Batman; a complete lack of Green Lanterns; Eisenberg’s unintimidating Lex Luthor; or Jared Leto’s brutalization of the Joker… then I guess you could call Justice League a success.

For me all Justice League proved is the potential a restart could have for the DC Movie Universe. It’s clear they went to painful and expensive lengths to try to bandage over the dark, no-fun motif that Zack Snyder seemed to want for the whole Movie Universe. Reshoots and hiring Joss Whedon did a lot to improve upon the trash heap that Snyder left behind, but it seems too clear now that building upon this foundation will likely never lead to great heights. The best thing they can do is take the minds that showed potential, like Whedon and Wonder Woman’s Patty Jenkins, and put them to work on a new, fun, ground up DC Universe. This one is dead on the table and it’s clear more directors and reshoots aren’t going to Frankenstein it back to life any time soon.

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