Jerks off DC Superman too much

Justice League

Criticism from Christian Mester
Founded BG in 2004 and has seen a ton of new films since then. Was an editor for Gameswelt / Gamestar, among others; Senior PR Account Manager in a Düsseldorf advertising agency.

Directed by Zack Snyder and a little Joss Whedon
Cast: Bat Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Jeremy Irons, Henry Cavill's Mustache

Batman's BVS nightmare could become a reality, as the winged alien demons he saw in his crazy visions are seen more and more in Gotham and the surrounding area. So he and Wonder Woman decide to put together a team of people with extraordinary skills who can bravely face the impending ominous danger from space.

The fact that the previous DCEU cinema experience was rather bumpy is primarily due to the fact that internal decisions are constantly being changed and that no clear line is followed. Suicide Squad only got funnier after a misleadingly hilarious trailer became popular, and the Joker was drastically reduced when people were unsatisfied with its performance. The fact that Superman competes against Batman in his second film and even dies was not a conscious creative decision, but a thoughtless requirement from the very top. The problem? Man of Steel (review) had "only" brought in around 670 million dollars. That made a profit, but Iron Man 3, released in the same year, made over a billion dollars, almost twice as much, and people were jealous of that. So Batman and Supermantod and Wonder Woman and the presentation of the other Justice League members Aquaman and Cyborg everything hastily crammed together into a tonally strange, completely wrongly serious and completely emotionlessly cool scrap strip (review). As scandalous as it may be, the fact that the Captain America film from the same year grossed more than the first encounter between Batman and Superman was unfortunately deserved. It was noticed that something needed to be changed, and that shows in Justice League.

Compared to Wonder Woman (review), who was also more cheerful, Justice League is even more relaxed, with a light-footed tone, a lot of dry humor and a complete renunciation of theatrical seriousness. This results in a pleasantly more entertaining new part of the series, but leaves you brooding in many ways. For example, this film tries to sell the death of Superman's death as a global mourning event that has skyrocketed crime, that the super team around Wonder Woman is slowly desperate, and it is pretended that Batman and Superman were best buddies - even if Batman wanted to kill him with long preparation until the end, even if, due to Zack Snyder's questionable worldview, BVS placed extreme importance on questioning Superman's selfless willingness to help, and petty crime should still have a lot of grumbling in front of Batman and Wonder Woman. This time they were afraid to play it safe, and so the film as a superhero contribution is a minimum of set claims. There's a simple villain who needs three MacGuffins to destroy the world, so the Justice League tries to stop him. That's it. There is no such thing as a real storyline for any of the hero characters, only conversations within the team, which mostly consist of puns, and generic action scenes in which the heroes are allowed to use their powers and gadgets. BVS had terribly long and boring subplots like Lois' cartridge investigation, which was nothing but bacon, but Justice League seems almost too slim with no subplots.

Whatever decision it was - Affleck because he didn't like the criticism of BVS or that of the studio because Affleck had a huge drinking problem: The fact is that Affleck had resigned as director of the Batman solo film before the release of this film, and even repeatedly considered quitting altogether. That could have been a debacle for this part. In the film, however, one does not see a possible displeasure in him, if two aspects also suit him. On the one hand, Batman just has to bring cheerful slogans in this thin script, on the other hand, Affleck is a talent that is still worth seeing even when bored. It is worse for Gal Gadot, who is undoubtedly severely limited in terms of acting, but could be conducted by Patty Jenkins at the very best. The fact that Snyder keeps squinting the camera at her bum and letting her talk less is one thing, but in front of his eyes she is also weaker as an actor. Not bad, but as in BVS, the thought can grow that it might not be the ideal choice after all.

In advance, many had suspected that Jason Momoa could become Thor of DC, but his involvement in the film is rather weak. Except for the few moments from the trailer, the shirtless man with the flowing hair has very little to do, and a longer sequence in his underwater world is actually rather ugly visually (which doesn't exactly make you curious how James Wan's upcoming Aquaman will turn out). Newcomer Ray Fisher is better than expected as a cyborg, who does not have more personality or is played more conspicuously (even if not so conspicuous that he could wear his own film), but has more to do and at least optically with his Iron Man luminescent suit stands out a bit. The winner of the film is Ezra Miller as a nervous, naive Flash who cheers up the tough team wonderfully.

As with almost all superhero films, this villain, a helmeted, 3-meter-tall super warrior named Steppenwolf, is a purely functional guy who wants to destroy the world with a dark grumble (because that's why) and can endure most of the blows of his opponents. It fulfills its purpose, but can only shrug your shoulders and is only slightly better than the wordless Doomsday or the horrible Incubus from Suicide Squad (review) because it gets a few more scenes. Leto's Joker was not a success, but at least at first glance it was an implemented idea. The most exciting thing anyway was what Snyder would do with Superman's return, and yep, just as he screwed up Superman's death, Superman's resurrection is half a debacle. Again it has zero emotional weight and again a tonally completely strange conflict follows, to show fan cum what it looks like when these extremely powerful figures compete against each other. At least this time Snyder could refrain from denouncing Superman's willingness to help. Perhaps it was Whedon's change, too, but towards the end of the film it finally seems to be the Superman he should be: having fun helping others.

We will probably never know how much Joss Whedon actually rewritten and re-shot after Snyder's tragic Kindstods, but you can clearly see that the result is an attempted mixture, a mixture of the previous DC and Marvel elixirs, with story and characters with which absolutely nothing is risked as far as possible. You can accept all of that if it is competently staged like an X-Men: Apocalypse, but Justice League then has some quirks. For a $ 300 million super ultra event film, many computer-controlled scenes look average to miserable at best. Despite relatively many moments of action, there is not a single prominent sequence such as the Iron Man vs Hulk fight from Whedon's Age of Ultron or the Batman v Superman fight from Batman v Superman, even the Flash racing scenes never have the flair of the two (!) Quicksilvers shown , Danny Elfman's score is as functional and characterless as Steppenwolf himself, and the finale in front of a destroyed, burning area seems almost imitated after the two DC finals against Doomsday and Ares. Some of the sets and backgrounds like the ones in Atlantis look cheap, none of the costumes stand out, Batman's new vehicles, the Flying Fox airplane and the Nightcrawler tunnel vehicle are uninspired boring designs and both the references to previous lore elements (exploding penguins, Grodd etc. ) as well as upcoming ones (Darkseid, Flash's father, "own league") are not very elegant.

By the way, the following terrific Hollywood anecdote is funny: when Henry Cavill had to play Superman again for re-shoots, he had a fat mustache. He had it because he was filming a role in the new Mission Impossible at the same time - and Paramount Pictures forbade him to shave off the porn bar early. So Warner had to spend millions of dollars on eager CGI artists having to paint over Cavill's beard with skin look, frame by frame. You can see this in the very first scene of the film.

If you like superhero films in general, Justice League is amusing, entertaining action fun with some nice moments. Better than BVS and Suicide Squad, but not nearly as round as the obvious example of the Marvel films. It is also to be expected that Justice League will soon have hardly any relevance as a film, because it just seems extremely interchangeable. That would be okay, but as a fan of the entire genre you can be truly overwhelmed that the first Justice League film has not become more.

5 / 10
10 - masterpiece
8-9 - very good
6-7 - good
5 - mediocre
3-4 - sufficient
1-2 - miserable
0 - unacceptable

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