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11/20/17

JUSTICE LEAGUE - REVIEW


Plagued with a last minute change in director as Joss Whedon took over from Zack Snyder after a tragic event, significant reshoots and a pesky, unshavable super-moustache, Justice League finally gets its official release and the reviews, so far, have been rather mixed, to say the least.

Marvel certainly made it look easy when they introduced us to a whole bunch of newly portrayed superheroes on the big screen then skilfully made them interact with each other. The Avengers, it turns out, was something of a mini-miracle. DC's approach to crossovers had proven shaky prior to Justice League with Wonder Woman being shoehorned into Batman V Superman before the character even got her own movie. This new film promised epic action sequences, an entertaining dynamic between all the characters and several surprises like the glorious return of Superman. On their own, there's not too much wrong with these characters: Ben Affleck makes a good Batman, Gal Gadot does a decent job as Wonder Woman and the new heroes are well cast, even if Ezra Miller's extremely jokey (and unfunny) The Flash is basically this film's Scrappy-Doo. It's clear now that DC really should have given these guys their own movies before attempting to team them up.

The plot sees big baddie Steppenwolf attempt to gather three Mother Boxes (magic cubes) in order to, of course, take over the world and/or destroy it. In order to stop him and his army of Parademons, Bruce Wayne decides to assemble a slightly bigger team of heroes with the help of Diana Prince. This is a pretty simple storyline and that's a good thing because anything more convoluted than that would have made this movie incomprehensible. The film opens on a perplexing note as Superman is shown interacting with someone who is filming him on their phone and the CGI on Henry Cavill's face is shockingly poor. Cavill is unrecognisable and looks like an awkwardly animated video game character. This is a problem that reoccurs a lot throughout a movie and it is, by far, the worst aspect of Justice League as it is a constant source of distraction and it reeks of a rushed reshoot peppered with bad ideas. Making Superman more of an inspiration like he was pre-Man Of Steel would have worked but certainly not the way it's been done here with a lazy rewrite and that floating mouth.

The CGI throughout is actually quite bad from Steppenwolf, an inexplicably fully animated character with low-par motion-capture who looks like he belongs in a game cut scene, to the poorly designed Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and a lot of the obviously green-screened backgrounds. Other effects, like The Flash's electrical slo-mo and Aquaman's (Jason Momoa) underwater kingdom work a little better, admittedly. Most of the action sequences, unfortunately, are a jumbled mess of fake-looking characters with equal strength hitting each other, Parademons getting killed in goofy ways and Ben Affleck looking like he'd rather be at the bar watching the game. Tonally, this is all over the place as it goes from serious comic-book action to cartoonish nonsense at the drop of a hat and all the attempts at a more light-hearted film fall flat with a loud thump. This is an altogether incompetently made film that'll make you wonder if the filmmakers had ever actually seen a movie all the way through before.

There is just no chemistry between these characters and, seeing as Marvel got there first, it all feels like you're watching a B-movie version of Avengers with Aquaman being the poor man's Thor, Wonder Woman the poor man's Captain America, Cyborg the poor man's Iron Man and so on. This needed a significant rewrite with characters not winking at the camera every chance they get and Superman not present at all until maybe the last minute setting up the Man Of Steel sequel. Speaking of which, there are quite a few dull scenes that drag the movie down including those where Lois Lane (Amy Adams) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane) interact. Apart from maybe the one or two scenes where Batman and Wonder Woman are doing their own thing, there is nothing exciting about a film that should have been this year's most memorable comic book movie by far. Most of the time, you're just sitting there feeling embarrassed for the people involved as they all deserve better, especially Henry Cavill who is heartbreakingly turned into a complete joke here.

Unless Warner Bros. can somehow convince Ben Affleck to stay on for one genuinely good solo Batman movie, I don't see how this DC Universe can feasibly keep going with this current setup. Justice League is a disaster in every sense and that's a real shame considering the talent involved and how good the source material can be. I would not recommend seeing this in theatres.

Surprisingly awful.

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