This is it. This is what all those calamitous DC movies were leading up to in their DCEU. A big team-up of the most powerful superheroes in all of fiction. What did this all add up to?
Justice League follows Batman and Wonder Woman’s attempts to bring together a group of “meta-humans” to fight a possibly unstoppable alien force. This team includes the super-speedy Flash, the underwater dude Aquaman and a half-robot called Cyborg.
This genuinely is a piece of cinema history. This Justice League film has been one of the hardest properties in the history of film to get made. The number of false starts and bad decisions along the way beggars belief. How do you make a film about a bunch of demigods with only about 3 or 4 of whom people have heard of?
Then Marvel happened and DC played catch up with some travesties which all did things which ranged from admirable risks to basically summarising what is wrong with modern cinema in just over two and a half hours.
Even when this film was being made there were issues. Focus groups and social media demanded that the script be changed and scenes be reshot to make the tone lighter. Sequels prematurely planned were aborted. People were shocked by the fact that the most likeable, marketable and best property under the JL umbrella turned out to be the GIRL of the team.
Then all these issues paled in comparison with the real-life tragedy suffered by director Zach Snyder. Joss Whedon took over his duties, though he is credited as a screenwriter in the film.
Did Justice League come out of this series of unfortunate events unscathed?
The tone is all over the place, you can see where they struggled to cut the length to the point of genuine confusion. Scenes are so totally not in the right order. And overall this is a calamitous mess.
I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it though.
I hope that this is not like when I gave a moderately positive review to Batman vs Superman out of denial the first time I watched it. I really did enjoy some parts of this movie, buried underneath a tonne of nonsense.
Maybe I’ve been fooled by the superficial cool that the film has in spades. Snyder has finally ditched the Instagram filters in favour of brighter more beautiful colours. Characters are now telling jokes and being more than brooding and boring. It’s still bad, and when put into context with the first three DCEU films it makes no sense, but at least I’m relatively engaged.
My favourite element of the film is the League’s balance. As much as the tone shifts every other scene and the editing is a bit odd, every hero feels like they contribute to the team. They all feel instrumental.
Finally, I’m actually excited to see where the hodgepodge of the DCEU is going. We finally have a ground on which we can take off into more of these weird films. Wobbly ground, but at least it’s not quicksand made of skulls.