The embargo has lifted and the reviews are in! I was lucky enough to see Justice League at the Los Angeles premiere on Monday night, and I can say that I think fans will really enjoy it!
In my opinion, Justice League is the weakest of the DCEU movies so far, but that doesn’t mean it’s not enjoyable. There are tons of great character moments, lots of action, and an incredible Batman scene that only director Zack Snyder could deliver.
It’ll be very interesting to see how audiences respond to the movie. It’s certainly much more “mainstream friendly” than Batman v Superman was thanks to a lot of added humor. We won’t know exactly what audiences think until the movie opens this weekend, so for now, check out what the critics are saying below.
Superhero News video review
The increasingly turgid tales of Batman and Superman — joined, unfortunately for her, by Wonder Woman — trudge along to ever-diminishing returns in Justice League. Garishly unattractive to look at and lacking the spirit that made Wonder Woman, which came out five months ago, the most engaging of Warner Bros.’ DC Comics-derived extravaganzas to date, this hodgepodge throws a bunch of superheroes into a mix that neither congeals nor particularly makes you want to see more of them in future. Plainly put, it’s simply not fun. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice grossed $872.7 million worldwide last year, apparently about enough to justify its existence, and the significant presence of Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in this one might boost its returns a bit higher than that.
In superhero movies, sheer lively deliver-the-goods competence can be a quality you’re grateful for — or one that seems awesomely innocuous. In “Justice League,” it’s a little of both. The film is the definition of an adequate high-spirited studio lark: no more, no less. If fans get excited about it, that may mostly be because they’re excited about getting excited. Yet the movie is no cheat. It’s a tasty franchise delivery system that kicks a certain series back into gear.
Warner Bros. doesn’t seem to have settled on a consistent tone — or even a range of tones — for their superhero epics in the way that their distinguished competition at Marvel has, but what works here comes very close to overpowering all the things that don’t. (Believe the rumors about Henry Cavill’s badly-digitally-hidden mustache, though.) “Justice League” may not represent the alchemic assemblage that “The Avengers” was, but now that these super not-quite-friends have saved their universe, they might eventually rescue their cinematic one as well.
I’m happy to say, fans on both sides of the DCEU debate will get plenty of what they hope for, while mainstream audiences are definitely going to be perhaps the most all-around pleased and enthusiastic about Justice League. It retains enough of the DNA of the previous films to be recognizable as their successor, while carving out a new space closer to the tone and style of action-adventure superheroism found in Wonder Woman. And it offers average movie-goers the sort of chest-swelling sense of heroism and pure joyful entertainment they love and reward with their hard-earned dollars at the box office.
I feel bad for Justice League. It’s a film that doesn’t even really have a filmmaker at this point. Zack Snyder delivered a cut of the movie, he left the project, Joss Whedon heavily reshot the film, and then Warner Bros. mandated a cut that needed to be two hours. The result is a film whose crowning achievement is modest coherence. Unlike the disastrous Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, you can follow the plot from A to B to C and the one-dimensional character motivations make sense. But when the landscape of the superhero genre has become so rich and diverse, don’t fans deserve more than a movie whose claim to glory is “This isn’t the utter disaster is could have been”? In place of disaster, Justice League is a largely bland, forgettable affair that has nice moments scattered throughout and the promise of a better tomorrow, but outside of Wonder Woman, that’s all the DCEU ever really offers: the promise that the next movie will be better. And sure, Justice League is better than Batman v Superman, but that doesn’t make it good.
Despite all of these problems, which can’t be ignored, Justice League isn’t entirely unenjoyable. There are good, cute and funny moments that the editing team should be applauded for, but there aren’t enough to distract from the beautiful, chaotic mess that Justice League ends up being. It’s difficult to try and explain whether Justice League fails or succeeds as a movie because the film feels like it’s still trying to figure out what it wants to be.
First, the good news. Justice League is better than its joylessly somber dress rehearsal, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Now the “but”…you knew there was a “but” coming, right? But it also marks a pretty steep comedown from the giddy highs of Wonder Woman. When Gal Gadot’s proto-feminist Amazonian avenger got her solo showcase earlier this year, there were a lot of DC partisans who finally had a reason to feel bullish about the state of their union. Following the exit of Christian Bale in 2012, it was the first real glimmer of hope that maybe the studio was headed in the right direction. That the future was bright. Justice League won’t extinguish that hope. Not by a long shot. But it also doesn’t quite translate into a winning streak either. It’s a placeholder in a franchise that’s already had too many placeholders.
Warner Bros. and DC Films had two major goals to achieve with Justice League. First, to cleanse the palette of those turned off by the relentlessly grim BvS; and second, to make viewers enjoy these superheroes enough to want to see further screen appearances by them. Justice League mostly succeeds in accomplishing those two key objectives, despite its sloppy execution. It’s messy and flawed but it still offers enough entertainment value (mostly thanks to its likable characters) to make it worthwhile.
Justice League is the real deal. It’s an epic ensemble of super heroes. It’s the most fun you’ll have with Batman and his super friends, until their next adventure together, and marks the beginning of a brand new era of super heroes on the DC side of the spectrum. 4 out of 5 stars.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is essentially what Warner Bros., DC Comics and Zack Snyder (via Joss Whedon) are asking you to ingest with Justice League – a very big, soft, fresh-out-of-the-oven supercookie with hunks of gooey chocolate chips and also bits of dead cockroaches.