Film Review: Justice League

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Casey Henderson, Staff Writer

DC Studios has had a gruesome journey starting up their very own cinematic universe.

Seeing the success of the fan-dubbed “Nolan-verse”, Zack Snyder decided to try his hand at directing a movie that brings a similar sense of reality to comic book movies.

The first installment of the infant franchise, Man of Steel, received mixed reviews, with some praising the darker revamp of comic heavyweight Superman while others wished for the “Big Blue Boyscout” to return as the symbol of hope comic enthusiasts know and love. Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice and Suicide Squad decided to follow through with this gloomy universe, and were shredded for their humorless and sloppy writing. Fans were in grave disappointment as Rotten Tomatoes dug into the two incohesive and mismanaged movies. It seemed that the DC Extended Universe was destined for failure.

Luckily, Wonder Woman gave fans the light at the end of the tunnel that they needed. The film gave audiences a hero that wasn’t just forced into awesome fight scenes and beautiful backdrops, but instead displayed what made her character so captivating. This summer blockbuster seemed to be a turning point for the shaky franchise.

Then Justice League premiered.

The latest entry presented us with the story of Bruce Wayne, who has been bestowed newfound hope on humanity after the selfless death of his late enemy Superman. After learning that a horribly silly-looking CGI warlord has plans to invade and destroy Earth, he and Wonder Woman gather fellow comic book icons to defend their home planet.

It certainly seems like an action-packed romp that fans should be able to gush over, and for the most part, it is. The snappy humor that Ezra Miller as the Flash breathes into the movie was a welcome improvement, and the action scenes were just as fantastically blood pumping as ever.

Unfortunately, the movie seems to, like its predecessors, suffer from “Snyder Syndrome”; a majority of the characters lack depth and can’t relate to viewers. Superman (yes, he comes back) returns with the same lack of charisma and shallow personality, Batman is comparable to a worn-out couch cushion, and Aquaman plays like the cool uncle who has been disowned by your family. Oh yeah, and Cyborg is in this movie too.

Wonder Woman might have only been a strong character because of her solo film, and the move does absolutely nothing to flesh her out much more than her origins movie. The Flash, while arguably the only saving grace of the movie, cannot save Justice League.

When you have many issues of comics that you can utilize for a movie, you better use them. The members of the Justice League are supposed to be people like us (except Superman, he’s an alien), and the movie should remind us of this from time to time. The Flash’s mother was killed and his father rots in jail for it; Cyborg was a star football player who lost his life and was later revived by his grieving scientific father. These amazing backstories were squandered and replaced by choreographed carnage.

All of this leads to audience apathy. We don’t care about these characters. We don’t care about the risk. The movie feels plastic and cold, and everything in it feels pointless.

This all goes to show that team-up cash grabs don’t work every time. There was a huge success in the Marvel team-up Avengers, but only because we knew most of the characters from prior stand-alone films. We understood the personalities of Thor, Iron Man, and Captain America, and wanted to see how they would interact with a movie.

So it should be obvious that DC should 1.) Ditch Zack Snyder for a director that knows how to express emotion and 2.) Develop its characters before having them collaborate in a movie via solo works. DC showed great promise with Wonder Woman, and not every aspect of their cinematic universe requires a rewrite. Take a few notes from Marvel Studios and find your footing before you start pumping out these abominations that have big names slapped on them. Honestly, how hard can it be to make a superhero blockbuster?

P.S. If you actually decide to check out Justice League for yourself, make sure to stick around for the post-credits scene. They’re the only thing that DC can seem to get right nowadays.