Review: Rushed ‘Justice League’ stumbles but never falls


You can’t save the world alone | DC Entertainment

Tony Pacheco, Digital Editor

Justice League” is here, and even though the film feels rushed and uneven, it’s an action packed and enjoyable popcorn flick.

For anyone who grew up with the Justice League, seeing the team on the big screen is a dream come true. There’s definitely chemistry between the characters, with Ezra Miller’s Flash and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman as the film’s stand-out new additions.

Ben Affleck’s casting as Batman has been a contentious subject for many, but he delivers a solid performance as the Dark Knight, and brings to life the intelligent and resourceful Batman of the comics. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman is a badass as always, and the real lynchpin holding the fledgling Justice League together.

Nevertheless, “Justice League” is not without its problems.

However, Henry Cavill’s Superman remains the weakest link in the DC Extended Universe (DCEU). The DCEU needs to shy away from the dark and brooding Superman of “Man of Steel” – after all, that’s Batman’s thing.

As for Ray Fisher’s Cyborg, there is very little setup that makes the audience want to care about this character. He’s just there to push the plot along.

There are constant shifts in tone, and the film feels rushed from the beginning, without much time to develop the characters or deliver on storylines.

Steppenwolf, the film’s big bad, is poorly written with little context for his motivations. Furthermore, Superman is also inconsistent and plagued with problems. A likely reason for this is the result of numerous rewrites and reshoots.

“Justice League” director, Zack Snyder, is perhaps one of the best visual directors around, but he is not known for great storytelling. Despite “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” feeling like comic books brought to life, the films lack any real depth. Nevertheless, Snyder has a specific vision that seems to have been lost during the development of “Justice League.”

In March 2017, Snyder’s daughter committed suicide. As any parent would, Snyder stepped down to spend time with his family, passing control of “Justice League” to director Joss Whedon, who was recently signed by Warner Bros. to direct DC’s “Batgirl.”

Whedon, the director of DC’s rival Marvel superhero team “The Avengers,” began a series of extensive reshoots, the result of which is made apparent very quickly. Whether the shift in tone was the decision of the Warner Bros. executives or from Whedon’s creative control is uncertain, but the result is a film with two drastically different tones and a rushed final product.

Snyder’s dark and serious tone is juxtaposed with Whedon’s lighthearted take on the characters. Bringing his signature style from Marvel, “Justice League” feels a lot like a combination of “Batman v Superman” and “The Avengers.” It’s not a bad thing, as the character dynamics benefit from this change.

Nonetheless, one of “Justice League’s” major subplots may have been removed as a result of the reshoots.

During production, Cavill posted a photo teasing Superman’s iconic black suit, the suit he wears after returning from the dead in the comics. Yet, the suit does not show up in the movie, possibly a result of script rewrites by Whedon.

There is a positive change to Superman’s suit: it’s now much brighter than it was in previous DCEU films. This should please those who’ve complained about how muted the colors of his suit have been in the past.

Additionally, a possible shift in direction by Warner Bros. may be to blame for “Justice League’s” rushed and unfinished final product.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara mandated that “Justice League” be no longer than two hours; most likely a response to “Batman v Superman’s” poor performance at the box office, which had a run time of 151 minutes.

Although the theatrical release of “Batman v Superman” was plagued with editing issues and poor pacing, the 181 minute director’s cut of the film drastically improved – and even fixed – many of the films biggest issues. Hopefully, Warner Bros. will release an extended edition of “Justice League.” It just feels like there was so much that was left out.

Regardless, with solid character performances and excellent music, there’s a lot to like about this movie. And speaking of the score, Danny Elfman’s return to DC is a delightful surprise. With homages to John Williams’ “Superman” and Hans Zimmer’s “Wonder Woman” themes, Elfman never fails to set the mood. There’s even a throwback to his own 1989 “Batman” theme.

“Justice League” is not perfect, but it is an enjoyable – if uneven – action movie that will leave you wanting more. Oh, and don’t forget to stick around after the movie for two great post credit scenes.