Count your lucky stars there is a second choice if you do not really dig the silly team-up that has become The Avengers. Some fans and critics are attempting to shore up a losing or end of its lifecycle superhero franchise for Marvel just as DC Comics superhero movies are about to take off. The last movie with The Avengers
, also a huge commercial success, was not exactly a hot original piece of filmmaking and the Tony Stark Roy Rogers feud with Captain America that split the team is unspeakably puerile in its cause, this is not how a team of mature and poised global leaders run their ship, how would you trust a small elite group of super powerful individuals to save our bacon if they are unable to meet in secret and work out their differences and deactivate the silly constraints by the world governments that seek to limit their actions? The Avengers in Captain America Civil
War hewed close to Teen Titans and X-Men Teen Angst in flavor and tone.
Enough though about the comparisons, Justice League is its own movie and DC Comics is not Marvel for die-hard fans of Marvel. If you fall in the Marvel bin and you are a professional movie reviewer you will NOT like Justice League or any of its DC Comics movies no matter what color or narrative approach the film takes. Simple as that.
Justice League picks off where Batman v Superman
concluded, with Batman now completely convinced an invasion is imminent and the entire planet and human race is in danger, just as he had feared with Superman wiping out the species, unfortunately Superman, his only ally powerful enough and equipped with science from a technologically advanced civilization is no longer around to save us or blunt the incoming onslaught.
Instead the Justice League careens into a story device that is extremely familiar in situations where you have superhero team ups and one superhero's powers could eclipse those of the entire team. Story device often employed in such scenarios? The big gun is either down, far away on a mission or for some fabricated reason unavailable to take up the slack and the little ones with secondary super powers must marshal all of their will and strength and wit to defeat a superior enemy.
I did not sign any reviewer screening agreements with Warner Brothers as did many for outlets such as The Rolling Stone, The New York Post, the Washington Post and TIME magazine which stipulated they cannot divulge Superman/Henry Cavill’s role in The Justice League.
If you have read any of the reviewers listed with Rotten Tomatoes your impression will be, along with the trailers for the press, that Superman is not part of this Justice League adventure. The total ban on mentioning his role is quite effective in making a large piece of this film’s storyline a genuine surprise for the viewer and helps in warding off some major spoilers. From this viewer’s perspective WB succeeded big time in making the film deliver a little extra emotional punch when the key scene for forming the Justice League makes it to the screen.
Sad to say however this movie suffers somewhat from problems not related to Superman’s performance. The film is a little choppy in its first half hour, it lacks a certain smoothness in narrative and editing, and the same can be said for the closing act, the big finale with our heroes duking it out with their nemesis.
Justice League feels slightly raw or perhaps it lacks finesse and smoothness in juggling multiple superheroes and multiple storylines with a much shorter running time than Man of Steel
or Batman vs Superman
. Directors Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon should have trusted their instincts and ignored the reviewers who suggested the first movie was plodding with “endless exposition”. Instead they pare down the one movie in the series that could have used the extra running time to create space and interaction for multiple superhero characters, especially the new ones – Cyborg, The Flash and Aquaman. Even though most of us feel we pretty much know Superman and Batman (two previous Snyder movies and an entire trilogy from Chris Nolan) the new chapter doesn’t feel like it and even these two characters could have used a little more screen time for character expression. The movie feels rushed with very brief “plug-on” scenes designed to fill dramatic holes in the film.
The movie critics have really been unkind to Snyder’s efforts with DC Comics most powerful superheroes. Critics have lambasted the entire series as being too dark and have cheered Wonder Woman for being the opposite of Snyder’s approach.
To really understand the entire vibe of the movie “being too dark” I screened Snyder’s Watchmen, which is probably his work of reference that he used to re-create the same winning qualities that made the movie brilliant and original. Watchmen received much attention from viewers and critics for its gritty, authentic and moody portrayal of superheroes using an unprecedented dramatic angle and storyteller lens. Think of Sin City but without the cartoonish setups, without the comic book style cutout scenes that are signature Rodriguez, more authentic lensing and more dynamic visuals in a real busy, swanky and sloth-filled metropolis.
Storywise Watchmen is all about superheroes but if you scrutinize for a moment, the film and narrative approach is all about character, not character development, character as in integrity, perseverance, loyalty and friendship. Watchmen is so intensely noir and crammed with action visuals that soar in an almost Vietnam-era Blade Runner
ambiance, the movie elegantly mixes retro and vintage 1950s Art Deco
-style man and machine scenes and setpieces that the viewer doesn’t feel it preachy or overtly obnoxious in its core theme or message.
So how does Justice League live up to Zack Snyder's Watchmen?