Film / Theatre Reviews

Justice League


With a production plagued by many problems, including hugely expensive reshoots and, most notably, director Zack Snyder’s (Watchmen) departure due to personal tragedy, Justice League seemed to be fighting an uphill battle right from the get-go. But this is no excuse for this soulless abomination and the monumental waste of talent that has been churned out by DC/Warner Brothers; one that will more than likely set them back a lot after the success of the far superior Wonder Woman.

After the death of Superman (Henry Cavill), Earth has been left vulnerable to an unknown evil that spurs Batman (Ben Affleck) into assembling a team of superhumans, including Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), The Flash (Ezra Miller), Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher). As the reality of the threat becomes apparent, the “Justice League” must do everything in its power to prevent this evil, as it threatens much more than just Earth. The question is: are they strong enough?

I have no doubt that this is the type of DC comic film that many of the big fans will love but this movie pummelled me into despair by the time the credits started to roll. The story is entirely predictable, with painfully cheesy dialogue and littered with cliches – even Joss Whedon (Avengers Assemble) failed to inject much life into it as the stand-in director. Most of the humour comes courtesy of Miller’s The Flash, and while some people will find these kinds of geekesque, self-deprecating jokes funny, they did little for me. However, The Flash is one of the better characters.

The on-screen chemistry among most of the heroes was lacking, as a lot of the interactions felt wooden, maybe even forced, and Aquaman is just a terrible superhero, who the writers repeatedly try to make fun of, knowing full well how ridiculous the character is. Momoa is not exactly a class act, either. Until Cyborg reveals his full robotic body, he manages to look like something from a B movie, though it is a stunning use of motion capture, possibly one of the best that I’ve seen, once he decloaks. Affleck is okay, but I can definitely understand the rumours of him wanting to quit, and Gadot is subject to many gratuitous arse shots and a lot of scowling.

But the worst thing about Justice League is how badly the CGI has been used, especially with the main villain, Steppenwolf, and his gnat-like minions. He’s played by the very underrated Irish actor Ciaran Hinds (Silence) using motion capture techniques and it isn’t even a step up from looking at a video game character. Justice League looked like a PlayStation 4 game for most of the action and some scenes are very noticeably computer generated from top to bottom.

The choice scene, for me, had a wee pixelated Jeremy Irons – Batman’s butler, Alfred and probably the only person that comes out unscathed – watching the League fly off into a clearly digital landscape, that is obviously meant to dazzle and impress but again, just looks like a video game. The finale proceeded to leave my jaw on the floor as a computer generated flower power theme swept across the screen. One thing you could say is that the filmmakers can’t be accused of being doom merchants with this one but it honestly felt like they were taking the piss at that moment.

Then you have the curious case of the reshoots. They are very noticeable, absolutely ludicrous, littered with continuity errors – Batman’s hairstyle switches dramatically in one scene – and Superman’s digitally removed moustache has to be seen to be believed. I think I would have preferred it if they had just left it in. At least I would have laughed.

Justice League is a misfire of epic proportions that must have Marvel chuckling. They’ve tried their best to create an Avengers Assemble but have ended up with a soulless load of nonsense that is missing 90% of what you need for a superhero movie of this nature: drama, peril, twists, urgency and most of all, great characters and dialogue. All of these elements are lacking and it seems as if they’ve tried to paper over the cracks with a lot of dodgy computer effects that just don’t cut it and blatant fan pandering. Maybe this is what fans want but they really do deserve better, especially when it cost the guts of $300 million. Kev Lovski

Justice League is on wide release.