More like Yawn of Justice! amiright? Okay so this is not necessarily a spoiler-free review; and the reason I decided to not do this spoiler-free is that those types of reviews are usually aimed at giving you a taster before you go and see the film yourself.
This time around, I have to urge you to do whatever you want. The film isn’t great from a narrative standpoint, or as a character study. Visually it’s stunning, but it also has some examples of really poor, messy CGI, which sucks ass. So let me break down the things I enjoyed and the things I really disliked about this film.
What I liked
Ben Affleck is a good Bruce Wayne
Yes, I said it. I was not happy with the original casting choices for this film, but he pulled it off quite well. The caveat here is that I’m not calling him a great Batman. He’s actually an average Batman.
Not a terrible, suit-nippled Batman, but average at best. I have my issues with the way various characters were portrayed, but that’s more to do with the script than anything else. For what Affleck was given (the Bruce Wayne out of his vigilante uniform) he did a pretty decent job.
Gal Gadot is a kickass Wonder Woman
She nailed it, and she is the one character in the film that has nuance. She’s smart (smarter than Bruce Wayne), strong, and she has personality and spunk! When I watched this character, I felt like they transplanted her straight from Guardians of the Galaxy or something.
She just doesn’t fit in with the rest of the somber, sad, angst-filled universe of the emo kids that are Batman and Superman. And it’s actually quite amazing!
(Some of) The Visuals Were Awesome
Look, when the Lord of the Rings-esque rendition of Doomsday showed up in that trailer, we all sighed and that’s when the murmurs of how shitty this movie would be started. When Man of Steel came out, it had some of the best-looking CGI fight scenes I’d seen in years (probably since The Matrix).
In the prequel, elements of the CGI were amazing; Superman’s cape, the movement of space ships, and the destruction of buildings all looked really spectacular. Batman v Superman nailed much of this again, but Doomsday looks like an orc, and the explosions/ shock waves associated with this character look like Windows Media Player visualizations.
What I disliked
It’s Two Different Movies
The first half of this movie is a slow brew. It’s about politics, ethics. It’s about humanity’s struggle to deal with an unknown capacity in the form of Superman who hasn’t posed a threat directly, but has caused major shit because his alien race decided to land on Earth and screw shit up.
This barely comes to a head when the movie changes pace altogether and becomes about something different: a huge, Michael Bay-esque battle between man, aliens and gods. We all knew it was coming, but the transition between these two elements should have been more subtle; or better yet, there shouldn’t have been a transition at all, and both themes should have featured in a more balanced fashion throughout the film.
Batman? More like KillMan
Batman fucks people UP! He is just killing people left, right and center. Now it has been made clear that much of the violence happened in a dream sequence, but still; this dude is out here using guns, branding people knowing full well that they would die horribly as a result of the brand, and he even talks like an angry politician. Exhibit A:
I’m looking at you, Donald Trump.
Lex “Twitch” Luthor
What was he doing? He was twitching, and talking in a high voice, sounding all manic and shit. I see Lex Luthor as a more calculated evil in his words, and a more unstable evil in his actions. This version of Luthor was unstable all round. I had my doubts since the casting news came out (everyone was expecting Bryan Cranston as Luthor), and my worst fears were confirmed.
Eisenberg felt out of place in this film. I don’t particularly like him as an actor or person. He’s a piece of shit. Exhibit B:
Or maybe that time he compared his Comic Con stint to genocide. Okay so maybe I am a bit biased here, because I hate the guy, but I also hated Ben Affleck before I saw him in Gone Girl, and as I mentioned above I was pretty impressed with his Bruce Wayne performance. So I’m able to separate the art from the artist.
The “Martha” Effect
All it took to stop a colossal fight between the two biggest titans in the Justice League was them finding out that both of their moms’ names was Martha! Wow! I think the image below sums it up quite well:
This just felt like another cheap trick, basing the entire climax of the narrative on such a simple detail. Doing this type of thing can either be amazing, or it can be horrendous. In this case I’m leaning towards the latter.
It just felt lazy, however it also felt like the writers and director were setting this up through the entire film. From the extensive shot of the gun and pearls, to the emphasis of Bruce’s mother’s gravestone (as opposed to his father’s) when he visits the cemetery. It felt like the producers were sitting in a bit of a circle jerk in their board room saying, “When it hits them, this is going to blow their minds!”. But it didn’t. It really wasn’t that much of an amazing revelation. Sorry guys.
Because the Script Said So
Let’s narrow this down to Lex Luthor doing crazy shit, and Lois Lane throwing a spear into a crater filled with water, and then trying to retrieve it again.
So first up, Luthor. This guy makes no sense. He just does crazy shit all over the place, making him feel more Joker-esque than the character he’s supposed to be playing. Perhaps the creative minds behind the movie wanted a Superman villain portrayed with Batman villain traits in order to create a more modern and fitting version of the character for this film? Who knows, but what we do know is that canon Luthor is not as crazy as he is obsessive.
Lois Lane. Shame. In a film where Wonder Woman is treated like royalty, you’d expect Lois Lane to be a strong female character, despite lacking super powers. But it seems she’s only important because of Superman’s feelings towards her. That is somewhat degrading to the character and women everywhere! She’s constantly in trouble, falling off shit and almost dying; obviously screaming at the last moment at which point Supes pops up and saves the day.
And the worst part is that she does all this stupid shit because the script needs to move forward. Like when she gets herself into a tussle with terrorists, or throws the kryptonite spear into the pool, tries to retrieve it and almost drowns. Catch some logic, goddamit!
Here’s Sad Affleck just for you, before my closing thoughts…
So that’s all I’ve got for you folks. This film is in a weird place in my consciousness. I don’t hate it at all, but I think it was a poor example of storytelling, wrapped in some amazing visual effects. And in my opinion, that just doesn’t cut it. We should be holding filmmakers to higher standards in terms of the content they provide, and not just from a technical perspective.
Technically speaking, Zack Snyder and his team are part of an elite group of amazing visual artists, but the content that forms the basis of the work they do needs some serious attention as this franchise develops and expands into standalone films for individual Justice League members, as well as the collective films.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below, and don’t forget to share this post if you enjoyed reading it.
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