Justice League (2017) Review

Justice League has finally been released. It is the fifth entry in this DC movie universe. It is no real secret that this film had a lot of problems before and during the production of this movie. I wasn’t a big fan of Batman v. Superman but I didn’t hate it. I remember leaving the theater with the feeling that I needed to see the movie again because I was more confused than anything. It’s clear that the negative reception to that movie greatly affected this movie. So what did I think about this movie?

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Justice League is good. It’s not great but good. The problems with the movie are there from the beginning with some of the choppy editing. It’s no secret that there was a studio mandate that this movie had to be two hours or under. The movie does achieve that but at the cost of some fundamentals. The plot was always seemingly paper thin with a simple alien invasion story. But with a lot of edits, the character building elements aren’t as fleshed out and ultimately hurts the film.

The actual Justice League team does work though. Seeing Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash is a joy to see. Each character does get a chance to shine. We are already familiar with Batman and Wonder Woman and their characters are expanded on here. Batman is now more self aware of what a jerk he has been and trying to redeem himself after the debacle with Superman. Wonder Woman has come out of the shadows and becoming a much more well known hero around the world. The Flash is probably the next to get the most development as he super speed makes him look like he has ADD. Being the one hero without actual battle skills, it was always a relief to see him get flustered at some of the going ons. His more goofy elements are balanced out with serious scenes with his incarcerated father. Cyborg is the most dour and rightfully so as he is no longer a man and doesn’t understand himself. He never gets too serious as you understand his frustrations and he is quick to help out as soon as trouble hits his door. Aquaman probably gets the least screen time out of the five. There is a quick exposition scene where you understand his backstory but that is a lot left on the table.

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Then there is the Superman of it all. It’s no secret that Superman is in the movie. Without giving much away, he is not in that movie that much. He’s also not in the movie too little either. The movie does get a kick in the pants once his character becomes much more of a focal point. We see varying degrees of Superman. We see a scary Superman that pretty much solidifies everyone’s fear of this alien. Then the Superman we have all wanted Henry Cavill to be finally shows up and it is a sight to see.

As mentioned earlier, the plot is a bit of a mess despite being a simple story. It would be interesting to see as to what this movie was actually like last year before all of the changes. It would also be interesting to see if they had delayed the movie to accommodate the changes more. There are a lot of characters moments that could have been elaborated on. This definitely could have worked for the villain; Steppenwolf. A fairly generic bad guy who only has one mode and that is world domination. That may be fine but there could have been some more character put into him.

Speaking of Steppenwolf, this is another problem and that is the CGI. A lot of the graphics looks rushed and shoddy. These are especially evident in the scenes that had to be added or reshot. There were some instances that took me out of the movie. None that were ever too bad where I couldn’t enjoy the film but still noticeable. Just another reason as to why the movie should have been delayed.

But what we are left with is an uneven but enjoyable film. It does have a lot of problems. When I left the theater I did not leave with the same feeling that I did when I left Batman v. Superman. I instead left with the feeling that I wanted to see it again because of how much I enjoyed the movie. Better yet, I wanted to see where they took these characters in future films. If you have a film universe, that is arguably a win.

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SCORE: 7.5/10

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Final Justice League Trailer

We finally get to see Clark Kent/Superman

Justice League Promo Featuring Superman

The marketing of Justice League always has to play fast and loose when it comes to featuring Superman. Everyone knows he’s in it and a substantial part but it isn’t clear as to how. So the marketing rarely features him but here’s some nifty promo artwork that features the Man of Steel dead and center.

Joss Whedon’s Personal Life Should Not Affect Your Views on His Work

Recently Joss Whedon has come under question about his role as a feminist. His ex-wife wrote pretty much a tell all (without getting too specific) about how he has had multiple affairs and how his role as a feminist should be challenged. I am not a big fan of Joss Whedon as I find him a bit condescending. I love Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel and the first two Avengers movies. But whenever the topic of feminism comes up with Whedon, he tends to get on a soapbox. His critique of a scene in Jurassic World is a big contention point with me as it just seemed like he had to say something about a frankly mediocre movie with two dimensional characters. But now that the news about his supposed multiple affairs have come to light, many people are attacking the men for all his work.

Do I think Joss Whedon probably did have these affairs? Sure. I don’t think anyone in Hollywood is faithful, or the very least having open relationships. Do I think Joss Whedon is a feminist? Yes I do. But I think it’s more of a natural reflection of him just thinking women should not be treated as second tier in anything. I do think the whole being a feminist champion thing was slapped on him and he ran with it. I can see why this may have gone to his head when he has to speak out on things that have nothing to do with him. You can ask for half of the population to be treated better in every walks of life while still doing questionable things.

But now people are asking for him to be fired from the Batgirl movie and damning everything he’s done. Also saw people saying they’re going to boycott Justice League just because. Now that’s too much. The man’s relationship with his wife is between those two. None of our business. None of this also leaks into his work. We are in the age where everyone must be perfect or be damned for it. It’s all a little concerning with the lynch mob mentality. Just because the man may be “trash” in his relationship with his wife does not mean he needs to lose his job. I think we all need to slow down with the attacks on people and coming out with the pitchforks.

Not Worried About Justice League Reshoots

A recent trend I’ve noticed is that everything concerning the DC Extended Universe gets analyzed and dissected more than most big budget movies. Ever since Joss Whedon took over directing duties for Zack Snyder on Justice League, the microscope has been further analyzed on the film. Recent reports came out that the film was deemed “unwatchable” by Warner Bros. execs. Now if this is true or not, who is to say. But I know personally I am not worried about the reshoots or additional photography, whatever you want to call it, as it is clear that the studio is trying to make the best film possible.

I don’t know why reshoots came to be such a taboo thing. If you see a problem with a film and you have the ability to fix it, why not do it? The fact that everything must be perfect from the start is an insane concept in itself as well. So if there are problems with Justice League and I do think that there are, then take the time to fix them. If the film came out “unwatchable” and was released as that, people would jump on the film even harder than if they didn’t. So it’s kind of a lose lose situation.

Sure these reshoots are a bit more than typical but sometimes that happens. Does not necessarily mean that the film will be a wreck. Apocalypse Now and the recent Rogue One are examples of films that underwent massive reshoots and the films turned out fine. Of course it can turn out the other way but that can happen on films that did not undergo reshoots. So it’s all just a process.

You don’t necessarily turn in a class paper with your first draft. Some people feel content with that and it turns out fine. Others work on it until the very end and it also turns out fine. The opposite effects happen for both situations as well. Making a film is similar to this. I hope that the film is a success as I love the DC superheroes and want them to prosper on film.

So here’s a sort of new poster for the Justice League film

 

Avengers: Age of Ultron Review

“Avengers: Age of Ultron” is the follow up to the smash sensation “The Avengers” from 2012. Writer/Director Joss Whedon returns to helm the feature and the six principle┬ácast members from the first movie return as well. The biggest question going into the movie was, “Can the sequel top the first movie?” and the answer is, sort of.

The biggest step up in the sequel from its predecessor is the action. The action is miles ahead from the first movie. While the first movie took a while to really get going, this movie starts with its foot firmly on the gas. There are about four major action set pieces in the movie but in between that, there are some mild skirmishes as well. This movie never stops running which is to it credit and detriment as well. By the final set piece while exhilarating, there can be some action fatigue settling in. Not to say that it is uninteresting but it can be too much.

In the two hours and twenty minutes, the character moments can be lost in the shuffle. Captain America, Thor and Iron Man are characters who don’t really need that much time developed to them as they are the ones who have their own movies outside of The Avengers. That is not to say Captain America and Iron Man do have subtle moments hinting at future movies more specifically “Captain America: Civil War” as the foundation is laid for that movie. Thor gets the short stick here as he does get his own side plot, it is obvious that it has been chopped and thus leaves the viewer somewhat confused as to what they just witnessed. The only thing one can take away is that it is there to set up “Thor: Ragnarok”. Hawkeye, Black Widow and The Hulk are the three without their own movies and their interactions provide much of the emotional beats within the film especially Hawkeye as he provides much of the human element. Nick Fury returns but he is basically an exposition tool and appears just enough to not be considered a cameo. His role probably could have been cut entirely and given to the characters to figure out themselves.

In terms of new characters, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, are characters with an arc but barely at that. We do learn their origins and motivations but it is given the bare minimum. If one says that they could not connect with them, it would be hard to disagree. However a character with even less screentime but makes the most is The Vision. A late minute addition, The Vision is a character who makes the most out of his limited time and certainly leaves an impression. This may be due to the fact that since he was such a late addition, he was given a lot more moments to stand out in order to compensate.

When it comes to Ultron himself, he is a completely different character from his comic book version. While the comic version is emotionless, the movie version is emotional. This is definitely an interesting choice to take the character. While he certainly leaves an impression, it is really hard to get a grip on what his motivations are. Upon second viewing they make a bit more sense but they could have devoted some more screentime into this aspect.

Joss Whedon had an incredible task here. The cast of the movie is huge and there are many set pieces to juggle. This all should ultimately be a victory for him. However one can tell that there was certainly room for more. It seems that more time was used to set up future movies instead of focusing on the movie at hand. There is also his trademark humor while at times works, sometimes it can be a detriment. It can turn drift into the territory of the “Avengers Comedy Hour” as everyone always has a wisecrack to make even when it feels that either the character wouldn’t say it, during that situation or sometimes a mix of the two. However other than a new quibbles here and there, this sequel stands on par with the first one. Truly an excellent film that deserves to be watched multiple times.