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?
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.
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.
The final trailer for Justice League has arrived and there’s not much else new to it. If you’ve seen other trailers, it’s just really expanded sequences. Honestly, I still don’t even know what this movie is about. It looks to be a simple invasion movie, which might work best with all the characters in the movie. But here we go:
- Superman is back! Well sort of. Everyone knows that Superman will be back in this film but the trailer finally gives something to chew on. Of course it is presented as a dream sequence for the grieving Lois Lane. But what if this is not a dream sequence but actually the end of the movie?
- The beginning of the trailer deals with the continuing repercussions from the “death” of Superman. Crime and various other bad things throughout the world have gone out of control.
- More narration from Bruce Wayne/Batman about his nightmare from Batman v. Superman and how he foresaw the end of the world
- There is a flashback to an ancient battle with the forces of Apokolips fighting the Amazons along with other forces from Earth. It looks like the goal is to terraform the Earth into another Apokolips.
- Batman and Wonder Woman look to be the leaders of the team or at the very least the lynchpins
- Various soundbites play about how none of the members can do what they do alone and they’re stronger together. There are quick shots of each of the heroes doing their thing. The world needs Superman.
- Throughout we see the various members of the Justice League (minus Superman) in various action scenes, many with the members confronting Steppenwolf himself.
- Again we never get a clear shot of Steppenwolf. Only quick glimpses. Though Steppenwolf is a CG character, I’m at least glad there is threat that the team has to fight. Not just an army of goons but there is a figurehead there that can talk to them.
- The final scene is really just a scene about how giddy Barry Allen is to be teaming up with Bruce Wayne as he spots the Bat-signal in the sky.
Overall, it was a decent trailer. I’m already set in my ways to see the movie. I was genuinely shocked to see Clark Kent/Superman show up. But since it was presumably a dream sequence, they can have their cake and eat it too. But solid trailer and not to quote the tagline but I’m all in.
We finally get to see Clark Kent/Superman
It was recently announced that the DC Extended Universe (which was also revealed to not be the official name) would have a loose continuity post Justice League. Many people promptly freaked out as it looked like Warner Bros. was already giving up on a movie universe for its DC Comics. But Geoff Johns clarified things on Twitter, speaking about how this universe is still moving forward and the movies would still be linked. You can see why people would freak out but you can see why the overreaction was unwarranted.
Honestly I do not think it is a bad thing if continuity between the movies is much more loose going forward. Not to compare DC to Marvel, as that is an argument that is nauseating at this point, but it has to happen here. Marvel Studios changed the game with the Marvel Cinematic Universe as everything movie is a piece in a larger puzzle. When it first started it was more subtle but it slowly took over and you get movies such as Age of Ultron. While a fine movie, it really did not feel like a complete movie as it had to set up future movies.
This even happened with Warner Bros. with their second movie. Batman v. Superman was announced a few months after Man of Steel and the title was all that was known about the movie. As cameras began rolling, Wonder Woman was added to the movie and eventually so were The Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg. The subtitle Dawn of Justice was added to the movie as well. When the movie was finally released, it was divisive to say the least. One of the biggest complaints was how the film was rushing too many things to get towards Justice League.
Suicide Squad was released a few months after and while the bigger universe things weren’t as forced, there were still some element. The post credits scene between Bruce Wayne and Amanda Waller felt forced and an afterthought. Wonder Woman was released but other than an email from Bruce Wayne referencing a plot thread between them in Batman v. Superman, it was hardly connected to anything larger. This was largely because the film was mostly a prequel but no post credits scene (except for the home video release) and nothing in the present day sequences. Wonder Woman turned out to be a huge success, critically and financially.
Now Aquaman is in production and due to come out next year. It has been said many times that the film will take place post Justice League. There’s no need for say The Flash or Batman to show up for any other reason just to remind people that they exist in the same universe. A line here or there referencing the events of Justice League will suffice. There has been much to say about the upcoming Batman film and just what exactly is going on with that. Writer/director Matt Reeves has said that he wants to film to stand up on its own and now his line makes more sense.
One of the biggest criticisms that face the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that it feels like most films are in service to another. That a lot of films cannot stand on their own because they have to reference so much of what came before and set up the future. Captain America: The Winter Soldier is my favorite film of the MCU is because it averts that. All you really have to know is that Cap in now in the present and had an adventure with The Avengers. The more pertinent information is covered within the film itself and other than a post credits scene, hardly has to set up the next Avengers film or any other film.
The more a film can stand on its own, the stronger the universe will be. I think that has been the weakest part of all these film universes. They never focus on the individual and only the bigger picture but it has a weak foundation and thus no one cares. It’s hard to say why the DCEU has not suffered too greatly from two very divisive films that would have sunk any other franchise. But it’s good to see that they are getting in front of the issue before it gets too serious. These are beloved characters and many want to see them succeed in films. No one really wants to go back to where everything was only Batman focused.
Everyone knows Superman will be in Justice League despite being “dead” after the events of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. So the marketing has been playing it fast and loose with featuring the Man of Steel. Superman mainly appears in ancillary promotional materials but never like posters. This is the first major piece of marketing to feature him.
Not the actual doomsday clock. That terrifies me. I am referring to the upcoming DC Comics event. This has been a slow build as ever since DC Universe Rebirth, we know that something is on the horizon. This something just happens to involve Doctor Manhattan from the seminal Watchmen series by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons.
Let me start by saying I don’t think Watchmen is some untouchable property. I understand its importance in the comic book medium but it’s not some holy grail to me. Just because someone does something involving these characters, does not mean it should taint your enjoyment of the original material. I really don’t like that mindset about anything. Reminds me of those who claimed “George Lucas raped my childhood” with the Star Wars prequels. If you don’t like what they’re doing or have no interest, just ignore it.
That out of the way, Doomsday Clock, looks to be an interesting event. Ever since DC Rebirth, there has been no real major event books at least concerning the DC Universe as a whole. In fact, other than the central conflict being Superman’s idealism against Doctor Manhattan’s cynicism, I have no idea what this book is going to be about. I don’t it’s going to come down to being a fist fight since Doctor Manhattan can do anything. Superman, despite the common misconception, has limits to his abilities.
DC Comics has done a good job of building towards what exactly Doctor Manhattan wants. Peppering in little things here and there, just enough to keep things connected but little enough where they overpower individual books. We know that players in the DC multiverse are being taken captive by the mysterious Mr. Oz, who happens to have a special interest in Superman. We also know that the Reverse Flash recently met his end after meeting with “God” who was heavily implied to be Doctor Manhattan. What’s the connection between Mr. Oz and Doctor Manhattan?
It is also known that the Trinity (Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman) will play an important part in the story. Most DC events that wanna show the importance focuses on these three. But I’m sure The Flash (Barry Allen, Jay Garrick and Wally West) will play important roles as those three have been the main anchors besides Superman for this event. The less I really know about the event, the better honestly. I have complete faith in Geoff Johns. He does not always knock it out of the park but who really does? But there is always something I like about Johns and that he puts it all into his work. It also probably helps is that he doesn’t write any other books at the moment and so can put all his effort into this one. DC Comics has gotten me into their latest event and refueled by DC Comics addiction that I haven’t had since 2005. This is more than I can say about the other major comic book publisher lately.
There has been a lot of back and forth about Ben Affleck being Bruce Wayne/Batman. Playing the role in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, Suicide Squad and the forthcoming Justice League. Rumors have persisted since last year that Affleck has been frustrated and does not want to continue to play the role after Justice League. Obviously this is bad for business as Justice League has yet to come out and you really can’t have one of the main actors talking about leaving the role. It just doesn’t look right and casts a cloud over the movie which already has enough problems going for it. The news popped up again right before the cast of Justice League was set to appear at San Diego Comic Con and of course Affleck denied he would be leaving.
I was a big champion for Affleck when he was casts for the role. Other than being a billionaire part, there are many things that Affleck and the character have in common when one another. Plus when it comes to all the actors who have played the role before, Affleck is the one who looks the most like how the character is described in the comics and most other media adaptations. My one biggest complaint is Affleck’s age as you really can’t have an actor who is the latter half of his 40’s in such a physically demanding role. Maybe for a one off movie but not one you build a franchise around. Sure Batman does have the advantage of being masked, so you can hide it but still the actor has to be in some shape.
But as the rumors go back and forth about whether he is staying in the role, at this point I don’t care. If he decides to stay on, at least for Matt Reeves’ upcoming Batman movie, then I’ll be happy. If he does not and moves on, then for being a great Batman. You really don’t want an actor who does not want to be there, staying in the role. WB has now been shown that they do not need to rely on the Batman crutch that they tend to rely on. Wonder Woman was the biggest movie in summer 2017 and Aquaman is looking to be another success for the studio in 2018. I guess we will all know a few months after Justice League is finally released. Plus the studio has a unique story way of replacing Ben Affleck with a different actor.
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.