The oldest super team in comics finally made it to the big screen and we’re here to tell you that it gets a resounding…meh.
Maybe that’s not quite fair. There were some things we really liked (super wonderful!), some things that were inexplicable choices (batty), and some that just plain stunk. And no, we’re NOT making an Aquaman pun when we say something was fishy. Jason Momoa brought a kind of maniacal glee and biker charm to our formerly least loved hero. But he was given little to do and virtually no arc, but we’ll get into that later.
Here’s our list of what the DCEU and director Zach Snyder (with an assist from Joss Whedon) accomplished. Please note: there be spoilers ahead. You’ve been warned.
THE SUPER WONDERFUL
Wonder Woman continues to be a beacon of light in this bleak DC universe. Her scene in the museum was nothing less than thrilling and her rescue of hostages during this age of mass shootings brought some of us to tears.
✪ The Amazons continued to rock, although why they were given leather bikinis this time says a lot about the director. And who the hell was that taking the place of Antiope? Anyone who reads comics knows that Philippus is Hippolyta’s general and right hand. We can only hope that’s corrected in the next Wonder Woman movie.
✪ Just as super in the Justice League was the fact that they FINALLY came close to getting Superman right. In Man of Steel and Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, there’s a lot of talk about the Metropolis Marvel being a symbol of hope, but—he never actually is. Instead, it’s emo Superman telling the military, “I want to help, General, but it’s got to be my way.” No. THAT’S not the Superman we grew up with. The guy at the end of Justice League (particularly in the post-credit sequence) is ALMOST there.
✪ We’re fans of comic relief as much as anyone, but does the Flash do ANYTHING in this movie other than try to supply some yuks to break up the monotony? All right, he goes to see his dad in prison. Fine. But none of what happens in the prison scenes makes any difference to the life of the guy OUTSIDE the prison scenes. The movie takes a classic superhero and reduces him to a warm-up comic. The Flash, ladies and gentlemen. He’ll be here all week. Don’t forget to tip your waitress.
✪ Honestly, did anyone give a rat’s ass about the family that the Justice League saves towards the end? I mean, these people are living in the shadow of a decrepit Soviet nuclear power plant. They’re screwed before Steppenwolf even shows up.
✪ Steppenwolf, SHUT UP ALREADY. He’s supposed to be the big bad of the film, and he’s basically, in the words of a certain offspring, “just a monologuing a-hole.”
✪ OK, let’s just say it. The movie is an incoherent mess. It’s not ABOUT anyone. No one in this movie has anything resembling any kind of story arc. The only thing that goes on here is that Steppenwolf and his bug-things are invading Earth. That’s it. Beyond that, the film is a lot of sound and fury signifying—not much. The characters at the end of the film are essentially the same people they were at the beginning of the film. There was no conflict for anyone, and therefore, no true story. Not to mention the fact that there was…
✪ …a lack of true direction. The circumstances that forced Whedon to take the reins of the movie from Snyder were indeed tragic, beyond the relative merits of a mere movie. But Warner Brothers needs to step back and take a good look at who is going to be the creative mastermind of the DCEU going forward. MoS, BvS, and Snyder’s input into Justice League just aren’t cutting it. The only person to have gotten it right so far is Patty Jenkins. Time to give her the keys to the kingdom.
It’s hard to fathom that with some of the most iconic figures in all of comic-dom, the powers-that-be at Warner Brothers have made such a mess of the DCEU. But that’s what we’re left with: a bleak, murky collection of dreck that leaves us with little (other than Wonder Woman 2) to look forward to. Come on, people. This is the freaking Justice League you’re dealing with here. You can do better than this.