The words Justice League are synonymous with the legendary heroes of pop culture; Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash are each brought together in this cluster of action, drama and comedy that is the climax of the DC ‘Snyderverse’. Justice League should be a powerful cinematic event; the very name begs to be heard yet the film itself is in shambles; clearly trying to fill a quota with every aspect failing to deliver. Far from an event, Justice League lands with little impact and little staying power.
Starting off on the wrong foot with Man of Steel, the recent DC canon went from bad to worse and while Wonder Woman was probably their strongest so far, its follow up shows a clear failure to learn from past mistakes. The problem was never being too dark or angst-filled for a superhero film, it was not owning that identity and Justice League has strayed even further in a painful attempt to gain awkward laughs and the quirky edge of the competition. Joss Whedon’s imprint is clear but has such conflict with the universe Zach Snyder has created that Justice League doesn’t even have the ‘so bad it’s good’ factor of Suicide Squad. You won’t laugh, you will only cringe. The effects, too, are shocking for such a high budget film; the worst offenders being the laughable excuse for a villain Steppenwolf, who looks like a reject from a mid-2000s TV movie, and Superman, whose return surprises no one, yet what is interesting is his descent into the uncanny valley thanks to some reshoots and actor Henry Cavill’s refusal to shave his moustache. The entire film looks bleak, muddy and overly polished with a majority of the film having clearly been filmed in front of an obvious green screen.
The closest to a glimmer of entertainment comes in the form of the always enjoyable Ezra Miller as The Flash, the most visually appealing and charismatic of the cast; his appearances breathe some life into the film but are little relief in the bland series of expository and predictable scenes that make up Justice League. The camera frequently cuts to each hero as they utter a forced one-liner clearly designed to come out of an action figure rather than a satisfying character; similarly, the friendships formed between the roster never feel genuine or earned, the conflicts and resolutions that bond a team being rushed to spew more horrible CGI action, yet the film itself still feeling slow and uninteresting.
Stuffed full yet hollow, rushed yet plodding; Justice League is the latest reason to be bored of superhero films. When a feature can make you doubt the future of an entire genre it must either be that special kind of stupid or just plain boring – somehow Justice League is both.