‘Justice League’ fails to save floundering franchise


Disaster: ‘Justice League‘ has had an incredibly rough weekend at the box office. Scoring a measly $93 million it barely made 30% of its huge budget. Compare that to similar film “The Avengers” opening weekend of $203 million and you can see the difference.

Andrew Shermoen

After one of the most tumultuous production schedules in film history, the first DC superhero team-up movie came to theaters in time for the holidays. Between various reshoots and a change in director midway through production, the final product is far from an early Christmas present.

Following the death of Superman (Henry Cavill), the world has descended into fear and chaos. Across Earth, mother boxes, mysterious alien artifacts designed to terraform planets, are activated, alerting Steppenwolf (Ciarin Hinds) and ushering him back to Earth in order to carry out his destructive plans. Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) realize that they cannot defeat Steppenwolf alone, meaning that they must assemble a team of fellow heroes in the hopes of saving their planet.

The DC Extended Universe has been a massive disappointment. Not including the recent success of “Wonder Woman,” the majority of DCEU films have failed to live up to the lofty expectations the public had for these iconic characters. “Justice League” at the very least got its characters right. The film’s move towards a more lighthearted, hopeful tone than films like “Man of Steel” or “Batman vs Superman” made our heroes feel like proper paragons of hope.

Thankfully, the performances were solid across the board as well. The cast of new faces in particular worked really well. Ezra Miller did a great job as The Flash. He’s witty, spastic and loyal to a fault. Jason Mamoa, too, was great as Aquaman. He’s self-obsessed, but sacrificial; boastful, but not arrogant. His macho and gung-ho attitude for battle gave him a sharp and exciting edge, and almost every scene with him was fantastic.

That being said, his presence in the film while entertaining is very short shrift. When not throwing in his powers related to the sea, Aquaman essentially has the powers of Wonder Woman, who is a much more interesting character. Since the film rarely provides situations near a body of water, Aquaman spends most of his time in battle hopping around and stabbing people with his trident like weapon. It makes a large portion of the action too similar in execution. When the film does utilize Aquaman’s powers they look terrible. The cgi looks like something out of a 90’s sea exploration movie and the actual use of the powers amounts to people being stunned into unconsciousness by a bubble. It’s laughable.

Cyborg (Ray Fisher) is the weak link of the team. That’s not to say he’s useless or unlikeable, quite the opposite, but when he spends most of his time throwing out exposition like it’s a race, you begin to see how little he brings to the team in terms of emotional resonance.

Gadot‘ s Wonder Woman is fantastic and lovable as she has been since her first appearance. Affleck’s Batman, while not terrible, still leaves much to be desired. The movie focuses mostly on his emotional story when it would have been much stronger had it chose a different, more unique character we haven’t seen on screen as much.

Yet, it’s probably not the characters that affect this story negatively. The film moves too fast introducing character backstories and then jumping to the next plot point without properly developing anything. Too much time is spent on the reintroduction of an integral member of the team, instead of on expanding character backstory or providing a reason for the movie’s useless and uninspired villain.

The visuals are bad half the time, some of the writing and jokes are absolutely cringeworthy and the film’s lack of focus and constant assurance of plot details that have no interesting flair to them makes for a film that is better than most of the DCEU films, but that’s not saying much, nor does it mean it’s good.

Rating: 1.5/5 stars