Before You Run to See ‘Justice League’ This Weekend, Here’s What Critics Are Saying
It’s the latest big-budget blockbuster to hit theaters this year, but have you read a Justice League review?
We’re finally getting the chance to see five of the comic world’s biggest superheroes join hands to defeat a big baddie. For those who have been living under a rock, that’s Batman, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, The Flash and Cyborg. (And we’re assuming Superman comes back to life at some point, most likely to help save the day against Steppenwolf.)
You’ll remember that critics famously loathed this film’s predecessor, Batman vs. Superman, though predictions got a little more positive following the Patty Jenkins-directed masterpiece that was Wonder Woman.
Surely fans of the comic book movie genre are gonna see this film — in theaters today, Nov. 17 — through hell or high water, but what about those who expect character development and great cinematography? Does Justice League deliver or does it miss the mark?
Take a look at snippets from many a Justice League review below:
Entertainment Weekly‘s Chris Nashawaty gives it a C+
When Gal Gadot’s proto-feminist Amazonian avenger got her solo showcase earlier this year, there were a lot of DC partisans who finally had a reason to feel bullish about the state of their union. Following the exit of Christian Bale in 2012, it was the first real glimmer of hope that maybe the studio was headed in the right direction. That the future was bright. Justice League won’t extinguish that hope. Not by a long shot. But it also doesn’t quite translate into a winning streak either. It’s a placeholder in a franchise that’s already had too many placeholders.
THR‘s Justice League review by Todd McCarthy calls it “garishly unattractive.”
With all the characters that need to be introduced, the virtually humor-free script by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon (who was brought on to complete directing duties after Zack Snyder had to leave for family reasons) less resembles deft narrative scene-setting than it does the work of a bored casino dealer rotely distributing cards around a table. Everyone is very downcast in the wake of Superman’s unimaginable fate, and there’s naturally a new villain threatening to bring the world to an end, a big meanie named Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciaran Hinds). So Bruce Wayne, with Diana Prince’s assistance, must put together a new team to save the world yet again.
Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman definitely didn’t hate it.
In superhero movies, sheer lively deliver-the-goods competence can be a quality you’re grateful for — or one that seems awesomely innocuous. In Justice League, it’s a little of both. The film is the definition of an adequate high-spirited studio lark: no more, no less. If fans get excited about it, that may mostly be because they’re excited about getting excited. Yet the movie is no cheat. It’s a tasty franchise delivery system that kicks a certain series back into gear.
Peter Travers’s Justice League review in Rolling Stone gives it 2.5 out of 4 stars.
For those who loathe Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and they are legion, Justice League will be just the corrective followup they’re looking for. Granted, BvS got a bad rap for staying true to the dark instincts of the DC Comics universe from which it emerged. It’s just that director Snyder lacked the artistic cred that Christopher Nolan brought to his Dark Knight trilogy, to put it mildly. Instead of the Freudian gloom and doom of the Caped Crusader (Ben Affleck) and the Man of Steel (Henry Cavill) hating on each other, this coming together of DC’s heavy hitters takes so many happy pills it almost overdoses on them. No one sings “the sun’ll come out tomorrow” in this movie. But the attitude is so bright and optimistic that you might mistake it for a fun ride on the Marvel express.
USA Today‘s Brian Truitt calls it “satisfying … despite some bumps” and gives is 3/4 stars.
Justice League is a lighter answer to the tonal issues of both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, though it’s saddled with an uneven narrative and not as much character development as you’d want in trying to shoehorn ancient mythology and setup for future movies.
The Wrap’s Alonso Duralde hilariously calls it “another film that looks like Axe body spray smells.”
Not that there isn’t a little more levity, and a touch more interest in character this time around — and whether or not those attributes can be credited to Joss Whedon’s additional photography can be interpreted by those who will read this sequel like it’s the Dead Sea Scrolls — but much too much of this team-up adventure is given over to ridiculous posing and posturing as our heroes battle a not-very-interesting villain over, you guessed it, the fate of the world itself.