If there’s one thing that all of us at Gabbing Geek agree on, it is that the movie we not-so-affectionately call Batsoup was, to put it as mildly as possible, a colossal disappointment.
Now we have Justice League with the same credited director behind the camera and a good portion of the same cast. How did it turn out?
You know, maybe it’s just me and comparing it to the disjointed mess that is Batsoup, but I really liked this. I didn’t love it. The movie has some flaws. It’s still a bit disjointed. The bad guy Steppenwolf is about on par with your average MCU villains in terms of how memorable he was. Some things are left unexplained, like how characters who are missing from briefings know how to go where they are needed most. But, for the most part, I liked this movie. And while he isn’t given a directorial credit, certain scenes have Joss Whedon’s fingerprints all over them. The action sequences are certainly Snyder’s. The quieter moments look more like Whedon’s. Finally, introducing new characters in an ensemble piece rather than solo movies like the MCU has mostly done does mean these characters in this incarnation are less familiar, and as such, they don’t carry the same relevance to me as the first time the Avengers assembled.
So, why did I like this one?
For starters, I think Henry Cavil is finally playing Superman. And let’s just say, despite an ad campaign that played up Superman as being dead, it really isn’t much of a secret in the movie itself that Superman is there. Cavil’s name appears second after Ben Affleck’s in the opening credits. It’s not a surprise. But after two movies where he was either figuring things out or moping around while Batman plotted how to kill him, it was nice to see a Superman that behaved like Superman.
Plus, for all the faults of the DCEU, even the Snyder ends of it, they have made some really good casting choices. Gal Gadot may have been the break-out highlight of Batsoup, and her Wonder Woman continues to get some major screen time, but there weren’t many complaints about Affleck’s Batman either. We can add Ezra Miller as a scared rookie Barry Allen (no one calls him the Flash here) and Jason Momoa as the surly bro Aquaman, and you have some more promise. About the only drawback on the main team was Ray Fisher’s Cyborg through no fault of his own as the script was bound to give someone the short shift in an ensemble like this. The one dramatic scene he has with Cyborg’s father is fine, and Fisher has an interesting walk suggesting a mechanical man, but Justice League seems more interested in establishing Miller’s Flash and Momoa’s Aquaman than Cyborg. Beyond that, J.K. Simmons was a nice touch as Commissioner Gordon, and returning cast members Amy Adams, Connie Nielsen, Jeremy Irons, and Diane Lane are fine in their roles. As I said, casting has never been an issue in the DCEU. It’s always come down to disjointed movies and bad scripts.
So, overall, I liked this. It wasn’t the best superhero movie I’ve ever seen. Heck, of the six I’ve seen this year, I’d still rank it as tied for fifth with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2 just behind Spider-Man: Homecoming something I say after somehow forgetting I saw Guardians over the summer, and I really dug that one, too. Still, after the dire mess that was Batsoup, seeing a fun DC movie that wasn’t Wonder Woman was just nice. Eight and a half parademon kidnappings out of ten.
And yes, I may be grading on a curve.