Alright, fam, the reviews are out for DC‘s latest run at an ensemble superhero film, Justice League, and uh… they’re not great.
Zack Snyder‘s film, which was completed by The Avengers‘ Joss Whedon after a family tragedy, marks a huge downturn after the rousing success of Wonder Woman just five months ago.
The main gist of all the reviews is that Justice League is not as bad as the stinking mess that was Batman v Superman, but what a low bar that film set, anyway.
The Hollywood Reporter‘s Todd McCarthy describes the film as “garishly unattractive to look at” and “simply not fun”, throwing a bunch of superheroes into a mix “that neither congeals nor particularly makes you want to see more of them in future.”
“If this was the best DC could do in synthesising all their lead characters together into one ensemble spectacular, after a half-decade of planning, that’s pretty damning,” says Vanity Fair‘s Richard Lawson. “Justice League is such a misguided mess—often feeling entirely unguided—that you want to intervene, softly saying, ‘Stop, stop, you don’t have to do this, stop.’”
The New York Times‘ Manohla Dargis was kinder, saying that Justice League won’t “extinguish the hope” that arrived after Christian Bale exited the series, but that “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.”
Variety‘s Owen Gleiberman also wasn’t overly critical of the film, but said it was an amalgamation of every superhero movie trope there was. “It’s about as close to generic as a sharp-witted high-octane comic-book movie can get. There’s hardly a trope in it you haven’t seen before.”
Most reviewers agree: Gal Gadot‘s Wonder Woman really pulled the whole thing up, and she’s basically too good for this movie. (Agreed. I haven’t seen it but agreed.)
On the other hand, Ben Affleck’s Batman left a lot to be desired… again.
“[He] looks like he’d rather be almost anywhere else but here; his eyes and body language make it clear that he’s just not into it,” wrote McCarthy.”
“The little bit of bat brooding in Justice League feels unmotivated and unearned, and lacks the shading of the character in the Dark Knight or even in the Lego movies,” said Dargis. Ouch.
The Independent‘s Geoffrey Macnab ended his two-star review on a wearily hopeful note (but given he’d described the movie as one that “squanders the talents of an impressive ensemble cast and eschews any meaningful characterisation in favour of ever more overblown special effects”, perhaps not that hopeful).
“It is to be hoped, though, that Hollywood can find some way of injecting new life into these increasingly wearisome and childish stories of caped crusaders and masked avengers.”
Maybe it’s time to just call the whole thing off and give us a Wonder Woman film every couple years until the day we die.