Sam’s Take: The lifeless husk of “Justice League”

If you keep up with the  DC comic book cinematic universe you will be aware that the most recent addition to the franchise, Justice League, has been plagued by nothing short of production hell. Unfortunately, it shows.

“Justice League” sees heroes Batman and Wonder Woman forming a team to stop an alien threat lead by Steppenwolf, a planet conquering being eyeing Earth for his next mission. The hero-dup can’t fight this battle alone, so they recruit newly discovered talents Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash.

Originally “Justice League,” was intended to be a  two part epic culmination of characters and teasers. However, the original director, Zack Snyder, had to leave before post-production edits due to the passing of his daughter. The lack of cohesive vision between Snyder and subsequent replacement directors contributes the fillm’s theme of disconnect.

The acting, the plot, the dialogue, the action, the editing, everything lacks cohesion, resulting in a meaningless mess that fails to leave any emotional weight, be they positive or negative emotions.

The filmmakers were forced to trim this film down to two hours, and it shows. Anything that acts as exposition, character development, or just serves to even out the brisk pacing is cut entirely. As a result, the movie moves at a breakneck pace, with nothing connecting scenes or character motivations.

Things seem to happen in “Justice League” simply because they’re supposed to happen in a movie like this. Everyone happens to  know everything, everyone can simply go anywhere, and scenes are thrown into the mix without any real explanation. As long as a scene is required to understand the thin plot, contains a joke, or features “cool” posing, then it’s thrown into the runtime.

This causes problems from the very beginning, where the original dark tone of the DC cinematic universe clashes with the new light-hearted direction. Many scenes that appeared in trailers at night now take place in color-corrected day, while other scenes that are meant to be serious are awkwardly sandwiched in between random comedic moments.

The characters also suffer from the Frankenstein editing, as half the cast are introduced in this one film. The first half of “Justice League” is spent introducing the heroes, but once we see them, they barely develop beyond their initial character trait. There are no character arcs, and the ones that are there are inconsequential. It’s clear that all of these heroes, like Cyborg and Aquaman, are interesting and charismatic enough for their own movies, but instead we’re given minor growth in favor of fleshed out solo projects.

Since there are no characters to care about, the action scenes suffer as well. Only two sequences are interesting or well-shot, with only The Flash doing anything exciting or interesting. The same goes for the comedy, where almost every joke falls flat, and most of the humor comes from laughing at the unintentionally cheesy dialogue or nonsensical filmmaking.

The epitome of what makes “Justice League” a bad movie is the final action sequence. This should be the part where our heroes team up to fight the bad guy in a spectacular show of camaraderie and victory. Instead, the sequence moves too quickly for any character to have a moment to shine and doesn’t even let the audience understand what’s happening.

During this final  scene, no one in the packed theater I was in reacted in anyway. There was no laughing, no cheering, not even groans. The audience just let the film play out it’s tired, lifeless show. Ultimately, that’s what “Justice League” is; a lifeless husk of a film that has everything it needs to be an entertaining superhero flick — everything except competence, passion and heart.

 


Samuel Goodrich, Staff Writer

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