As someone who loved Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) - and yes I will continue to push my opinion on that movie till the day I die - I was very nervous going into this movie. Would Warner Bros. and DC move towards a more comedic tone due to the backlash from BvS. How would the change of directors during reshoots affect the outcome? How would the movie be received from audiences?
I'm going to start with the positives. Ben Affleck continues to be a great Batman/Bruce Wayne which makes the rumors that he is leaving the role even more heartbreaking. Henry Cavill’s Superman/Clark Kent was in a lot more of this movie than I expected and I'm so glad he is because not only was he treated with the respect the character deserves but starts to be the beacon of hope that I think has been missing from the character previously. Gal Gadot continued to impress as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince (I would also like to say that she totally pulled off the toga she was wearing when talking to Bruce in the Batcave) but unfortunately there is more to discuss about her in the disappointing section. Jason Momoa as Aquaman/Arthur Curry and Ray Fisher as Cyborg/Victor Stone were a welcomed addition to the League. Momoa’s energy made a character, that I've never really been a fan of, really fun. Meanwhile Fisher’s Cyborg was also a surprise thanks to the actor’s ability to show the character’s struggle being half machine and half human. Director Zack Snyder continued to impress me with his breathtaking visuals while writer Chris Terrio once again intrigued me with a somewhat different take on these characters and storylines. In the end it was really cool, as a DC fan, to see all the little easter eggs hidden throughout the movie and to see the amazing world of the DC Universe come to life.
While there was so much to enjoy about this movie there was also a lot that annoyed me. First of all, Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen/The Flash seemed so promising at first but as the movie went on just got way too goofy and I honestly think that 70% of the character’s dialogue were all just jokes. It came off as the actor trying to hard. There are also two scenes that show him running very weird. Either it was played for laughs or the actor just doesn't know how to run. I think it's likely the latter and in that case, why didn't anyone bring this up during filming? The main problems with this movie is the story and studio meddling. The plot was just too simple and the villain too bland. Part of that may have been too many studio notes (the heavy-handed suggestions given by studio executives) like Warner Bros. President Kevin Tsujihara demand to make the movie under 2 hours which ended up making the movie seem rushed. Also, the need to make the movie more comedic at the last possible moment led to a couple bad and unnatural jokes. My last two problems, which kind of go hand in hand, are substitute director/writer Joss Whedon and the treatment of not only Wonder Woman but her fellow Amazons. Around the release of Wonder Woman, Whedon’s un-made Wonder Woman movie script had leaked online and lets just say the only word that can be used to describe it is sexist. In the end, unfortunately, he got his hands on the character and it went as you might expect. I've heard that he was responsible for at least 2 poor “jokes” in the movie. One where the Flash lands head first into Wonder Woman’s cleavage and another where Aquaman, while sitting on the lasso of truth, describes why he liked every character on the league (bravery, skill, heroism, etc) but when it comes to Wonder Woman all he can talk about is how gorgeous she is and nothing about her being a warrior. Now Zack Snyder isn't off the hook either. While I love what he's done with the DCEU, I have to say that he might be as culpable as Whedon is. Throughout the movie there are unnecessary shots of Gal Gadot’s butt and scenes where you can easily look up her skirt. I mean we get it, she is very pretty but come on guys, there is more to the character than her looks and her butt. On top of that the Amazons (and Atlanteans to be fair) are portrayed as very incompetent. I get that Steppenwolf was suppose to be very powerful but the Amazons (who are suppose to be a group of incredibly strong and fierce warrior women) got their asses handed to them during the fight on Themyscira. There was a way to make the Amazons seem strong and still let Steppenwolf achieve his objective but they didn't go that route. It’s disappointing because it goes back on all the progress that had been made with the Wonder Woman movie.
Overall I did have a really fun time watching this movie. I am disappointed it wasn't as deep as BvS but I understand that movie did not appeal to general audiences and something needed to be fixed. Unfortunately they tried to fix it way to late in the game and it didn't come out as clean cut as it could have. Justice League, while not necessarily a turning point for the DC Extended Universe, manages to step into the right direction and be entertaining even though it has a sloppy execution. I give it a 7.9/10.