Popcorn Picks Review: ‘Justice League’ packs a weak punch


Photo credit/ Anne Marie Fox

Credit to Warner Bros. Pictures

Bethany Wade, Photography Editor

Since the 1950s, DC fans have seen the Justice League of America fight crime with a vast array of heroes joining their lengths. As soon as the DC Extended Universe was announced, fans begged and waited for a live-action Justice League movie.

If they wanted a good Justice League movie, they need to keep waiting.

“Justice League” is the fifth film in the DC Extended Universe, starring Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa and Ray Fisher as the titular team. Following the events of “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Wonder Woman,” Batman, played by Affleck, and Wonder Woman, played by Gadot, gather a team of heroes together to prevent bad guy Steppenwolf from controlling the Earth.

Fans have seen Affleck, Cavill and Gadot in character in the past DC Comics films, but Miller, Momoa and Fisher make their debuts. Out of the three, Miller is the strongest addition to the cast as the Flash, offering quips and naturally funny moments. Both Momoa and Fisher as Aquaman and Cyborg, respectively, offer their own charm to the film. However, it’s Miller’s performance that catches the audience’s attention.

The heroes together have great chemistry, besides Cavill who doesn’t get the opportunity to truly work with the rest of the cast for very long. Affleck as Batman feels like a realistic leader, directing the team members to victory against Steppenwolf. Gadot also has her shining moments. Even though her performance of Wonder Woman is not as strong as in her solo film, it definitely has the same amount of charm.

As the villain, Ciarán Hinds does too good of a job playing Steppenwolf. The story gives him very little to work with, yet he takes the villain to a much greater level than this film deserves. The guy only gets to play him through motion capture, yet he gives a better performance than Ben Affleck’s lazy excuse for a Batman. That isn’t saying much though, since Affleck’s idea of Batman is brooding for two hours.

Director Zack Snyder is no stranger to DC Comics films, directing both “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman.” While using this film as a continuation of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman’s characters, he also treats this film like an origin story for the new characters.

It becomes a jumbled mess as it’s hard to pick which actor is the true main character of the film when the movie focuses on everyone equally. He offers his traditional gritty style of filmmaking, which doesn’t work as well for this film compared to his last two outings with DC.

It’s hard to blame Snyder completely when the story doesn’t work either. Hollywood has given audiences too many origin stories of heroes over the past ten years, and this film is yet another one.

To make matters more confusing, parts of the film truly feel out of sync with the rest. Joss Whedon took over directing the reshoots from Zack Snyder after he stepped down to deal with a death in his family, resulting in some pieces of the movie feeling like they belong in a different film.

Whedon was also the director of “The Avengers” and “Avengers: Age of Ulton,” Marvel’s superhero team films. These films, known for being lighthearted and quippy, are the opposite of the tone Snyder was going for with “Justice League.” To bring him in as the director for reshoots makes no sense, as he wouldn’t understand the mood Snyder wanted to set.

This film feels like the equivalent of taking a handful of action figures and slamming them together. It looks pretty cool, but there’s no point or substance to it. DC proved they can make great films with the success of “Wonder Woman.” The question is, will they ever do that again? Right now, the answer is going to be no.

Rating: Two and a half kernels out of five.

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Twitter: @BethanyWadeTWW