Justice League (2017)

And here we are. After sorrow and much toil and so many false starts I’ve lost track, we finally have a Justice League movie…and it bombed. By which I mean, “It still made half a billion dollars.” But that’s two hundred million less than Superman and Wonder Woman made on their own, four hundred million less than Batman’s made on his own in over a decade, and barely-break-even territory for a movie with this kind of budget. Especially once you add the marketing costs.

As usual for DC Extended Universe movies, half the internet decided to hate it the moment the heard about it, over a year in advance. Don’t say you didn’t, you did. The rest of us decided to hate it the weekend after it premiered. And don’t kid yourselves, True Believers – we self-proclaimed DCEU Fans (and gods help us, we do exist) hate this more than you ever will.

Our hatred’s almost entirely due to the fact a family tragedy compelled director Zack Snyder to leave the movie halfway through post-production. Warner Brothers, being the pack of fools that they are, immediately turned around and hired the only other superhero movie director they could think of – The Avengers own Joss Whedon. Just in time for him to incorporate all that test-audience data the WB loves so much more than the actual creative visions of their directors. Who cares if Whedon’s become a walking burnout case after decades of fighting TV networks for a decent time slot, and half a decade of tedious meetings with the Marvel/Disney brass? Even if anyone at the WB knew about that, I doubt they wouldn’t have cared.

Evil Me: He made our competition $2 billion in three years. Besides, we already hired him to do re-writes without telling anyone. To bring in that quick-witted, jokey tone you people like so much. A bit of levity, to balance out the dour slog of yet another Zack Snyder film. Which this still is. Look at the credits.

Oh, cut the shit. I’ve seen every single one of Whedon’s theatrical films and hundreds of hours of his TV shows. I know the Joss Whedon films when I see them, and…

Okay, credit where it’s due: the opening credit sequence – which amounts to a music video for a low-key cover of the Leonard Cohen song “Everybody Knows,” sung by a Norwegian singer/songwriter I’d never heard of before, named Sigrid – is pure Zack Snyder. Perhaps the only purely Snyder thing in the theatrical cut. He still gets the “directed by” credit all to himself, but that’s because there are union rules about that shit. If I’m reading DGA.org correctly, as long as your butt was in the Big Chair for 90% of principle photography, you get final credit…regardless of how much the editors changed the color-scheme of what you shot (making the trailers even more hilariously unrepresentative of the final product than usual). Or how much your replacement re-shot in a mad, last-minute dash to make that sweet post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas release window.

Besides, Whedon gets screenplay credit, under Dawn of Justice writer Chris Terrio and the word “and.” Meaning (if I’m reading WGA.org correctly) Whedon contributed at least 33% of this script and did not work together with Terrio. When you work as a team, you get an ampersand between your names. As in “Story by Chris Terrio & Zack Snyder.” When you parachute in at the last minute to fuck up someone else’s work, you get an “and” between your names. As in, “Screenplay by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon.”

Whedon’s and Snyder’s directorial styles are, very obviously, different, and they just as obviously clash. Combined with all the other, inevitable, interference from on high, and it’s no wonder – har har – that this movie’s an uneven mess, full of unnecessary retcons, ill-timed jokes, and the most generic plot under the yellow sun. Oh, gee – a team of loner superheroes have to put aside their differences and work together to stop an alien invasion. Led by a one-note villain who’s ultimately little more than the precursor to an actually-interesting villain…that some damn fool (or pack of them) decided to Save for the Sequel. Never seen that before…except for this one time…in another Big, Dumb Superhero Crossover film…directed by Joss Whedon…

But one can’t blame Whedon for everything. Well, one can, but one shouldn’t. Those who run the WB’s Film division seem to have nothing but contempt for their nominal co-workers in Publishing. Both are vying for the attention of CEO and Board of Directors that treats them like Intellectual Property Mines and keeps trying to run them the way John D. Rockefeller ran coal out of Colorado. Watching this movie is like picking through the ruins of a tent city that got massacred by the National Guard, is what I’m saying. Everywhere I look, I see the burnt-out debris of what could have been and almost was, sticking out of the blasted ground. Those are the parts of the movie I tend to like the most.

We start off with Batman, because if it’s not Batman, it’s not Batman enough. After all, Batman’s the one with the successful series of video games, which make more money than movies ever could, to the WB Film division’s eternal shame. He’s hunting a parademon across the rooftops of Gotham. Parademons being the foot soldiers and shock troops of the planet Apokolips…reduced, here in live action, down to flying zombies. That can smell fear. This will be important later, for the dumbest possible reason. You might remember the parademons from the brief cameo they had in one of Batman’s nightmares in the middle of Dawn of Justice. The one where he led a brave band of freedom fighters in the…dare I say it?

Evil Me: Dare! Dare!

Post-Apokoliptic wastelands of Earth against the tyrannical, fascist regime of Superman. It was both a vision of the future and a massive projection exercise on Batman’s part. Rumor has it someone else in this league was supposed to see a very similar vision in this film, but…nope.

On the plus side, we get to see some of the more inhabited parts of this Gotham, and I do like their aesthetic. It’s not just a recognizable American city standing in for Gotham, like Chicago was in Dark Knight and New York was in Dark Knight Rises. It seems to have its own architectural personality, which Gotham most definitely should…but that’s the literal background. In the foreground, we have a MacGuffin Gathering expedition for our plot. Not an excuse to have the plot, the way the Kryptonian Registry of Citizens was in Man of Steel, or that chunk of kryptonite was in Dawn of Justice. The alien invaders are after three boxes which, when combined together, will allow them to terraform (Apoko-form?) the Earth. And that just is the plot, the way a MacGuffin should never be.

I do get a kick out of how both major comic book universes are finally going Full Jack Kirby. For all the supposed love of the Silver Age of Comics (the 1950s and 60s) that these writers and producers and directors and artists keep saying they have (on both sides of the corporate divide), few have been willing to go Full Jack Kirby and it’s consistently held their work back. They don’t call him “The King” just for the alliteration – they call him “The King” because he’s the man most directly responsible for hammering the metaphysical scope of these universes into their current shape. Mostly during the Bronze Age of the 1970s and early 80s, which people tend to love much more, but are still squeamish about admitting in public. That’s when Gwen Stacy died the first time, when Roy Harper got his heroin habit, when Wonder Woman got her powers back after a few years being a secret agent, and when Jack Kirby created the New Gods. Based on the eternally-waring twin planets of New Genesis and Apokolips, the New Gods are…frankly, too complicated to really get into here.

I shouldn’t even have to get into them. This film should’ve done this form me. Instead, they’re deep background – a tiny hit of flavor in an otherwise overcooked stew. Apokolips barely rates a mention, New Genesis doesn’t even come up, and out of all the Apokolipans they could’ve chosen to be Our Villain, they chose poorly in Steppenwolf. He’s not chatty enough for someone from Apokalips. They’re all pretty chatty there, as another Superman once said…and their rambling, Byzantine, Evil Monologues are one of the most endearing things about them. This Steppenwolf delivers one half-decent Evil Monologue a little later, to Wonder Woman’s mom, about how, “you will know the righteousness of power.” And a little after that he declares Our Heroes have “the blood of the old gods” in them, but then adds, “The Old Gods died!” A direct reference to the first line of Jack Kirby’s first New Gods comic book. Steppenwolf’s own actor has come out and said the movie we’re watching now was not the one he worked on, and while I’m not sure what that means, I hold out hope that there was more Evil Speechifying. Possibly enough to make Our Villain two dimensional.

As it is, he’s a flat dude in a flat plot, supposedly about a team of loner superheroes overcoming their differences and blah, blah, blah…So after Batman’s prey self-destructs to prevent capture (burning three perfectly shaped squares into the wall…because Darkseid is many things, including a master of Brand Synergy) Bats decides its time to use those files he stole from Lex Luthor and unite the …seven. Remember that initial tagline? There are only six of ’em, even once Superman comes back to life, and I’ve heard too many stories to tell you what’s up with that. Great job, WB. Flawless marketing campaign, there.

Meanwhile, over in London, Roose Motherfucking Bolton is trying to blow up Old Baily – the same church the Terrorist Known as V blew up in the first ten minutes of his movie. Hide your kids, hide your wife, they’re flaying everybody out here…or, shooting them in the back of the head and threatening to blow them sky-high, but whatever. Good thing Diana’s around to make Roose’s followers spew exposition with her magic lasso. It’s funny how Roose brags about how big his bomb is but, once Diana throws it out of the building, it doesn’t even crack the windows.

Of course, this scene was supposed to go on for a bit. We know this because we have the footage. Another, bigger explosion was supposed to go off while Diana was mopping up Roose’s mooks, illustrating that (for all Wonder Woman’s considerable power) she is still just one God Killer and can’t do everything by herself. But that would be depressing, and Diana’s the new, feel-good, crowd-pleaser of this universe. We know the old gods died because we watched her straight-up kill the last one at the end of her solo movie.

Meanwhile, somewhere up north, Batman’s tracked down Aquaman. And for the first time since Peter David’s run writing Aquaman comics, I actually liked Arthur right from the off. He cemented that by reacting to mention of Gotham with, “Oh, that shithole?” Causing me to go, “So you’ve been?” He’ll eventually grow into the role of his team’s resident drunken cynic, making him an Aquaman after my own heart. But here, at the beginning, he turns down Batman’s offer of alliance, because we have to build some tension somehow.

Rejected, Bats gets back on his plane and shaves off the weeks worth of beard he somehow grew in the time it took Diana to smack Roose Bolton’s boys down. Making me think his pitch to Aquaman was the real opening scene of this film, transported here so it could come after two opening action scenes in the hope no one would notice. Like none of us would know how beards work.

For the second movie in a row, I have to shout-out Alfred for being the real MVP and Seventh Member of this benighted Team. Plus, he’s a Bruce/Diana shipper, just like me and every other fan of 2001’s Justice League cartoon. “I’m only interested in her skill-set,” the Bat says, to which Alfred and I simultaneously reply, “Oh, I’m sure you are.” Fuck yeah, Alfred – you keep that boy in line. Gods know he needs it. Also, that line would’ve been a perfect lead-in to Diana’s opening action scene, but whatever. If wishes were horses, then Amazons would ride.

Meanwhile, in Central City, stuff is happening that’ll make every fan of the Flash’s TV show drum their fingers on their armrests in impatience. I’ve had IRL people ask me why Ezra Miller and Dr. Manhattan are playing the Allens, father and son, instead of Grant Gustin and 1990 Flash. After all, importing the TV show cast would’ve given these characters four seasons of back story to draw upon, and just as much instant cache with a wide audience. There are two main reasons why they didn’t do this. Number 1 is Time Itself: the TV show crew has to make a 22 hour movie every year, and that’s tough enough without your main star going MIA for three months to work on a feature. The second reason is a lot of us – even those of us who’re Flash fans – took one look at Gustin’s TV show and said, “Nope.” So this is all new to them. Especially if, unlike me, they don’t know who Geoff Johns is, or what his name means when it shows up under the Producer credits. In this film, when Alfred tells Batman the tragic(ly retconned) history of the Allen family, and Batman goes, “Jesus,” I almost stood up in the theater and said, “I know, right? That’s what I said in 2010! When a certain someone made that the lynchpin of modern Flash comics.”

From here, I could go on my usual rant about the career of Geoff Johns – Chief Creative Officer of DC Entertainment and the man most directly responsible for the modern characterizations of Green Lantern, Flash, Cyborg, and in fact, the whole Justice League. How he leveraged his position as one of Richard Donnor’s assistants to get his first job writing comics back in 2001. How he climbed to the top of the heap over ten years of stunningly consistent mediocrity. How his mediocrity has infected almost everything else in the DC stable as much better writers have rushed to (or been order to) recreate Johns’ inexplicable, Michael-Bay-like success.

But I won’t go on that rant. For all Johns’ considerable faults as a writer, and an executive, at least he’s not Secretary of the Treasury, like some Warner Brothers producers. Besides, in spite of all my better instincts, I actually like this Flash. Much like in the 2001 Justice League cartoon, a Flash is the enthusiastic one, fanboying out about all this comic book shit as much as I’m supposed to be. He doesn’t even let Bats get his pitch out, it’s just, “Stop right there: I’m in.” I like that line, and this whole scene, despite the fact it was obviously made for the trailers. As was the subsequent one. ”What are your superpowers again?” “I’m rich.” See? Check out my sweet-ass Benz. This glory shot of my sweet-ass Benz just paid for ten seconds of a fight-scene. Or a re-shoot.

Also to the good, this movie cast Joe Morton as Cyborg’s dad, and I can’t stay mad when Miles Dyson’s in the house. Yeah, typecasting’s a bitch, but I’d rather they cast a pro at playing…not mad scientists, per say, but idealistic ones who’s actions only look mad when you step back a bit. He even gets his own moment of badass-itude later on, in the face of Steppenwolf, impressing the both of us. “At last: one that doesn’t whine.”

I could say the same for his Ray Fisher-played son. I was worried about Cyborg. For a guy who was only created in the 80s, he’s been through a lot of variations, and there’s always the temptation (especially in mass market live-action) to combine them all into some kind of Frankenstein. Someone on staff even thought it’d be a good idea to lean into this comparison. Like this: kindly Dr. Stone somehow snuck his son’s body into STAR Labs Metropolis and fused it with a box of alien technology without anybody noticing. Of course, Dr. Stone hasn’t told anyone about this. His son asks if that’s because he doesn’t want anyone to see the monster. Dr. Stone insists, “You are not a monster, Victor,” and his son says. “It’s weird that you thought I meant me.”

For the second time in ten minutes, I had to stop myself from saying something in the theater. Only this time it was, “Oh…there he is! There’s the Victor Stone I know. Hi, Vic. Long time, no see, since they trapped you in a kiddie cartoon.” Not that I hate that cartoon, like some, but I like how, in live action, you can really play up the Body Horror angle of Vic’s transformation. I wish they’d done more…but, then again, they probably did and it probably got cut for cost-saving measures.

So that’s our team…and that’s our film, basically. Every scene in this movie, there’s something I like, and there’s something that pisses me off. I love this flashback Diana narrates to Bats about the first Apokoliptan invasion of Earth, which apparently happened in 10,000 BC, or thereabouts. For some reason, Steppenwolf left his three (mother)boxes behind after he got his ass kicked by a combined army of Amazons, Atlantians, Standard Issue Humans, Old Gods and a Green Lantern (though definitely not the Green Lantern Geoff Johns would probably want to see on screen). The boxes were separated, buried, and forgotten about…until now. Back in the present, Queen Hypolitta wonders why they’ve suddenly woken up, and that’s a great question, Your Highness. Too bad we won’t get a good answer. The bad answers are “because Superman’s dead” (despite his being dead long enough for Suicide Squad to happen), and because “Amazons, Atlantians, each stands and falls alone.” Well, they seem to’ve been doing that for a few thousand years as well. Why now, specifically? Who knows? Who cares?

I like that the Amazons get something to do. I don’t like how that something is “get their asses kicked to prove how serious the threat is.” Same goes for the Atlantians (especially Mera), and Our Team As a Whole (minus Superman). You won’t catch Hippolyta warming a throne with her ass while the universe burns, like some comic book fantasy monarchs. She’s out there, riding with the girls, playing MacGuffin Keep Away and it’s….better than nothing. A lot of Wonder Woman stories forget that there’s a whole island of women just like her in the middle of the Agean, and plenty more jump through all kinds of hoops to wipe them out of existence. Maybe this continuity will actually deal with them in some creative or constructive way…or just have them invade Washington DC again. Hell, even I’d be up for that, at this point.

And where does Steppenwolf go when he boom-tubes away? This abandoned Russian town, in the shadow of a nuclear power plant? And why isn’t this town just Pripyat? If it were, every Call of Duty player’s brain would’ve instantly started reciting the opening of COD 4 the moment they saw it: “50,000 people used to live here. Now it’s a ghost town.” I can’t believe everyone involved missed out on such instant name recognition. Is it because Pripyat’s in the Ukraine and people in certain international markets (*cough*Russia*cough*) might care if you set a climactic battle there? Or is it because nobody’s moved back into Pripyat? Or because every other movie’s used it for the setting of an action scene by now? God knows, the last two Snyder films got enough bad-faith comparisons to Bayformers without sharing one of their settings…People should’ve saved all those up for this. Maybe thrown in a few Good Day to Die Hard comparisons as well.

Of course, the real reason Steppenwolf’s hiding out here is so the movie can have a climax somewhere an American audience won’t care about collateral damage.

Back in Gotham, I do like seeing Ol’ Picklepuss himself as Commissioner Gordon. He doesn’t get much to do beyond the standard Jim Gordon act of giving Batman the plot, but he’s there. And he gets one good line about how it’s good to see Batman “playing well with others,” and that has the benefit of being true. Now that he’s in a group setting, Bats actually gets to do A Batman Thing and School the Noobs. They barely listen to him, but its the thought that counts. Barry, as the truest noob, listens the most. After he gets a mild anxiety attack at the sight of a seven foot tall dude with a glowing ax and an army of mosquito-winged zombies, Batman tells him, “Save one person.” Shit can get real weird, real fast in the Hero Game, but at the end of the day it all fundamentally boils down to saving one person at time.

Uncoordinated and raw as they might be, I like how our team naturally splits itself into sub-teams, as if the spirit of Gardner Fox still lives on within this. Barry and Vic are Team “Accident” – as Barry calls it – which I dubbed “Team Super-Science,” because that sounds nicer. Diana and Arthur, naturally, become “Team Noble Scion” and Batman, just as naturally, forms the pivot point between the two, coordinating, scheming and occasionally motivating people by being a total asshole.

I don’t like how the issue that splits our team is Superman’s resurrection. I knew it was coming, knew it was inevitable (Dawn of Justice contains two different set-ups for it) and the execution still left me wanting. That’s because the debate moves too damn fast for the gravity of the situation. It feels like it’s on fast-forward…as does everything else in this damn flick. Watching it, I sensed something I hadn’t felt since 2009, when I watched the theatrical cut of Zack Snyder’s Watchmen. I’d bet folding money there’s an hour of this film missing in action somewhere.

You can tell the debate moves too fast because it moves into the next scene, with just Bats and Alfred. Much as I like how Bats clinches things for the pro-resurrection side by declaring that Clark was/is “more human than I am.” Hell yes! Nice to see some self-awareness from the Batman. A bit of it came at the end of Dawn of Justice, but that was too little, too late for some. Might as well have him spell out how Superman “live in this world. Fell in love, got a job.” Plus that one living parental unit he actually called and flew out to visit on the regular.

Too bad the film’s so pressed for time. And now it’s got to take time and explain the mechanics of the Do It Yourself Lazarus Pit our team builds from the crashed Kryptonian ship that’s still sitting right in the middle of downtown Metropolis, even after it spawned a Doomsday. And we’ve gotta have a fight scene that’s the definition of “pointless,”…and that’s coming from me: the fan this fight is supposed to service. As a fan, I already know Clark can wipe the floor with these amateurs – even when he’s in a post-resurrection haze Lois has to snap him out of. So all this fight does is illustrate how uncoordinated and amateur-hour our team really are. We already had a fight scene that did that, down in the tunnels. Still, great job everybody. You got your asses handed to you by the guy you brought back from the dead and, in the all commotion, you let your one advantage slip into the hands of the Enemy. But it’s ok, cuz Superman’s back, baby. Woo. Time to wrap all this up.

If my “woo” seems muted, it’s because this resurrection shares the same problem as all the other Superman resurrections: the presence of an Immediate Threat to the Planet destroys any chance this movie has to really explore the fact one of it’s protagonists just came back from the fucking dead! They don’t have the imagination (or budget) to do what the comics did and have Clark go on a grand adventure through the afterlife with the soul of Jonathan Kent. And they didn’t have the guts to do what, say, for example, Game of Thrones did and just have Clark admit there was nothing on The Other Side. One minute, you’re getting impaled by a giant monster, the next minute you’re surrounded by all these weirdos…I’d have had Clark ask Lois what the hell was up with them. After they fucked in his old bedroom, under the model of the solar system.

Instead, this movie plays it off with a joke and then it’s back to business like almost nothing happened. “No dying. And I get the exclusive.” “Yes, ma’am.” And while that is them in a nutshell, it’s too bad this is their only scene. And Lois has nothing to do for the rest of this movie. In the last two, she not only unraveled the whole plot while the boys were still dick-measuring, she figured a way to get everyone out of it. She should be the Eighth member of this team, complete with her own password to the Bat-cave wifi and seat at the big conference table with her own damn logo painted on it. Like the one from the Gwenda Bond novels. That one’s alright.

The final fight is a foregone conclusion and it was always going to be. In attempting to make Superman’s resurrection the feel-good, crowd-pleasing moment of the third act, all they actually did was make the rest of the team seem comparatively useless. Good for clearing out mooks, not so much for facing the final boss. That’s Clark’s job, and it’s been Clark’s job for awhile now. That’s why the villains in the first season of the Justice League cartoon I keep referencing (because it’s the last unambiguously good Justice League thing I saw) almost invariably made sure to punch him into the next county, first thing. And why subsequent seasons focused more on conflicts that couldn’t be so easily punched…unless those conflicts came from Apokolips. There, as here, there was usually a bad guy to punch, a MaGuffin to pull apart, and a plot contrivance to save our heroes from having to actually kill the bad guy.

Here, Steppenwolf’s minions smell fear, so they turn on him the moment he starts to fear failing – to fear being beaten by this team, this League. They all swarm him and then teleport away, leaving our heroes to survey a landscape that suddenly blooms as all the bio-mechanical shit Steppenwolf’s boxes called out of the ground turns into plant life…And somewhere, Swamp Thing is pausing whatever he’s doing and going, “What…the fuck?” Then, sending his consciousness through The Green, he spies our League in the midst of their Big Damn Hero moment and goes, “Oh. Them.” Then he goes back to…I don’t know…saving a film crew from the hungry ghosts haunting the Louisiana plantation where they’re filming, or something.

After that, it’s all epilogue. There’s a bit where the Kent farm got foreclosed on without Clark around to send money back to mom, but Bruce Wayne steps in, buys whatever Smallville bank held the mortgage, and I didn’t mention any of this before because it doesn’t even count as a subplot. Diana, Bats and Alfred start making plans to turn Wayne Manor into a Hall of Justice. Vic, Arthur and Barry go off to set up their own solo movies. And somewhere in…Monaco…?…I guess…or Ibiza. (It’s pronounced “Ib-ee-tha.”) Lex Luthor and Deathstroke are planting the seeds of a sequel we might never see.

Oh, and I lied before hand – Lois gets one last thing to do: write the closing monologue. Like the rest of the film, it tries to be an uplifting ray of comic book light, meant to dispel the ambient unrelenting darkness. Like the rest of the film, it comes off as bland and generic – less like the triumphant end-point and more like a contractual obligation. The Cutthroat Island of superhero movies. And, like Cutthroat Island, it seems well on its way to ending careers.

I wish I could hate this movie, but there’s too much in it to love. I wish I could love this movie, but so much of it so obviously compromised, focus-tested, and rendered down into a thoroughly tasteless mush, and I hate it. In a way, this was inevitable. Unless you’ve made a film studio a billion dollars in the last ten years, between a sixth to a third of your movie is going to go missing before it even gets close to a public screen. Only to be sold back to the proles as overpriced DVDs and Blu-Rays, mislabeled as the “Extended” or “Ultimate” or “Director’s” or “Unrated” Cuts of the film, when they should just be called “the Cut You Should Have Seen Six Months Ago.” We fans of the DCEU have grown so used to this that we expected it to happen here. The fact that it hasn’t is, hands down, the most disappointing thing about 2018. I can only hope the resulting debacle has taught a whole new segment of comic book movie fandom that our corporate overlords are not to be trusted. At all. About anything. Ever.

..Well, okay: you can trust them to want our money, the way feudal lords wanted grain from their peasants and warm bodies to fight their wars. Internet proxy wars though they might be, they are constant, and on-going, and as ultimately pointless as any long-forgotten medieval border skirmish. The saddest thing is, because our corporate overlords are so insulated from the rest of us by all their money and power and money, they have no idea when they’re making bad decision and they will never face a single, meaningful consequence for them. Ever. While we flame each other across Twitter and Facebook and YouTube – pointlessly arguing over which $200 million toy commercial is the best or (more often) the worst – they collect their Christmas bonuses and laugh at us all the way to the bank that’s foreclosing on your house. They have nothing but contempt for us and everything we like. They hate us, and while they don’t want us to die, exactly, they would definitely prefer it if we all receded into a state of placid, cow-like non-existence that’s certainly like unto death.

Unfortunately, they need us to justify their expense accounts and private jets and the new wings to their mansions. So they finance these films, and hire what they consider to be “successful” artists to make them. Problem being, their definition of success is based almost entirely by how much money someone’s last movie made. And that’s how the whole sorry, shit system works. Happy Holidays, everyone.

Evil Me: Including a happy New Year.


4 thoughts on “Justice League (2017)”

  1. The first problem was choosing their worst iteration ever, the Johns NEW 52. Once Geoff takes over something you really love, it pollutes it for good: now I think ever new issues is awesome and every new creative team is genius. But I may be grading on a curve just because it’s post-Johns?

    Cyborg still does not fit, because he is so is so intractably linked with the TT’s – I love him but he is a square peg
    They could have been braver on the lineup. You had a chance to bring say Desaad in, and you bring in in Steppenwolf, a Steppenwolf that acts like Darkseid anyway.
    Again, after so many years in rumor and fog, I end up liking this movie, above average, but I think again maybe I am just grading on a curve?

    Should I be grading anything on curves, that comes from any freaking entity with that that amount of financial liquidity and resources to grab any talent they want?

    I think we will be seeing a sequel for sure, with the unlikely box office of AQUAMAN. But I do no think it will be Darkseid; as I said in your review of INFINITY WARS that Thanos in there was Marvel’s corportate spoilage of that charater

    I cannot believe I miss the melancholy tones of Snyder

      1. Honestly as blasphemous as it is Johns CAN be pretty good. Even when he brought back things like General Zod and New Krypton he did things to make them interesting (Zodd is a lot more multifaceted)

        Honestly as blasphemous as it is I rather liked Doomsday Clock as well. Johns DOES do a lot to honor the source material (he acknowledges that a lot of it’s themes are legitimate, the characters are in character barring a few where something is hinted to be going on and even people who hate the series on general principle have admitted that Rorschach II was a very well done and tragic character who also reinforces the “Rorschach was a god damned loon” theme of the first one.)

        There’s one scene where Batman meets Ozymandias and calls him out on the fact that he killed millions out of a misguided hero complex. Ozymandias gets THIS little zinger in

        “Oh. Oh I see. You think I’m responsible for the chaos on your world. In your city. You do realize the protests below are you. I’ve read and seen enough to know you’re tripping over your own capes, playing a game of tag while the world around you falls apart. You’ve put these people through hell. Your world is worse off than mine ever was. Look at the sheer number of you lost in the narrative of good versus bad. Wandering aimlessly in a fog of self righteousness. You’re so busy putting these “super villains” in prisons with revolving doors, you’ve ignored the worlds real problems. And now you’re all caught in a vicious cycle of entertaining yourselves. You cling to a simplistic morality based on pulp heroes. I wonder. Is that why Jon came here. To observe the futility of your colorful lives? Or did he come here believing he could blend in? I weaned my world off gasoline and oil. I cured famine and disease. I negotiated Nuclear Disarmament. I turned the world upside down. I did whatever I had to, to try and save it. And yes, I failed. But what have YOU tried to do to make this world a better place?”

        And Batman is completely powerless to answer.

    1. Johns actually has some talent as a writer; he fleshed out the green lantern mythos and he does get Superman. He’s made blunders certainly but he isn’t a hack by any means

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