Sunday, November 26, 2017


I Saw The Justice League

Finally saw Justice League and I liked it just fine.

And that is the problem.

Didn't love it. I liked it.

After 40-plus years of watching Super Friends/Justice League cartoons movie and over thirty years of comics reading, I liked it.

I just liked it.

There were many reasons to like it; Gal Gadot and all of the good will and faith she built as Wonder Woman is, once again, on screen. Ben Affleck and his padded spacesuit Batman are back and more than willing to play with others. Ezra Miller's Flash is a funny, unsure guy and there to provide moments of levity. Jason Mamoa's Aquaman is a bit of a bro, doing all the things that makes you think that Aquaman isn't lame like drinking, walking in slow-mo and surfing a Parademon. And Cyborg, who is there, is Siri with angst.

And SPOILER (eye roll)...

And Superman. Superman is back and leaning harder on the "Man" in his name, leaving me hopeful for his cinematic future.

All of that and I walked away from the Justice League movie not in a rush to see them again and that makes me a bit sad.

Wonder Woman, I saw it three times in theatres. Captain America: Civil War? Four, in theatres and few on DVD and Netflix.

I loved those movies because they had consequences and gravity. In Justice League, I felt and heard nothing more than the mechanisms clicking into place to have these characters come together. The threat that brought them together just felt flimsy and unworthy of this gathering of heroes.

Steppenwolf was a poorly rendered CGI non-threat that never did more than promise threat. He may as well have been a cardboard cut-out with lasers stapled to its side. Sadly, the threat was never given any weight and is one only those with a passing knowledge of comics would know.

As the movie wrapped, I was happy we got a shot of The Justice League standing triumphant but it just didn't feel earned. I had no sense, nor did The Justice League or humanity, of just how epic this moment was or should've been. They simply look at one another, exchange glances and leave their final statement to a hollow voiceover.

I so wanted that one moment for them.

A moment to realize just how momentous a gathering of Wonder Woman, Superman, Batman, The Flash, Aquaman and yes, Cyborg should be. I wanted them to express how humanity dodged a bullet and all they should know is that there will be a Justice League there for them should the need arise again.

I simply wanted them to know.

Know what they could mean to humanity and what they could mean to each other.

As a movie, I wish this movie knew what it meant to folks who never thought they'd be in this moment: sitting in a movie theatre watching a hope become real before their eyes.

All I could think was that the filmmakers didn't know.

They didn't know.

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Apokolips is, unfortunately, a terrible threat for the Justice League to battle. True, they're one of the few forces that would make Superman / Wonder Woman break a sweat, but they're just so ... so generic. Imagine the "Avengers" movie with just the space aliens and no Loki -- you might get some good fight sequences but that's about it.

Darkseid COULD be good, if people stuck to the original Kirby vision: he operates through temptation, not force. But unlike Satan he's not Medieval about it; Darkseid plies our modern fears and weaknesses. For example that circus Darkseid set up that time where people were being tortured on full display, but Darkseid put up flimsy disguises (happy music and so forth) to give adults just enough excuse to ignore the suffering. Children were not fooled by the disguises, though, so it all became a setting where parents would teach their children to ignore the suffering of others. THAT Darkseid is interesting. The kind that attacks earth with hordes of parademons is not.

Well, if nothing else, the franchise no longer needs to learn from the mistakes of "Batman v. Superman" (which according to the notation is probably a civil case, like a divorce). No, the franchise needs to learn from the mistakes of "Justice League".
I would watch your Justice League movie.
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