Justice League 2017 movie has released for a few weeks now and we have to agree that the film has lots of controversial feedbacks and reviews. On one hand many people actually enjoy Justice League 2017, while many others consider the film as an “another failure” of DCEU. Personally for us who also enjoy the movie, it is quite interesting to see the film gets many mixed reviews from low to average-good. Eventually it leads us to a question: What went wrong with Justice League 2017?
*Note: The opinions listed here include our own experience with the film and other people and critics’ feedbacks.
1. Justice League 2017 Overview
So for those who have not watched Justice League 2017 (or never had any intention to watch it in the first place), it would be a good idea to sum up what happened in the film.
Justice League 2017 was first on-air on November 17, 2017 and it can be considered as a “sequel” after Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice released on March 25 last year. It picked up what left in Batman V Superman when the Man of Steel was supposed to be dead. Without Superman – the symbol of hope, the world faced a cataclysmic danger again when Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciarán Hinds) – a fearsome general under Darkseid’s wings attempted to invade Earth. In order to protect Earth against this threat, Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) decided to assemble a superheroes team including Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and The Flash (Ezra Miller). The assembled team took the name Justice League and they fought against the rising threat. And of course, Superman would not miss the “fun” either.
Before we go further, we should note that the film had quite an issue during the filming. Originally, Zack Snyder was the film’s director; however, after a certain incident he had to leave early while Joss Whedon continued the work. This partly explained why the film felt messy and confused at certain times. But nonetheless, we cannot ignore the problems in this movie.
2. What people don’t like about Justice League 2017
Weak Villains… again…
If we have to pick one best villain portray in DC live-action films, we will choose Heath Ledger’s Joker from The Dark Knight. However, it seems later villains in DC live-actions could not surpass the shadow of Heath Ledger’s Joker. Or to be more precisely, villains from these DC movies were kind of… dumbed down. Fans of DC movies really, really want to see an actually good villain, but unfortunately, this year’s Justice League 2017 failed our expectation.
First thing first, personally we do not have any problem with their choice of Steppenwolf. We have seen certain viewers said that Steppenwolf was a bad choice, yet personally we don’t think that is the case. If you have seen him in the original DC Comics, you will know that this “guy” is not a small deal. He once started the Apokolips War on Earth 2 and even killed Wonder Woman and Superman, which pretty much tell us how “ridiculous” this guy is. Therefore, picking Steppenwolf as villain for Justice League 2017 was a fine decision from our perspective. However, the problem was mainly how they handled him.
Right off the bat, we were kind of disappointed when seeing Steppenwolf in full CGI appearance, voiced by Ciarán Hinds. In the comics, Steppenwolf appeared in human-like form with badass armor, but why they decided to make him as CGI villain in this movie? His CGI did not look imposing, or felt real enough to be intimidated. Also, he was really boring in the movie. He only felt like a typical villain with “destroying-the-world hype”. When Steppenwolf first appeared, we might feel a bit intrigued. But when the movie changed its focus to the Justice League, the guy was pretty much forgettable. This is a huge letdown for a villain especially when the movie failed to depict him as a world’s greatest threat.
Besides the weak villain, this is probably the most complained aspect of Justice League 2017: the movie used too much CGI. And by saying too much CGI, yes, there are so many, many CGI scenes in the film and they were not polished. Frankly speaking, most CGI scenes looked bad in this movie and it quickly made us feel bored after few times watching them. Unfortunately, the Justice League movie includes too much of them, it was like the CGI were put in to “glorify” the danger posed to the world. Yet, with such weak villain and not-so-good CGI, too bad the CGI only made people feel more disappointed about the film.
Talking about CGI, we have also seen many viewers complained about Henry Camill’s mustache CGI. So basically, the film-maker wanted Henry to keep his mustache since it could be “used” in certain scenes. As the results, they decided to use CGI to hide it. So here is the thing, people complained about this mustache CGI. But from our viewpoint, this was not necessarily the problem for us. Rather, we think people hated it mainly because of the already-bad CGI scenes in the movie. When the whole CGI throughout the movie looked bad, even the small detail like mustache could be an annoyance.
And again talking about bad CGI scenes and mustache, we have full-CGI Steppenwolf which was a pretty bad decision. As we mentioned, Steppenwolf was a bad villain. He did not really pose any intimidating or dangerous feeling. He felt more like a “pawn” so that Justice League had reason to open a “welcome party” for their own members. Since he was already a weak villain, his not-so-good CGI body only made matter worse.
One Messy Storyline
Justice League 2017 is kind of an example for a “rushed product” which tried to “cram-up” so many plots at the same time. And while we can give the movie applause for its excellent characters’ chemistry, we can’t deny that the whole storyline was a big mess. While the movie tried to provide each character a fair share of screen-time, the story was quickly changed from a plotline to the others. Viewers often found it hard to keep up with all things happening throughout the movie.
Needless to say, the villain and the built-up tension suffered the most from this issue. Most of the time the film’s villain Steppenwolf was pretty much forgotten. We did not feel him as imposing or dangerous, rather, we only saw him as a typical villain who was destined to fail. This also applied to the tension built up throughout the movie as the sense of world’s danger was nowhere to be found. In addition, there were certain activities in the movie in which viewers would find it hard to understand why the characters did that. Unless, you were already DC Comics enthusiasts, most other viewers often found it hard to understand certain things in the movie. Yet even if we understand the plotline, the whole story of Justice League did not do its justice. We did not feel any sort of importance of why such a heroic team established. If not for the well-done characters’ chemistry, this film would have much lower score.
Overall, we have to say the plotline of Justice League 2017 was bland. It was nothing special, nor having something new. The movie is more like an effort of “copying” The Avengers from 2012, rather than carving its own path. But it was quite understandable for such a messy story when they have to pull out all of those plots within a 2-hour movie.
Let the story’s problem aside, even the Justice League (JL) themselves were not that equally portrayed. While Aquaman and The Flash seemed to have the most interesting characteristics, other JL members like Cyborg and Batman did not have that much impact.
In terms of Cyborg, he was not really a bad character, but he was not polished either. Comparing to new members like “funny Flash” or “Aqua-bro”, Cyborg did not feel unique in terms of character. Even his role was not that emphasized, besides hacking some machines and providing intel for the team.
And then we have Ben Affleck’s Batman who was poorly portrayed in this movie. Now, we do not mean that Ben Affleck is not suitable for the role of Batman. In fact, his performance in Batman V Superman Dawn of Justice was well received and had quite lots of positive comments. But in the Justice League 2017, Batman was really boring compared to other new JL members. He did not exactly show any sort of interesting development, especially when he was supposed to be the leader and the one rounded up the team. Batman in Justice League was supposed to have much more important role as he was the only “mortal” in the team, yet with a brilliant mind. Sadly, Batman in Justice League the movie was still not able to fully show his true potential.
3. Final Thought
In the end, again we have to say that Justice League has lots of major problems despite our enjoyment with the movie. For those who enjoy movie for fun and pleasure, you will probably enjoy Justice League as much as we do. But for viewers and fans who really want to see a good DCEU movie with serious and meaningful story, high chance you will be disappointed.
Therefore, in our Justice League 2017 review, we gave the movie a 7/10. But what about you? How do you feel about Justice League the movie? Feel free to share with us and for now, thank you and stay tune for more news in the future!
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