Before its premiere, Justice League was getting a lot of negative attention on social media. NowThis shared a video that compared the Amazons’ costumes in Wonder Woman, which was directed by a woman who hired a female costume designer, to their costumes in Justice League, which was directed by a man who hired a male costume designer. Guess which one is which?
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Even before I saw this comparison I wasn’t a big fan of Zack Snyder, the director of Justice League. I thought he ruined Man of Steel. And although I liked Batman v Superman, I could see why a lot of people didn’t. After seeing the video from NowThis, I was conflicted about seeing Justice League. I was dying to see it, but I was worried he had ruined yet another DC comics movie, in more ways than one.
See also: DC Movies Extended Universe Timeline
I’m happy to report that Justice League wasn’t nearly as bad as I thought it would be. It wasn’t fantastic, but it was nowhere near the failure I feared it was going to be.
First, let’s address this whole feminist issue with Justice League. Many women reported that Wonder Woman was sexualized, and thus diminished, in Justice League. It’s true that there were a few clumsy jokes about how beautiful she is, but there were also jokes about how she was the badass of the group.
The other members of the Justice League — all men — didn’t put her through some stupid initiation; they didn’t doubt her strength or her battle skills; they didn’t try to ostracize her because she was female. These are all scenarios that have been played out — hell, are still played out — in movies and TV shows when a woman is part of group that’s mostly men. At least Snyder didn’t go there.
As for the issue with the Amazons’ costumes, I wasn’t crazy about them, but the Amazons didn’t play a large role in Justice League. Frankly, their scenes were so full of action that there wasn’t much time to worry about their unarmored abs. Their abs were not the focus.
Wonder Woman’s costume was a little different than it was in Wonder Woman, but it wasn’t even close to being as ridiculous as this one.
In fact, on our way out of the theater, I said something to my husband about all the “up the skirt” shots in Justice League. (He hadn’t noticed, for real.) But my comment was that Snyder seemed enchanted with buttocks in general, because there were plenty of shots of Batman’s, Aquaman’s, Flash’s and Cyborg’s butts as they flew away / climbed up something / fought somebody. He wasn’t biased when it came to butts.
And the rest?
Justice League had a lot going for it, not the least of which was just seeing the whole gang together. I know some fans who say Justice League was the best of the DC movies. I think they’re crazy. (Ahem, did I mention Wonder Woman?) I think they’re enthralled with Justice League simply because they finally saw all the members of the Justice League on the same screen at the same time, a lot like what Marvel fans felt when they saw Avengers.
Plus, the story made sense. That doesn’t sound like much, but it was a problem in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. That story got lost in character development. Personally, I love character-based stuff, so I wasn’t bothered, but I could see the problem. In Justice League, the story was clear: There’s a big baddie coming from space, so we better gather the world’s best fighters to destroy him. There weren’t too many B stories to muddle the main story.
However, I felt Justice League took way too long to pull the group together. I’m a sucker for origin stories as much as the next superhero fan, but less time could have been spent convincing, say, Cyborg to join the team, and more time could have been spent watching them train together or pursue Steppenwolf.
Justice League felt very inconsistent.
There wasn’t a clear rhythm. Some scenes were too light-hearted for the moment, while others were melodramatic. Some of the inconsistency could be blamed on the fact that Joss Whedon took over Justice League when Zack Snyder stepped down. (His daughter had committed suicide and he felt that he needed to be with his family, rightfully so.) Too many cooks, you know? But because Man of Steel, and to some extent Batman v Superman, suffered from an inconsistent tone, it’s hard to say where the fault really lies.
Also, the final chapter was too special effects-laden. And the effects looked cheesy. I think Justice League could have benefited from more practical effects and less CGI. I know the tentacles taking over the Earth were from space, but the purple goop in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 looked more lifelike and more threatening.
Another scene that suffered from wacko special effects was Clark Kent’s and Lois Lane’s tête-à-tête in the cornfield. See, those were re-shoots. The problem was that during those reshoots, Henry Cavill, who plays Clark / Superman, had a mustache for the film he was working on at the time, M:I 6 – Mission Impossible. The effects team had to erase his mustache in post-production. The result is that Cavill looks, well, not like himself. He looks plain weird. It took me straight out of the film.
Is Justice League entertaining? Yes. Is Justice League a good comic book movie? Yes. Is it the best comic book movie I’ve seen in the last 10 years? Not even close. Is it demeaning to women? Not really. Like I said, just seeing the Justice League on the same screen at the same time is more than worth the price of admission.
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