Collating the riff-raff that DC had thrown out to audiences under one umbrella term is no small feat, but to hurry them in a film together to counteract the decade-long head start Marvel received is the signs of a panicked cast and crew. Justice League, like many of these extended universe pieces, is a good idea on paper, and with the right pacing and length of time between them, could certainly have been something more. The blueprint is there but is expectedly foiled by the collaboration of idiots and fools who thought they had hit the peak of their creative powers, when, evidently, they were far from scratching the surface.
Those issues flood Justice League, flowing through the brief interludes of detail and overpowering any semblance of competency from Zack Snyder and, to some degree, Joss Whedon in the directing chair. It is no surprise to see that the foundation was constructed by Snyder, although I’m not sure how a four-hour overhaul will aid a film whose story struggled with half the running time. There is only so much one can do with the “superhero hits supervillain” angle, and adding more heroes and villains seems to be the response DC have taken. Horrid a product it may be, at least Marvel took the time to try and build these characters up before dumping them headfirst into an ensemble that, regardless of quality or content, is there to shill action figures to snot-nosed kids and basement dwellers. Call me fusty, egotistical and a superiority-complex riddled oaf, but at least I do not like these nonsense pies with fillings of CGI and wretchedly poor cinematography.
As far as artistry goes, Justice League fails as a weak-yet-somewhat-promising effort to combine many characters. But artistic merit is not on the mind of Snyder and company, only the fans who dribble over the smouldering “dark tones” of the genre. Plot points and items that circumvent any narrative weaknesses, the lasso of truth immediately explained to the audience, as if it weren’t horrendously obvious what it was and what it did. One of the many recurrent issues Justice League has is the lack of faith and trust in its audience. Everything must be explained and spelt out, the simplistic and trivial moments that are meant to fire a cheap pop from the audience are spectacularly drawn out and boring. On the flipside to that, though, is the lack of coherence with the plot points. What Steppenwolf is doing is anyone’s guess, but he wants to collect MacGuffins for world domination, like every dense supervillain that only hangs around for one or two films.
Compelling characters are nowhere to be found either. Juggling so many underdeveloped characters and trying to give them the right amount of screen time is to fight a losing battle. Cyborg and The Flash suffer greatly, but so too do Aquaman and all of the supporting junk they have to deal with in their standalone films. Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot stumble through, hopelessly praying for the sweet release of the end credits. But they must wait a while longer for that, and in the time it takes for them to go from concerned superheroes to battling the forces of evil is bother lacking explanation and overwhelmed by backstory. None of it makes all that much sense. Why Cyborg begins spying on Batman and Wonder Woman, why The Flash just happens to be lurking around. You cannot base a film upon happenstance alone, yet here we are.
Opening any film with a cover of the great Leonard Cohen is a sure-fire way to alienate those with a taste in music. The Godfather of Gloom is not to be covered, yet that descriptor is paving the streets of the bland strokes of Gotham and Metropolis. Whedon makes for a hatchet job director, but to imply Snyder could do any better is a weak stance to take. Mired with the major issue and cope that Justice League is not Snyder’s “vision”, it’s not as if he didn’t play a part in the creation of this monstrously bland and boring spectacle. Clasping an extra two hours onto the end of it will do much the opposite of helping it.