More noise than signal

Justice League

Republished from the show notes of my other site, Fuds on Film.

This, of course, being the film that the DC films have been racing towards since Man of Steel, and having got there, there’s not all that much there there. But that’s rather getting ahead of myself.

With Henry Cavill’s Superman still dead, crime seems to be on the uptick until Ben Affleck’s Batman and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman start knocking heads together, and approach the other previously identified meta-humans to join together, just in case some alien arsehole appears and tries to conquer Earth.

Of those metahumans, Barry Allen’s speedster The Flash, played by Ezra Miller, is eager to join up and help, like a cute little over-eager puppy dog. Less enamoured with the teamwork deal is Jason Momoa’s Arthur “Aquaman” Curry, lord of the fish or something, and Ray Fisher’s Victor “Cyborg” Stone, who is a cyborg. With the robot arms and that, more or less accidentally created by his father in the lab from weird, unknown alien technology, that I hope no alien arsehole tries to use to take over the world.

Oh no! Some alien arsehole is trying to take over the world! Steppenwolf, named after the “Born to be Wild” crooners, is a daft looking CG monstrosity who tried this kind of stunt before, only to have his digibutt kicked by a combined force of humans, Amazons and Aquafarians or whatever they’re called. In the process he lost his three cubes of alien tech that he was using to devestate planets, which I presume were given a name at some point, but I neither remember nor care enough to look up. One of these McGuffins gave Cyborg his not fully understood powers.

Steppenwolf seeks to reclaim these from their guardians, the Amazons, the Aquapeeps, and the Victor’s dad, with his army of flying undead insectoid whateverthefucks across a number of CG setpieces, with our heroes trying to stop him, realising they’re not quite up to the task, and necromancering Superman to help them.

There’s a lot of things I’d want to rant about in this film, but we have a stuffed docket to get through today. Perhaps we’ll revisit this down the line, as a lot of the oddness of the film comes from the tonal shifts between this and Batman vs Superman. The bullet points:

Joss Whedon’s lighter touch (clearly he was told to Avenger-ise this film when he replaced Snyder after his unfortunate family tragedy) wouldn’t be unwelcome were it consistent throughout the film, but this cut ‘n’ shut is showing its welding somewhat.

There is no point killing any character off if they’re only staying dead for, what, an hour and a half of running time.

Once Superman recovers his old self, all tension immediately drains from the film, because he’s close enough to unbeatable that there’s never any doubt Steppenwolf was going to be kerb stomped. Admittedly unlikely, but there was at least a chance any of the “lesser” heroes could be killed. Not, apparently, that that’s much of a barrier any more.

While far from perfect, Batman vs Superman at least thought to ask what happens when, essentially, God shows up. This might have been parlayed here into asking what happens when God dies, but instead it’s just a CG lightshow.

Steppenwolf is terrible. Poor Cieran Hinds. Some motivation would be nice, other than “I like ruining planets”. Also, he looks silly.

There’s the odd character moment that I liked, but not enough of them.

I’m entirely on board with the minimal origin story approach for Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman.

The action is fine, but overall not that remarkable, which given the production cost of the film is almost morally indenfensible.

Who wrote this film? Everyone wrote this film! And it shows.

The quips and such are also fine, but seem to come from a different film – perhaps the Avengers.

And so on, and so forth. I should perhaps add that coming out of this, I though it to be an entertaining enough film and was fine with it, even if it ranked close to the bottom of this year’s comic book crop. But it’s a film that the more you consider it, the more it falls apart.

The solution – stop thinking about it. This will be easily achieved, as I’m already forgetting most of what happened in it.

Look, this is much more negative than I’d anticipated being when leaving the screening, and I’m still not going to say it’s an outright bad film. It’s just one that’s very haphazard, which is pretty much the capusle summation of the DCU films right now.

Overall, meh. Can’t really recommend. I see Logan‘s out on DVD. Just sayin’.