The fifth movie of the DCEU was far from the smoothest of productions. Early problems while shooting, a personal tragedy for the Synder family saw both Zach and Deborah step away from the movie in February and Joss Whedon step in to do post production, including reshoots and rewrites. This is leading to massive rumours and speculation about what was really going on behind the scenes.
First off, I want to state, above all else, my deepest sympathies to the Synder family. I am a big fan of a lot of Synder’s films and although I had some issues with Man of Steel and Batman vs Superman, I enjoyed both movies. Especially the Ultimate Version of BvS.
That being said, I am also a big fan of Joss Whedon and have really loved his work and his persona around Hollywood. Although recent rumours about his leading ladies from his ex wife are cause for worry.
Enough about the behind the scenes. Let’s talk about Justice League and the movies preceding it. Man of Steel has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 55% and an audience score of 75%, BvS has ratings of 27% and 63%, Suicide Squad has ratings of 26% and 61% and finally Wonder Woman has ratings of 92% and 89% respectively. With Wonder Woman being the most recent release, was the DCEU finally beginning to right a sinking ship.
To say that Synder’s films have been divisive is to massively understate the fact. Looking at BvS, I still don’t understand how it only scored a 27%. To be honest, I even think 63% is harsh. Not for one second am I saying that “SAVE MARTHA” part isn’t stupid, I honestly don’t know what they were thinking when they were writing that!! But it was a good movie! Let’s put the 27% into context. The Room, a movie so bad that the mockery movie of it, The Disaster Artist, has a description of (The Room)is often referred to as “The Citizen Kane of Bad Movies,” has a rating of 26% from critics. So Critics really hated BvS. Really hated it!
Now Justice League has a rating of 40% from critics and an audience score of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, at the time of writing this. Which is again divisive. This was, in my opinion, never going to be an amazing movie. It had to be and do too much for one movie.
I was genuinely excited for this movie when they released the first trailer. It looked great! The only thing I wasn’t a big fan of was the overly purple sky in the fight with the Parademons. But there was always going to be something to pick at! However, after controversy and controversy, my hope was beginning to dwindle. I very much enjoyed all of the DCEU films so far, with Suicide Squad being the weakest. I enjoyed the tone taken from Synder and the lighter tone in Jenkins Wonder Woman. Sitting down to this, I can only really express disappointment.
The film was very much a film of two directors. You could clearly see which Scenes were Synder’s and which were Whedon’s. Now I love both directors but that does not mean that they will make a good movie. Taking in all the rumours about an early showing to execs in Warner Brothers and a distaste for what was being made, that it would be another divisive movie, they took steps to correct it. Scenes shot by each director were quite distinct- each leaving a signature look or feel to scenes they touched. Leaving the cinema, I felt like I had actually laughed at all of Synder’s scenes and thought that the humour from Whedon didn’t fit the characters that it was coming from.
That doesn’t mean I think that the original movie would have been better. I hope they had a good basis for trying to change a lot! But of all the stories in the past 10 years of directors being changed in post production, the only example I can think of that worked was Star Wars: Rogue One and even then it was only massive re-shoots, not a new director.
Justice League just felt tonely different from scene to scene with some of the animation looking out of place. I would have to side closer to the Critics with this scoring which is hard for me to say considering some of the reviews they have given in the past.
I enjoyed Ezra Miller’s Flash and Ray Fisher’s Cyborg. Aquaman felt a bit strange to me and although Ben Affleck did another wonderful job in play Bats, but the motivation behind some of the characters decision seems crazy! Firstly, he was totally man crushing on Superman. I mean, I expect less affection from life long friends. Also, part of his motivation was that if there was a 1% chance that Superman could be brought back, then it should be tried. Doing some quick calculations, that is a swing of about 198% from BvS, where if there was a 1% chance he was bad, they should try to kill him. Seriously! After 1 fight together this was how much Bats loved Supes! It just didn’t make sense. Almost as much as “SAVE MARTHA!” from where I was sitting. Gal Gadot was again brilliant and a real bright part of the whole movie! The Maui-like Aquaman was just as odd– see the clips below and you be the judge.
It was still a good movie, but it should have been so much better. Now we have to wonder what happens with the rest of the DCEU. Time Warner is rumoured to be stepping in and making some massive adjustments to the whole DCEU. At this stage it would not surprise me in the least if they cancelled everything and went back to the drawing board. The only thing really stopping them is how well Wonder Woman was received by everyone, critic and public alike.
Did you enjoy it? Do you think they should cut the chord and start again? Are you hoping for more from the same cast? Let us know in the comments below!