Entertain Me: Disappointing 'Justice League' lacks character development

By Connor Lorber | November 25, 2017 3:58pm
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Walking into the theater, I didn’t have high expectations for Zack Snyder’s "Justice League," which was released by Warner Bros. on Nov. 17. When I left the theater, I still couldn't help being disappointed from what I had spent the last two hours watching.

Courtesy of Imgur.

"Justice League" is a mediocre movie (with a Rotten Tomatoes score of only 40 percent). With an supposed budget of more than $250 million, it lacks character development, and DC has a poor strategy for setting up "Justice League" with its previous movies.

I mentioned how I wasn’t expecting much out of this movie. First, some context (nerd talk ahead). Marvel is famous for starting the cinematic universe trend (where movies by a studio are interconnected/take place in the same timeline) with its Avengers films. The studio consistently pumps out quality (for the most part) stories that satisfy moviegoers, but still leave them wanting more. Fans love Marvel movies, and Marvel loves making money—and they make a lot

It only makes sense for DC to go the same route and make its own cinematic universe with the "Justice League." Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and tons more superheroes unite under one cinematic brand. There is money to be made! It is clear DC understood the need to make films to make money, but what is also clear is DC did not spend enough time making sure these films were, you know, good.

The current movies under DC’s belt are: "Man of Steel" (mediocre, but a decent start for a new franchise), "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice" (also mediocre, but fun to watch), "Suicide Squad" (rated a 26% on Rotten Tomatoes and not worth your time or money, in my opinion) and "Wonder Woman" (fantastic, one of the best films of 2017).

The reason I came into "Justice League" with low expectations was the trend of these movies. DC movies had been becoming worse and worse, and while Wonder Woman gave me some hope, I still wasn’t too optimistic. "Justice League," like "Man of Steel" and "Batman v. Superman," is directed by Zack Snyder. 

The lifeless atmosphere of these three movies is largely due to a stylistic choice by Snyder — a choice that is not working. Not to sound like a Marvel fanboy, but Marvel (especially the Guardians of the Galaxy movies) does an amazing job at creating dynamic relationships between the plot and the setting. When a villain is attempting to destroy a planet, you feel the threat and worry for the life of the planet’s inhabitants. In Snyder’s DC movies, there really isn’t much of a dynamic between the heroes, villains and setting.

Furthermore, this entire movie was just messy. There are rushed introductions for the three heroes who haven’t had their own movie ye t— The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg — and they don’t get the chance to develop much (aside from maybe The Flash, which I will get to soon). 

In "The Avengers" (I’m sorry, it’s just too easy to use Marvel as a comparison), we already knew the characters from their own movies. This left more time for developing these characters’ relationships with each other, as well as the plot of the movie. 

"Justice League" seems to skip over both these aspects, with an poorly developed plot with a rushed ending and relationships that feel empty. With two hours of run time, there is only so much you can do to do justice (pun intended) to each new character and story.

Turning specifically to the characters, I thought each was lackluster in this movie — besides Ezra Miller’s Flash. The Flash, despite his fast (yes, pun intended) introduction, is easy to love because he is the only source of comedy in the movie. He has some of the best lines in the film, and he isn’t relegated to cheesy one-liners like the rest of the cast.

Aquaman, whose solo film I still have hope for simply because I love Jason Momoa, doesn’t have much of a role in this film (maybe because it’s set on land?) other than a couple of cool fight scenes. 

Wonder Woman, whose solo film was amazingly written, directed and acted, especially, by Gal Gadot, who plays the title character — has some of the worst written lines in the film, and was severely underutilized. 

Cyborg, played by Ray Fisher, is a character who grew on me over the course of the film. His first few scenes left me uninterested, but by the end of the film I wasn’t dreading his next appearance on the screen—unlike these next two characters. 

The two most popular superheroes in the DC Universe — Batman and Superman (played by Ben Affleck and Henry Cavill, respectively)—were also two of the worst characters in this movie. Superman’s lines are lifeless, and I don’t know what it is, but Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne just does not feel right. Apparently, Ben Affleck agrees, as there has long been reports of him wanting to leave the role.

I wanted "Justice League" to be a good movie. I really did. Instead, it ended up being just kind of a 2-hour series of “meh” chopped together and called a film. One could call it an….injustice (last pun I swear). 

That being said, I am still optimistic about future "Justice League" movies. DC has great actors in Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller and Henry Cavill, and could easily save the franchise with quality solo films before "Justice League’s" sequel (which will be the decisive move in saving in the DC Universe).