For DC, the past few years movie-wise have not been their strong point, with almost all of their films getting less than stellar reviews. The only exception to this “curse” seems to be Wonder Woman (2016) coupled with its 92% certified fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, not even Wonder Woman’s star power can save Justice League’s choppy comic adaptation. Don’t get me wrong, I am aware critics are especially harsh on DC movies, yet their attempt at a superhero blowout unfortunately does not live up to, well, Marvel standards.
Justice League revolves around the attempt of five superheroes—Batman (Ben Affleck), Aquaman (Jason Mamoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), and The Flash (Ezra Miller)—to team up and save the world from a catastrophic alien named Steppenwolf. The first half of the film chronicles Bruce Wayne’s (Batman) and Diana Prince’s (Wonder Woman) efforts to lasso up an admirable team to put an end to this creature’s reign of terror. Even though Bruce and Diana acquire these heroes after many recruitment attempts, the group is unable to stop the violent and destructive attacks made by this supervillain. In a world absent of Superman, fate looms bleakly around the globe, hope having died along with him (it might be a good idea to watch Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice before seeing this movie). As Steppenwolf grows stronger and more powerful by the minute, the Justice League struggles to stay together on the already thin ice they walk upon. As Batman to eloquently put it, “The world needs Superman.”
Director Zack Snyder is no stranger to superhero movies, having directed Man of Steel (2013) and Batman v Superman (2016) along with producing Suicide Squad (2016) and Wonder Woman (2017). However, therein lies the problem at hand, as Justice League is almost too loyal to its origins—the comics themselves. Snyder’s experience in this genre hinders his ability to bring something fresh and invigorating to the screen. Instead, viewers are left with a sub-par and rather murky adaptation of some of the most iconic characters in the world. This factor is the reason for Snyder’s big mistake when it came to making this film: it plays out just like a comic book.
Of course, a movie that stays loyal to its source material isn’t always bad. Take Deadpool, for example. Deadpool might as well have been copy and pasted from the comics onto the screen, yet it works so well for that character and his storyline as well as the flow the film intended to portray. Justice League, however, isn’t Deadpool and can’t create an effective and even flow based upon these story graphics. In comics and graphic novels, panels can be choppy with action sequences taking up 75% of the story itself, yet still be considered a well done piece of work. Justice League attempts to perform this, resulting in a choppy story, muddled characters and too much action. Although the action sequences are extremely impressive and notable, it’s not enough to save this blockbuster from its apparent and obvious flaws.