Review: Rough Around the Edges ‘Justice League’ is a Step in the Right Direction for DC Movies

More bright spots and comedy makes for an entertaining team up.

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More bright spots and comedy makes for an entertaining superhero team up.

RATING: ★★ 1/2 (out of four stars)

The DCEU has gotten off to a rocky start. Because of this, I have legitimately been nervous for Justice League all year. Wonder Woman, which came out earlier this year, gave me a sliver of hope because of how awesome it was. However, Justice League is a Zack Snyder-directed movie, and he has endured mass amounts of criticism for 2016’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. After seeing Justice League I can officially say that it is entertaining as hell, surprisingly funny, and slightly uneven. Of course, it’s not perfect, but they get a lot right in this DC team up. As a viewer, it is clear that Joss Whedon, who took over to help with post production and extensive reshoots after Snyder stepped down for personal reasons, helped with the movie’s overall tone. Whedon taking over helps the movie a substantial amount and I’m glad he didn’t make it feel like one of his Avengers movies. Sure, Justice League is Zack Snyder’s movie, but Whedon made it much better.

One of the best things about Justice League is the chemistry between the team. At this point in the DCEU, we’re very familiar with Ben Affleck as Batman/Bruce Wayne and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman/Diana Prince. They’re both awesome in Justice League, having some stylish fight scenes and humorous dialogue. They both know that enemies are coming so they work on getting a team together. Newcomers Barry Allen/The Flash, Arthur Curry/Aquaman, and Victor Stone/Cyborg each add unique elements to the team and to the DCEU as a whole. The Flash steals the show as the movie’s comic relief; one scene in Justice League that involves The Flash may be my favorite scene in any DC movie yet. He really hasn’t used his powers in battle, so his innocence is downright hysterical. I went into Justice League thinking Cyborg would be the weak link of the team and his CGI would look awful like it did in the early trailers, but his character surprised me. I walked out of the movie not only impressed by his character but also shocked at how much screen time he got. The CGI with him was cleaned up nicely and only looked below average in a few scenes. Aquaman was the most frustrating member of the team, mainly because I wanted to see more of him. He doesn’t get as much screen time as the others, and when he is on-screen there isn’t much dialogue and depth. Sure, he kicks some ass in the fight scenes, but I wanted more depth from his character like I got with the other newcomers (good news though, as we’ll see him in the standalone Aquaman movie next December). Overall, the chemistry with the team had to work well or this movie would have been a disaster. I was very pleased with how well they exchanged dialogue and fought together.

The visual effects and choreography of the fight scenes were extremely entertaining and impressive, with the exception of a handful of visual effects issues. For the most part the CGI looked good and the team equally fought enemies, both by themselves and together. The action scenes are among the best in a DCEU movie yet, with the final battle being one of the coolest battles DC has had so far. Each member had their part to play and the execution was on point. I loved seeing a somewhat vulnerable Batman on the back-end of his crime-fighting life save Wonder Woman from a distance with the grapple gun because that is such a Batman thing to do.

With having two directors and millions spent on numerous reshoots, there are some expected issues in Justice League. The biggest issues are the villain and the overall story. Steppenwolf is the “ender of worlds” and he basically is searching for these cubes that hold power that can destroy earth. Sounds like most villains in superhero movies, right? Steppenwolf was very one dimensional and when he wasn’t on-screen, I almost forgot he was in the movie. His dialogue was lazy and he doesn’t look imposing on-screen. The story is very one dimensional as well—basically, the Justice League teaming up to fight an enemy who wants to destroy the world. While this might be entertaining, it lacks depth and any kind of originality.

As a whole, Justice League is an entertaining entry in the DCEU and a big step in the right direction when it comes to tone and character depth. If you look past the very transparent story and just enjoy seeing some of the coolest superheroes ever kick ass, then you’ll have a great time. Justice League isn’t as good as Wonder Woman, but it is better than Suicide Squad and Batman v Superman. Also, and this is very important; STAY THROUGH THE CREDITS, I REPEAT STAY THROUGH THE VERY END OF THE CREDITS.

The 615 Film Staff Predicts the Rotten Tomatoes Score for ‘Justice League’

We can only hope that Film Twitter will not be engulfed in flames by DC fanboys once the score is out.

We can only hope that Film Twitter will not be engulfed in flames by DC fanboys once the score is out.

Tonight at 11:00PM CST on their new Facebook page, Rotten Tomatoes will reveal the Tomatometer score for Warner Brothers’ Justice League, See It/Skip It (Which, yeah, is dumb as it sounds).

After months of anticipation/worry/whatever, four of the five members of the 615 Film staff saw Justice League at an advance screening here in Nashville last night (Side note: if you’re reading this staff contributor Kevin, we’re sorry. We poured one out for you). After seeing the highly anticipated comic book movie featuring the assembling of DC Comics’ greatest heroes, we here at 615 Film wanted to guess and see what the Rotten Tomatoes score would be before it is unveiled later tonight.

Below, you’ll find our Rotten Tomatoes score predictions along with brief explanations for those scores. And tomorrow we’ll have our full review of Justice League, coming from staff contributor Michael Welsh.

Sean: While I waited in the press line to give my reaction to the marketing representative coordinating the Justice League screening, I kept hearing the same consensus in various ways from other members of the press: “I liked it” or “I thought it was fine” along with some saying, “I look forward to seeing these characters in future movies.” And I would have to agree with the consensus as well. How will other critics across the country respond? I’m thinking the critical reaction will be close to Man of Steel’s, which has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 55%. Score prediction: 51%

Michael: Justice League will fare better with the critics than Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad, but will not be received as well as Wonder Woman. I think it’ll fall somewhere near Man of SteelScore prediction: 62%

Scotty: Justice League’s glaring faults can’t be masked in this two-hour rush to the finish. Is it better than expected? Sure. But is it a good movie? Only at times. Score prediction: 45%

Grant: The DCEU is finally getting on the right path, but this movie feels like a stepping stone. Audiences can tell it had two different directors and went through reshoot hell. While there are some amazing scenes, the film falls to the same issues of some many comic book movies with CGI overload and a placeholder villain. It’s no Wonder Woman, but it’s no Suicide Squad, either. Score prediction: 40%

A Gareth Evans-Directed ‘Deathstroke’ Film Sounds too Good to be True

Time will tell, but this sounds like a match made in heaven.

Time will tell, but this sounds like a match made in heaven.

Yesterday afternoon, The Wrap exclusively reported that director Gareth Evans is in early discussions to write and direct a DC Comics spin-off based on the Batman villain Deathstroke.

As mentioned in the title of this article, this news sounds too good to be true.

Aside from next month’s Justice League, the recently announced Wonder Woman 2 being fast-tracked, next year’s Aquaman, and Shazam! going into production soon, we still have no idea what Warner Brothers’ plans are for the rest of their DC Comics properties. Sure, a number of things have been reported about filmmakers being in discussions to make comic book movies based on other DC Comics characters, (like Joss Whedon making Batgirl, Chris McKay making Nightwing or Gavin O’Connor making Suicide Squad 2), but nothing definitive has been announced by the studio itself; it certainly feels like there’s too many moving pieces without a clear, definitive path.

But if this does turn out to be true (and it certainly feels that way after Gareth Evans’ Deathstroke tease on his Instagram account four days ago), then Deathstroke easily would be the most promising DC Comics film to come out any time soon. Evans, who directed two of the best action movies to come out over the past decade (The Raid and The Raid 2), making a comic book villain film about an assassin like Deathstroke sounds like the perfect pairing.

Thanks to the popular CW television show Arrow and the Batman Arkham video games, the popularity of the character of Deathstroke has skyrocketed in recent years; some now argue that he’s one of the best Batman villains of all time (though that’s debatable).

While no release date or announcement is expected anytime soon, Joe Manganiello, who was named last year to portray Deathstroke in the Ben Affleck’s Batman film (which was scrapped after Affleck stepped down as both writer and director of the Batman solo film), is still expected to portray the sword-wielding character.

Jared Leto Cast as Hugh Hefner, Every Method Actors Dream Role

How method will Leto get when crawling into the skin of a millionaire playboy?

How method will Leto get when crawling into the skin of a millionaire playboy?

Jared Leto is a peculiar pop star.  During the 2000s, he had the reputation of a good musician with a bad acting problem.  Since he secured an Oscar for his performance in Dallas Buyers Club, it seems like Leto is being cast in every big studio production since.

Look, I don’t hate Jared Leto.  Requiem for a Dream and Dallas Buyers Club are two great films with incredible performances from Leto.  However since all the horror stories of his method acting for the Joker in Suicide Squad, and then his performance being one of the most laughable interpretations of the clown prince of crime left a bad taste in my mouth.  When news broke of Leto actually blinding himself for the production of Blade Runner 2049, I’m pretty sure my reaction was “okay… and?”

Now that he is stepping into the shoes of the most notorious playboy on the planet, the world needs to brace itself for whatever method acting hijinks Leto is going to get himself into.  The project will be helmed by Brett Ratner, who has been eyeing the project since 2007. He and Hef have reportedly been friends for a long time, so hopefully that will lend some authenticity to the role.  Just the thought of Jared Leto playing the sex icon in his later years makes my skin crawl.

I hope this projects goes well.  I hope Jared Leto is able to add another great performance to his portfolio.  Ever since his Oscar, he has churned out some pretty laughable material.  To quote the ultimate joke from the latest season of Bojack Horseman, Honeydew is like the Jared Leto of fruit; the worst part of everything it’s in.

Well, Warner Brothers Wants Leonardo DiCaprio for its Joker Movie

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

When the news first broke last week that Warner Brothers is doing a Joker origin movie separate from the DC Extended Universe (DECU) with Martin Scorsese possibly producing, it was very surprising to say the least. Well, this morning The Hollywood Reporter gave an update on the project, reporting that Warner Brothers wants Leonardo DiCaprio to star as the Clown Prince of Crime. While this might also sound surprising, it actually really isn’t considering Scorsese and DiCaprio have collaborated on numerous occasions over the years.

Now, none of this is official, especially considering that Scorsese’s deal is not yet even done. Finding a lead actor is still a ways away, but it’s interesting to think of DiCaprio portraying the most infamous comic book villain of all time. Getting him for the role might be a long shot, but there’s always a chance. The problem is that the A-list actor is very selective with his movie choices; have you noticed with the splurge of superhero movies and cinematic universes that DiCaprio still hasn’t been attached to one?

The Hollywood Reporter also mentions that Jared Leto is said to be unhappy that Warner Brothers is making a Joker movie without him. While his portrayal of The Joker in the poorly received Suicide Squad received mixed reviews, it’s weird that Warner Brothers is courting DiCaprio for a Joker origin movie WHILE they’re also making a spinoff movie with Leto’s Joker and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn from Suicide Squad.

Personally, I would love to see DiCaprio take on the role of Batman’s biggest adversary, but I’m not getting my hopes up. Remember when Warner Brothers wanted the Oscar-winning actor to play a villain in The Dark Knight Rises? Good times.