Justice League is an anomaly. Not because of its quality, but because of the controversy with its directors. Zack Snyder, who directed Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, initially helmed the project. However, during post-production, Snyder stepped down from the position due to personal tragedy and was replaced by Joss Whedon. Several interviews with Snyder and Fabian Wagner, the film’s cinematographer, reveal that only 10-20 percent of Snyder’s material was used in the theatrical version of the film. Whedon also rewrote 80 pages of the script, further confirming that the finished film was mostly his work. However, Snyder retained the directorial credit for the film.
Justice League starts as Diana Prince and Bruce Wayne beginning to assemble a team of metahumans. They recruit Bally Allen, a college kid with super speed ability, Arthur Curry, a metahuman with superhuman strength and aquatic abilities, and Ray Fisher, a cyborg. Together, they will face Steppenwolf, an alien military soldier who plans to destroy the Earth.
Justice League does not feel like a DC film. The early parts of the movie stay true to the tone of its predecessors, but then the film becomes more buoyant and lightheaded. This creates inconsistencies in the narrative that its predecessor had set up. The creative differences between Snyder and Whedon are very apparent throughout the film. It’s not that a bold change is unwelcomed. It’s just that Justice League fails at pulling it off due to its weak script and poor characterization.
Instead, Justice League serves a mishmash of several contradictory ideas and visions that will confuse the viewers. This team of superheroes and their stories are supposed to be grand and glorious, but Justice League feels like nothing of the sort. The villain also does not look menacing and threatening for our superheroes, which is a big problem because a Justice League film is supposed to have the evilest villain of all.
The visuals of the movie are also severely lacking. This flaw is almost offensive due to the high budget that Justice League has. The imagery feels dull and murky, with some of the scenes looking downright atrocious. The most insulting part of the film is Superman’s mouth, which has unnatural and nightmarish look. The unfocused visuals and monochromatic colors might be an artistic choice of the crews, but it is not captivating or even gripping to watch.
Despite its flaws, there are several aspects that salvage this film and keep it from being an unwatchable mess. Fortunately, the performances of the cast are quite good. Gal Gadot is graceful with a note of fierceness in her performance as Wonder Woman, and Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, and Ray Fisher, who play Barry Allen, Arthur Curry, and Victor Stone respectively, fit in their roles and gives delightful performances. The action sequences are also at least plenty and have variety.
Justice League is simply a major disappointment for a film this caliber. Despite good performances and decent action sequences, the film’s tonal inconsistencies, horrible CGI, and contrived plot are glaring and simply cannot be ignored. It is a superhero movie through and through, but it is, unfortunately, a severely lacking and blasé one without a unique identity and cohesive narrative.