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Justice League (Blu-ray + DVD + Digital Combo Pack) (BD)
Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to find and recruit a team of metahumans to stand against this newly awakened threat. But despite the formation of this unprecedented league of heroes—Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Cyborg and The Flash—it may already be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.]]>
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Meanwhile, DC movies have been following a plan. A plan that wasn't apparent at first, but many arcs that started since Man of Steel and later were supposed to conclude in this film, ending the DCEU's "first phase" with a perfect closure. A closure that has now been entirely ruined by WB. After director Zack Snyder was forced to step down due to sad personal problems, WB brought Avengers director Joss Whedon to finish the film. Whedon re-filmed a few extra scenes, but in the process seems to have removed about an hour worth of content. Make no mistake, this movie is still fun... but by God it has been gutted like a slasher film's victim.
Justice League tells the story of the eponymous group of heroes, who join forces to battle the menace of Steppenwolf, "the end of worlds", who has set his sights on Earth for the second time after having been exiled by Earth's previous protectors now that Superman is gone and he feels he can't be stopped. He has to find three artifacts called "Mother boxes" that will allow him to free his power and subjugate the planet. Batman and Wonder Woman are in a race to recruit other heroes to help them fight Steppenwolf and his army, and both are also in a path of redemption for feeling they had abandoned their true selves.
The story is, of course, nothing special. Neither was the Justice League animated series pilot episode or the Avengers film. And that's because it's not needed. What you need for a film like this is characterization, and you have it in spades here. The story is not important and neither is the villain. Which is good, because the villain is not particularly interesting (well, the version we get to see here anyway). In contrast, all of the heroes are impecably handled. Batman, Superman (yes, he's back from the dead, don't pretend to be surprised) and Wonder Woman feel better than ever in their roles. Newcomers Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg are great. Cyborg in particular is surprisingly interesting, even though it looked like he was going to be dead weight. There's not really much of Aquaman, sadly, which is a shame because the character seen here is great and we all know the guy needs the push, since he has to deal with unfair fame from non-comic fans.
On to the negatives, though. Special effects are fine for the most part. There's nothing wrong with them, but you know people give them crap anyway despite them looking no worse than any Marvel film's. There is one, though, that is absolutely atrocious. You might have heard this already, but since Henry Cavill was called for reshoots at the time of filming "Mission: Impossible 6" he had a full moustache, which he wasn't allowed to shave by that film's contract, so WB decided to erase it with CG. And it just looks terrible. I really think they should have made the effort of finding a different solution.
Another negative is the music. When Whedon came on board, he fired Junkie XL and got Danny Elfman in place, even though Junkie's score was already completed. Leaving aside the fact that the score now doesn't fit with the previous films, Elfman's work is terrible. The music is generic, lazy and entirely forgettable. The only parts of the score that are memorable are the ones Elfman stole from previous works of his (Tim Burton's Batman and the old Flash TV show) and John William's Superman score, which he sometimes intercalates with the rest of the music. Those bits of music just don't fit with this universe, and every time they come up they take you out of the film, but they're technically memorable. I wish Elfman doesn't come back for these films.
The biggest negative, of course, is all the stuff that was cut. Did you think Batman was being too hard on criminals in Batman v Superman and you expected that to be addressed? Well, though luck, because now it isn't. Did you want Superman to realize he was being too hard on himself before and figured it was time he saw the brighter side of things? Well, that's two films worth of buildup that have gone to the crapper. Did you expect the villain to have a larger impact on the heroes and open up threats to come? Yeah, good luck waiting for those deleted scenes to surface. Did you want to see a sick action scene of Deathstroke breaking Lex Luthor out of prison? Ha, ha, what a story, Mark. And so, and so on, there's quite a bit of documentation on all the stuff that was cut. And poor Snyder, who has been planning this for years, and has been called names for "not knowing what he was doing" now has to deal with his conclusions not being there for the people to see and finally understand what he was going for.
Of course, WB don't seem to have learned from this. All they've seen is that the movie didn't make as much money as The Avengers (which was never going to happen because, like Avatar, a lot of the appeal of that movie was the novelty, which has now worn off) and they're reestructuring things yet again.
So, is the movie worth seeing? Well, yes. It's still a fun film, and perhaps you might not notice the missing stuff. But if there's ever a chance of Snyder's cut seeing the light of day I'd go for that version. That's the film the previous ones were building up to, and it's a shame we didn't get to see it.
Most of the problems are honestly due to trying to course correct for Batman v Superman's many mistakes plus horrendous visual effects in places.
I'm surprised Epic hasn't sued them because Steppenwolf looked like they ripped him straight out of Unreal Tournament 2003. I think UT2004 looked a little too good in comparison, so it must have been UT2003. I've seen sock puppets with more convincing mouths.
Nobody should have signed off on those effects unless the studio simply wouldn't pay enough to do it right. If they paid well then that effects house needs to change their focus to absolutely anything else that doesn't require actual talent.
If you can look past those, the action is good and the characters seem more natural than we saw in BvS. By the end I was seeing the people I grew up reading about.
I liked Man of Steel and liked Wonder Woman a lot (weak ending though). BvS is the first truly bad one and I think that severely impacted Justice League's turnout at the theater. I know Suicide Squad is in the same universe, but it's removed from the main heroes enough that I don't really pay attention to it. That does make it 50/50 odds of a stinker though and that puts people on guard when you're shelling out stupid amounts of money at a theater.
I hope they learn from their mistakes and continue the series now. It's one of the more enjoyable movies I've seen in a while.
Overall its a film worth owning.