League of heroes cannot save own production company


Warner Bros. Pictures

The Justice League stands together, prepared to fight whatever comes their way. Ben Affleck (Batman), Henry Cavill (Superman), Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman), Ezra Miller (The Flash), Jason Momoa (Aquaman), and Ray Fisher (Cyborg) come together in one huge blockbuster combining a mix of loveable personalities to make some movie magic.

Ryan Allen, Staff Writer

“Justice League” released late last month and has been highly criticized for being a poorly made film. The movie had many problems with both production and plot points. Poor directing and acting were among the issues plaguing the film. The movie feels rushed, confusing, and has poor character development. Even worse were the plot holes that manifested due to Warner Bros. mandates.

The root of the problem for this film is the film studio Warner Bros itself.”

— Staff Writer Ryan Allen

However, we do get to see our favorite never-before-seen DC heroes come to life in a movie, so there’s hope. Batman, Wonder Woman, Superman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg come together in a fight to prevent the world from being destroyed by the super-villain Steppenwolf. After the death of Superman, Batman realizes Earth needs a team to help defend it from advanced beings. Batman recruits Wonder Woman, The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg to take down Steppenwolf. The premise seems appealing for comic book fans, but there wasn’t much follow-through.

The root of the problem for this film is the film studio Warner Bros itself. For some reason, Warner Bros. felt like it was a good idea to pass mandates before a huge film was released. “Justice League” was supposed to be 2 hours and 40 minutes but a mandate from Warner Bros. says any production can’t pass two hours. Forty minutes of character and story development footage was erased. That’s why one minute the heroes are in Atlantis, then Themyscira, and then the Batcave. Viewers can even notice scenes from the trailer that didn’t make the final cut — the tease of Superman’s black suit and beard — due to sloppy editing and scenes that simply don’t connect.

Another key issue was the directors. In mid-production, director Zack Snyder’s daughter died and he left the production. Joss Whedon picked up the film and started from where Snyder left off. Whedon ended up reshooting many scenes for continuity reasons, but could not reshoot the whole film, making it choppy and hard to watch. Couple this with having forty minutes of film taken out and viewers can’t expect much.

In addition, personal issues with the actors made it difficult to produce the film. Henry Cavill, who plays Superman, was filming another movie — “Mission Impossible” — while “Justice League” was being produced. Cavill had a mustache in the whole “Mission Impossible” film and could not shave it for “Justice League.” To fix the problem, they used CGI to remove the mustache but it’s blatantly noticeable in some scenes. Gal Gadot, who plays Wonder Woman, was still filming “Wonder Woman” when “Justice League” started and had to go back and forth on shoots. Gadot was pregnant with her second child and was having pregnancy side effects throughout the filming of “Justice League.” They used CGI to cover up the baby bump. As a result, she had a contraption around her stomach and bright lights in her face making it difficult to act to the best of her abilities.

Character development in this film is a huge problem due to lost time and no backstory.”

— Staff Writer Ryan Allen

Character development in this film is a huge problem due to lost time and no backstory. The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg are thrown into the mix without any reasoning. Without reading the comics of these heroes, viewers are left confused. DC fell behind by not making the stand-alone films first but instead jumping right into the big movie, unlike their main competitor, Marvel Studios. Marvel did stand-alone films for the bigger roles (ex. Iron Man, Thor, Captain America) and came out with the Avengers. In addition, Marvel properly introduced the smaller heroes and gave a nice background in the Avengers. In “Justice League,” The Flash and Aquaman’s origins are never hinted at and they join the League just because Batman asked them to. They show about ten minutes of blippy backstory for Cyborg and he eventually joins as well. This does nothing to establish character motivation or depth. Even more problematically, the villain for “Justice League,” Steppenwolf, is incredibly underwhelming and in no circumstance taken seriously. He just shows up wanting to destroy the world and Superman stops him.

We are able to see Barry Allen’s (The Flash) dad is in prison for allegedly killing his wife and he still goes to visit him which is a nice origin reference. The Flash makes a joke about a characteristic he has and says he can do gorilla sign language which is a reference to one of his greater foes, Gorilla Grodd. The special effects team did a great job on his speed force lightning and abilities but made the character a little weak. Barry has had his speed for a while before this time in the film and he cannot even run in and save people without Batman telling him to man up.

Aquaman’s origin story is not presented but viewers were able to see Atlantis and his people. Aquaman has a small role in this film in that he was basically just the hype man of the group.  That being said, his actor, Jason Momoa, did a fantastic job executing it. The special effects team did a great job with his trident and abilities to make him a well-rounded character.

Wonder Woman had her own standalone film so her role in “Justice League” was easily understood and not harshly critiqued, further pointing to the fact that D.C. should have done more work on their characters initially before putting them together in a group film. Wonder Woman’s role in this movie felt a little bland as far as acting and action goes, due to complications with Gal Gadot’s performance.

Cyborg is an emotional wreck in this film from snarky remarks to Wonder Woman, being disrespectful to his father, and constantly being serious. Viewers see bits and pieces about his origin and what’s currently wrong with him. Cyborg got into a fatal accident, destroyed his body, and his father replaced them with machine parts. Victor Stone (Cyborg) is still learning about his powers and what they can do. Cyborg, played by Ray Fisher, was just like Aquaman in this film in that he’s only doing background work. Cyborg is hacking  and controlling things, but he isn’t really given room to breathe. Warner Bros. did provide his comic book suit, though, which in the end was interesting to see.

Superman corrupted this film’s climax in the end as it wasn’t the “Justice League” that stops Steppenwolf, just Superman. Batman feels that it’s a good idea to bring Superman back to life to help them defeat Steppenwolf and so they do. It just so happens that Steppenwolf’s weakness are Kryptonians. Because Superman is a Kryptonian, this puts a spotlight on one character in what was intended to be a group film. The Justice League gets kicked around like ragdolls and Superman comes in and beats the snot out of Steppenwolf. Looking at the final scene as a whole, it wasn’t really a team effort since Superman did all of the heavy lifting. Superman is made to be too strong and overpowered and it ruined the whole team effect.

“Justice League” is an entertaining film if moviegoers read the comics and are able to fill in the gaps. It’s difficult to produce a film for the general public who have no clue who these characters are and fit everything into a two-hour film. There are just too many technical issues on and off camera making it a tough movie to execute. After such a costly film, they ended up paying $25 million extra for post-production reshoots. Let’s hope DC has learned from their mistakes and will continue making high-quality, stand-alone films like “Wonder Woman.”