Film Review – Justice League (2017)

by Nick Kush
Justice League

Let’s be honest, both fans and haters of the DC universe are intrigued by the outcome of Justice League.  The film has long been under scrutiny (and reshoots) that have only made the storylines even juicier.  As for the final results, well, that’s an entirely different story.  The following review will be spoiler free.

Justice League


Directed By: Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon (uncredited)

Written By: Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon

Starring: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Henry Cavill, and Amy Adams

Following a newfound inspirations from Superman’s selfless actions, Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince look to enlist a new crop of heroes in preparation for a greater enemy that is on the horizon.  Now, with the help of heroes like The Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg, the group has formed a team that will stand toe to toe with unimagingable enemies.  But, their efforts may be too little too late.


The issues in the development of Justice League has been widely publicized since Batman V Superman left moviegoers a little cold.  The filming of Justice League started in April of 2016, soon after the release of BvS.  After the critical drubbing that the film took, quick work was made to change up the script of JL to make the film lighter in tone.  Early set visits by reporters would confirm this change.

Then, in March of this year, Zack Snyder stepped away from the project to mourn the loss of his daughter that had committed suicide a few weeks prior.  In the wake of this tragedy, Joss Whedon stepped into the picture to finish the planned reshoots for the film.  But, as we have since learned, those reshoots were a little more than Warner Bros. had planned.

Not only have the changes been noticeable in the marketing material of the film (a lighter color palette was washed over the action), but reports later surfaced that the reshoots were so unwieldy that the schedules of the actors involved were altered.  In fact, Henry Cavill’s mustache that he had grown for Mission Impossible had to be CGI-ed out of the film.  With reports that the budget for the film has ballooned to over $300 million, this soap opera gets more lurid by the second.

Likable Characters Keep Things Fun

Easily the best elements in this movie are the heroes themselves.  Some are forgotten from time to time (especially Cyborg), but each of them add an element to the film that makes you excited to see more of them.

As to be expected, Ben Affleck is a standout in the dual role of Bruce Wayne and Batman.  His character has undergone some serious growth since we last saw him, becoming humbled and less damaged.  Gal Gadot as his sidekick attempting to round up the rest of the League continues to be wonderful as ever as well.

However, the big highlight among the League may by Ezra Miller’s Flash.  Acting as the audience stand-in, he’s the source of a lot of the comedy as a newbie to the superhero game.  He’s witty, charming, and fun, just like every other character in the film.  There’s a distinct shift in Justice League to lighter, quippy characters.  Although some people loved the dark, grim aesthetic of previous films, it certainly helps to have entertaining lead characters when other elements of the film are lacking.

There’s a lot superheroes doing superhero-y things in Justice League.  For some, that will be more than enough.

Very Choppy Editing Leads to a Somewhat Disposable Final Product

Reports surfaced a few days ago that Warner Bros. mandated that the film stay under two hours in length.  Many cited that this was a reaction to less than favorable responses to the length of BvS.  Whatever the reason, it definitely hampers the film.

JL has the difficult task of not only creating a streamlined narrative, but also introducing three new main characters to the mix while also dealing with the whole Superman situation.  There’s so much to handle here that a two hour run time just doesn’t allow everything to become fleshed out.  You really feel these demands take hold in the first and second acts of the film as we jump around from scene to scene without any establishing shots to become acclimated to the situation.

As a result, backstories and connections between characters are very much on the surface.  There are hints and nods to character beats that I’m sure will be expanded upon in other films, but it’s not satisfying for this particular story.  Characters saying bits of witty isn’t character depth.

With nothing of serious substance to savor, Justice League becomes shockingly forgettable.

There’s Nothing New Here

Then you get to the plot which is generic to say the least.  For a movie as controversial as Justice League has been in the months leading up to its release, there’s not much here worth noting.  We have yet another superhero film where a villain is in search of a MacGuffin with a disposable army at his side.  At this point in the evolution of the superhero genre, each film needs to alter genre conventions in some way to become memorable.  But, Justice League treats us to the same basic story we’ve seen for years now.

Although Ciaran Hinds‘ voice work is wonderful, Steppenwolf is merely a giant monster with horribly flimsy motivations while looking like a video game character from 2005.  Steppenwolf could not be more of a generic figure.  He is merely a means through which the story must occur.

When you add everything together, Justice League is a strong “meh” in many aspects.  Nothing about the action is even all that tantalizing.  Other than a celebration of renowned characters, Justice League doesn’t have much to offer.  It’s a strangely fluffy film that won’t win any converts to the superhero genre.

Final Thoughts

From a purely critical standpoint, Justice League isn’t a very good movie.  It’s a Frankenstein’s monster of a movie that adds nothing new to the superhero genre.  The plot isn’t very interesting and villain is super weak.  But, there’s something worth saying about how cool it is to see these characters interact on screen together.  Justice League isn’t highly entertaining in its own right.  However, it exudes hope and confidence for the future of humanity…and the other DC movies that are currently in development.

Positivity rings throughout this film, leaving you on a high note even if the actions on screen don’t warrant that feeling.  Justice League, against my better judgement, get a C+.  Justice League has a bizarre feel that probably works way better than it should.  You’ll come out of the film feeling great, and you won’t completely understand why.

It’s breezy, harmless, and has zero deadweight.  That’s not exactly the great endorsement that many want to hear, but it makes for a movie that you shouldn’t have any major issues watching.  This film is a placeholder for a new age in DC films.  If you stick with DC for just a little longer, I think you’ll become handsomely rewarded.


Thanks for reading!  What arr your thoughts on Justice League?  Comment down below!

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tomangel1 December 14, 2017 - 4:38 am

You are so right about the disposable army element of all these films – like the annoying battle droids in the star wars prequels – they couldn’t win a fight with damp washing

Nick Kush December 14, 2017 - 10:20 am

I get it from a writing standpoint where you need to show your heroes doing cool things, but it gets exhausting after awhile ?

natloveslit December 11, 2017 - 7:46 pm

Hi Nick! Love your review. Completely agree with it. Justice League isn’t a very good movie, but it keeps me hopeful about the future of DC. Marvel, I feel, has really established their universe, so much so that ensemble movies don’t feel like there are too many characters involved. For Justice League, it kind of felt that the only person needed was Superman. I feel that negates the idea of an ensemble cast. Yes, Flash and Cyborg are new to this, Wonder woman and Batman are a bit more seasoned, but Batman has no powers, and Aquaman is a bit of a letdown to be honest. So why are any of them needed? Just send in Superman. I guess I wish more thought was put into how each character can contribute.

They really did get a good cast. Ben Affleck is the best Batman we have had so far. I love Christian Bale, but he wasn’t a very good Bruce Wayne, and Ben has been able to take on both sides of the character quite well. Ezra Miller felt too comedic at times? I do find him funny, but sometimes it was bordering on mentally slow kind of funny, which reduced his character for me. Jason Momoa felt out of place. Gal Gadot is just gorgeous and charismatic, and it helps that we have her previous movie which helped to flesh out her character. Ray Fisher as Cyborg surprised me. I thought he was very good. He has such a nice voice, and a lot of the time, he lets his voice do the acting for him.

I feel like we need more thoughtful movies from DC, and less of the mess that this was.

Nick Kush December 11, 2017 - 9:09 pm

I’m glad you liked it! I totally feel he same way with Superman! Once he got involved the show was over for Steppenwolf and the rest of the justice League just kinda watched lol. I hate comparing DC to Marvel just because I dislike continuing the divide that’s prevalent there, but they do a great job of making every member of the Avengers feel completely necessary, or they at least try really hard to do so

calypte December 11, 2017 - 1:02 pm

Okay, everything I forgot to say in my own review – this is ace! :)

Nick Kush December 11, 2017 - 1:03 pm

I’m glad you liked it!!!

nikikefala December 10, 2017 - 8:48 am

Great review!

Nick Kush December 10, 2017 - 8:48 am

Thanks so much!

Nick Kush December 6, 2017 - 10:37 am

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Steve December 6, 2017 - 1:02 am

I was really getting hyped up until you mentioned the artificial time limit. One of those X-Men films a decade or so ago suffered so greatly from the rushed flow that I still feel the trauma. I will never understand why they won’t engage our brains simultaneously with our hearts and stomachs. Well, okay, maybe I could take a guess, but it’s still costing them (at least my) money to fluff up their films instead of battening them down in sturdy intellectual groundings.

Nick Kush December 6, 2017 - 8:14 am

There’s definitely a ton of turmoil over at Warner Bros right now. I read the other day where the only reason they didn’t delay it was because they wanted to make sure their bonuses were intact before their proposed merger with AT&T

Steve December 6, 2017 - 10:37 am

Nothing like a dose of reality to ruin the illusions

Nick Kush December 6, 2017 - 10:51 am

It’s just the worst isn’t it?

Steve December 6, 2017 - 11:45 am


coolcomix0221 November 20, 2017 - 12:08 pm

Alright! My thoughts! First, the chemistry between our five heroes (minus Superman, whom I get to in a moment since he doesn’t interact with them too much) was fairly good. I felt Batman struggling with his leadership role, even with Wonder Woman helping him manage the team. Ezra Miller was a standout as the Flash and though he may be somewhat of a jokester (I’m not sure since [sadly] I’ve never seen the 2014 TV show), but it felt like he was injected with Wally West’s joking side. Maybe that’s because I’m familiar with the cartoons “Justice League” and “Justice League Unlimited”, but that still doesn’t detract from his performance. Other than that, Aquaman and Cyborg were fairly standard, yet still had enough stuff to do to make their presence here accepted.

In my opinion, Steppenwolf is only slightly above Malekith from “Thor: The Dark World” since he actually engages others before the climax, thus prevent him from being entirely dull. However, they also share a common trait of having a disposable army while wanting to cause massive amounts of death and destruction. Like the climax to Dawn of Justice (on some desolate island between Metropolis & Gotham), having the final battle set in a desolate Russian village seems like another calculated attempt to stave off a certain criticism that forever haunts “Man of Steel”.

Finally, I really do think that adding an extra 15 or 20 minutes (or ever 25) would have gone a long way to adding more crucial details to the film, thus making it feel more appreciated. On a somewhat related note, I came across a post on the Facebook page “DC Entertainment News” that seems to link a hidden evil to this series (and No, it’s not Zack Snyder), Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujuhara. I won’t delve into this topic here, but apparently, he’s to blame for some of the series’ short-comings and only WW director Patty Jenkins was able to resist his “studio interference”. I’ll let you check out that page, since it’s also calling for a petition to have the guy fired.

In conclusion, I found the film “OK”. It’s not god-awful by any means, but it’s ultimately underwhelming since this is supposed to be the first live-action Justice League film ever and it only barely meets our standards. Can’t wait to hear your reactions to my comment, Nick! Stay strong!

coolcomix0221 November 20, 2017 - 1:16 pm

What I forgot to mention is that once Superman shows up to help our heroes, Steppenwolf is easily taken out. That also brings our main villain down quite a bit. Still, may this positive Kal-El be here to stay.

Nick Kush November 20, 2017 - 1:16 pm

I feel the same way (obviously)! The studio actually mandated that the film come in under two hours which certainly adds to the controversy that you somewhat mentioned above. I’m actually writing an article on the history and future of DC films for tomorrow! Those extra 20 minutes definitely got rid of connective tissue and character beats for the film

I thought Steppenwolf was actually worse than Malekith from the standpoint of at least Malektih looked like a real entity and not a video game character from 2005 lol. That loss of believability really hampers my ability to percieve him as a threat.

In the end, I feel like Justice League was a film that had to happen in order for DC to turn the page, hopefull that occurs!

coolcomix0221 November 20, 2017 - 1:18 pm

I hope so, Nicky Boy!

lyd-on-life November 20, 2017 - 7:59 am

I felt the exact same way!

It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but definitely nothing worth screaming about. Even watching it at IMAX did do much for me. However, I didn’t fall asleep so it was ok

I’m waiting to see what else DC has to offer

Nick Kush November 20, 2017 - 8:18 am

Judging by its less than stellar box office returns, Warner Bros. may look to switch things up in the near future.

majorpop November 19, 2017 - 12:34 pm

Why do I feel like I’m the only person who genuinely loved this movie?

Nick Kush November 19, 2017 - 12:35 pm

I couldn’t answer that, but I’m glad you enjoyed it!

mikekeskeys November 18, 2017 - 7:47 am

I’m starting to believe that I’m the wrong person to talk about superhero movies from a mainstream perspective. Being so versed in the lore of comic book movies backstories, I get excited when I see the characters I’ve grown up reading onscreen, and can follow tenuous connections to plots from previous movies or deep cut references with ease which adds to my enjoyment of the proceedings.

As with this movie, even though the flow is totally off, there are unanswered questions and more flaws, I still enjoyed the movie because it was the first DC film that felt like a DC film to me. Even Wonder Woman didn’t feel quite right to me as the setting of World War I limited the DC Comics nature of things for me. Even though critics both in professional and amateur nature may at times talk of superhero fatigue and being bored by all this stuff, as a fan I love it, and want this to keep going on (like Star Wars) to infinity.

Nick Kush November 18, 2017 - 9:06 am

I definitely want them to continue as well. Personally, the feeling of superhero fatigue I get is when I see the same movie over and over again. When I see a superhero film now, I don’t want to see a villain with a doomsday weapon that has a disposable army while something shoots up into the sky ?

raistlin0903 November 18, 2017 - 5:02 am

I hope to see this one in the upcoming week. I’m not really expecting much from this one anyway, but I think I will enjoy it just enough to make the trip to the cinema worthwhile. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the movie ?

Nick Kush November 18, 2017 - 9:01 am

The heroes themselves are fun, so there’s definitely something worth seeing in the film!

ghostof82 November 17, 2017 - 12:44 pm

Just saw it. Thought it was horrible. It was dumbed-down even for a kids comic, the effects were cartoony, little of the action made any sense, it was terribly choreographed. Shocking waste considering the talent involved.

Nick Kush November 17, 2017 - 12:45 pm

I don’t think it particularly works for anyone who isn’t a massive DC diehard. Otherwise, it’s just a messy movie

yasminereads November 17, 2017 - 10:35 am

Good. I really want a Nightwing movie too!

Nick Kush November 17, 2017 - 10:35 am

Me too!!!

yasminereads November 17, 2017 - 10:22 am

Great review! I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed it, and I totally agree that you leave feeling great without knowing why. It definitely added nothing to the larger superhero genre, and even Marvel is now struggling since superheroes are fun but are getting tiring to pretty much everyone.

I really hope DC improves, and this seems to be a step in the right direction. If they stop trying to get too gritty, they might get better since their superheroes are more absurd than Marvel’s and they just need to embrace it. Joss Whedon probably improved the film significantly from Snyder’s original idea just by doing that with the lighting alone.

Nick Kush November 17, 2017 - 10:25 am

I feel like this was a film that just needed to happen in order for DC to turn the page. It really seems this way since they’ve sorta halted starting any other projects until they saw how Justice League performed.

All I know is that I want Man of Steel 2 and I want it now! Lol

yasminereads November 17, 2017 - 10:27 am

I just want a Superman who isn’t sad all the time and in the dark, so if that’s what Man of Steel 2 will be, sign me up!

Nick Kush November 17, 2017 - 10:29 am

From how they brought him back, it looks like that’s how they’re gonna do it!

TheWarner November 17, 2017 - 9:52 am

I won’t be paying to watch this, as I learned my lesson with Batman vs. Superman and Suicide Squad, and I’m not fond of the casti or the director. With the exception of his Dawn of the Dead remake and Man of Steel I’ve hate all of Zack Snyder’s films. I really enjoyed Wonder Woman, but I feel Gal Gadot is a beautiful but terrible actress. Jason Momoa’s acting hasn’t improved since he played Ronan Dex on Stargate Atlantis, and that’s unacceptable to me. I thought Ben Affleck was the worst Batman EVER.

I also won’t be paying to see the next X-Men film, as all of the sequels following X-Men: First Class have been terrible, the worst being Apocalypse. I’m genuinely concerned about the Marvel Infinity Wars movies given that there will be so many characters involved and various storylines to mesh. Avengers: Age of Ultron is trash, so I’m not excited about the next one, whenever that one will be released. I’m not devoted to Marvel or DC, I just want to watch good superhero films, and there have been some pretty bad ones lately.

Nick Kush November 17, 2017 - 10:08 am

I’m sorta superhero fatigued as well. I’m pretty tired of a villain trying to create a doomsday weapon to destroy a planet while superheroes destroy its disposable army while quipping the entire time. There’s so many superhero films now, you need to be different and sometimes even downright strange!

TheWarner November 17, 2017 - 11:16 am

Yes, we need something new. It’s not about being team Marvel or DC, it’s about wanting to see movies with good plots. I love movies, but I’m sick of remakes and films with flimsy plots. Hollywood is filled with writers and scripts, yet these movie studios continue to put out the same films over and over. With the exception of Get Out, Blade Runner 2049, and Alien: Covenant I didn’t really enjoy any of the movies that were released this year. I still need to see Thor: Ragnarok though.

Nick Kush November 17, 2017 - 11:20 am

I really loved Logan as a diversion from the regular superhero shtick. Personally, it felt like an Oscar-worthy drama that happened to have superheroes in it which made for a worthy change from the formula for me.


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