Tom Zavertnik’s review published on Letterboxd:
Justice League. The newest addition of the DC Expanded Universe. Directed by Zack Snyder (basically Joss Whedon though), the first live action rendition of the Justice League. The story follows the formation of the League, and then they presume to stop generic CG villain Steppenwolf from destroying the world.
Justice League has abandoned the dark tone that previous DC movies set. So now it’s got a lighter tone, just like Marvel. The first and second acts are abysmal. The first 10 minutes is so cringeworthy bad that I thought I was watching a different movie all together. The script feels like it is written by a teenage who just read a comic book for the first time. The editing is super choppy, with HUGE tone shifts every 10 seconds. It will go from the big bad guy killing people and stealing stuff to talking about a superheroes parents and what not, literally 5 seconds after the villain leaves.
The only character that really gets any sort of development is Cyborg and when he does get a chance to develop, it’s just quickly passed by whatever Batman is doing. When it comes to the others that are new like Aquaman and Flash, they serve their purpose of fighting bad guys but that’s about it. Flash is where the majority of the humor comes from, even the now light hearted Batman cracks jokes throughout. Some of the jokes just fall flat.
Not only do some of the humor fall flat, the acting at times, especially Affleck, just feels stale. Like Affleck showed up on set did his scenes in one take and left. Just watch him in scenes where the team is together and he doesn’t have his cowl on, it’s painfully jarring. In terms of tone and style, I don’t know what happened between Batman v Superman and this but that felt like that had a unique style in the back behind its faults but here, it’s just generic superhero jargon now.
When it comes to the things I liked (which are few and between), the return of Superman (though I prefer the old DCEU one) feels more like the 1980s Superman. He’s also a huge powerhouse here. When he renters the big fight later, he could have beaten Steppenwolf alone easily (seeing how Superman tosses him like a dog toy over and over). The interactions between Flash and Superman are great. And just seeing the Justice League all work and fight together are the highlights of the movie. But you just have to sit through two acts of rushed mess before you get to a entertaining but hugely cliched and CGed final battle. The movie even ends with a goddamn voiceover (out of nowhere) and basically says superheroes exist and are great.
With earlier DCEU Movies, there was a certain tone that separated them from Marvel. But after seeing the shift Justice League will be doing to it, it just seems like your typical run of the mill Marvel movie now. I really wanted Justice League to be great, it had a lot of potential to be great. But alas the clumsy, lazy, and super choppy filmmaking just drags it for the whole 2 hour runtime (which should have been 2 hours and 40 minutes as there are scenes that were clearly meant to be longer but no save that for the Blu-Ray release).
Justice League is the newest generic superhero blockbuster mess that feels more Marvel then DC (also judging from how this feels more like Joss Whedon then Zack Snyder’s style, that would probably be why).