You know that feeling you get when you're pretty sure a movie is going to be just awful, but you have nostalgic feelings about its characters, so you suck it up and go anyway? Ignore that feeling as it applies to Justice League—this thing is just sloppily executed expositional garbage layered over an awful screenplay, hollow heroes and villains and a complete mess of a plot that probably won't even excite the most naive of moviegoing children.

It's some time after the death of Superman from that also-awful movie, Batman v. Superman, and Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) is all freaked out about how something extra-evil might go down soon since the evil forces of the universe are aware Earth has no real guardian. Cue mildly humorous team-building with reluctant other heroes like Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot, who does, in fairness, rule), The Flash (Ezra Miller and his painful stabs at comedic relief), Aquaman (Game of Thrones' Jason Momoa, whom we can tell tries his damnedest) and The Cyborg (the brooding and all-too-emotional Ray Fisher). Turns out li'l Brucey was right, and some amalgam of pure evil and jagged metal helmets called Steppenwolf—who was surely born to be wild—shows up to claim powers and take over the planet and kill everyone and stuff.

Between the first hour of said team-building, wherein we're reminded for the umpteenth time what all these characters are all about, and the second hour, wherein we are force-fed barely digestible fight scenes shot on blue screen and crammed with shaky cam, it may occur to some that they're seeing this film out of a misguided sense of duty to their childhoods. Others will attend simply to see Momoa's glistening pecs; there may even be fans of that Wonder Woman film onboard (there should be—it was awesome), but that doesn't mean Justice League deserves such throngs. See, the Marvel universe has been smart and calculating, doling out movies like breadcrumbs in a metered fashion that are often (not always) worth being excited about. DC, however, seems to subscribe to a throw-in-everything-we-can-and-see-what-sticks plan, and it's obvious. Hell, it often seems like the people behind this thing don't even know what they're doing. Furthermore, if director Zac Snyder doesn't ditch his love of slow-mo played out at every possible second, we're gonna lose it.

So, we stop caring. And early. Formulaic doesn't even begin to describe the deflated feel of Justice League—"insulting" actually might be the better term. So thanks bunches, DC, for thinking we're all too stupid for something with any depth whatsoever. Thanks for the underdeveloped characters and terrible one-liners from actors who seem as if they barely want to be there themselves. We're begging you here—make better movies.

3
+Wonder Woman scenes
-All other scenes

Justice League
Directed by Snyder
With Affleck, Gadot, Miller, Momoa and Fisher
Regal, Violet Crown, PG-13, 120 min.