Usually in a film review, we’d spend time giving readers an idea of the plot and then highlighting some of the good, some of the bad and some of the baffling. When it comes to a four-hour steaming pile of garbage like Zack Snyder’s Justice League—a longer version of Joss Whedon’s abysmal 2018 train wreck and box office flop—there’s simply too much ground to cover without making adjustments.
In a nutshell, the world faces an ancient evil called Darkseid that sends its totally evil ward Steppenwolf (who was born to be wild) to Earth to, like, conquer it. Thus, Bruce Wayne/Batman assembles a team of heroes to fight those jerks. Here's everything you need to know about the movie, which just dropped on the HBO Max streaming platform:
-The 4:3 aspect ratio, which a bit of text before the film tells us was chosen to keep Snyder's "artistic vision" intact, is weird. We've all gotten used to widescreen and that's what our televisions do. There's no point to this. And we wouldn't call Snyder an artist.
-If slow-motion technology didn't exist, Justice League would probably be about 15 minutes long. All of Snyder's films would be. Every other scene is several minutes of slo-mo melodrama underscored by some trite pop song.
-There's a high bar of entry here. If you haven't kept up with DC Comics, good luck knowing who any of the players are outside of the main superheroes—and good luck enjoying any cameo-type moments which might hint at other aspects of the broader DC universe or potential sequels (may they never come to pass).
-Every single time Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) appears onscreen, we hear a snippet of her theme music written by composer Rupert Gregson-Williams. In scenes where she pops up repeatedly, this actually becomes quite funny. It's unclear why nobody mentioned this to Snyder, but it's presumably because he was too busy stroking his own ego to take notes.
-Ray Fisher (Cyborg) and Ezra Miller (The Flash) try their hardest and even approach enjoyable performances. Sadly, Ben Affleck's turn as Batman, Henry Cavill's Superman, Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman and Jason Momoa's Aquaman all seem bored or something. Lifeless? Listless? Pointless? They're saying lines they memorized, they're just not really doing any acting. You'll just feel bad for better actors like Jeremy Irons and Willem Dafoe, whose characters exist only on the periphery.
-Those who would describe the film's visual aesthetic as "stunning" should see more movies. Slo-mo and green screen in an endless loop of self-indulgence aren't so much stunning as they are maximalist nightmares playing out in a -pretentious and tiresome fashion.
-It's pretty ballsy to tackle a role like The Joker after Heath Ledger's Oscar-winning turn from 2008's The Dark Knight, but rest assured that Jared Leto's take on the role is not only boring and lacking depth-—it serves no purpose, it seems, other than being a part of the pre-release -marketing. Dude sucks.
-It's boring. It's a boring movie. And needlessly long. From scenes in which we have to hear a group of Icelandic villagers sing an entire-ass song to others wherein poor, bewildered Diane Lane trades sad talk with poor, bewildered Amy Adams, there are just better ways to spend your time. Stubbing your toe, for example, or getting those taxes done. Almost anything you can think up is time better spent. Watch this if you love crap, want to be in on the joke or simply don't have a single other thing going on for the next four hours.
-Boo. Slime. Muck. Filth. Rubbish. Boooo!
+Ray Fisher and Ezra Miller
-Pretty much everything else
Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Directed by Snyder
With Fisher, Miller, Affleck, Cavill, Gadot and Momoa
HBO Max, R, 242 min.