By: Felix Felicis (Four Beers) –
There’s no better way to end 2017 than with a DC movie, and here’s why. This film is the poster child for what may be the most fucked up year (definitley cinematically – and somewhat realistically) on record yet. Justice League served lukewarm villains paired with a weak sauce superhero team origin story. I’ve seen more thrilling formations of baby ducks come together. But I digress. Plagued by reshoots and studio meddling long before release, this flick was D.O.A almost out the gate and not even the Mighty Whedon could pluck this silver screen dumpster baby fully from the jaws of mediocrity. R.I.P quality control, we knew ye well. Not to mention, Beardgate: The CGI Edition MAY have actually been more visually annoying than the latest iPhone glitch and/or Kardashian pregnancy scandal (we get it, you’re branding – I mean birthing, the next corporation – I mean, generation).
I’m trying to gather my thoughts on how to explain the Justice League plot, but the ferrets on crystal meth who run my brain just faxed a .gif of a *puggle **peeing on a trash can fire down the ol’ cortex and that imagery seems about right (* something that SHOULD be awesome, **in essence, just shitting the bed). Okay, take two, so we open the first few seconds of the film on what honestly looks like Henry Cavill’s face (if his face had melted like a crayon under a heat lamp) as he says some Superman shit blah blah hope blah truth blah justice, etc. Then we follow that with a montage of some super sad peeps woke and heartbroke (’cause Superman got super dead last time he hung out with Batflek) including a homeless dude bucking for Human Representation Of 2017 listlessly sitting on the street with a cardboard sign that says “I tried.” Sidenote: the couple next to me laughed at this and, also unrelated, humans are literally the worst.
After that, we follow a bloated, front-heavy (even with Whedon’s obvious editing influence) character-driven introduction guaranteed to induce survival-based narcolepsy as we meet (and re-meet) Cyborg, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and The Flash because Mike Pence, I mean our villain, Steppenwolf (alien? demi-god? weirdly Oedipal dude? All three?) has a huuuuuuuge hard-on for his long-lost “mother boxes” (and would also like to crush and subjugate humanity. They’re basically twinsies).
The team, nay, LEAGUE, comes together to fight off a moderately douchey, slightly underwhelming threat to earth (and mankind). But not too threatening, because it only took *six of them (*Superman gets resurrected and shows up to pwn the day – you CANNOT think this is a spoiler, you KNEW Superman would be back, calm down the three angry nerds with no clue who somehow haven’t seen Justice League yet) with the Big Bad Ultimate throwdown happening in an abandoned nuclear silo somewhere deep in the heart of Bumfuck, Russia. Sure, okay, I’ll buy that vowel… But only because it comes with a free beach tote and, as you all know, we white girls are powerless against a free beach tote.
Still a better Justice League than Justice League.
Much like an ancient hangover story from my college days, I’m struggling to recall the specific details about this cinematic barf bag that I liked. There were moments, grafted on to the choppy mess of back-alley mediocrity that was Justice League, that I genuinely enjoyed. Um, Ezra Miller was a goddamned delight as The Flash, for one. Cheeky, charming and generally carrying any scene he was in with a twinkle in his eye, Miller made the Flash a scene stealer all the way through to the first post-credit scene (there are two, FYI). Also, Jeremy Irons as Alfred gets criminally underused in Justice League, which is ironic in that he works for Batman who basically has to arrest himself for that one.
Holy. Fucking, CGI circlejerk shitshow, Batman! Picture a wax replica of Henry Cavill set on fire, put out, doused in acid, dunked in more wax and launched into space. That’s the level of quality DC is operating at with regards to the care they put into their product these days. Basically, when the time came that Henry Cavill was needed to (what turned out to be an almost total overhaul) massively reshoot his role after Joss Whedon took over, he was already shooting Mission Impossible: 6 and (after a masterfully petty bitch move due to studio-on-studio hardball) was required to keep his stubble and full mustache for Justice League reshoots. Cue the bad decisions in three, two…
Every time you see Henry Cavill’s dead eyes behind a mask of computer generated imagery, please know that DC is why we can’t have nice things. They could’ve pushed back the release date and given up on competing with Thor: Ragnarok at the box office and really taken the time to get the CGI right, but nope. They could’ve tossed in one line of dialogue explaining the mustache as a right-out-of-the-comics Rebirth storyline, but, HAHAHAHAHA NOPE. The level of disrespect/delusion it takes to put out a shitty product as “good enough”, counting on a fanbase to nevertheless give you their money is almost as much as it takes to run the United States these days.
Dear Joss Whedon, hi, Felix here. You know. Remember that one time you like a tweet I wrote? So, basically as your BFF I have to say you did your best with Justice League AND NOBODY IS MAD AT YOU, SWEETIE.
But… this horse was already dead before they hired you to beat it. Justice League was front-heavy, laboriously paced, and somehow still filled with superfluous character elements. They gave you an already flaming bag of poo, buddy. I was somehow simultaneously bored AND dying inside at warp nine. Character motivations were inconsistent at best. A dealer’s choice Jersey Shore cast member could’ve made better life decisions than anyone who greenlit this boil-waiting-to-be-lanced-on-the-ass-of-cinema.
Not to mention JL’s terrible writing, uneven tone, and the solid call to make Wonder Woman’s ass cheeks juuuuust visible enough when she hopped off a transport by hiking her skirt up to levels only previously seen by gynecologists. And hey, who hasn’t been cold enough to wear a scarf but hot enough to still wear a battle skirt around the ol’ office? Gotta say I also super loved the forced-yet-extremly awkward not-sexual-tension she had with Batflek as she WOUNDED-BABY-BIRD NURSED HIM AFTER BATTLE HAHAHAHAHA FEMINISM IS FOR UGLY WOMEN AMIRITE?!?
Bit clunky, though, with you guys mentioning Steve Trevor every five seconds to set up Wonder Woman 2 and all (that legit may be the only thing I’m actually excited for coming out of DC in the future). Given Justice League’s overweighted first half, not even the team’s synergy on the back end (including finale Battle Royale) could overcome everything wrong with this flick due to Steppenwolf’s fairly weak sauce throughout.
I’ve spent the better part of the last week breaking down Justice League at the office and at home. There are tweet threads here, here and here about it. You’re welcome for those. But I digress. In each of those threads a common element emerged to drag Justice League down into the depths of meh-diocrity, and that’s a forgettable villain. Unless you’re familiar with Steppenwolf’s comic arc (New God from another world acting as a general/war commander for Darkseid – a bigger, badder villain) you’ll be mostly confused as to why this guy is such a whiny, petulant asshat about conquering Earth. Kind of like “The Man In Black” from Stephen King’s The Dark Tower this year, Steppenwolf is a big “fuck you” to anyone casually uninformed about the source material.
I’m just gonna say it, Steppenwolf is an allegory for Mike Pence and his weird obsession over possessing the “mother boxes” (think knockoff tesseracts) and subsequent tempter tantrums after being thwarted are real… real boring. Almost everything Steppenwolf does lasts JUST long enough for the League to get their act together and roll out to stop him. It’s also pretty hard to get jazzed about a bad guy who Gollum-talks to some inanimate objects before getting hoisted by his own petard. Picture a bowl of room temperature yogurt. Poke the bowl. Watch it kind of jiggle. Congrats. You’ve just experienced the same level of excitement a ticket to Justice League (and Steppenwolf) could bring you.
Last Call: There are two post credits scenes, the second all the way at the end.
Justice League (2017) Drinking Game
Take a (Small) Drink: every time you can tell what was reshot due to Superman’s melted candle wax face.
Take a Drink: whenever someone new talks about or carries the mother boxes.
Do a Shot: each time “Steve Trevor” gets mentioned.
Take a Sip: anytime someone strikes a “battle pose”. Take Two: if it’s the whole team.
Shotgun Your Beer: when the mother boxes blow the mother load.