The DC Extended Universe has had a much-maligned series of films over the past several years. Batman v. Superman was, arguably, one of the most disappointing superhero films in recent history. However, the release of Wonder Woman earlier this year appeared to mark a shift in the quality of DC films. This stand-alone feature was received incredibly well, leading many fans to believe that the future of the DC Extended Universe is very bright indeed.
With these high hopes, many were waiting eagerly for the release of reviews for Justice League. The film, much like The Avengers before it, represents a gathering of the universe’s most notable superheroes in a single film. With such great expectations and source material, here’s how critics felt Justice League performed.
Overall: Mixed Reactions
The good news is that Justice League appears to be a better film than Batman v. Superman. The bad news is that this isn’t exactly a high bar. Unfortunately, the critical consensus is that the latest installment in the franchise does not live up to Wonder Woman standards. Generally speaking, critics found that the film had a better, albeit inconsistent, tone. However, it suffered from poor action and a somewhat beige villain.
Owen Gleiberman, writing for Variety, found that the film was a great improvement on the previous Batman/Superman flick, calling it “an act of franchise penance.” Discussing the film’s tone, Tasha Robinson from The Verge found it inconsistent yet successful enough to give every fan something to enjoy.
The Cast Performed Well…Mostly
In general, the performances of the main cast were viewed favorably. This is particularly true of the banter between characters and the performance by Gal Gadot. In fact, Peter Travers was so impressed by these performances that he felt that without them, “the film would crumble.” Unfortunately, some critics felt that Affleck’s Batman was uninspired and tedious. Todd McCarthy, from The Hollywood Reporter, noted that Affleck looks entirely uninterested in portraying the iconic hero.
The Villain is Another Miss
One of the most consistent criticisms of both DC and Marvel films is the lack of a truly intriguing villain. The superhero genre has largely leaned heavily on CGI to make villains more powered and dangerous. Unfortunately, this has actually made the villains bland and unrelatable. Steppenwolf, the Justice League baddie, appears to be more of the same. Most critics have found the villain to be another boring CGI antagonist that fails to draw out any legitimate suspense.
Overall, Justice League appears to be another disappointing installment in the DC Extended Universe. While it’s definitely not the worst-reviewed DC film, it is very far from the slam dunk that it should have been. Fans of Wonder Woman who believed that the DC universe was turning itself around will likely leave disappointed. Critics didn’t find the film to be wholly terrible. There are several redeeming aspects, including the humorous banter between characters and the performance of Gal Gadot. It’s also important to remember that critical reactions don’t necessarily reflect how audiences will perceive the film. It is entirely possible that Justice League will be every bit as entertaining as the best of the superhero genre. If we’re going off reviews, however, there is still much to be desired.