What’s the Deal: Justice League opens this week. It’s not a dream. It’s not fake news. It will actually be on screens in movie theaters. You will be able to buy tickets and see it. Getting here has been a long and winding road. This movie has tried to will itself into existence for decades. Are people actually excited? Is there too much apathy? Are we burnt out? Could it actually be a good movie? Could it win Best Picture? We’ll know soon enough.
Daniel Cohen’s Breakdown
I’ve written so many articles and dissected this movie in so many podcasts, seeing the actual film, good or bad, will quite honestly be a relief at this point. It was important for me to participate in this Pre-game though because it’s the last chance I’ll ever have to speculate on this movie.
I’ve made it clear in the past that DC Comics is my brand. Despite that, I haven’t felt the obsession like many others to see a Justice League movie. As big a fan as I am of all these characters, Batman always comes first. While I’ve wanted to see movies with all these superheroes, at the end of the day, I was always satisfied with just seeing Batman. The other reason is I’ve always firmly believed that superheroes shouldn’t occupy shared universes on film. I know now this is an archaic way of thinking.
Even though I prefer heroes on their own, I want nothing more than to love Justice League. I wish there was an alternate universe where everyone loved Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, because if that happened, the movie we’d be getting this week would be a completely different film. It’s a film I would have loved to of seen, but there’s no doubt in my mind it went through massive changes after the reaction to both those movies, in particular, BvS.
As I sit here and write this, there is no Rotten Tomato score, or even reviews yet. There has been early Twitter reaction though. From everything I read, it’s getting the exact response I feared it would get: “Perfectly fun and entertaining.” This speaks to Warner Brothers playing it safe. After what happened with BvS, they didn’t want to take any chances. This will be a mediocre, watered down, generic superhero movie with some good acting among the primary cast. That’s it.
I’m sure most people just want a fun movie. I understand that. I can only speak for myself. The bottom-line is this: I’ve seen too many great superhero movies, including this year, where the “it’s perfectly fun” tag doesn’t cut it for me.
For the last time: I want to be wrong. I want to come out of this getting a lot more than I bargained for, but at this point, it is what it is.
Biggest Asset: The cast is exceptional.
Achilles Heel: The villain could singlehandedly ruin this movie.
Matt Kelly’s Breakdown:
I have never been more torn by a movie.
Everything in my heart is excited about this movie. The Justice League cartoon is one of my favorite superhero…things of all time. The way it was able to balance such insanely different heroes opened my eyes to how big these movies and cinematic universes could be. I don’t think we have Avengers or the CW-verse without the Justice League cartoon. It meant that much to all of the 18-to-35-year-old fans who pour every minute and dollar into these mega franchises today.
So the prospect of a Justice League movie excites me. A film introducing Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg to an already established Batman and Wonder Woman is just the best. Ezra Miller’s Flash looks like a delight. I’m not sold on the costume, but things like that often look better in motion anyway. I’m digging Jason Momoa’s Aquaman. Cyborg sure is…there. Gal Gadot IS Wonder Woman the same way Robert Downey Jr IS Tony Stark. Ben Affleck might be a good Batman. Who knows? We’ve only had two movies. It’s too early to tell.
My brain is telling me to calm down. It knows that I’ve been hurt before. Man of Steel was fine. I think it gets worse the more you watch it, but at least it’s not bad. It’s okay. But then HOY BOY! Batman v Superman: Rush to Justice was the most boring, dreary, confusing, pointless, and misguided attempt at a superhero movie I could imagine. Everyone has said everything that needs to be said about that movie. It’s BALLS. And just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, Suicide Squad crawls its way out of hell with a script that I can only describe as the first draft from the thought experiment about monkeys writing Shakespeare. The DCEU is so bad that a B-movie like Wonder Woman is a serious contender for an Oscar Nomination by comparison.
Never before have I been so confused. My expectations are so low that Aaron Eckhart and Hillary Swank just passed them on their way to restart the core of the Earth. And by that metric, Justice League should be fine. Maybe even good. Random cast members will probably be great and others will be boring. It’s hard to tell which at this point. Justice League will probably be all kinds of decent.
Biggest Asset: Joss Whedon is Justice League’s biggest asset. He is a competent director who knows how to make a film that both looks and is good. Don’t get me wrong. The circumstances that led to Joss coming onboard are absolutely terrible and Zack Snyder deserves nothing from love from the nerd community. It’s just that a big heaping helping of Whedonness is exactly what the DCEU needs to be sustainable.
Achilles Heel: The DCEU Ending is Justice League’s biggest Achilles’ Heel. And I don’t think Achilles’ Heel covers it. It’s more like the Achilles’ Leg or Achilles’ Everything from the Head Down. All of these DCEU movies fall apart in the end. Even Wonder Woman. Regardless of the first 80% of the movie, the last 20% is always some big dumb CGI fight in the dark between the heroes and a big grey/black monster guy. Everything I’ve seen from the Justice League trailers suggests that it will end the same way. Lots of fast action that’s kinda tough to make out in a sea of smoke and red. If the movie ends with a DCEU Ending, it will leave a pretty bad taste in people’s mouth no matter how good the rest is.
Tommy Tracy’s Breakdown
Oh boy, here we go. Look, I learned to read from comic books. Batman was my hero growing up. We’ve had incredible DC-centric films in the past. But damn if Zack Snyder just isn’t the wrong man for the job. I can’t say I don’t want to see this film; I do. However, with only Wonder Woman being good (BVS is fine, I guess), it’s hard to not think this movie isn’t going to be a steaming pile. Which is upsetting, since it NEEDS to be great.
Biggest Asset: The cast. Affleck. Gadot. Momoa. Miller. That’s a hell of an ensemble to lead this franchise. And the first two are proven to be fantastic in their roles.
Achilles Heel: Snyder. I make no apologies for this one.
Daniel Cohen: Geez Louise, I don’t know. Whatever the reported production budget is listed at, I feel like we need to double it just to be on the safe side. That doesn’t even include marketing. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: Warner Brothers just wants to get through this movie and leave people interested for solo films, like next year’s Aquaman.
I wouldn’t be completely shocked if it got to a billion, but that’s doubtful. If this movie really has no buzz after opening weekend, you could be looking at the $750 Million Worldwide range, which for a Justice League movie with Batman in it would be a big fat fail.
The Ceiling: $950 Million Worldwide | The Floor: $720 Million Worldwide
Matt Kelly: I have no idea. It might make more than Thor: Ragnarok, but I don’t know. I’m betting it breaks a billion but like…barely.
The Ceiling: $1 Billion Worldwide | The Floor: $800 Million Worldwide
Tommy Tracy: These are my least favorite because I’m never good at predicting but I feel there is no way Justice League can’t make a ton of money. Like The Avengers before it, JL is the first for these guys and pure interest alone is going to drive nerds like me to see it.
The Ceiling: $1 Billion Worldwide | The Floor: $750 Million Worldwide
Daniel Cohen: This is going to sound weird, but my pick is Henry Cavill. This qualifies, as I don’t think he’ll be in the film very much. I’m banking on a real show stopper of a return when he pops back up as the Man of Steel.
Matt Kelly: Flash will probably be the scene stealer. Every one of these DCEU films, including Wonder Woman, has been itching for a Barry Allen type character; a lovable dork who looks at everything that is going on around him and says “That’s weird.” It’s why Hawkeye is the most important Avenger. Without him, the movies lose touch with reality.
Tommy Tracy: As I mentioned, the cast is top notch. Ezra Miller will bring some youth and fun to The Flash. Gadot and Affleck are proven commodities. But I think the scene stealer will go to Momoa’s Aquaman, assuming he plays well off of Batman.
Daniel Cohen: Despite all the concerns, and my overall fear that this isn’t really a Zack Snyder movie, I can’t help but be a little jittery. At the end of the day, it’s a movie with Batman. That alone brings automatic excitement.
Anticipation Level: 3.5 Prayers out of 5
Matt Kelly: I’m mostly excited. I would be a 4 or 5 but the DCEU has been such a RAGINING DUMPSTERFIRE that I cannot give them the benefit of the doubt, regardless of how uncharacteristically good Wonder Woman was.
Anticipation Level: 3 Prayers out of 5
Tommy Tracy: I can’t say it’s not a 5/5 for this. I mean, dude, it’s Justice League. I don’t mind a darker tone (look at Nolan’s trilogy) but I mind a Snyder tone, so the 5 is a “yes, I’m excited to see it but wouldn’t be surprised if it’s awful.” I’m so conflicted.
Anticipation Level: 5 Prayers out of 5
TOTAL ANTICIPATION LEVEL: 11.5 Prayers out of 15