Monday, November 20, 2017

Justice League

It's finally here and I finally got to watch Justice League.  It was fucking amazing. It was so fucking amazing! I almost walked into the lobby, bought a ticket and watched it again when it was done.  They did all the characters justice... pun?  Terrible pun.  I hate puns.  But seriously, it was fan-fucking-tastic.  The story brought together elements from the earlier movies and did a great job meshing two huge stories together to make it work.  

Like Batman Vs Superman, which took Return of the Dark Knight and the Death of Superman, and pieced them together in an intelligent fashion; Justice League takes two story lines and brings them together, War and The Return of Superman.  And just like BvS, it makes total sense and is utterly brilliant story telling.  Frame for frame you can essentially screen shot the movie and compare it to the comics.  

I watch these DC movies from Zak Snyder and I think that they are probably the best comic to screen adaptations out there.  Don't get me wrong, I love what Marvel is doing.  I love it.  I just happen to like DC's take more.  I suppose I'm prone to the darker stories they told to set up their universe.  I realize their dark tone is a cause for criticism among critics, but I don't feel critics are really worth what they used to be.  

I guess that's an open point of contention.  I know critics made up their mind about Justice League before they ever saw it.  Part of me actually thinks that their jobs depend on criticizing the DC movies while writing puff pieces for Marvel movies.  The obvious exception being Wonder Woman.  Because to insult the first major female lead super hero movie rooted in female empowerment would've been writer suicide.  So, she got a pass.

Wonder Woman is a great movie, not because the lead is a female or any of that small-minded garbage.  It was a great movie because it was a great movie.  And really, everyone made a big deal about a female lead movie, but I didn't hear anyone making those observations for Resident Evil, Tomb Raider or hell, Aliens back in the day.

It's unfortunate that critics are able to have so much sway over people.  I feel like there is a major disconnect between critics and the average movie goer because every time I show someone Man of Steel or Batman Vs Superman, they love it. Like insanely love it. I've had several people tell me they couldn't believe how good they are when they had heard so many bad things about them. When I asked them who said the bad things, they can never give me a straight answer. They just heard they were bad.

BvS introduced Batman but without an origin story, and we don't need an origin story for Batman. They hint at it in Batman vs Superman, but we really don't need it. Batman is the biggest superhero of all time. We all know the story. So it was cool to come into a universe where he already existed. Actually, he's existed for a long time, and has already gone through some major story arks that fans are already familiar with. Justice League is Batman following the events of Batman vs Superman, and he's so much more optimistic. 

Well, optimistic for Batman.

Justice League was a great introduction for Aquaman, Cyborg and Flash, paving the way for their solo movies.  I loved Momoa's take on Aquaman.  It was so good.  The whole rock'n'roll rebel thing worked way better than I thought it would from the previews.  I'm really looking forward to the solo Aquaman movie now.  It also sets in motion several pieces for other team movies.  Although Warner Brothers now is talking about doing more solo films, which I feel is a bit of a mistake because it deviates from the way that they work in the comic books. DC has always very much been about crossovers, and to have Warner Brothers take that away from them I don't think is a good decision.

Cyborg was wildly awesome. I loved how they could not have done anything that they did in that movie without him. It really set him up as a central piece to the Justice League. I also love how the flash is right at the beginning of his career, but you don't have to go to the origin story like we do what other major superhero characters in the past. Again, DC superheroes are so big, we've already had two TV shows we've seen the introduction to The Flash. There's no need to repeat his origin story. People know it.

If there any negatives about this movie, I would actually say it's suffers from Warner Brothers' interference. I've come to the conclusion at this point that the WB is DC's biggest enemy. Ever since Batman vs Superman, Warner Brothers has had wet feet about doing anything really gritty with the DC Universe. Which is super unfortunate, because I feel like the entire reason Ben Affleck signed up was because of Zack Snyder's gritty vision for the DC Universe. He wanted to tell the definitive Batman story. Now that Warner Brothers has softened its tone and backpedaled, Ben Affleck has lost interest. And I can totally understand why. Even back in the days of Daredevil, Ben Affleck was wanting to tell grittier stories.   When he goes, what a loss that's going to be. 

I was not a fan of Ben Affleck's going into Batman vs Superman. I was one of the detractors who was super upset by the casting. Until I saw the movie.  That fight scene between Superman and Batman, and the warehouse fight scene, set the fucking bar for all Batman movies that follow. And Ben Affleck as a producer and director is amazing. He has been talking about Batman for over a decade, I know whatever ideas he had would likely be just as amazing.  And now because Warner Brothers has sided with critics instead of fans, we are going to be robbed of potentially the best Batman movie ever fucking made by the best Batman that's ever been portrayed on screen. 

That is a gigantic loss.  Especially when you consider the success of Deadpool as a rated R superhero film, what you could do with Batman and a Rated-R setting would be so much truer to the comics than any iteration before it has ever come close to being. In fact, Batman versus Superman showed for the first time the actual story of Batman's loss of his parents amounting to nothing. Showing that it wasn't the Joker who killed him and he gets some sort of circular closure at the end of the movie. Nothing like that. It was a loss for nothing. Batman vs Superman also showed how scary it was to be on the opposite side of Batman. You saw it a little bit in Suicide Squad as well. And then obviously the opening of Justice League with Batman hunting a criminal, and the fear that he imposes on them. I feel like, had Ben Affleck been able to make his version of Batman, we would have gotten a much darker, much grittier, much more real to the comics version of Batman, and the scenes were he's hunting criminals would have been more like a horror movie, then an action movie.

It's one of those unfortunate situations where the production company has taken to Heart the comments made by critics instead of by fans. They took the fact that they weren't making Marvel money that Marvel was getting 13 movies and several TV shows into its run when they were only three or four movies into their run as an obvious sign of failure, when really they have been tracking the same as Marvel has when Marvel was in its fledgling movie period. 

I know there has been a push to get a Zak Snyder cut off the film done, and I would love it to see it if it happens. I hope it happens.  And this isn't to knock Joss Whedon.  He's an amazing director, and he was put into an impossible situation. I think his Batgirl movie will be fantastic. But he and Snyder are very different directors with very different visions and styles; so while Justice League turned out awesome, I think Whedon showed this with Avengers, having one static, unifying vision pays its own dividends.

In the end the Justice League does what it's supposed to do I think, got me excited for all the solo songs to follow with Aquaman and Flashpoint, the next Wonder Woman movie, the next Man of Steel movie, The Batman. I'm even excited to see Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Batman in Flashpoint. I'm really stoked about the Lantern Corps and Shazam movies and how they play into the eventual Justice League sequel with Darkside.  I can't wait for the Blu-ray release, but I want to wait and see if there's going to be an ultimate director's cut like they did with Batman v Superman, because that was absolutely superior in every way to the theatrical release.  I just wish Warner Brothers would get out of DC's way and stop trying to make Marvel 2.0. I feel like Warner Brothers right now is the biggest thing holding back DC, which is really unfortunate.

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