While plenty of DC fans consider Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice to be a success, the general consensus was that Warner Bros. was unable to capture the same magic that Marvel did in the first Avengers movie. Dawn of Justice was too dark, too messy and character motivations were questionable at best. It seemed like the DC movie universe might be dead on arrival. But then Wonder Woman swooped in last year to save the day.
Suddenly, faith in the franchise had been at least partially restored. Moviegoers were willing to give the DCEU another chance. Appropriately, the future of the DCEU would rest in the hands of Justice League, a live-action team-up movie that DC fans have waited decades to see on the big screen. And after months of anticipation, the reviews are in.
Was Justice League able to accomplish what Dawn of Justice couldn’t? Are these characters as like or as interesting as their Marvel counterparts? Does the DCEU have a future? We combed the internet for reviews this morning, and we discovered that the reaction to Justice League is mixed, but slightly more positive than Dawn of Justice:
““Justice League” is seamless enough that it’s hard to say where one filmmaker leaves off and the other begins. But the film’s flavor tilts more toward Whedon than Snyder, whose pop grandiosity is radically played down. Every moment feels like it’s been test-driven for our pleasure. As a piece of product, “Justice League” is “superior” to “Batman v Superman,” but it’s also about as close to generic as a sharp-witted high-octane comic-book movie can get. There’s hardly a trope in it you haven’t seen before.” – Owen Gleiberman
“It falls to Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman to cheer things up a little, especially early on, with her dramatic intervention in London against a bunch of self-declared “reactionary terrorists” who invade the Old Bailey and threaten an explosion with a bomb attached to a timer device with the traditional LCD countdown display. It will, they say, cause devastation for “four city-blocks”. Wonder Woman winds up posing, with great aplomb, atop the justice statue. A nice touch. It is Wonder Woman who provides the link to the ancient world, and with it the surreality and exoticism.” – Peter Bradshaw
“That said, Justice League seldom delivers any truly “wow!” moments of finally seeing these awesome superheroes assembled together onscreen the way The Avengers did. This first big screen union of DC Comics’ top-tier superheroes is ultimately just an adequate adventure flick. It’s marred by a very choppy story, a run-of-the-mill villain, some shoddy visual effects, and an overall haphazard execution.” – Jim Vejvoda
“Still, there are things to like in Justice League. The chemistry between the old and new castmembers being the main one, thanks to Whedon and co-writer Chris Terrio. And the handful of call-back cameos from Amy Adams’ Lois Lane, Diane Lane’s Martha Kent, and Connie Nielsen’s Queen Hippolyta are all welcome without overstaying that welcome (the same goes for newcomers like J.K. Simmons’ Commissioner Gordon). It’s obvious to anyone watching Justice League next to the other DC films that the studio brass handed down a mandate to lighten the mood and make things funnier and more Marvel-y. And, to an extent, Justice League accomplishes that.” – Chris Nashawaty
“But Justice League does more right than wrong. Instead of having its heroes punch each other a lot, most of the tension comes from philosophical differences on what it means to serve the greater good, and the movie also pays homage to what’s come before, with Danny Elfman’s phenomenal score successfully weaving and twisting Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman themes.” – Brian Truitt
“And taken as a whole, Justice League is often thrilling and rousing, with few of the outright infuriating twists that have made past DCEU movies so frustrating: the “Your mom’s name is Martha too?” miscalculations or “Superman destroys the city he’s trying to save” tone-deaf shenanigans. For once, the heroes have a relatively black-and-white battle ahead of them, without existential questions about whether humanity deserves saving, or whether they deserve to save humanity. And that lets the characters cut loose in a triumphant barrage of over-the-top carnage that shows them each to their best heroic potential.” – Tasha Robinson
“The scenes of the League members together, bickering and bonding, spike the film with humor and genuine feeling, creating a rooting interest in the audience. Without it, the film would crumble. Let’s face it, Steppenwolf is a CGI yawn, the action sequences are often a digital blur, the soundtrack defaults to loud whenever inspiration wanes and keeping it light becomes the first step to staying superficial. Justice League is a decent crowdpleaser, preferable in every way to the candy-assed cynicism of Suicide Squad.” – Peter Travers