Review: Problematic filming inhibits new Justice League movie

Lets all take a trip back in time to when we were younger. It’s Saturday morning, birds are chirping outside, you smell bacon and eggs sizzling in the kitchen. You run into the living room and turn on the TV. In my time, I tuned in to channel 46, Cartoon Network or channel 13, CW for Kids and watched Saturday morning cartoons until lunch time. The cartoons are action packed and basically mindless, but you enjoy them to their fullest extent.

The reason I bring up this hollowed but seemingly forgotten tradition is because it’s the best comparison I can make for Warner Bros. most recent installment to the DC Comics film universe, “Justice League.”

This film was stricken with pre-release controversy for months up until its Nov. 18 release. Let me put it into perspective for you. First, this film was preceded by the critical failures of “Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice” and “Suicide Squad,” two films that made money but were not liked by many critics or fans.

Second, the dark tone of the films that spawned from Batman v. Superman was also disliked by most fans and the fact that the films from Marvel Entertainment swayed toward comedy was enjoyed by fans and critics. This did not help Justice League.

Third, the status of Ben Affleck, who plays Bruce Wayne/Batman, has been up in the air since “Batman vs. Superman”. It seems like every other day a report says that he’s out as Batman and then the next day he say otherwise.

Fourth, Zack Snyder’s unfortunate exit.

Snyder was the director of Batman vs. Superman and the architect for the DC film universe. In the middle of shooting “Justice League” a death in his family took him away from the film. “Avengers” director Joss Whedon, who is slated to direct an upcoming Batgirl film, stepped in to do extensive re-shoots and finish the film. A film with two different directors with two completely different visions is bound to be a mess.

Finally comes the case of the mysteriously missing mustache.

Henry Cavill, the actor that plays Superman was cast in a leading role in the upcoming “Mission: Impossible 6.” In the film he has a very distinguished mustache and due to the extensive re-shoots that Whedon had to do, Cavill was forced to bare his stache’. Paramount Pictures, the production company behind the film banned Cavill from shaving the mustache, which means that halfway through “Justice League,” Superman would have miraculously grown a mustache.

From my extensive knowledge on Superman, he does not possess the power of super-speed mustache growth. Warner Bros. did the only thing they could, CGI the mustache off of Cavill’s face. After seeing the film it was the most distracting CGI correction in recent history.

With this list of set backs the anticipation for “Justice League” was lack luster compared to a film like “Thor: Ragnarok” that came out just two weeks prior.

These pre-release setbacks absolutely hurt the film. The film is rushed, not allowing the new characters like Cyborg, Flash, Aquaman, and the villain Steppenwolf to establish themselves in a thought out way.

Steppenwolf may just be one of the most poorly established villains in any comic book movie. He is cartoonish in both look and motive. He doesn’t represent any deeper story and is just an excuse for the Justice League to come together. If you didn’t know that he has a connection to future big bad Darkseid, as a movie goer you will be extremely confused as to why he is looking for the mother boxes or doing anything to be frank.

The CGI and visual effects of this film are at sometimes comically bad and rushed. I can understand that the studio had to do extensive re-shoots but with a budget of 300 million, the quality is almost inexcusable. Steppenwolf looks like he was lifted out of a cut scene in a Playstation 2 video game. And as I said earlier, the CGI done to remove Cavill’s mustache will go down in history right next to Sharknado and The Rock as the Scorpion King.

But, even after all of the pre-release setbacks and issues with the film, “Justice League” isn’t as bad as you might think. It’s actually pretty fun.

To enjoy this film you have to put it into perspective. For the first time ever, the Justice League is on the big screen. There have been beloved animated series and of course wonderful comics, but now there is a feature length film that does do some justice to those that came before it.

Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Aquaman, and Cyborg all share the screen in a wonderfully cohesive way, capturing the essence of the Justice League. This is the best part of the film, the way each member interacts with each other is executed almost perfectly.

Warner Bros. took advice from the fans and lightened up the tone of the film, fill in director Joss Whedon can also take credit for this. The colors are more vibrant and Whedon adds jokes to lighten the mood.

Wonder Woman, played by Gal Gadot, continues to shine off the back of her solo film. She represents an equal to Batman, combatting him on his insane plans and ego. Flash, played by Ezra Miller, is a standout in the film. His character provides most of the jokes, some landed well and some didn’t. But I think his character is the step in the right direction for The DC films. Flash represents us, the audience, if we had super powers and had to save the world with a bunch of other colorful characters.

This film doesn’t have a good Rotten Tomatoes score and seems to be unliked by a lot of critics, but I think you need to make your own decision. Enter this film with the idea of having a good time and you will.

“Justice League” is a step in the right direction for the DC film universe and I really hope they can continue in that direction to bring more beloved characters to the big screen.