Justice League review round-up: “Consistently embarrassing to watch”

The new DC movie has been branded "cumbersome" and "clumsy" in the first reviews

Ezra Miller, Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot in Justice League (Warner Bros, HF)

With an incredible cast and the weight of Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman behind it, expectations were sky high for Justice League.

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But the first reviews for the movie are in. And suffice to say, film critics are not impressed with the latest movie in the DC universe.

Check out what the critics have said about the movie, starring Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams.

And believe us, they don’t hold back…

“There is something ponderous and cumbersome about Justice League” – The Guardian

“Affleck spreads a pall of dullness over the film. He doesn’t have the implacable, steely ferocity and conviction that Christian Bale had; he seems to have a faint sheen of sweat, as if the Batcave thermostat is up too high, and his attempts at droll humour and older-generation wisdom make his Batman look stately and marginal. Maybe we should get George Clooney back for the role.

“…There is something ponderous and cumbersome about Justice League; the great revelation is very laborious and solemn and the tiresome post-credits sting is a microcosm of the film’s disappointment. Some rough justice is needed with the casting of this franchise.” 2 / 5

“Consistently embarrassing to watch” – The Telegraph

“It feels like a sheepish feature-length retraction of the franchise to date. It’s consistently embarrassing to watch, and features plot holes so yawningly vast they have a kind of Grand Canyon-like splendour: part of you wants to hang around to see what they look like at sunset.

“…For whatever combination of reasons, the end result is a broken film, swimming in bad CGI and forgettable mayhem, that you can’t imagine any number of rewrites or reshoots could have saved.

“It can’t even decide how to start, and offers up no less than five introductory scenes, including Bruce Wayne pony-trekking in Iceland, Wonder Woman thwarting a terrorist attack in London, and yet another instance of that DC franchise staple, the slow-motion funeral.” 1 / 5

“A grievous disappointment” – The Independent

“This is surely the most infantile of recent superhero yarns – a film that squanders the talents of an impressive ensemble cast and eschews any meaningful characterisation in favour of ever more overblown special effects.

“It’s a grievous disappointment by comparison with this summer’s impressive Wonder Woman and is very far removed from the Gothic brilliance of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies. As in so many superhero films with more than one main protagonist, the filmmakers jump around in frantic fashion, trying to make sure everybody gets more or less the same amount of screen time.” 2 / 5

“It feels entirely pointless” – Vanity Fair

“There is no real vision; no idea what the tone of these movies should be; no compelling or even coherent narrative through-line; no feel, or regard, for characterisation…there’s no stopping, no pausing for reflection, in our forever-scaling superhero economy.

“And so here’s Justice League, this whole clumsy, thwarted effort, flailing away. There’s so little shape to the movie; it feels entirely pointless.”

“Affleck’s Batman is just a brawler” – Vox

“Batman’s ingenuity and interiority were sloppily handled, if not altogether absent, in Batman v Superman, and they’re still an issue in Justice League.

Once again, Affleck’s Batman is just a brawler, a brooding, heaving sack of muscles. His vulnerability onscreen is almost entirely physical, as he’s more prone to getting hurt than the rest of the Justice Leaguers. And for large swaths of this movie, he’s off in a corner firing tiny guns; it’s entertaining in a way that probably isn’t intended.

“Other than bankrolling the team, a constant inside joke of the movie, Batman doesn’t feel like a crucial member of the league. He seems expendable — and for a character who’s supposed to be the leader, that’s downright unacceptable.

“Warts and all, it is unquestionably an enjoyable romp” – Forbes

“Justice League is the Freddy Vs. Jason of the series. The Zack Snyder-directed and Chris Terrio-written movie (with a healthy helping of Joss Whedon on both fronts) is not very good, and frankly both would-be directorial visions feel watered-down.

“But it nails the core characters, and there is much pleasure in their interactions. Warts and all, it is unquestionably an enjoyable romp. Like Batman Forever back in the summer of 1995, Justice League is Warner Bros.’ attempt to retrofit their significant superhero property into a lighter, campier and more kid-friendly package. It is more artistically successful as a soft reboot than a stand-alone movie.”

“Affleck seems to be performing with one eye on the stage door exit” – Den of Geek

“Returning to the fold as Batman and Bruce Wayne, Ben Affleck seems gruff, surly and out-of-sorts, his hero lumbered with the thankless, Nick Fury-like task of uniting his team in time for the second act. It’s by-the-numbers stuff, and Affleck seems to be performing with one eye on the stage door exit, but the cast around him give Justice League some much-needed vim.

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“At times, Justice League gets by on pithy one-liners and character quirks alone, but Steppenwolf, an all-CG creation voiced by Ciaran Hines, has the presence and menace of a welder’s bench.” 2 / 5