Okay, time to reply to everyone else. Sorry for the delay. Directly after my family left town after the holidays, I was working on a movie and the hours got pretty insane, so I haven't had a chance to reply until now.
I'm going to do my best to have this post make sense, despite responding to everyone at once.
It was good-natured, cheerful, speedily-paced fun with a focus on putting favourite characters in the same room and the plot either a framework or an afterthought.
I understand this comment, but I have to disagree. The plot of this movie seemed like a direct and natural extension of what happened in Batman v Superman, which was itself a natural extension of what happened in Man of Steel. I thought that a lot of thought went into how this plot would play out, which villain would be used, how they would pace all of the story beats, etc. There were quite a few elements that could have easily gone super wrong with this, but they were avoided expertly. I think you could make the argument that any plot point in any story is just there to set up what happens next. The question is, is it natural and smooth, or is it a poorly crafted excuse?
When I look at The Avengers for example (not to compare comic book movies, but because it's low-hanging fruit), many of the plot elements seem to be there as some sort of fanboy wish fulfillment, rather than as logical extensions of the plot. As a result, a lot of the movie's big destructive moments could be avoided simply by eliminating the Avengers themselves. That's a problem.
The movie is filled with moments that serve the movie, but not the story... if that makes any amount of sense at all.
In Justice League, keeping Superman out of the picture for a while serves to build danger (this shows thought and consideration going back to BvS). Once Superman is there, the villain is quickly taken care of. The cliches of "evil Superman" or "amnesiac Superman" aren't drawn out for false drama, as they often are in other movies/shows/novels. They're addressed and resolved before they detract from the situation. Drama isn't created by any characters simply not saying a simple sentence that could resolve the story (another oft-used cliche). The banter is natural, and never feels like it's just servicing fanboys who have dreamed of this moment for decades. I never felt that the movie was false, which impressed me. I'm not saying that it was perfect, but it was never bullshitting me in the way that so many other stories do.
One part that I found to be an interesting twist on expectations was when Aquaman insists that if Clark is brought back, he will lose something. Anyone familiar with any resurrection story in scifi or fantasy expects this to be his soul or his conscience. They expect it to be dark and bad. However, when Superman returns, he (at least in the short time that we get to see him) seems to have lost some of the weight that he had carried before. The burden of death that surrounded him (purposefully) since Man of Steel didn't seem to be there. In his first two movies, we had a lot of skull imagery, which wasn't present here.
The complaints about the movie being disjointed are, I feel, the result of viewers being overly aware that Zack Snyder left the film before the reshoots and trying to identify which scenes are Whedon's and which are Snyder's and overly fixating on the computer alterations to Henry Cavill's face (which only looked awkward to me in two shots because I wasn't looking for problems).
We agree!!!! WE AGREE!!!!!!
- The mustache thing only bothered me because I was always looking for it. I don't know if I would've noticed it otherwise. I still can't believe they did that, but they did an okay job with it.
- It was short, but I liked the slight adjustments to Superman. He wasn't as jokey as I was led to believe, but he seemed like a Superman without the weight of the world on him. I wish they'd done the black suit, but the way they did it, the regular suit was better.
I probably should have waited for my Superman resurrection comment until I got to your thoughts. It seems random up above now, and it could have seemed more purposeful if I'd read what you said before I gave my thoughts in response to an unrelated comment by ireactions. Oh well.
- The Marvel model is simply better. When the Avengers got together, they were four protagonists joining forces. In this movie, it feels like three protagonists (BvS is a Batman movie) with the three new folks as guest stars. It was Bart/Victor/AC on Smallville....big-time heroes in Clark's show. Nothing about the quality of either set of movies, and I'm sure DC would've done the same thing if they'd had more time.
I'm going to disagree. This method made sense to me because we know the characters who are familiar with each other, and we don't really have a feel for the characters who aren't part of that group already. Therefore, the movie feels authentic. We are where Bruce and Diana are, and they're the eyes through which we enter the Justice League. If we were very familiar with everyone before they come together, we would have lost the element of disjointed/mismatched characters coming together. Sometimes familiarity hurts a story.
The Marvel method doesn't work for me because the individual movies suffered as a result of needing to set up The Avengers. Captain America couldn't end with Steve and Peggy walking off into the sunset, because Steve needed to be in the present for The Avengers. Therefore, his entire first movie is stripped of relevance and emotional impact. We're told that he and Peggy are in love, but we never get to see it. When all is said and done, he's trying to get into her niece's pants right after Peggy's funeral.
They should have allowed his movies to play out in the past, with the audience knowing that he will be frozen (because we see him in The Avengers), and his third movie could end with that moment of him being frozen. In terms of his character and his movie, that would have been a stronger move. In terms of the overall MCU, it is unacceptable. Therefore, Captain America is sacrificed for The Avengers. It's a pattern that is repeated over and over again in the MCU.
And this is where I have to ding Wonder Woman again. There was no need to kill Steve and it didn't make the movie better. Her movies don't need to play out in the present. She wasn't even frozen. But we all know that I have problems with Wonder Woman as a movie, partly because it was the one that tried the most to be like Marvel.
I also disagree that BvS is a Batman movie. The theatrical version may have been, but the extended cut was more of a Batman and Superman movie.
- On that same note, they did feel like they were a part of a team and not individual heroes. I realize that they're using this movie as a leaping point for Victor/Arthur/Barry, but I can't picture this version of Barry fighting, say, the Reverse Flash. Again, I understand that that was sort of the point of Barry's character, but why'd he even bother with a suit if he's doing anything more than just nudging and running away? I almost think Bruce should've made the suit if Barry was going to be this green.
As we've seen in Suicide Squad, Barry has thwarted some crimes in costume. However, he designed his costume simply to be abl to run at high speeds without his clothes burning off. Bruce commented that it was made of the same material that's used to keep shuttles from burning up upon reentry from space. It's not a superhero suit, it's... a helmet.
- I know DC already has a lot on slot, but I'd watch an Amazon/Atlantean War movie. I know part of that is in Flashpoint, but I'm talking a whole movie.
I'd watch that... Actually, Snyder could probably do really well with that story
- Atlantis was also more bizarre than I would've thought. Is the whole Aquaman movie going to be done underwater, and does Mera have to make one of those "talking bubbles" every time they communicate? Or was that chamber underwater and the rest of Atlantis is open-aired?
It's been confirmed that the air bubble will not be the main method of communication in Aquaman. Perhaps this was needed because Arthur isn't familiar with his roots and hasn't spent much time in Atlantis? Maybe he hasn't learned their language yet.
It felt like a soft reboot at times. Bruce was almost a completely different character than he was in BvS. Superman too.
Yes and no. Yes, they are very much changed, but not in a "reboot" sort of way. They're changed as a natural progression of what's happening to them.
Bruce is a soldier who has been through a lot of horrible things and has mental issues because of it. Losing his team made this worse by isolating him. When he finds a new team, he reconnects with who he was and his purpose in this world. So it makes sense for him to behave differently.
And as I mentioned before, Superman lost some of the weight that he carried before. But it's all natural. Even Diana has reconnected with the world through this team (starting in BvS)
- It's weird that we got a Legion of Doom tease but not a Darkseid tease. It was cool to see the Green Lantern in the flashback, but a cameo during the Steppenwolf fight would've been better.
I thought the Steppenwolf decision was interesting. He was part of the Darkseid lore, but had been cut off from Darkseid. Therefore, his being here doesn't require Darkseid to show up at any point if they choose not to go there. I know that a lot of people didn't like the decision to go with someone like Steppenwolf, but I thought that it served the story really well and didn't feel like it was just filling screen time until the real movie happens later.
Green Lantern would have probably been too much for this movie. He's pretty powerful, so it would have lessened the impact of Superman coming back in the end. However, the movie does set up the need for the Corps to return to Earth.
I've had some time to think about it, and I still don't really understand what people's problems with it were. I don't even feel like ti felt like two different directors were working on it. There was some comedy that could've been Whedon, but I went back and watched the first trailer for the movie (which would've definitely been Snyder footage), and it has the "Dressed like a bat. I dig it." line - which is the same line of humor the film uses throughout. I think this was going to be lighter either way.
People want this to be more of a Whedon movie than it is, or was ever going to be. Some people even say that Whedon wasn't given time to execute his vision... but this isn't his movie. He was brought in specifically to execute Snyder's vision, with material that Snyder was calling for.
1. Even though it doesn't feel choppy or two spliced-together movies, I do feel like a TON of stuff was cut out. If you watch the first trailer, a lot of it isn't in the final film.
Though we will never get it, I'd love to see a Snyder cut of the movie. Hopefully we'll at least get an extended version with more footage.
2. I know it's hard to judge this movie without comparing it to the previous ones - but on it's own merit, I think it's well done and fun. I think if BvS had been this way, I think it would've been fine. And BvS being so gloomy does help sell this universe's message. I didn't love the road to get here, but now that we're here, I think it's set up pretty nicely.
Did you ever get around to seeing the Ultimate Edition of BvS? I forget.
3. Bruce's age and lack of powers is a major point in this movie - I wonder if they could sell Affleck on a mentor role? They already alluded to a Hall of Justice. What if Bruce became Oracle? If all his scenes are on one set and most of them are behind a computer monitor or voiceover, would he be more likely to stick around?
4. Are we SURE that there's still Bat-Family around? I get that Bruce might not call up Dick or Barbara when he's throwing a fit in BvS, but the world is in complete danger and he doesn't even mention them. Not in passing, not to warn them...nothing. Dick is literally a son to him in some cases, and he literally goes on a suicide mission in this movie. At this point, I think it's counterproductive to have any of the Bat-Family in these movies. There was a Robin, and he's dead.
They could use this story to set up a pretty cool Batman Begins scenario.
I think that if the Batman movie doesn't happen, they could tell the story of what happened to the team through a Nightwing movie or a Batgirl movie. That'd be cool. Maybe Bruce was focusing on superpowered people for this mission, because it'd be pointless to send in a normal human? Don't know. Maybe he did contact Dick and we just never saw it.
With the Titans series happening, and probably not connected to these movies, we will probably never see Dick on screen anyway.
Informant might not like this, but there's a Marvel quality to it. You can tear apart something like Civil War, but at the end of the day, if you have fun...you don't want to.
A lot of Mason's complaints were about the weird tonal shifts of the movies. His complaints about Justice League were really complaints about the whole DCEU - which I think is fair in some ways and unfair to the movie itself. I think some will disagree, but I think Justice League wants us to remember BvS happening differently that it did.
I disagree about JL wanting us to remember BvS differently. I'm not sure that I understand what you mean.
People always think that I want things to be dark and gloomy, but that's not the case. I have nothing against movies being fun. The problem is that writers often get sloppy when they're trying to be funny. They feel like they don't need to take their work seriously, which creates a lot of problems within their stories. Marvel isn't fun to me because the writing is sloppy and weak.
Superman failed to save the Senate and failed to save the village, so the idea that he was holding back the legions of Darkseid seems unlikely to me.
Let's not forget that Lex called Steppenwolf in BvS. My memory of JL is a little foggy... how was it explained that Superman was holding Darkseid back? It's a jumble in my head right now.
My feeling as to why the movie is turning out to be such a bomb critically and financially: first, the release date should have been pushed back once Snyder left the film if only to finish some of the special effects rather than see them released as they were.
The film didn't look bad or unfinished to me at all. Some of the stuff that looked rough in the trailers seemed much more polished in the finished product. I don't know what more time would have done. Not to compare movies again, but if you look at the Marvel movies, they have a ton of time to finish their stuff, and it usually looks much worse than BvS (at least to me).
Second, and this ties into the first point, the effects on Superman's face simply weren't finished. If WB had successfully kept a lid on Cavill's mustache, I don't think the audience would've been looking for it, but because it was in the press, the audience was looking for it and it couldn't withstand scrutiny.
There was nothing to be done about this. They couldn't wait for Cavill to shave, and the audience would have been distracted by the CG no matter what. It wasn't bad. I wasn't distracted by it at all, because I wasn't looking for it (despite knowing about it). The fact is that most of the criticisms of the movie are based on the media reports, whether those faults are actually in the movie or not. Unless Warner Bros. can buy every media outlet, like Disney does, they will continue to get horrible press. The movies themselves don't matter.
My brother said that he thought they removed Henry Cavill's furrowed brow, to make Superman look softer and more renewed after he came back. I don't recall noticing this though, so my brother could be wrong.
Third, from a PR standpoint, Whedon shouldn't have directed the reshoots as a director; he should've just been a producer -- because the whole world knows Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon have fundamentally adversarial styles and is looking for mismatches whether they're there or not. I would have hired Greg Beeman or Adam Kane (HEROES and directors who use lots of speedramping) to execute Whedon's marching orders.
The fact is, there were probably people already working with Snyder who could have directed the reshoots. Bringing in Whedon at all just wasn't necessary. However, Snyder was discussing the reshoots with Whedon before he exited the project, so Whedon probably knew what Snyder was going for. The studio probably also thought that it would look less like an abandoned ship if they put a known name out there after Snyder left. Granted, the director usually oversees the post-productions elements that Snyder wouldn't be able to do, so I'm sure Joss did work on that, but I don't think that his contribution to the film is nearly as large as people want to believe. Most of what we have in the finished product, even the things that Whedon directed, are Snyder's vision.
I've said it before and I'll say it again, I get the feeling that whatever happened behind the scenes didn't go well, and Joss will probably quietly exit the franchise within a few months. He doesn't seem supportive of Justice League, and there has been little buzz about his own Batgirl movie since he finished work on JL. Why wouldn't the studio be putting Batgirl out there a little bit more, since people are already discussing Joss Whedon so much right now?
It would fit with my impression of the Warner execs. I really think they are perplexed at why super-heroes sell. They are fumbling in the dark with this; and they’ve either been getting bad advice or not giving enough faith to the good advice. But that’s the problem - they can’t tell the difference between the two because they’re out of their depth.
Love him or hate him, Kevin Feige is an actual Marvel Comics fan. He reads the comics.
I agree that Warner Bros. doesn't get it. This is evident in the alterations that were made to Batman v Superman. The difference between the theatrical version and the extended cut is huge. That said, Warner Bros has managed to make the best comic book movies of all time. Putting aside the current DCEU (which I hold in high regard), they've put out Batman Begin, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Watchmen, 300, the Tim Burton Batman movies... not to mention numerous TV shows, both live action and cartoons, which are considered classics. The studio may not get why these products are popular, but that hasn't stopped them from doing them well.
And on a similar note, Feige might be a comic book fan, but he has not made many good movies (in my opinion). They are successful and have their fans. I give him that. But the difference here is quality versus success. I've seen it many times before in my line of work (sigh). The thing that sells more and which people love most isn't always better. It's just more commercial.
Snyder understands this too; he proved it with 300 and Watchmen. But with the DCEU, he’s been stitching together comic scenes like Frankenstein (whether it be the Batman Superman fight lifted from Dark Knight Returns or the finale of Man of Steel lifted from the death-free Action Comics Annual 11 by Geoff Johns). It just doesn’t work if a movie is formulated on the premise of connecting cool scenes together; and I really think that’s what Snyder has been focused on and what Warner has listened to.
I could not possibly disagree more. I have seen a great deal of thought and care put into Snyder's work on these movies. People keep saying that he doesn't get the source material, or he doesn't know what he's doing, or whatever, but the fact is that the man has put a lot into these movies. The level of thought and care that was put into developing Clark's character is more than I've seen anyone put into it before. The flow of the stories. The way they follow through to each following movie while never feeling cheap or half-baked. The care put into building scenes and setting the tone... Yes, some of the imagery is taken from comic books, but you will see that in any comic book movie. I completely disagree that he has merely been stitching those visuals together though. He has sprinkled them in where they fit, but they have never gotten in the way of the story, or derailed the story.
And this concludes my replying for the day. I'm tired.