The Unpopular Opinion: 'Justice League' is a Decent Comic Book Movie and We're All Just Too Spoiled to Enjoy It

The Unpopular Opinion: 'Justice League' is a Decent Comic Book Movie and We're All Just Too Spoiled to Enjoy It
From Slashfilm - December 4, 2017

(Welcome to The Unpopular Opinion, a series where a writer goes to the defense of a much-maligned film or show or sets their sights on somethingseemingly beloved by all. In this edition: were all too jaded to enjoy a comic book movie as fun as Justice League.)

Its been two and a half weeksand three underwhelming box office weekendssince Justice League hit theaters. Some people have already forgotten about the movie.

Fans of DC Comics characters might still be grappling with it. As a comic book collector in middle school, the Death of Superman storyline shook my world; in high school, on the Wednesdays when new issues were released, Grant Morrison and Howard Porters tenure on the JLA comics title put it at the top of my reading list. But as an adult moviegoer who is not a fan of Zack Snyders work, I went into this film called Justice League with low expectations. I had already heard that Steppenwolf was the worst comic book movie villain of all time (a sentiment that Joss Whedon, who directed the films extensive reshoots, appears to have enjoyed). It was not even one of those movies where I felt the need to rush out and see it right away. My significant other and I just happened to have a slot in our Thanksgiving schedule.

Maybe the spirit of holiday gratitude put me in an overly thankful mood and has affected my judgment. I know Im in the minority here. In fact, my Spider-Sense is already tingling, warning me that I was entering Unpopular Opinion territory. As I watched Justice League, I found myself actually enjoying it.

The journey to Justice League was a long, frustrating one, but in the end, it did lead us to a weird kind of nerdyPromised Land that no one, not even geeks, seemto be able to enjoy. To talk about why Justice League is such a breath of fresh air, we first need to situate it within the larger context of recent movie history. This involves dredging up discussion of a few other films with a base of passionate supporters who may only grow irked to hear their favorite flicks compared unfavorably to Justice League. Theres a definite divide when it comes to DC on film, but hopefully, having had a chance to digest this latest DC movie more fully, we should be able to enter into a civil discussion of its place in DCsfive-movie arc from 2013 until now.

Spoilers from the film begin here.

Man of Steel and the Build-up of Doom and Gloom

Since it first started coming together, DCs shared universe has been undergoing a perpetual identity crisis, so much so that it still lacks an official name, with everybody glomming onto an Entertainment Weekly writers joke to call it the DC Extended Universe. For now, the Internet has decided: that is the name. Its still logged that way on Wikipedia and Rotten Tomatoes, the latter of which is partly owned by Warner Bros., the parent company of DC Films. So I reluctantly make use of it here.

Prior to 2017, the DCEU was an oppressive place, largely devoid of mirth. You might even say this tone was deliberate, insofar as its purveyors mistook dourness for drama. That was how Warner Bros. sought to distinguish its fledgling shared universe from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. From the very beginning, it was in the unenviable position of playing catch-up to the most commercially successful film franchise of all time. Marvel Studios had the advantage of doing half a decade of world-building before its Distinguished Competition ever got in the game. Warner Bros. had been waiting for a certain serious-minded filmmaker to finish his Dark Knight Trilogy.

The Doom and Gloom Ends in Suicide

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