Justice League doesn’t do DC any justice
I really wanted Justice League to succeed. I wanted it to be a film that, despite the production hell and predictions of failure, made it out alive, covered in glory.
Well, it is covered in something. Not every ugly duckling becomes a swan. Some just end up roasted.
Zack Snyder started this in a similarly grim style to last year's joyless Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice.
He left the project after a family tragedy and Joss Whedon took over, under orders to lighten it up and bring it down from three to two hours.
So who knows if the plot made much sense in the first place? This is baffling from the start.
I have watched Justice League twice (in 3D and 2D). In my first review (available here), I found a plot put together like a toddler put together a Lego tower — and just as stable — yet it had its fun moments.
However, a second viewing further highlighted its flaws.
A really sour note is Snyder's approach to filming Gadot - lingering butt shots, upskirt moments and cleavage-revealing tops. Yes, she is attractive, but this just comes off as leering.
Otherwise, there are plot holes aplenty, some forced by the reduced running time.
MOVIE: Justice League
STARRING: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Henry Cavill, Jeremy Irons, Ciaran Hinds
DIRECTOR: Zack Snyder
THE SKINNY: The world mourns Superman (Cavill) just as a new threat, Steppenwolf (Hinds), arrives on Earth. He is looking for three Mother Boxes that when united, will raze everything and transform the planet into a living hell. Batman (Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gadot) gather three more heroes to fight him. Will five be enough, or do they need a sixth?
The story's need for speed is most obvious when our super team loses the third Mother Box (the movie's MacGuffin) by leaving it (spoiler alert) on top of a car - the same way people lose cups of coffee or handbags.
In swoops Steppenwolf, who just walks away with it off-camera like a sneak thief.
Speaking of the villain, he is memorable only in that he looks... well, utterly rubbish.
It is baffling that in 2017, a film with this budget could have such poor CGI.
Especially considering he's 95 per cent armour and the key to realistic CGI metal was solved a decade ago - just ask Iron Man.
But then the stiching together of real scenes and CGI environments is jarring.
Even the practical effects have issues. The grey in Ben Affleck's hair comes and goes from scene to scene.
A producer said Whedon shot 20 per cent of the finished film. Some critics suggest it is more. A number of changes aren't just to whole scenes but appear as inserts to already shot segments or dubbed-on quips.
The physical brightening has the effect of revealing the seams ( the first scene with Superman has been changed from night to dawn) and make the already awkward outfits look patchy.
There are things to like though. Cavill's Superman finally acts like Superman, and both Momoa and Miller are entertaining.
Though aside from one superspeed moment with Superman, many of Miller's moments as The Flash look cribbed from other onscreen speedsters.
Momoa as Aquaman looks like an interesting prospect for a solo film - even if his character does wear jeans in the water. (Wet denim, yuck!).
It is not the worst movie this year, and it does get better towards the end. But a few smiles do not make up for the fails.
Time and the public may be kinder to Justice League but right now, there may be more enjoyment to be had in digging around the theories on what was added or cut.
One last thought, while it's easy to explain away how a superpowered alien like Superman was resurrected, how would they explain human reporter Clark Kent suddenly coming back from the dead?
More in cinemas
Not only is Pixar's latest offering visually gorgeous, its heart-tugging message about family will keep you and the kids entertained during the school holidays.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 97%
Back To Burgundy (M18)
This French dramedy follows three siblings (Pio Marmai, Ana Girardot and Francois Civil) who rediscover and reinvent their familial bonds.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 64%
All I See Is You (R21)
Blake Lively plays a blind woman who gets a new lease of life upon regaining sight, but her marriage to husband (Jason Clarke) starts to fall apart.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 29%
Despite strong leads Matt Damon, Julianne Moore and child actor Noah Jupe, this black comedy by George Clooney fails with too many plot points.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 25%
Thor: Ragnarok (PG13)
Matching laughs with genuine heart, this sequel is one of the funniest Marvel films, thanks to the chemistry between Chris Hemsworth and Mark Ruffalo.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 92%
A Ghost Story (PG13)
This well-made supernatural drama starring Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara explores love, loss and the human longing for meaning and connection.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 90%
Victoria & Abdul (PG)
Dame Judi Dench reprises her Queen Victoria persona in this period drama that examines her unique friendship with an Indian clerk.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 65%
Brad's Status (M18)
Ben Stiller and Austin Abrams deliver a touching performance as a father-and-son duo searching for college options.
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 81%