‘Justice League’ Reviews: Here’s What the Critics Think

After years of anticipation, Justice League is finally in theaters tonight. Though the first rounds of reviews have been released, Rotten Tomatoes, the site that aggregates these scores, will not reveal the score until Thursday morning. That could be a bad sign for the movie since fans wanted to shut down the site when Suicide Squad received way less-than-stellar scores. The scores might not be much different for Justice League, since early reviews of the newest film in the D.C. extended universe are mostly mixed to negative.

Justice League stars Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. In this film, they’re joined by Ezra Miller as the Flash, Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Ray Fisher as Cyborg to form the complete Justice League.

It was somewhat predictable that this film would receive more favorable reviews than the critically hated Batman v. Superman and less favorable reviews than the critically acclaimed Wonder Woman. With Wonder Woman being so widely adored and relatively recently released, it was hard for critics to give Justice League a good score.

Warning: Justice League spoilers are ahead. 

Manohla Dargis, The New York Times:

In her review, The New York Times’ Manohla Dargis praises Ezra Miller’s portrayal of the Flash and the comic relief available throughout the movie through the Flash and Aquaman. She writes that the movie is significantly more watchable than Batman v. Superman. 

The Flash gets most of the best jokes, and Mr. Miller makes most of them work, largely in the role of in-house fanboy with a touch of the Cowardly Lion. It’s golly-gee stuff, but it’s also human and Mr. Miller keeps you hooked, as does Mr. Momoa (“Game of Thrones”), who supplely shifts between gravitas and comedy. When Aquaman chugs a bottle of booze before plunging into an angry sea, the movie hits the comic-book sweet spot between deadly seriousness and self-amused levity.

David Betancourt, The Washington Post:

In his review for The Washington Post, David Betancourt says that Justice League is no Wonder Woman, but it doesn’t have to be. He writes that though the movie was never going to be a masterpiece like Wonder Woman, the last-minute change in directors could have been much more disastrous for the film. He said that if you go to see Justice League knowing that it will be no Wonder Woman, you can have a lot of fun and enjoy the film.

At times “Justice League” seems to be moving too fast and tries to be too funny for its own good. There are enough winks to DC Comics fans — including some spectacular action scenes that we just can’t mention without majorly spoiling things — to keep them happy, built around a story tailor-made for the general public to consume. Also, be sure to stay for two very cool post-credit scenes.

Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press:

In her review for the Associated Press, Lindsey Bahr writes that not even Wonder Woman’s presence can save Justice League. This may be one of the most scathing reviews out there, starting off saying that it is hard to not feel bad for DC Comics films at this point because they have to live in the shadow of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and live up to Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy. The review praises the good moments that the Flash and Aquaman bring to the film.

But everything else about “Justice League” feels labored, from a preposterous underwater battle that comes out of nowhere and the camaraderie between the superheroes that never clicks into place, to Batman’s lumbering gait (does the batsuit weigh 300 pounds?) and Superman’s mouth which looks a little…off. It’s likely because the production had to digitally remove Cavill’s “Mission: Impossible 6″ mustache for re-shoots. After experiencing this unnaturally altered face on the big screen, it seems like the worst possible compromise.

Peter Travers, The Rolling Stone

The Rolling Stone’s review of Justice League is a bit less-scathing than the rest. Peter Travers writes that people who hated Batman v. Superman will appreciate Justice League as a corrective followup and also notes that Miller’s the Flash is a good addition to the team.

The scenes of the League members together, bickering and bonding, spike the film with humor and genuine feeling, creating a rooting interest in the audience. Without it, the film would crumble. Let’s face it, Steppenwolf is a CGI yawn, the action sequences are often a digital blur, the soundtrack defaults to loud whenever inspiration wanes and keeping it light becomes the first step to staying superficial. Justice League is a decent crowdpleaser, preferable in every way to the candy-assed cynicism of Suicide Squad. But sometimes shadows need to fall to show us what to be scared of. In the end, this all-star team-up is too afraid of the dark to work its way into our dreams.

The official release date for Justice League is Friday, November 17, but screenings will start at 6 p.m. local time on November 16. You can purchase movie tickets at Fandango and Moviefone. AMC Theaters, Regal Cinemas and other theater chains also have tickets available at their websites. The film runs for 119 minutes.


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