Justice League: First Reviews Are In And They’re All Over The Place!

With the review embargo finally lifted, critics are now allowed to extravagantly share their thoughts on Justice League. And judging by the first batch of commentaries, there seems to be unanimity among them that the November 17 release is neither the worst DC Extended Universe, nor the best one.

Critics don’t love Justice League as much as they loved Patty JenkinsWonder Woman. They don’t either have as much hatred as they had for Zack Snyder’s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and David Ayer’s Suicide Squad. But while some have hated it more than they have loved, others have the exactly opposite feeling.

As evident from the Twitter reactions that surfaced few days ago, critics are fascinated with the titular superhero team but they’ve hardly found the story impressive. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman retains her undisputed championship yet again but some have also spoken highly of Ezra Miller’s The Flash and/or Jason Momoa’s Aquaman. But there’s clearly no love for the CGI supervillain Steppenwolf.

Unfortunately for those who rely completely on Rotten Tomatoes to determine whether a movie is worth watching, the site’s Tomatometer for the latest DC superhero extravaganza won’t be unveiled until Thursday, 12:01 am ET. The eyebrow-raising delay is not a deliberate attempt to hurt the movie (Warner Bros. is technically one of its owners), but one orchestrated to benefit the viewership of their new Facebook show See It/Skip It.

Until that show airs, moviegoers will have to read detailed reviews to decide about watching or skipping Justice League. You can check out excerpts from a bunch of those!

Forbes' Mark Hughes:

In short, everyone will have enough reason to be happy to make Justice League a respectable follow-up to Wonder Woman as a DCEU movie that fans of all stripes can rally behind. Meanwhile, critics who insisted Warner and DC Films needed to heed the warnings and complaints demanding a change of course to appeal to a wider set of tastes and tell more concise stories will appreciate seeing a film that was not only reworked to do just that, but manages to overcome a lot of obstacles to actually work pretty well and prove that -- regardless of my own love of Batman v Superman -- the complaints and suggestions ultimately resulted in a film far more fans and mainstream audiences can fully appreciate.

Mirror’s Chris Hunneysett:

Picking up speed after a clunky opening, there's a reduction in the series' grim bombastic mood and overrides it with plenty of optimism and a greater sense of fun. There's a change on emphasis from tortured martyrdom to a more crowd pleasing and uplifting tone... Despite production difficulties a consistent vision has been adhered to throughout the three films. Characters have developed and matured, ideas of duty and sacrifice have been explored, and it goes out with a bang. (Score – 4 out of 5)

TheWrap’s Alonso Duralde:

If “Wonder Woman” provided a glimmer of hope that DC Comics movies might start looking, moving and sounding differently than before, “Justice League” plops us right back into “Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice” territory, albeit with a little more wit and humanity. But if you like your superhero battles in deep dark tunnels or under skies purple with alien soot, director Zack Snyder is back with yet another installment that looks the way Axe body spray smells.

Polygon's Julia Alexander:

Despite all of these problems, which can’t be ignored, Justice League isn’t entirely unenjoyable. There are good, cute and funny moments that the editing team should be applauded for, but there aren’t enough to distract from the beautiful, chaotic mess that Justice League ends up being.

ComicBook’s Brandon Davis:

Despite a director change, pile of re-shoots, and many odds appearing to be stacked against the movie, Justice League is the real deal. Building on a handful of entries to the DC Extended Universe which appear to have found their stride with Wonder Woman, Justice League uses necessary elements of its predecessors in the universe to tell its story but serves also a re-launch to the world with a brand new vibe everyone can enjoy.

Joblo’s Paul Shirey:

All of these things unfold briskly and while there are a few walk-and-talk scenes (almost all of which feel like scenes shot by Whedon), the plot moves quickly and that’s not all that surprising when you consider there just isn’t much to it. In the end, JUSTICE LEAGUE leans more on characters than story, which can be good or bad, depending on if you want your cake and eat it too. I give more credit to this aspect than anything as that’s really what we’re here for, but it sure would’ve been nice to get the total package. Still, successfully establishing new characters and continuing the legacy of established ones works like a charm here overall, so at least there’s that win.

Variety’s Owen Gleiberman:

“Justice League,” the latest link of Tinkertoy in the DC Comics universe, has been conceived, in each and every frame, to correct the sins of “Batman v Superman.” It’s not just a sequel — it’s an act of franchise penance. The movie, which gathers up half a dozen comic-book immortals and lets them butt heads on their way to kicking ass, is never messy or bombastic. It’s light and clean and simple (at times almost too simple), with razory repartee and combat duels that make a point of not going on for too long.

LA Times’ Kenneth Turan:

As directed by Zack Snyder, and, more importantly, co-written by Chris Terrio and Joss Whedon, character is more than destiny here. It is the key reason "Justice League" is a seriously satisfying superhero movie, one that, rife with lines like "the stench of your fear is making my soldiers hungry," actually feels like the earnest comic books of our squandered youth.

THR’s Todd McCarthy:

The increasingly turgid tales of Batman and Superman — joined, unfortunately for her, by Wonder Woman — trudge along to ever-diminishing returns in Justice League. Garishly unattractive to look at and lacking the spirit that made Wonder Woman, which came out five months ago, the most engaging of Warner Bros.' DC Comics-derived extravaganzas to date, this hodgepodge throws a bunch of superheroes into a mix that neither congeals nor particularly makes you want to see more of them in future. Plainly put, it's simply not fun.

Den of Geek's Don Kaye:

Considering the circumstances under which it was produced, Justice League--the long-awaited crossover of the DC film universe’s cornerstone characters--is arguably better than it has any right to be... While League doesn’t have the casual jokiness of the Marvel films, it is the funniest and most light-footed film in the DC canon so far, and it benefits enough from that to help the movie get past its still significant flaws. (Score - 3.5 out of 5)

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw:

A passionate spark of frenemy-bromance between the Man of Steel and the Caped Crusader was famously created in the last DC adventure, Batman Vs Superman: Dawn of Justice, when these two legends discovered their mums had the same first name: Martha. That somewhat anticlimactic coincidence was widely considered to be indicative of something unconvincing in the whole project. The problems are still evident.

Wonder Woman leading the pack in Justice League Wonder Woman leading the pack in Justice League (Photo Credit - Warner Bros.)

USA Today's Brian Truitt:

A better effort than Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and a worthy follow-up to runaway hit Wonder Woman, Justice League does the DC icons proud with some high-profile additions and a strong if unspectacular effort full of fun character moments... But Justice League does more right than wrong. Instead of having its heroes punch each other a lot, most of the tension comes from philosophical differences on what it means to serve the greater good, and the movie also pays homage to what’s come before, with Danny Elfman’s phenomenal score successfully weaving and twisting Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman themes. From sounds to characters, Justice is indeed served. (Score - 3 out of 4)

GamesRadar's Jordan Farley:

Justice League’s most significant shortcoming is how forgettable it all is. There’s barely a moment that sticks, not a single sequence to rival the standout superhero set-pieces of recent years. Say what you will about Batman v Superman, but at least it had ambition and vision. Justice League is a superhero movie made to a familiar recipe. Competently assembled and largely coherent, sure, but it’s dispiriting to see DC so transparently chasing Marvel’s tail now. The universe is looking more precarious by the day.

Empire's Dan Jolin:

It’s breezily fun at times – but, lumbered with a story that struggles to find resonance beyond its improbable plot devices, Justice League isn’t about to steal Avengers’ super-team crown. (Score - 2 out of 5)

IndieWire's Eric Kohn:

As a pure ride, “Justice League” nicely panders to the lowest common denominator of moviegoing expectations, and Gadot manages to escape unscathed. Now in her third round as Wonder Woman, she elevates the movie whenever she’s onscreen, twirling her lasso of truth and staring down each threat as if her symbolism of feminist rage was immune to lackluster product.

EW’s Chris Nashawaty:

First, the good news. Justice League is better than its joylessly somber dress rehearsal, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Now the “but”…you knew there was a “but” coming, right? But it also marks a pretty steep comedown from the giddy highs of Wonder Woman… Following the exit of Christian Bale in 2012, it was the first real glimmer of hope that maybe the studio was headed in the right direction. That the future was bright. Justice League won’t extinguish that hope. Not by a long shot. But it also doesn’t quite translate into a winning streak either. It’s a placeholder in a franchise that’s already had too many placeholders.

CinemaBlend's Conner Schwerdtfeger:

Justice League is rough, uneven, and downright ugly at times, but stripping away those serious flaws reveals a near-perfect take on heroic icons, a step forward for the DCEU, and a promise of greatness to come. Even with its imperfections, it's a damn good time that captures the spirit of the mythos, demonstrating that DC has finally found its footing. (Score - 3.5 out of 5)

IGN’s Jim Vejvoda:

The story spends so much of its time trying to establish the new characters — and to cheer things up after the dreary BvS — that the movie never quite finds its rhythm. There’s plenty of exposition and ample action scenes but overall, as a story, Justice League is a mess. It’s only through the charm of its cast and its depiction of its heroes that the movie is saved from being a misfire.

Collider's Matt Goldberg:

So Justice League leaves you hoping for next time. Did you like the brief trip to Atlantis? Wait until you see Aquaman. Did you like Wonder Woman taking on a leadership role? Wonder Woman 2 arrives November 2019. Did you laugh at all of Flash’s lines? Well there might be a Flashpoint movie down the road. Next time we’ll get it right. Next time we’ll be hopeful enough. Next time you’ll care about the villain. Next time you’ll get a Justice League that will really knock your socks off, but thanks acknowledging that at least this one isn’t as bad as Batman v Superman. The only thing that “saves” Justice League is a low bar and more promises.

RollingStone's Peter Travers:

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. (2.5 out of 4)

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