It’s finally here, JUSTICE LEAGUE hits theaters this weekend, and whatever Rotten Tomatoes might give as its “score” doesn’t matter. The majority of audiences already know basically how they’re going to react. The pieces are all there in the trailers. The four other films culminating in Justice League set the stage.

No one should walk up to the box office (or login to Fandango) and have any question about whether or not to buy a ticket.

This is Justice League, and if you’ve paid attention, you know what to expect! And if you’re self aware, knowing what type of movie viewer  you are, then you should pretty much know what to expect here. But on the off chance that you don’t know what I’m talking about, let me break it down for you.

If you go to the movies and typically walk away with a list of complaints and a sour feeling about movies that aren’t critically acclaimed masterpieces, you aren’t excited for Justice League unless it’s been a while since you’ve given something a scathing review to a friend or on a blog. But you don’t go to the movies to have fun, and that’s a problem.

If you go to the movies to have fun and have a couple hours of escapism fueled by buttery popcorn, then chances are that if you’ve seen the trailers for Justice League, you’re gearing up for a good time. All the evidence is there that this is going to be a fun ride, even if the script isn’t perfect. Even if there are plot-holes scattered in the mix.

If you haven’t seen at least the three main films leading up to Justice League, go watch MAN OF STEEL, then BATMAN V SUPERMAN DAWN OF JUSTICE (ULTIMATE EDITION), and then WONDER WOMAN. This weekend’s team-up is a culmination of the events in those films. Those films were all about HOPE and what it means to be human, or a god-like being, and the sense of responsibility heroic characters feel to make a better world because they can.

Once someone has seen those movies, they basically know how they’re going to react to JUSTICE LEAGUE. Sure, MAN OF STEEL and BATMAN V SUPERMAN were darker, more depressing films than they probably needed to be in setting the tone. But through great work by Gal Gadot and (director) Patty Jenkins,WONDER WOMAN flipped that around, having more in common with the Christopher Reeve / Richard Donner SUPERMAN films of the early 1980s. And for anyone who is paying attention to what JUSTICE LEAGUE is going to be about, it’s easy to see that the tone is continuing on the path set forth by that dynamic duo. Bruce Wayne realizes that he needs to assemble a team of heroes to work together with, to trust, to help battle an evil the likes of which the world hasn’t seen before, that he’s incapable of fighting alone. He has hope inspired by his interactions with Superman in DAWN OF JUSTICE. He’s turning the corner, a changed man. The Dark Knight has come to join Superman in the sun.

The Action

Is there any doubt that the action is going to be phenomenal? I’ve yet to hear anyone say that the fight scenes in MAN OF STEEL aren’t phenomenal. Or BATMAN V SUPERMAN. There were action sequences in WONDER WOMAN that made me want to cheer right there in the theater, and it didn’t diminish during a second viewing. When she runs the guy through the second story window, or leaps up and takes out the guy in the bell tower? That’s all you need to know about how the action in JUSTICE LEAGUE is going to be. Those movies had typically two or three super-powered characters involved in the action, and JUSTICE LEAGUE has at least six, and that’s not counting some of the characters who haven’t been officially announced.

And these characters are mostly new to movie audiences, primarily because four of them have never been in live-action movies before. Say what you will about Zack Snyder, he loves creating great action films with fantastic imagery, and by all accounts, he has done just that, and the characters he’s using are spectacular.


Who? A dominant, god-like villain carrying a weapon capable of crazy amounts of destruction, commanding a horde of flying demons. So there’s a huge challenge for the League to face, and plenty of potential for destruction without killing people.


Here’s a god-like character who isn’t a boyscout like Superman. Watch the way he acts in the trailers, and listen to the way he talks. He’s a guy’s guy. He’s a “bro”. He’s a jock. He’s super powerful and he loves kicking ass. He makes questionable decisions and goes all out during battle and he loves it. No one’s going to joke around about this Aquaman “talking to fish” and how his main super power is that he can swim really fast. This is a whole new Aquaman, and he’s definitely going to be an exciting addition to the DC Universe film series. Not interested in the character yet? He’s royalty, he’s got some cool villains, and the Atlantians have a bit of history with the society Wonder Woman comes from.


Half man, half robot, Cyborg has the ability to fly, to shoot energy bursts, and directly interface with technology. Sound a bit like Iron Man? Maybe a bit, but Iron Man is a bit of a loveable asshole who has tons of money and has created his power through his ingenuity, creating some of the problems he ends up facing along the way because of his ambition. Cyborg is quite different, an amateur football star (high school or college, I’m not sure) involved in a terrible accident and his body fuses with some alien technology. Not quite your typical 20-year-old, right? Probably comes with some emotional baggage, but has already shown to be involved in some cool action sequences.


Mark my words, Barry Allen is going to be a lot of people’s favorite coming out of this film, and they’re going to really be looking forward to the next time he shows up in a DC Universe movie, whether it’s his own film or someone else’s. His powers are awesome. He doesn’t just run fast, he slows down time to move as quickly as he wants to, and we saw how the X-Men movies used their speedster, Quicksilver, to amazing effect. In just the two or three trailers we’ve seen for JUSTICE LEAGUE, we know that The Flash gets some great dialogue (one line that my son repeats every chance he gets, about never having “done battle”, just having “pushed people and run away”), and there’s plenty of room for character development. He’s giddy about being part of the League. He’s excited to be around Batman. He’s also nervous about the fighting and unsure if  he’s capable of being a valuable, contributing member. He’s not a warrior like Wonder Woman or Aquaman. He isn’t a martial arts expert with tons of gadgets like Batman. But he’s willing to learn.

Not to mention that Ezra Miller is a great actor who has already shown glimpses of bringing great things to the role. Not to say that Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa and Ray Fisher aren’t good actors, but Ezra Miller has already proven himself elsewhere.

Am I A Delusional Fanboy?

Maybe I’m just excited about JUSTICE LEAGUE because it’s the first time a few of the characters have come to the screen, the first time these characters have all been together in a live-action, big budget film. The story looks decent, the hints at the long-term plans for these movies are on a good trajectory, and that’s all I need. This is a two-hour episode as part of a bigger picture, but it’s a hugely important episode. This is where things really start coming together. Everyone’s getting on the same page and doing battle together against some badass looking bad guys.

What more do you need?

Are you looking for a film whose script might get nominated for an Academy Award? Not going to happen here. Cinematography might be a category in which JUSTICE LEAGUE gets a nod, but if you want a film where the actors give performances worthy of being recognized, you’d be expecting too much if you have your hopes up here.

You don’t have to be a fanboy to like these films. You don’t have to know all the history of the comic book storylines to like these films. I have a decent comic book collection, and I didn’t know who Steppenwolf was when I first heard his name in the aftermath of BATMAN V SUPERMAN. But it doesn’t matter. Cool characters, decent story, great action, fun dialogue, and iconic characters all coming together for the first time.

If you didn’t enjoy the other movies leading up to this, you will probably find reasons you won’t enjoy JUSTICE LEAGUE. Whether you don’t like superhero movies, whether you’re a MARVEL fanboy and can’t allow yourself to like both cinematic universes, or whatever the reason you didn’t like the other films, you basically know how you’re going to feel about this movie. If you can’t let yourself have fun and just escape into a good time for two hours, then this just clearly isn’t for you.

If the term “popcorn flick” isn’t something you consider a disparaging remark, then you’re probably optimistic about JUSTICE LEAGUE just like I am. And maybe you’re not going to see it opening night, or even the late Thursday showing like I am, but if you enjoyed WONDER WOMAN, you owe it to yourself to go check out JUSTICE LEAGUE, because chances are good that you’ll enjoy this, and even if you don’t, you’ll at least need to know what happened in this film for you to understand the context within which the inevitable WONDER WOMAN sequel takes place.

So if you’re even mildly excited about JUSTICE LEAGUE, don’t worry about what Rotten Tomatoes score it has on Saturday morning. Maybe it won’t be in the upper 90s like the third THOR film was, but that film has over 6 days of movie footage helping build it up, creating it’s “universe”, establishing that character, and giving it room to be a somewhat silly comedy that took a chance on a zany director. There are plenty of signs that it’ll be an enjoyable movie that advances some of the storyline arcs and themes from the previous movies, introduces some new characters, has some great action, and delves us more into a very promising cinematic universe that, at this point, is still “younger” than where MARVEL was when it got to its first tentpole team-up AVENGERS film.

I’ve been a fan of the Justice League, as a concept, for the past 30+ years. I’ve seen great cartoons and comics, as well as some that didn’t hold my interest, but at the end of the day, I’m interested in them because the characters are cool and have tons of potential. How much does this film tap into that? With the people involved, from the Academy Award caliber actors, to Zack Snyder and Joss Whedon, and given what I’ve seen from the four previous movies? I know this is going to be a fun time for a couple hours, regardless of any plot holes or two dimensional characters with potentially questionable motives or rationale. I’m going to just sit back and watch the spectacle as some of my favorite characters all team-up on screen for the first time, and I’m not going to let any sub-par reviews from critics dissuade me.

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