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Some thoughts on why Justice League was never going to be good enough

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I think my first experience of ‘Man of Steel’ was the closest I’ve come to replicating my trip to see Burton’s ‘Batman’, in 1989.

1989: Stood outside Aldershot Cinema (“a fleapit”, As Dad would say). Freezing cold. Worrying I was going to get ID’d for my first ever “12” rated film, and not get to see the film I’d spent the Summer staring at. Posters. Stickers. Toys!

It was obviously a big deal as just before we went in I started to cry about it. I was 8, to be fair. But the point is if a Batman film came out now – even if that bastard Schumacher got the gig – I’d be devastated to miss it. Distraught if I didn’t get at least something from it. Batman’s always been the one. I’ve loved Marvel’s run of late (they’ve had a sensational few years, especially), but the landmark moments: They all involve Batman.

‘Man of Steel’ obviously didn’t, but it allowed me to relive a similar cinema night with my Son – who was 5. No worry about ID of course, as 12As don’t care who sees them, really.

But the chance to see Superman up there? On the big screen? Not looking stupid as he flies/carries buildings? That’s the stuff you dream of as a kid. Of course, we had that chance with ‘Superman Returns’, but seemingly only I embraced it. People don’t like change, do they?

And I guess that explains why I’m Team DC, at heart.

It’s made the last few years quite…. tough! I see some serious good in all of the DC films so far – and when I see forums I realise, despite what people may say, I’m actually quite measured.

Seriously, now we’re a bit away from them both, reassess your thoughts on ‘Suicide Squad’ and ‘Wonder Woman’. I’d argue, in the interest of balance, one might not be as bad as you think, and one not as good.

That said, I saw someone’s top 25 superhero films yesterday. Number seven? ‘Wonder Woman’. Wow, I thought. That’s bold. But what made me spit me Gingerbread latte out? No ‘Watchmen’. Anywhere. And that’s fine. It’s his list. But ever since I’ve been puzzled: Why hasn’t he seen ‘Watchmen’?!

There’s no doubting that DC fans – the Ultras, almost – have become desperate, vilified film fans. Partly their own doing. Partly a victim of circumstances, where they’re scrambling around to underline the victim mentality.

It’s not attractive. I’ve seen things calling ‘Thor’ and ‘Spider-Man: Homecoming’ out as if you’re not allowed to enjoy them, too. I’ve been equally guilty at times, I guess. Hopefully not now. I’ve certainly called out the hypocrisy of criticising the end of ‘Man of Steel’, though. When tearing up New York and referencing that once in ten years means ‘Avengers’ gets a pass. People add to the sense of bitterness. I know people who still won’t watch ‘Prometheus’ because the scientists take their helmets off. The Alien franchise is BUILT on a moment of stupidity where someone sticks their head in an alien egg, FFS. Can’t have one without the other. Sorry.

The DC Ultras sense of urgency to get DC to topple Marvel is excruciating – even for me. And it’s created an unhealthy atmosphere – one where it’s almost impossible to actually dissect what good and bad in a DC film. Sure, you can do it. But there’s a lens (flare) that clouds over it. Everything’s exaggerated. Under the microscope more than anything else of its kind.

I’d liken it to two of my two all time faves. Either Scorcese and Tarantino – or maybe De Niro and DiCaprio. Everything they do is scrutinised to the nth degree. I’m not sure any of their future work will ever live up to what’s in my head. So shouldn’t we just enjoy what we get, instead?

If you look objectively, what you’d actually maybe say is:
“‘Batman v Superman’ is… um… alright in the most part.”

But instead what actually tends to come out is:
“Holy shit – Batman is an absolute psycho. And even though he’s killed in the comics and almost every film version since, this is DC/Snyder, so we’ll have them”.

What might be:
“‘Justice League is a lot of fun in places, despite some poor editing – (hey, you wanted them shorter – nice one!) – and some unspectacular music, its serviceable, and…. fun”

What tends to come out is:
“Even though we all agree Rotten Tomatoes is skewing film criticism, and an unfair measure, it’s DC and they’ve blatantly shown fans the film first, just to piss critics off. Also, his CGI tache looks terrible, and it’s probably the worst (only?) CGI tache of all time.. Of. All. Time.”

The whole thing becomes skewed and it’s genuinely hard to know if people are giving DC a fair run. Should anyone HAVE to give DC a fair run? With the properties they’ve got, I guess not.

But the problem with Manchester United post-Sir Alex Ferguson (GOAT, by the way), is 3 trophies in a year, under two Managers isn’t enough. And DC is up against similar. It’s not OK to lose. To stumble. The microscope makes everything feel like the end of the world. It has to be perfect. For the whole 90 minutes. Week in, week out. Regardless of first eleven. It becomes unrealistic, in my opinion.

Especially when if you make the human decision, maybe ‘Justice League’ shouldn’t have been finished at all. A loss of a child versus 36-year-olds (yes, me included), trying to be the better keyboard warrior. It’s all really a bit sad, isn’t it?

‘Justice League’ is decent, I think. I’m off again in a minute (with my now 10-year-old, AND Dad), so will be interesting to see if it’s better post-midnight slumber party. Minus the weight of expectation.

I hated reading the reviews beforehand as everyone said it was “fun”. I don’t know why, but I hate that word. Guess what, though? It’s fun.

I didn’t ask for that, personally. I like them jet black, thanks. ‘Batman Returns’ is hilarious to me that Burton got away with that.

It’s “decent”. OK. Fine. I punched the air many times, and laughed (with it), far more than I was expecting.

It’ll be a fascinating film for years to come, I’m sure.

Will we ever get a Director’s Cut? We absolutely should.

You can see a lot of the seams – but miraculously, not all of them. In lieu of the tragedy of the process, I think that alone deserves some credit. What a moment to take stock and remember this is just a film. And so is ‘Avengers: Infinity War’. And maybe even ‘Star Wars: The Last Jedi’. < Good luck with the weight of expectation for that, by the way.

I don’t know what influence Joss Whedon played, but if he’s down the seeds for the humour, fair play. Some of that is ‘Thor: Ragnarok’, good. Being able to take the piss out of someone that talks to fish and that can’t tell where he’s bleeding because of the spandex is a good start.

Equally, and herein possibly lies DCs problems, if the opening shaky cam was Joss? If the music decisions were Joss? They’re bad, bad calls. One step forward, then you lost your man on a corner. Week after week.

‘Justice League’ starts terribly and even Batman being Batman means it’s up against it when it was already 3-nil down at halftime.

There are some bizarre choices, including you-know-what. And DC has made it hard for themselves at times.

There’s a bit of me, second time around, keen to see if it’s actually Warner Brothers sneering, and thinking, “fuck ‘em”. Put it this way, if you thought Lex and Steppenwolf in the Kyrptonian ship was random… they top it.

Throw in CGI taches and Amazonian’s suddenly wearing less and they can’t keep their nose clean. They need to be smarter. Tighter at the back.

The biggest sin on the first watch is the music though. You can’t take one of Zimmer’s greats and not use it for this. And if you take that call and replace it was Elfman’s ‘89 ‘Batman’ score, and promise me Donner’s ‘Superman’ – well do that. Go in and dial it up to eleven. That doesn’t happen and so the self-fulfilling prophecy of DC trying to do too much comes to the fore.

There’s lots to love. I think the main five do some genuinely good work. Affleck and Gadot at the heart. Aquaman and Cyborg are more interesting and fitting than I was expecting. And Ezra is fantastic – hopefully leading us to Flashpoint, whereby they can soft boot/ret-con however they like.

Gyllenhaal for Batman? Sure.

But more importantly, get me ‘Justice League’ on 4K. * Get me a three hour cut with Zimmer’s music – even if it’s “just” Flight
* Get me Affleck doing more recruitment
* START with the battle with the Amazonians
* Re-look at some of the editing
* Make that deliberately awakened exchange even more awkward
* Get me flashbacks of Kevin Costner – and a cameo from Russell Crowe

There’s no doubt the DC cast should be hitting home runs and not even being debated like this. But let’s not argue that the films as toxic as 36% suggests on rotten tomatoes. The vilified Ang Lee ‘The Hulk’ is 61%, so stop creating an uneven playing field.

And let’s remember: It’s just a film. There’s so many now, it’s literally like comic books. Take one. Leave one. Watch your favourites on the biggest screen you can. And try and go with your loved ones, especially if they’re young and old.

Most importantly of all, let’s hope NECA make some more dolls.

(Genuine question: Do 12 year olds even have ID now, let alone in the 80’s, by the way?!)

Either way, it’s 2017 and Zack Snyder has STILL made my favourite comic book movie of all time. Let him follow it up – when he’s ready – with the sequel we all deserve: ‘Watchman: Doomsday Clock’. I’ll be waiting at midnight.

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