-- "Justice League," the latest blockbuster film from the DC Universe after the hugely successful "Wonder Woman," is getting mixed reviews at best.
The film features the return of Batman and Superman (who died in the last film, but appears to be back here), who faced off in last year's "Dawn of Justice," but also newcomers like the Flash and Aquaman. The review embargo lifted Wednesday morning for the film and the critiques came pouring in. Bottom line: they haven't been good.
Here's what the likes of Variety, The New York Times and Rolling Stone had to say. But don't expect the middling reviews to stop fans from seeing the movie.
The Times' Manohla Dargis headlined the review, "‘Justice League,’ Better Than the Last One!" citing the critically-panned "Dawn of Justice" as the measuring stick here.
"The bar could scarcely have been lower given that the previous movie, 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,' was such an interminable slog," Dargis wrote. "The superhero and villain dynamic is much the same (slayers going to slay, etc.), but there are a few fresh faces now and Wonder Woman has more to do than play backup. The story is a confusion of noise, visual clutter and murderous digital gnats, but every so often a glimmer of life flickers through."
Rolling Stone's Peter Travers was more balanced, giving the film two-and-a-half stars out of four, saying this film will be "the corrective followup" for viewers who hated "Dawn of Justice."
"Instead of the Freudian gloom and doom of the Caped Crusader (Ben Affleck) and the Man of Steel (Henry Cavill) hating on each other, this coming together of DC's heavy hitters takes so many happy pills it almost overdoses on them," he wrote.
He added, "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."
No balance from Vanity Fair though. The magazine called the movie "a big, ugly mess."
Reviewer Richard Lawson wrote, "Perhaps the 'Justice League' franchise really has been rotten from the start, experiencing not evolution but entropy, with 'Wonder Woman' standing as an anomalous glimmer of false hope. I could be projecting, but boy does poor Gal Gadot look so sad in 'Justice League,' watching this lumbering and witless movie lay waste to the nice thing she just got finished making. It really is a shame."
The Associated Press
The AP's Lindsey Bahr reflected Lawson's sentiments, saying that even Gal Gadot's Wonder Woman could not save this film.
"It's not too late to re-think this whole thing and start over. Just keep Gadot around, please," she wrote.
Owen Gleiberman called "Justice League" the epitome "of an adequate high-spirited studio lark: no more, no less."
"If fans get excited about it, that may mostly be because they’re excited about getting excited. Yet the movie is no cheat. It’s a tasty franchise delivery system that kicks a certain series back into gear," according to Gleiberman.
Empire magazine gave the film two out of five stars.
"Justice League is supremely hokey stuff," Dan Jolin wrote. "After vibing a little on a 2016 s---storm sense of a world horribly gone wrong (Superman’s death is wonkily equated with the passing of Prince and Bowie), it dives headlong into a scrappy, Swiss-cheese plot which, while true to DC Comics’ mix-and-match mythology, clumsily slaps together its disparate elements ... None of which is helped by sub-par VFX."
Chris Nashawaty basically said the same thing as The Times, writing, "'Justice League' is not bad as 'Batman v Superman,'" giving the film a C+.
"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,'" Nashawaty said.
"Justice League" officially hits theaters on Friday.
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