“Justice League” Develops Banality into a Harrowing and Tiresome Art Form

If a committee of Warner Brothers executives got together to work their way through a 300 million dollar paint-by-numbers, it would look like Justice League.

With the odds stacked against it, no expectations, and the fate of exactly nothing of importance hanging in the balance, Justice League is still an utter disappointment.  The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) was recently buoyed by the impressive Wonder Woman film from Patty Jenkins earlier this year, but the franchise is back aground.  Justice League features a hodgepodge of messy scenes, poor storytelling, terrible CGI, lackluster characters, and no real stakes.  These failures are becoming hallmarks of Warner Brothers ill-advised attempts at a grittier version of Marvel, and the embarrassments are becoming too numerous to count.  I guess we’ll do our best.

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Zack Snyder’s “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice” Overwhelms With Wasted Opportunity

Batman v Superman plods along with the pacing of a courtroom, which may be why it is named like a civil suit between our two heroes.  Given the manufactured fighting between the two, there may have been more believable drama had Batman decided to sue the Man of Steel for destruction of property.  Instead, we are left with the standard flaws that always seem to accompany the direction of Zack Snyder:  bizarre use of music, rushed and unearned plotting, and action sequences that, while reasonably entertaining, strain comprehension.  It is altogether a shame, because the eponymous characters are iconic and beloved – and well portrayed in this film.  There simply isn’t anything terribly interesting for them to do.

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Don’t Lose Guy Ritchie’s “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.” in the Spy Thriller Shuffle

The films of Guy Ritchie succeed best when they blend comedic elements with a strong circuitous narrative set on the fringes of society. Usually, that fringe is some underground criminal element, but with The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Ritchie puts his inimitable aesthetic to work on the period spy thriller. Though the plot can feel fairly derivative at times, the stars ably carry the film forward and offer some surprisingly funny moments amid the tradecraft and action set pieces.

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