So, Justice League. I can't say that I was surprised by the way it turned out. After the terrible reviews of Batman v Superman, something's gotta give. I'm sure the WB suits were in panic mode when the movie received such a huge battering from critics. "Marvel-ise it! Now!" I could almost hear them screech.
So they hired Joss Whedon to "fix it" when Zach Snyder had to bow out, but even Whedon couldn't save the flick. Why? First, they rushed into making a "heroes team up" flick before making us emotionally invested with the characters via their own movies. And two, tonally, Snyder's vision is the polar opposite of Whedon's.
Snyder's movies have always been a mixed bag. You either hate them or love it. His movies will appeal to people who enjoy figuring out the subtext, who don't think linearly, who don't need or even want to be spoon-fed the story. But there's something we can all agree on: His cinematography is really one of a kind.
I'm one of the rare ones that not only understood Snyder's vision but loved it. I didn't understand the negativity BvS or the Superman movies elicited. I loved the broodier, more edgy direction. I felt DCEU provided a refreshing alternative to Marvel's peppy, more humorous take on the superhero genre. I get to enjoy two different types of superhero movies. I was a happy fan.
But when the BvS negativity hit I knew they were going to make Snyder change his vision, to make it lighter, funnier ... I was already grieving the loss of superhero-movie-variety back then but gosh I still didn't expect this level of butchering with Justice League!
Nothing really felt organic in the movie. Batman was suddenly making (lame) jokes. Hell, he was even the butt of jokes. A certain caped crusader's return was done in a stupid, illogical way. (Batman, the world's smartest strategist came up with THAT plan?)
They also turned Aquaman into a surfer dude. Gawd. Thank God Barry Allen remained mostly intact. Still, the dialogue seemed to be written by college frat boys.
No wonder Ben Affleck looked so unenthusiastic in the reshoot scenes - he knew he was wading in a pile of manure and he wasn't happy about it.
All the plot threads that were started in BvS was simply abandoned. The saddest one is the subtle hint towards the end of BvS that Superman would be returning; that lovely shot of dirt slowly rising from the coffin, and that hint that we'd get the Superman from the Injustice video games...
And the villain? Whatshisname? Lame. Bland. One dimensional. Literally fake.
Gosh, I knew JL would be 'different', but I didn't expect them to copy Marvel SO HARD. And fall flat on their face doing it.
Look, I liked Thor: Ragnarok like the next person, but at the same time I felt sad that Thor was dumbed down. I know that the Thor movies were draggy and tedious, but they also had an emotional depth that went further than the other Marvel movies. For one, I liked how they explored the relationship between Loki, Thor and their parents. (The Thor flicks were basically one, big soap opera about a really dysfunctional family after all.)
A bit of levity was definitely needed in the Thor universe, but I think they went too far with Ragnarok. Every dramatic moment was undercut with a joke. Thor, not the brightest bulb to begin with, is suddenly a himbo to the highest degree.
Sure, everyone forgot about the Thor franchise's loss of depth because of all the yuks, but are all superhero movies going to follow the Marvel formula from now on now just because it's so profitable?
I'm afraid the answer is yes. After Justice League, I think that's the direction superhero movies will take in the future. And what a pity. The loss of depth, pathos and artistic vision from the DCEU as it pivots to a more Marvelesque vision is going to be hard for me to take. Hell, it'll be hard for those who enjoy something different with their superhero flicks to take.
Superhero movie fatigue will be inevitable as a result because people would think: Yes, superhero movies are all like that. I'm tired of those.