The 400-Word Review: Justice League

By Sean Collier

November 22, 2017

NOT as seen on TV.

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There is a train, and that train is called the DC Extended Universe. Much like this metaphor, that train is barely staying on the track. Wearily, it chugs along, beset on all sides by storms of failure and mediocrity. But this train has had one destination from the day it left the station: the gathering of the Justice League, the greatest assemblage of comic-book characters the world has ever known.

One understands the impetus, of course. Marvel had become a cultural juggernaut on the back of characters not nearly as well known as Batman and Superman. And when the MCU had barely launched, Christopher Nolan put Batman in the greatest superhero flick of the 21st century. How could it go wrong? Make movies starring the Justice League heavyweights, wait for the money to roll in.

And yet: It went wrong. The train careened wildly through Man of Steel before going completely off the track in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.

While Suicide Squad provided a necessary distraction, DC and Warner Bros. worked to get this hulking (not Hulking) mass of a train back on the rails. The train limped forward.

Then, of course, Wonder Woman showed up and propelled it down the track with speed and fury.

Now, the destination approaches: For the first time, a movie with the whole Justice League. Star power even the Avengers can’t touch. It’s here. The train of the DCEU has reached its destination.

Just a train we knew would eventually arrive showing up. That’s it.


We pick up after Superman’s theoretical death at the end of Batman v Superman; the world is in a state of despair, what with their greatest hero (whom they usually disliked, but who’s counting) slain. A villain, Steppenwolf — the most generic of all the bland, CGI supervillains — turns up, utilizing Earth’s moment of sorrow to stage a planetary coup. Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) and Diana Prince (Gal Godot) gather heroes to stop him.

They spend most of the movie gathering; the moment they get the band together, the result is inevitable. It is a movie without one moment of tension.

Is it good? It’s better than Batman v Superman, and Godot remains perfect. Ezra Miller, as The Flash, does well. Beyond that, it’s just sort of inevitable. We knew this movie would happen. It happened. It wasn’t that great.

Does this train go anywhere else?

My Rating: 6/10

Sean Collier is the Associate Editor of Pittsburgh Magazine and a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association. Read more from Sean at



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