We watched “The Justice League” on HBO Max last night. It wasn’t a bad movie. It certainly had an exhausting amount of CGI in it and there was no dearth of superheroes. Mostly, it suffered from two issues.
The first is that they don’t tell you what’s going on until the middle of the movie. This has become the trendy new way to make movies and a fair number of television shows, too. Call me old-fashioned, but I like knowing what’s going on before halfway through the film. I was more or less of the impression that if you are a dedicated DC-world movie watcher, you could probably deduce what was going on because you’d already seen other movies which link to this. I stopped the movie at one point and explained “Aquaman” to Garry because I watched it, but he hadn’t seen it. Yet.
There were a bunch of others we’d both missed and while I’m sure we could make up for lost time by watching the DC section of HBO Max, I have a maximum limit on the amount of superhero mystique I can absorb before all I hear is noise accompanied by fiery explosions.
Thus I try to pick and choose which movies I watch and which I avoid. I’m avoiding “The Joker.” I hated the Joker when he was a comic book character at a time when comic books cost a dime, were made of paper, and were not part of a gazillion dollar movie franchise. I also didn’t like him on any number of Batman movies and television shows — or, for that matter, on “Metropolis” on TV. Too creepy.
Somewhere around what I thought was the middle of the movie, they began telling us what was going on. By then we had figured out who the bad guys were. That’s pretty easy since they are covered in something metallic, wear devil-like horns, have electronically altered voices, and are planning to blow up the world. We had both missed whatever movie had the Supe go missing in the first place but we didn’t expect anyone to tell us. Some stuff, you just have to let it roll.
That was a moment when I pointed out to Garry I knew there was a plot and all I needed was a little help in figuring out what. From there, the movie proceeded to a dramatic climax and the destruction of Darkside (was that his name?) and some strange murmurings about Lois Lane being a darker character than portrayed. What? Lois Lane? Really? Is no one safe anymore?
But then they went into a long — very long — epilogue which was clearly a promo for the next batch of DC-related movies or television shows which will appear on our television and possibly, in the movies. Hard to know these days. It all depends on one tiny little virus. The epilogue went on for maybe fifteen minutes. It was like a very extended version of “next show’s highlights” on a TV show. Garry objected. He felt after they killed off the super bad guy, that WAS the end of the movie and the rest was advertising, which could have been put in its own trailer. We’d probably have watched it, but it wasn’t an epilogue and it dragged the movie on far too long. It was purely intended to generate interest in future DC products.
I still prefer being told at the beginning what’s going on. Even though it is a franchise, the assumption that everyone has seen all the other movies in the series and they can remember what happened in those movies is a pretty big assumption. More like a presumption. I also suspect an awful lot of stoned out people watch these movies and can’t remember anything. And finally, there are people like us who may have seen some of the other movies, but not all of them. I think we might fall into two categories: people who haven’t seen all the movies and people who have seen them but don’t remember them.
Just saying. If you have HBO Prime, it’s entertaining. I don’t think it’s the kind of memorable cinema that you are sure to never forget it, but it’s lively.
I really liked it when Wonder Woman warned everyone that it was “time to get dressed” and one guy (sorry, name has been forgotten — if indeed they ever told us his name) said that he “was always dressed.” It gave me a chuckle. It’s these light-hearted moments that makes these movies watchable. If they get serious, we will all fall asleep.