Comics Creators

Justice League - Pregame (Critical Reviews, Musings, etc. - No Spoilers)


Ok, quick hit here. Just back from seeing it. Really enjoyed that. It’s good, and gets better as it goes along. I’ll hit the spoiler thread tomorrow or weekend (going to bed now).



Sure it wasn’t 6…?


It’s pretty ridiculous to suggest that movie critics do not: a) play to the audience; and, b) do not look for confirmation bias when they see the movie in question.

It’s all about the clicks. And, as we all know, you get more clicks on the Internet going with the mass of pre-conceived public opinion than being the lone wolf moving in the other direction.

There’s a reason that even allegedly reputable comics news site, like CBR , keep publishing click bait articles about every little rumour.

You take away that need for click through and advertising revenue that that generates, and I’ll give your review more credence too.


I don’t know. Maybe? Has anyone done a study on this? Seems to me there are plenty of possible hypotheses. Maybe people who are actually paid to think and write about movies for a living are less likely to enjoy the particulars that the Snyder films are composed of? It wasn’t that long ago that Wonder Woman got pretty good reviews for the most part.

The clickbait articles are also possibly explained by other factors. Maybe there just isn’t that much sizeable news in the comic book industry on a daily basis, but they still have to try to form a profit somehow?

I just think it’s a bit much to assume the worst of all critics. And it’s still perfectly reasonable to suggest that critics won’t reflect the popular audience reactions, even without assuming snobbery or cynicism.


I think it’s reasonable to suspect that some critics may be somehow biased in their reviews, to some extent.

But my problem with bias as an explanation for a movie getting an overwhelmingly positive or negative response is that it means that all (or at least, a vast majority of) critics must be biased, and all in the same direction.

Given the large number and wide variety of critics that we all now have access to, I think that goes beyond the realms of a reasonable suspicion of bias and into conspiracy-theory territory.


That’s what I’m saying, yeah. Obviously no one is objective entirely, that’s impossible! The gamut of reviewers, though, including a bunch from places like Screen Rant, should cover people who are comics nerds that want great JL films too.


Wonder Woman’s a perfect example of what I’m talking about. It captured the zeitgeist of 2017 perfectly, and it’s a critical darling. Is it a particularly good film though? Objectively? Not really (clearly, it should go without saying, in my opinion). It’s got some good performances and a few rousing scenes, but it’s pretty journeyman like in its delivery. It also suffers from some dodgy looking CGI. And, yet, somehow that didn’t get called out in WW whilst it’s a clear message coming out of JL?

Snyder’s last two films have courted controversy like almost no other superhero movie. The vocal contingent on the Internet would like nothing more than for it to fall flat on its face. The behind the scenes issues that we’ve been exposed to, in detail, suggest that it’ll be a bit of a mess. Lo and behold, the critical reception can basically be summed up as “it’s a bit of a mess, with dodgy CGI, and the usual Snyder excesses”. Really? I’m shocked.


I think the complaint about ‘dodgy CGI’ is the kind of thing you’ll pick out and notice if you’re not enjoying a movie, but which won’t matter to you if you are.


There is no “objectively” though, no set of criteria that everyone can agree on. Humans don’t do “objective” very well.

So I just don’t read critics until AFTER I’ve seen the film. I look at the advertising material and listen to the buzz, I apply my experience of similar film and films by the same people and then make my mind up, whether to see it.

After it’s come out, then I’ll read more, and see what the critics think?


I try not to read reviews at all these days. I have a pretty low tolerance for them (as you can probably tell). But, I do agree with a lot what you’re saying.


And, to be clear, I’m not claiming bias is the sole factor. My other point re: playing to the audience is just as, if not more, relevant. Reviews generate clicks. Clicks generate sales. Telling your audience what they want to hear/ read generates more clicks. If you know that your audience has a pre-conceived notion that a film is going to be amazing or suck, you would have to be pretty daring to go in the opposite direction.


Yeah, I see that argument, and it fits the pattern around these kinds of movies. There is a definite sense of ‘piling on’ when a film becomes a focus of negative attention: that people start slamming it for sport rather than as part of a genuine attempt at criticism.

Of course, then you get the backlash reviews seeking to defend the movie - but even those often tend to be couched in terms that assume a negative take on the film so that they have something to push back against.

I think it’s increasingly the case that the earliest reactions to a movie set the tone of the entire ‘conversation’ around it, and all subsequent reviews have to acknowledge that, and so end up having to fit their criticism into that narrative somewhere.


It’s in, I think, the way critics are hired, the personality types. If people are consistently chosen for the wrong reasons they will consistently demonstrate poor results. Which is hugely common in just about every field.


One thing you have to remember with the critical discussion is that these things aren’t really movies—they’re memes. The internet is a place where you bunker down with likeminded people and share stories that everyone agrees on. A lot of times you don’t even have a strong or informed opinion, you just agree to go along.

Several people have shared two particularly harsh takedowns of the Justice League on my social media feeds, one in Vanity Fair and one on the AV Club. In most cases, the people sharing these stories were people I had no idea were into superheroes or superhero movies—and they probably aren’t. They’re sharing it to go along with whatever the common meme and general groupthink is at the moment. The goal of a publication is to attract readers and the editors would literally not be doing their jobs if they published positive reviews. There’s no conspiracy, no string-pulling by Disney, it’s as simple as that.

Justice League is pretty far from a perfect movie. It’s also not demonstrably worse than (pick an effects blockbuster with a 90% or higher rating on RT). But the movies themselves isn’t really what this is about aside from providing content for the content mill.


That was while watching the Celtics-Warriors game after. Woof, I can’t believe I have to go to work today.

I was maybe a bit overzealous coming out of the theatre and it’s not a perfect movie. For some reason they made Flash act like Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s dickhead friend whose name I forget (Xavier?), and there were some fugly CGI moments for sure. Steppenwolf was pretty meh, but as I said it was more like Sauron than Apocalypse, and there were other LOTR vibes as well. They also weren’t quite sure what to do with Batman—both the writers/directors and Affleck himself—which I think in hindsight was always going to be a challenge with a Justice League movie.

There were some story problems but seemed to be caused in the name of keeping the running time short, which I can appreciate (Ragnarok was the same way).

There was still lots of neat stuff and I’m excited to see it again.

A minor spoiler but Danny Elfman did the score and managed to tease both his own 1989 Batman theme AND Williams’ 1978 Superman theme and look…I’m easy.


In my theater there was derisive laughter when that popped up.


Then those aren’t your real friends, Tom.


I hope they get the '60s Batman theme and the '70s Wonder Woman theme into the next one.


I mean, the theme is a classic - but it’s so out of place and distinctly iconic to a different set of movies.

They could have used “What Are You Going To Do When You Aren’t Saving The World” if they wanted to have a Superman moment that didn’t seem like a “gimme”.


They used it in the 2006 film too. It’s the Superman theme.

More to the point, who goes to Thursday preview screenings of the Justice League movie and sneers at the Superman theme music?