I went to see Justice League this afternoon and about halfway through, it hit me: This movie is pretty damn good. I’m intrigued by the story, never bored with the action and I care about the characters.
In other words, despite what the critics tell you—Justice League does not suck. Not even close. Now I’ll admit I came in with low expectations. The harsh reviews were tough to ignore and Lord knows, Batman v. Superman was a nonsensical clunker.
But Justice League was a surprisingly lively diversion. And was far more enjoyable than the critically-favored Thor:Ragnarok.
And here are my 5 reasons why in no particular order:
Reason number one: Justice League didn’t try so hard to be funny. Funny is good but only if it works. I thought Thor:Ragnarok was more corny than clever.
Reason number two: Real teamwork. It was totally cool watching Superman and these new super friends figuring out how to work together and even powerless Batman never seemed superfluous.
Reason number three: Better closing scenes. Marvel may have invented the practice of hinting at the next movie after the closing credits. But DC/Warner brothers simply did it better this time around.
Reason number four: Superman. He is greatest superhero ever and not just because of his power. It’s his compassion and humanity that inspires people and finally in Justice League we get a real sense of that.
And the number five reason that Justice League is better than Thor: Ragnarok? Real drama.
This is where Thor’s lighthearted tone works against it. Everyone is having too much fun for us to ever take the danger seriously. So when the good guys win, it’s a bit anti-climactic.
In Justice League, until Superman shows up Wonder Woman and the rest of them are pretty much getting their asses handed to them by the big bad. Batman in particular takes a beatdown throughout.
That makes the arrival of everyone’s favorite Son of Krypton all the more dramatic.
I know, I know. Thor:Ragnarok got a 92% score on Rotten Tomatoes—Justice League—only 40%.
Which reminds me of a very simple premise I often forget: Most of the time the critics are right. This time they’re not.