'Justice League' Critics Are Split: 'A Big, Ugly Mess' or a 'Seriously Satisfying Superhero Movie'?
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Critics agree "Justice League" is better than "Batman v Superman," but that doesn't mean it's good.

The first reviews for "Justice League" are in and most critics agree on one thing: at least it's better than "Batman v. Superman."

The Warner Bros. DC movies have had it pretty rough with it comes to critics. "Man of Steel" has a 55 percent on Rotten Tomatoes and "Batman v. Superman" nabbed a dim 27 percent, while "Suicide Squad" finished with an abysmal 26 percent. But then "Wonder Woman" came along and gave fans a glimmer of hope. The movie became a box office juggernaut that also pleased reviewers and audiences alike.

But therein lies the problem: When it comes to "Justice League," critics say it's one step forward compared to those first three movies, but a big step back following Diana Prince's solo outing.

Since Rotten Tomatoes isn't posting the film's reviews or sharing its Tomatometer score until tomorrow, here's what critics are saying so far.

Entertainment Weekly, Chris Nashawaty

Justice League is better than its joylessly somber dress rehearsal, Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. Now the "but" …you knew there was a "but" coming, right? But it also marks a pretty steep comedown from the giddy highs of Wonder Woman.

Steppenwolf is one of those patently phony CGI creations that gives the film a uncanny-valley shlockiness. Is it really that hard to come up with a decent villain who wants something other than geometric maguffins?

Some day, hopefully soon, DC will get the recipe right again and duplicate Wonder Woman's storytelling magic. But today isn't that day, and Justice League unfortunately isn’t that film.

Vanity Fair -- Richard Lawson

Justice League Is a Big, Ugly Mess.

And so, dear Justice League, I must say that no, the lighting is not good. The script is not interesting. The costumes are not fun. The film is, plainly stated, terrible, and I’m sorry that everyone wasted their time and money making it—and that people are being asked to waste their time and money seeing it. I hate to be so blunt, but it simply must be said this time.

here is no real vision; no idea what the tone of these movies should be; no compelling or even coherent narrative through-line; no feel, or regard, for characterization.

L.A. Times, Kenneth Turan

'Justice League' is a seriously satisfying superhero movie.

Though Snyder's somber template is very much in place (he and Terrio share story credit), Whedon has loosened and humanized the story's tone to allow for engaging moments of humor and fun, especially from Ezra Miller's the Flash.

And in a film where introduction and delineation of characters satisfyingly take up as much time and space as slam-bang action, Whedon's touch inevitably helps make the members of the League as distinctive and involving as they need to be.

New York Times, Manohla Dargis

"Justice League," the newest DC Comics superhero jam directed by Zack Snyder, is looser, goosier and certainly more watchable than the last one.

The story is a confusion of noise, visual clutter and murderous digital gnats, but every so often a glimmer of life flickers through.

Mr. Snyder remains regrettably committed to a dark, desaturated palette that borders on the murky, and this movie's chaotic, unimaginative action scenes can drag on forever. But the touches of humor in "Justice League" lighten the whole thing tonally and are a relief after the dirgelike "Batman v Superman," which he ran into the ground with a two-and-a-half-hour running time.

Forbes, Scott Mendelson

A Bad Movie But A Great Time At The Movies

Warts and all, it is an unquestionably an enjoyable romp. Like Batman Forever back in the summer of 1995, Justice League is Warner Bros.' attempt to retrofit their significant superhero property into a lighter, campier and more kid-friendly package.

This does play like DC Comics' copy of a copy of The Avengers, with a plot (horned-helmet adversary shows up from space and wreaks havoc trying to snag a MacGuffin) and character-types (Batman is Iron Man, Aquaman is Thor, Wonder Woman is Cap, etc.) that feel like a cribbed homework assignment.

If The Avengers was a workplace dramedy, then Justice League is a surrogate family melodrama where mom and dad try to get the kids into shape while dealing with their own issues stemming from the tragic finale of Dawn of Justice.

The Hollywood Reporter, Todd McCarthy

The increasingly turgid tales of Batman and Superman — joined, unfortunately for her, by Wonder Woman — trudge along to ever-diminishing returns in Justice League.

Fatigue, repetition and a laborious approach to exposition are the keynotes of this affair, which is also notable for how Ben Affleck, donning the bat suit for the second time, looks like he'd rather be almost anywhere else but here; his eyes and body language make it clear that he's just not into it.

Of the main performers, only Gadot pops from the screen at all. For now, her Wonder Woman looks to be the savior of Batman and Superman, though you may end up wondering why she's wasting her time.

Variety, Owen Gleiberman

The film is the definition of an adequate high-spirited studio lark: no more, no less. If fans get excited about it, that may mostly be because they’re excited about getting excited. Yet the movie is no cheat. It's a tasty franchise delivery system that kicks a certain series back into gear.

The movie, which gathers up half a dozen comic-book immortals and lets them butt heads on their way to kicking ass, is never messy or bombastic. It's light and clean and simple

As a piece of product, "Justice League" is "superior" to "Batman v Superman," but it's also about as close to generic as a sharp-witted high-octane comic-book movie can get. There’s hardly a trope in it you haven't seen before.

Collider, Matt Goldberg

In place of disaster, Justice League is a largely bland, forgettable affair that has nice moments scattered throughout and the promise of a better tomorrow, but outside of Wonder Woman, that’s all the DCEU ever really offers: the promise that the next movie will be better. And sure, Justice League is better than Batman v Superman, but that doesn’t make it good.

Justice League’s most impressive feat is that it doesn't completely fall apart before your eyes.

You can also feel the consequences of Warner Bros. not putting in the time and effort to give these characters their own movies so we would be on board with them as individuals and have a baseline understanding of their differing viewpoints when they bounce off each other. ustice League is a film that’s both cleaning up what came before and laying track for what comes next. Existing on its own merits, the movie is a giant nothingburger because it has little time for character development and too much retooling to tell a layered story.

USA Today, Brian Truitt

Justice League is as solid an outing as any superhero fan could hope, with a clear family vibe: Wonder Woman and Batman prove to be a dynamic mom-and-dad duo while the fastest kid around steals the show.

Justice League is a lighter answer to the tonal issues of both Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, though it's saddled with an uneven narrative and not as much character development as you'd want in trying to shoehorn ancient mythology and setup for future movies.

Bad CGI villains also continue to plague the DC superhero lineup.

View Photos Getty 'Justice League' Premiere: Superheroes Storm the Red Carpet!

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