Justice League: Gods and Monsters full movie review - (In)Justice League: Goatees and Massacres
Anyone watching the Justice League animated movies in order: The New Frontier, Crisis On Two Earths, Doom, Flashpoint, and War, will notice that they have become darker and more nihilistic one after another. Now we arrive at Gods and Monsters, the depressing continuation of this trend.
Of course, they are all "anti-heroes" now, to put it kindly, although a combination of violent vigilantes and fascist army is probably closer to the truth. Batman's a vampire (how imaginative! A vampire bat!), and embarrassingly Superman (sporting a goatee which I guess is meant to make him look badass?) is a Mexican illegal immigrant, a move obviously intended to make a politically correct point, although not really exploited here. Truth Justice and the Mexican way ! Yay! Oh and his real father is the murderous General Zod.
Even worse is the new sword-carrying Wonder Woman. Her family has been massacred by Highfather, who in the real DC universe is the embodiment of goodness, while Darkseid, who Highfather betrays here, is supposed to be the embodiment of evil. (Hence the name)
Poor old Jack Kirby must be rolling over in his grave to see his creations being so abused. He understood the difference between good and evil, light and dark, something that modern writers (themselves gone over to the dark side?) no longer see.
So by what perversion of the word 'Justice' can this trio of murderous misfits call themselves the 'Justice League'? I refuse to call these impostors by their assumed superhero names, since they are NOT the beloved characters they purport to be or anything close, so I dub them Sword Woman, Goatee Man and Vampire-Batman.
This morally inverted universe could be interesting if there was some realisation at some point by the characters that they were actually the bad guys and see them turn it around. Now That could have been thrilling. The problem is that we are supposed to be on their side from the start and see their personality flaws (ie that they are all bloodthirsty killers) as badass.
The film is basically a series of massacres, each more brutal than the last. Leaving aside the destruction of Krypton, massacre #1 is the "Justice League" wiping out a terrorist organisation. At least 50 people are horrifically killed by the JL, when they could just as easily have been captured by this super-powered trio. Some are hacked to death by Sword Woman, some crushed to death thanks to Goatee Man's heat vision (which he uses indiscriminately) and one has his blood sucked by Vampire-Batman. Nice. But that's OK its alright since they are "terrorists" and therefore deserve to be summarily executed by our heroes.
A token protest by ordinary people is then shown as well as a critical report by Lois Lane, but this legitimate concern is depicted as a bunch of small-mindedness.
Massacre #2 is of a group of scientists, some beloved characters in the comic world. Oh and a kid who just happens to be a young version of Cyborg. Again the film goes out of its way to make this as sadistic as possible.
Massacre #3 is the aforementioned backstory of Sword Woman.
Massacre #4 is a continuation of the massacre of scientists, this time inside Magnus's house. The violence is even more graphic with one poor victim being literally ripped in two. Note that our heroes were not able to save one person.
At this point I was pretty stunned but was still expecting some big turnaround to come. This, after all, has received some 5/5 reviews.
Massacre #5 is when Goatee Man and Sword Woman decide "heroically" not to give up but instead fight the army. To be fair, this sequence is less graphic than the earlier ones; we don't actually see any soldiers being killed when their tanks and helicopters are smashed by our heroes. Maybe these all were drones. But I guess showing soldiers dying would make the shallow ending less palatable.
Then comes an almost literal Deus-ex-machina. Lex Luthor (channeling his inner Stephen Hawking) appears out of thin air and explains to the JL what's happening and they go and fix the "villain".
Cue general rejoicing. Lois Lane recants her former opinions. The JL are now exonerated. So what if they have killed dozens of soldiers unnecessarily in addition to over 50 "terrorists" and failed to save a single scientist? They saved the world! Oh, from a threat powered by Goatee Man's rocket ship and protected by their "Justice" tower's force field. But nevermind, that's not anything to worry about.
Terrible. But the only question is, how on earth has this dreck gotten some many good reviews?