There’s a lot of thoughts I had while watching “Justice League”. Thoughts that couldn’t fit into a single review. Did I enjoy the movie? Sure. It was definitely a step in the right direction from Batman vs. Superman. The Flash and Aquaman added a great deal of fun to it! The film didn’t have a linear story and it also had very weak character development. The “League” itself was a ton of fun to watch, they make a good crew and i'm excited to see what they do with them in future movies. Overall, the movie was fine to me. One thing stood out the most to me, though, that I found myself unable to ignore; the portrayal of women.
Coming off the hype and feminine empowerment from “Wonder Woman”, the newest DC film had a new high standard to achieve.
After switching directors ¾ of the way through production, Zach Snyder passed the torch to Joss Whedon who completed the film and also did some reshoots. This was definitely visible throughout the movie as well. But “Justice League” also had to live up to the expectation that “Wonder Woman” set. Many people have already discussed in length online their disappointment with the outfits that the Amazons wear in “Justice League”. They’re these tiny, tight, bikinis, that in no way match up to the armored outfits from “Wonder Woman”. Throughout the film, there’s also angles brought onto Gadot’s Wonder Woman that degrade her character, AKA up-skirt shots and multiple ass shots. There’s also scenes where she’s simply brought down by the guys to being just a pretty face, and not a fierce warrior. This shifts the tone of the movie into, what felt to me, like more of a bro-film. If they had kept Wonder Woman in the same light shed on her in her standalone movie, it would’ve made the Justice League feel like more of a gender inclusive group. She’d be looked at as what she is; a warrior.
This definitely brings to mind the difference between a male and female director. Now, I’m not in any way saying that all male directors are like this, let me make that VERY clear, but there’s a definite difference in the style of filmmaking. In the DC movies that Snyder has directed, he has less of a focus on his female characters. Take Lois Lane for example, she’s just painted as a woman who’s lost without Superman. She’s very codependent and has little to no semblance of self, which shouldn’t be the case for her. Patty Jenkins revolutionized that trope with “Wonder Woman”. She made sure that there were no scenes that objectified her, the Amazons wore fitted (yet comfortable looking) armor, and Diana wasn’t dependent upon Steve Trevor. She loved him, but her life wasn’t lost when he left. He was the gateway to Diana understanding humanity and knowing that not everyone was cruel. Diana became a face for feminine empowerment this year, and I wish that same vibe was brought to “Justice League”.
Maybe this thought came to mind for me because of the sudden shift in Hollywood from the various sexual harassment/assault stories. Maybe, the more I’ve educated myself, the more I grew to understood the difference in how women are presented in film. I strongly believe that “Wonder Woman” succeeded for the sheer reason that it broke a glass ceiling amongst the superhero genre. “Justice League” has to learn to jump through that ceiling if they want to see further success in their franchise.