Justice League: Cheesy Goodness Slightly Redeems Franchise

It’s unoriginal nature became ironically original, and what can be dismissed as corny also made the movie enjoyable.

By Sean David Hartman

Let’s face it, outside of Wonder Woman, the DC Extended Universe has been a seven-car pile-up of garbage. Warner Bros., wanting to replicate the success of The Avengers, essentially moved too fast with their characters without developing the needed backstories.

To salvage their chaos, Warner Bros. got the writer of The Avengers, Joss Whedon, to retouch the story a bit. And Whedon, who essentially is a god amongst the nerd community, did not disappoint.

Like many, I came into Justice League with low expectations. With the poor reputation of Zak Snyder on these films, I felt this would be another Dawn of Justice debacle.

Surprisingly, it was not.

The movie was certainly cheesy, and there were easily some laughable aspects of it, ranging from a droll, cliched supervillain who seems to pose no threat, to poor special effects used to enhance the qualities of certain characters.

But the movie itself is quite good, considering her predecessors and the low expectations the public had.

The movie has a very cliched story, playing on the famed “supervillain wants to rule the world” motif. Steppenwolf, played by the brilliant Ciaran Hinds (you may know him as King of the Wildlings), was simply a poorly designed character. Despite Hinds’ spectacular acting ability, you felt no real connection to Steppenwolf. He was not a frightening or suspenseful character, you felt no concern or sense of danger for our godlike heroes; in fact, it was really hard to tell if even he believed his own motivation.

To add cliché to cliché, Steppenwolf sought out the three Mother Boxes, powerful artifacts that, when fused, grant one the power to destroy worlds. It is up to Batman and his ragtag team of superheroes—which may or may not include a now-deceased Kryptonian—to defeat Steppenwolf and retrieve the Boxes.

The clichés don’t stop there, with almost every scene taking part in some level of superhero cheesiness, ranging from corny jokes to poor visual effects. But amazingly, the cheesiness just makes the movie better.

Justice League has a very nostalgic feel. It is reminiscent of the classic superhero movies of the 2000s. It follows the same style and trajectory as X-Men or Spider-Man did when they came out. Since then, of course, the superhero genre has evolved to a multi-faceted, multi-platform shared storylines, so seeing a return to the hits was odd but exhilarating.

It’s unoriginal nature became ironically original, and what can be dismissed as corny also made the movie enjoyable.

The DCEU still has a long way to go to improve itself, and certainly this movie is far inferior to Wonder Woman, and many within the MCU franchise. But considering the low expectations, enjoyability seemed thoroughly refreshing.


Sean Hartman is a Junior at the University of Central Florida, studying Political Science. He previously served as the Vice President of the Southwest Florida Young Republicans and as Assistant Regional Coordinator to the Ted Cruz For President campaign. He described himself as a “Professional Political Nuisance” and labels his political views as “classical liberalism”.