Justice League


As you surely know by now, Justice League didn’t do so hot at the box office. In fact, its modest $227 million domestic haul was just outgrossed by Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle this weekend. That’s right, one of the biggest superhero tentpoles of 2017 was just beaten by a (hugely entertaining) rebootquel of a moderately-beloved children’s movie.

And Warner Bros. knows they have to do something to save the ailing DC Extended Universe. They’ve shaken up their executive structure and hired a new DC Films president. But one thing they haven’t done is give into the ludicrous demands of the fans demanding a “Zack Snyder cut” of the movie — a cut that probably doesn’t actually exist. But with the impending release of Justice League on Blu-ray, DVD, and digital, new information is surfacing on a possible extended cut of the comic book movie. Maybe (hopefully) that will finally satisfy Snyder fans.

A listing of Justice League‘s 4K Ultra and Blu-ray digibook on Amazon Germany suggests that the home media release of the superhero ensemble movie could feature an extended cut. The information on the page lists the “Spieldauer” (the run time) at “135 Minuten” or 135 minutes. This is 15 minutes longer than the theatrical cut of Justice League which clocked in at exactly 2 hours. We don’t know yet if this listing is accurate, but it should be noted that Justice League‘s Blu-ray.com page lists its run time as 121 minutes — approximately the same length as its theatrical run.

This rumor comes on the heels of Zack Snyder fans flooding (or rather, trickling) the Warner Bros. headquarters lot in Burbank, California, demanding that the studio #ReleaseTheSnyderCut.Here we go, diving into the year-in-review for the year that was 2017. This will be the first of a handful of year-end pieces, highlighting the year that is just about to end. The first one is one of my favorites, a look at films that arguably got a bum rap from critics or more of a lashing than they deserved.

Now, as always, there is a considerable difference between underrated and underseen. So, no, you won’t find stuff like Colossal or Professor Marston and the Wonder Women that earned positive reviews and strong word-of-mouth from the few that sought them out. Some are genuinely good films, and others are bad without being war crimes. All 11 deserved a closer look. These will be in alphabetical order save one at the end.This was another project that was preemptively put to death before it was ever released. Granted, it was certainly sold as a “Matt Damon saves China”-type white savior fable. In truth, Zhang Yimou’s period piece actioner, about giant monsters attempting to scale the Great Wall of China, used Matt Damon and Willem Dafoe’s westerners as audience surrogates for the film’s “China is awesome!” messaging.

Audiences got a dose of state propaganda (which isn’t a shock to those who have seen Hero) while also enjoying some top-shelf production values and some banger action sequences. Absent the “whitewashing” controversy that really wasn’t, this is an enjoyable piece of B-movie hokum.The end result of DC Films’ first round of DC Comics superhero universe is… fine? It’s a hack-job to be sure, with Zack Snyder’s original intentions twice reversed after Dawn of Justice’s poor reception and then again after Joss Whedon took over.

And its attempts to mold itself into an Avengers clone was a terrible idea since folks had already seen a couple of Avengers movies. But, irony of ironies, it nails the core characters, giving us fun and entertaining variations on the Super Friends as a surrogate family unit. And by the end, we wouldn’t mind seeing Mom (Wonder Woman), Dad (Batman) and the three troublemaking kids (Flash, Aquaman and Cyborg) go up against a Legion of Doom.Halle Berry may not get the prime roles that she arguably would if she were white (or a dude), but she seems to have found a niche old-school bruised-forearm movies. Kidnap isn’t quite as good as The Call (which is a masterpiece for its first hour), but it maintains its momentum for the entire running time.

And it makes clever use out of its high concept (a mother witnesses her son being kidnapped and gives chase), while offering a near consistent sense of dread and “What would you do?” tension. With shockingly smart writing and a frighteningly plausible solution (no spoilers, but there is no grand conspiracy which explicitly targeted her), this is a terrific little bit of high-toned Hollywood suspense.

DC Films is in a very weird place right now. Critics tend to trash the movies, and audiences have had, if we’re being generous to Suicide Squad’s decent end-of-summer legs, mixed reactions to them. Yet, with the exception of Justice League (which cost way too much due to way too many reshoots and revamps), they have grossed oodles of money at the domestic/global box office. But the perception, arguably a fair one, is that the franchise is in a constant reactionary panic mode, with executive micromanaging and mixed signals spoiling the pot. Moreover, the mixed reception of the likes of Batman v Superman or Justice League have become the dominating narratives even in years where Warner Bros. has otherwise performed pretty damn well.

That’s what I feared four years ago, when the mixed reaction to Man of Steel resulted in an attempt to craft a full-on DC Comics cinematic universe. WB is the home of movies like American Sniper, Gravity, Inception, and It, so it’s a damn shame to see it almost entirely defined in the public (or media) eye by the struggles of its DC Films department. It doesn’t help that every time someone sneezes a pitch it gets reported as a new DC Comics movie that’s absolutely going to get made, leading to the notion that WB is throwing spaghetti at the wall with no set plan. That last part may be true, but as we should know there are plenty of movies that die in one stage of development or another for every one film that makes it to theaters. I mean, you know we might not actually see Paramount’s alleged Quentin Tarantino Star Trek movie, right?

So I’m actually glad that (so says Variety) Walter Hamada is being promoted to oversee the DC Films division over at Warner Bros./Time Warner Inc. After all, fair or not, if you’re trying to snag some critical/commercial success with your DC Films movies, you could do worse than bring in the guy who has been helping to run your one hugely successful cinematic universe to date. I’m speaking of course of James Wan’s Conjuring universe. That somewhat accidental horror franchise spawned from The Conjuring, which shocked us all in the summer of 2013 (opening in WB’s lucky late-July release slot no less) with a $41 million debut and eventual $317m global total on a $20m budget. Since then, we’ve had one Conjuring sequel, two successful Annabelle spin-offs and The Nun coming this summer. And, like the early MCU days, the franchises have mostly stayed in their own lane.

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