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Justice League Movie Review (2017) | An Undercooked Meal But Not Insipid

Justice League movie is entertaining nevertheless a slight step down from all the standards DC had set in the past, and I am simply ruling Suicide Squad out from the squad. With Nolan nowhere in sight, it is quite apparent, we are not going to get the DC movie we all want. So we are not looking for Nolanish elements anymore frankly, but something to satiate that fanboy zest in us at least. Really, to be honest, we have learnt to make do!

The Justice League movie feels like an undercooked meal primarily because you don’t see your favorite superheroes getting proper justice. They get eclipsed a lot and feel helpless against an enemy they don’t understand. Whilst the movie packs in theatrics galore, at times you feel its CGI fidgeting (don’t even get me started on the moustache thing), and feel it galloping quickly towards an ending.

While there are directors who drench you ‘in the moment’ to let you feel the horror and the pain, Zack Snyder, on the other hand, runs away from it. He does the exact opposite of what he did with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice keeping all the gravitas at bay.

still of Justice League movie

The movie’s editing becomes really questionable towards the end, and you see it flailing and breaking into pieces. Most of the action scenes were already there in the trailers, and it feels like you have already seen the better parts of the movie in the trailers itself. With Hans Zimmer nowhere around for rescue, the music department badly gets affected too. Danny Elfman fails to impress much.

The good thing, however, is that the League gets formed. They have set their temporary HQ and are ready to take more projects.

When you look at the flick’s action bit, it’s all brilliantly done. Entertains you enough with some of the best parts hiding in the middle of the movie. The story is good too, well fabricated to keep you riveted at all times.

There are heroes among us. Not to make us feel smaller, but to remind us of what makes us great.

Let’s quickly move to the spoilers part because talking about it will give away the essence of the story.

Plot of Justice League Movie (Spoilers)

With BvS opening all gates of doom (forget that Martha bit for a minute) to allow villainous elements like Steppenwolf to step in, the story of Justice League movie was already onto something.

No protectors here. No Lanterns. No Kryptonian. This world will fall, like all the others.

So why is Steppenwolf really here? That’s what forms the basis of the Justice League movie story.

The Backstory

Batman tries to capture a Parademon flying around in Gotham who fed on people’s fears. As he vanishes, a trail of three boxes, paints itself on the wall, later revealed to be Mother Boxes. Steppenwolf and his Parademons are after these boxes who are trying to once again remake Earth, a failed attempt that was foiled thousands of years ago by the Amazonians, the Lanterns, the Olympians and the humans, who fought side by side. The mother boxes were separated from each other and placed at different locations.

Steppenwolf successfully retrieves the first Mother Box from Themyscira, as Hippolyta warns Diana of the impending danger. Diana approaches Bruce Wayne to brief him about it, as they try to contact other metahumans Arthur Curry (Aquaman), Barry Allen (Flash) and Victor Stone (Cyborg) in order to form a team to fight Steppenwolf. Curry and Stone refuse and Flash says yes without a second thought, the geek boy he is.

I eat a lot of snacks to fill this black hole. I’m a snack hole!

Steppenwolf attacks Atlantis where the second mother box is located forcing Aquaman to join the league. Stone agrees when he finds out his father Silas is kidnapped along with other S.T.A.R. labs employees.

Justice League movie stills Silas STAR Labs

With the help of Commissioner Gordon (J.K. Simmons) the League tags the employees to an underground tunnel. An epic battle ensues as they manage to rescue the employees, however, fail to defeat Steppenwolf and his army. The resultant fight floods the tunnel with water as Aquaman intervenes just in the nick of time to allow them to escape.

Failing to stop Steppenwolf by themselves, everyone agrees to Plan B of resurrecting Superman by using the third Mother Box that Victor had already with him. With a contingency plan up in Batsy’s sleeves, Mother Box is charged up by Flash to bring the Kryptonian back to life.

The Death and Return of Superman

While the DCEU’s version of the death and the return of Superman plays a little different, it isn’t entirely bad. While it sped things up with Doomsday, bringing him in and then killing Sups in BvS’s eventuality, the return of Superman was once again hastened. But to abate things down, his return is lathed with sheer badassery.

You won’t let me live, you won’t let me die.

When Superman returns he is all whacked up, struggling with his memories, and he finds Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Cyborg right in front of him. He is already eyeing them as a threat, when Cyborg does an accidental friendly fire of reassurance. A war ensues as Superman delivers some of the best action scenes the movie has right then and there.

Flash vs Superman

That isn’t even the best part. It is when Flash is trying to move past Superman as Sups turns in slo-mo to look at him go whaaaaaat? Hands down the best scene in the movie!

When he finds Batsy and is about to shatter him to pieces, in those moments you realize how vulnerable Batman is.

Do you bleed?

It is as if in a way trying to justify all the ass-kicking Batsy did in BvS. It was like Zack Snyder decided to lift the curfew for Superman once, and said – “Go have a shot at him now Sups.”

But the contingency plan is what every Beast falls to – The Beauty. Read this interesting case study of Hulk and Betty Ross’s relationship in case you are scratching your head, why?

And another doomsday gets contained. He then flies with Lois Lane back to Small Ville to see his mother and to recover his lost memories.

Amidst all the chaos, Steppenwolf steps in and takes away the third mother box. That sneaky bastard!

The Final Clash

Locating Steppenwolf and his army in Russia, the rest of the team go all in. They fight the Parademons and try to ward off Steppenwolf’s plan of creating his own world by joining the Mother Boxes. While Steppenwolf was busy giving the Justice League a hard time, Superman joins the team and bashes Steppenwolf to pulp. Steppenwolf, for the first time, experiences fear himself, forcing his own Parademons to turn against him.

Remember how they sniffed fear? Well, no, right? That wasn’t shown enough.

He disappears into the portal he came from along with the Parademons as the Justice League rejoices in their debut victory as a team.

Wayne Manor is declared the Headquarters for the team’s operations as they carry on with their lives.

We have two post-credit scenes here. The first one showing the kick off to that one debatable race between Superman and Flash, leaving the audience once again fighting amongst themselves for “Who’s the fastest?” The second one is Lex Luthor‘s escape where we see him inviting Deathstroke a.k.a. Slade Wilson to make a legion of their own. You guessed it right Injustice League. That epic team of supervillains! \m/

Superman’s Justice League Movie

The way Superman is projected in the Justice League movie, it feels as if he was capable of handling things all on his own. None of the superheroes could do substantial damage to the main antagonist. It is true that the Justice League is incomplete without Superman but unfortunately the whole flick gets judged by his addition.

still of Superman in justice league movie

Whilst Batman goes suicidal at times, you can’t help but realize how ineffectual he stays for most of the parts. You wanted a good solid Snyder standalone tete-a-tete with Batman as was shown in BvS, but unfortunately, this movie becomes all about Superman.

Batsy, au contraire, does heroic things from his mouth sometimes slipping in beautiful advice like this one to a reluctant Flash:

Batman: Save one person.
Flash: And then?
Batman: Then you will know.

It was good.

Other Misses

While there were stories to be retold, something we had already seen the prequel stumble with, Justice League movie tries to do that all over again. Every superhero’s story that nerds already know about (not everyone) get subtly told. Aquaman’s tale however directly dived into it quite unconvincingly. I am guessing we have a solo movie on the cards, probably that’s why.

It’s good that we haven’t been including Green Lantern or the Martian Manhunter so far, or nothing could have stopped it from becoming a catastrophic hotchpotch all over again.

At the end of it all, however, you feel justice hasn’t been really done to your favorite characters. Batsy has been eclipsed way too much in front of Superman, and the Man of Steel literally shines out as everyone’s sole saviour, making every other superhero feel pointless.

Steppenwolf doesn’t create a memorable villain either. You will remember him as the guy who got his ass kicked by Superman. While we expected a lot of villainy from Steppenwolf, he had no master plan or surprises up his sleeves.

Steppenwolf in Justice League movie

With Steppenwolf’s dud trial, the movie seems like a stepping stone. That’s exactly what it feels like – a ladder to help you climb a gradually building universe. And there’s nothing wrong with that if you look at it in a positive way. At least we are building DCEU.

The Final Verdict

Justice League movie might not be the best of DC’s work, but it feels like a satisfying comic read that fills you up with knowledge. The movie is saved mostly by its storyline which is like a nicely written tale if not climactic.

To be honest with you, there’s nothing like the animated movie edition of Justice League: The Complete Series, that made me fall in love with the league in the first place. You can order it from here:


While we will find some really good directors to helm our favorite characters properly, sometimes we won’t. But the good thing remains, we are chugging forward with our DCEU, even though it feels like a dodgy start.  It’s good that we have quickly picked up the pace.

I really hope solo movies do them all justice in the long run. Keeping fingers crossed.

Check out the trailer of Justice League movie:

Before I Wake Review (2016) | Delve into Mike Flanagan’s Beautiful Head

A fantastical whimsy! Before I Wake movie carries a beautiful concept that could have moulded it into a better flick if it were not for its flaws. Even so, what certainly can’t be ruled out is the movie’s amazing theme that brings us closer to the astounding power of imagination.

Mike Flanagan’s yet another horror venture packs in a fantastical story that has been well thought of when you pay attention to its profound concept. Dreams coming alive! A fancy world something only a beautiful mind could create. But the big question is how does it all pack in its fictitious capsule?

Adorable Jacob Tremblay

Jacob Tremblay is everywhere. His cuteness is a delight to watch. He walks in with a confident mien to deliver extraordinary cutesy bits that are both enthralling and adorable just like he happens to be in person. At the end of the day he is delivering, who’s complaining?

still of jacob tremblay reading a diary in before i wake movie

Plot of Before I Wake (Spoilers Ahead) | Thorough Analysis | Movie Explained

To begin with the main story I am assuming everyone is well aware of Cody’s uncanny imagination that brings everything he dreams to life. For the good things, he is mostly dreaming butterflies and stuff. He is easily able to manifest living holograms (except that they turn real) of his dream. Whatever thoughts he has been fed before he goes to sleep comes brimming alive too. However, like any other dream, he doesn’t have much control over his thoughts. There is this ghastly element in the story that Cody calls the Cankerman that comes at unseen junctures. It often messes his dreams up, and since the horrifying element becomes a walking live projection too, it can mess with our world.

  • Jessie’s Instant Obsession

Jessie becomes obsessed with the powers of Cody and tries to bring her dead son Sean alive. But she isn’t aware of the Canker Man just yet. When she does meet it at one point, in a theatrical series of events, unfortunately, Mark ends up paying the price. Mark is swallowed in by the Cankerman, right in front of her, as she passes out. Waking up she finds Cody being taken in by Child Protective Services once again. She is not allowed to meet him, so she steals Cody’s file in hopes to locate him.  It is then she meets Whelan Young, the first foster parent of Cody who has ended up in a mental hospital.

  • First Foster Parents

Whelan tells her about his havocking past, a similar story of Canker Man taking his wife away. And no matter what he did afterwards to bring her back to life, by showing Cody pictures of her, he could only manage to bring her impressions back. It is sorry to see him break down trying to reason:

He was too young. He was too young to even remember her right.

still of dash mihok as whelan holding her invisible wife in his hands

Whelan then suggests something horrible to her, killing Cody to stop his unrestrained killing. She turns him down immediately, and then leaves. She tries to find more about Cody’s real mother to figure out what could be the reason of Cody’s nightmares.

  • Tracking Down Cody’s Mother

Meanwhile, Cody has been kept along with other children in a foster home. He isn’t deliberately going to sleep as he doesn’t wish anybody harm. So thoughtful a child! Natalie forces an injection of drowsiness on him to get him to sleep.

Jessie is able to get her hands on Cody’s mother’s stuff. There she finds a blue butterfly rag that expounds about his butterfly dreams. She also finds her journal where she finds out more about their relationship. Jessie cleverly finds out about the facility where Cody was held captive and reaches there only to realize that Cody was asleep. (People were held captive in cocoons kind of things, so that gave away!)

  • Explaining Projections in the Foster Home

As she makes her way further in, she finds elements of Cody’s dreams widespread. There is one rare moment of Jessie’s thoughts that could have projected owing to the fact that she might have shared the dying of Sean incident with Cody. She finds the bathtub wherein Sean had drowned. The presentation there is quite spooky. She moves away knowing it was just a mere projection, and that she is supposed to help Cody.

Amongst other projections, she finds Cody in a room watching Sean drown on TV. She finds her own eyeless projection reaching out for him, and then twisting its head trying to deform Cody into looking like herself. A scene like that could have multiple meanings. I like to take away that to Cody, Jessie’s image was that of a selfish blind woman who was trying to manipulate his dreams into seeing what she wished to see. Thus blinding him from his original vision.  However, if there wasn’t a metaphor there, then I would say that character act doesn’t kind of fit there properly. And it could be deliberately put for mere theatrics. We do get a glimpse of an eyeless Mark again, which could be how Cody must have imagined him after his death which falls in place too.

  • The Final Showdown | Before I Wake Ending Explained

Moving on she reaches the door behind which Cody was fast asleep. That’s where she encounters the Canker Man again. Just when it was about to consume her, she shows her the Blue Butterfly Toy Rag that Cody was so fond of as a kid.

Still of Canker Man from Before I Wake movie final scene

Now this reasoning kind of baffles you. You see the Canker Man was nothing but a projection of Cody. Its discernment of the Blue Butterfly could be only if Cody could see whatever Canker Man could. So all those wild acts that he did of killing people shouldn’t have actually happened if Cody had control over it.

  • Why the Canker Man had a Change of Heart?

With the appearance of a sharper memory like that of a Blue Butterfly from the past, Cody became confused, and that unpleasant nightmarish memory became a pleasant one, meaning Canker Man was defeated. However, this doesn’t mean Canker Man was killed for sure. Because there was no reasoning gavel put on him just yet. Also, I am pretty sure had Cody slept again right after that, even the Blue Butterfly wouldn’t have been able to defeat the Cankerman again.

We see Jessie hugging the Cankerman which was a pretty lame thing to do. Anyone would have freaked out, but I guess since she realized it was nothing but Cody’s memory, Jessie wished to bring the warmth of the past to him, and bestow upon him some motherly love. We see that horrifying projection change back to Cody and then disappear.

Canker Man in Before I Wake

  • Aftermath

Aftermath culminating moments of Before I Wake, we find Jessie telling Cody about her mother. She gives him her journal to read and tells her what Cankerman really was. It was a surreal impression of his, about her mother Andrea Morgan when she was on her death bed. She was suffering from Cancer, and when she died Cody had himself believe that Cancer ate her mother. Which then as he grew up personified into an unpleasant idea of a man called Canker Man who went about killing people. It is a beautifully thought of revelation that is quite gratifying if you look at it.

In the end part of Before I Wake, whilst trying to tuck Cody in, Jessie tries to create a happy ending for all those people that were ensnared by Cody. She wishes everything undone,  but her thoughts are broken when Cody asks:

“Can those things happen?”

With all those crisp images of possibilities, you begin thinking if the dead are really coming back alive. But you realize that she was just putting out things for Cody to see. She believes in him that with time he could do wonderful things and that it is possible.

“You have an amazing gift. Who knows what can happen as it grows?”

Mike Flanagan in the end tries to justify what she said by going for a cheap shot. He shows Cody actually trying to create something from his mere thoughts, just by closing his eyes. I would say to that: “Too soon Mike! Too soon!”

You can order Before I Wake Movie from here:

Downsides to Before I Wake Movie

Before I Wake takes off beautifully right from the start. However there are elements that gnaw at it gradually stopping it from reaching a charming gleam.

The first one, I am afraid, is none other than Kate Bosworth’s character Jessie. To be really candid, we could have used a better cast here. Even though a tad distant, which was needed for her character, she appeared kind of absent emotionally, for parts where it mattered the most. Thomas Jane, au contraire, fits the bill just fine as Mark.

straight from a movie before i wake butterfly

The second crucial part of the flick was its tangibility. Even though we were wading deep into imaginary waters, you need something natural to give it a palpable feel. It is the natural things that surround it that help a flick get carved in a realistic format, something the movie lacked profusely. You are often forced to wonder, “Why is she not calling the police?” or “Why is she going there?” or “Where is everybody?” I don’t know why but the latter one seems to be a factor that every horror movie overlooks.

When you look at the scary quotient of the movie, it amasses plenty. There are many horrifying bits that are outright chilling. However, if you are trying to look at it as just a horror flick, then don’t. There is nothing here that will continue to haunt you for days. I surmise it could also be because the movie doesn’t cash in on horror properly, and you could blame the surreal concept that it induces.

The screenplay has nothing remarkable to offer. Good scary movies consider this factor well, so it was a big downer there. Music is good actually. Danny Elfman and The Newton Brothers are the people behind Before I Wake’s score.

Other Things That Might Vex You

It is only after Before I wake reaches midway that it actually starts to dwindle. You find Jessie actually reaching out for shriveled dark enclaves fearlessly which makes you question how fearless she really is. You would have wimped out from that dreary situation or maybe called the police first, and maybe made it a universal thing for everybody to see.

For some, I would say the final revelation might not have tingled their brains. It is because there was no reasoning to follow it up immediately. I am sure some must be wondering how an imaginative nightmarish creation could be stopped by a sheer memory glimpse. Throws you into a thoughtful territory for a second, which is actually quite good for your head. At least you are thinking!

The Final Verdict

Despite all its flaws, I would like to remember Before I Wake as what it truly is. A great concept and a beautiful shot at imagination. Unfortunately, it steers toward a clouded zone owing to its shoddy direction, and some dubious questions that it leaves you with.

Check out the trailer of Before I Wake movie: