What's This?Unite the critics!
Image: Warner bros
Critics are in on Justice League, but Rotten Tomatoes won't be revealing its official score until Thursday, just after the stroke of midnight. Someone finally thought to use the Tomatometer to drive eyeballs to a live streaming event, and so here we are.
But we've seen enough reviews by now to call it: This film will wind up rotten.
Of the 39 reviews we found online by early Wednesday morning, 22 leaned rotten, while 17 leaned fresh (and many of those just barely). That makes our early, highly unofficial aggregated score 44% fresh – well shy of the 60% mark needed for that coveted red sticker.
Rotten Tomatoes is purposefully holding back its Tomatometer score nearly a full day after Warner Bros. lifted its review embargo, which was long ago set for 2:50 a.m. ET Wednesday. That's a first for the critical aggregator, which will instead reveal the number on its just-launched Facebook show See It/Skip It.
Our early, highly unofficial 'Justice League' score 44% fresh
Fresh/rotten scores normally coalesce mere hours after studio embargoes break, as the first few dozen critics begin to post. And if you're wondering why See It/Skip It will wait until after most of the U.S. has gone to bed to roll out this shrewd new strategy, well – that's just when the show posts every week. Best get used to it.
Keep in mind: The 39 reviews that we found overnight will wind up being a fraction of what's to come; a movie of Justice League's magnitude can stir up more than 300 reviews by the time everyone's weighed in. Some of those we've linked below won't appear on Rotten Tomatoes because they're not site-approved; some that do may flip sides, as the fresh/rotten distinction involves some interpretation.
But I'm confident enough in this sample size and result that the score won't tick up dramatically enough to make it what would be just the second "fresh" film of the DCEU after Wonder Woman (92%, with Man of Steel in second at 55%). If history is any guide, it will likely trend slightly down, into the low 40s or high 30s, by the time we're all done.
To be fair, it won't dip as low as the 33% I predicted based on the studio's handling of the film – my own personal pseudo-science based on review embargo timing and a few other factors. But a couple of things changed since I set that number, including the earlier lifting of a social media review embargo for select writers that was, predictably, overwhelmingly positive.
We'll update this post with additional reviews as they come in early Wednesday, and let you know if the balance shifts the score dramatically. And after Rotten Tomatoes reveals its official score at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, we'll leave it to the experts.
In the meantime, here's what the first wave of critics are saying about Justice League – with the so-far prevailing "rotten" reviews leading off:
Lois Lane would prefer to wait and see the whole picture.
Image: Clay Enos
ROTTEN: 22 Reviews
The film is, plainly stated, terrible, and I’m sorry that everyone wasted their time and money making it—and that people are being asked to waste their time and money seeing it. I hate to be so blunt, but it simply must be said this time.
Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair
To be sure, Justice League is supremely hokey stuff.
Dan Jolin, Empire
... if you like your superhero battles in deep dark tunnels or under skies purple with alien soot, director Zack Snyder is back with yet another installment that looks the way Axe body spray smells.
Alonso Duralde, TheWrap
... things start to fall apart almost immediately. The story that Justice League gives us is a hodgepodge of all the superhero films, the fantasy epics, the space operas and the children’s cartoons you’ve seen and immediately forgotten.
Will Mulally, Al Aribaya
Although marginally better than “Batman v Superman” and “Suicide Squad,” director Zack Snyder’s latest is still a profound mess of maudlin muscles, incoherent action and jaw-droppingly awful CGI. It is big, loud, awful to look at and oh-so-dumb.
Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press
DC's superheroes are assembled on screen at last. It's just a shame that the resulting film is a chaotic, baffling mess.
Katie Walsh, Tribune News Service
Garishly unattractive to look at and lacking the spirit that made Wonder Woman ... this hodgepodge throws a bunch of superheroes into a mix that neither congeals nor particularly makes you want to see more of them in future. Plainly put, it's simply not fun.
Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
Even during Justice League’s better scenes, however, it’s impossible to ignore the creeping feeling that something isn’t right. That something is powerful enough to distract from those periods of positivity.
Julia Alexander, Polygon
I am legitimately bummed out about how much I disliked Justice League.
Mike Ryan, Uproxx
Some day, hopefully soon, DC will get the recipe right again and duplicate Wonder Woman’s storytelling magic. But today isn’t that day, and Justice League unfortunately isn’t that film.
Chris Nashawaty, Entertainment Weekly
Justice League is a collection of missed opportunities and flubbed ideas. ... Steppenwolf is maybe the worst villain in a superhero movie since the giant yellow cloud of evil in Green Lantern.
Matt Singer, ScreenCrush
... when the landscape of the superhero genre has become so rich and diverse, don’t fans deserve more than a movie whose claim to glory is “This isn’t the utter disaster is could have been”?
Matt Goldberg, Collider
... there is something ponderous and cumbersome about Justice League; the great revelation is very laborious and solemn and the tiresome post-credits sting is a microcosm of the film’s disappointment.
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Justice League has a few decent moments and character interactions, but a scattershot tone, an odd structure, and a boring villain make it entirely mediocre and forgettable as a whole.
Kaitlyn Booth, BleedingCool
This is surely the most infantile of recent superhero yarns - a film that squanders the talents of an impressive ensemble cast and eschews any meaningful characterisation in favour of ever more overblown special effects.
Geoffrey Macnab, The Independent
Throughout Justice League does its utmost to convince you that ‘the DCEU is totally fun now!’ – most notably through Barry Allen’s vexing tendency to converse entirely in quips – but the humour falls flat throughout.
Jordan Farley, GamesRadar
It’s consistently embarrassing to watch, and features plot holes so yawningly vast they have a kind of Grand Canyon-like splendour: part of you wants to hang around to see what they look like at sunset.
Robbie Collin, The Telegraph
Yet a movie intended as the culmination of DC lore instead feels like just another sequel set-up.
Steve Persall, Tampa Bay Times
Don't rule out the possibility that a movie dedicated to Aquaman (on the schedule for 2018) or the Flash might be fun, but the Justice League itself needs to disband.
Kate Taylor, The Globe and Mail
Justice League winds up feeling so much like a straw poll for viewers, with a mishmash of everything they might want, all run together.
Tasha Robinson, The Verge
There’s no getting round the fact that DC can’t seem to get it together when it comes to expanding its iconic roster of superheroes into a coherent cinematic universe.
Alistair Harkness, The Scotsman
If a dog ate a box of neon crayons and puked on a casino hotel hallway carpet, you'd have the color palette of Justice League
Image: Warner bros.
FRESH: 17 Reviews
The scenes of the League members together, bickering and bonding, spike the film with humor and genuine feeling, creating a rooting interest in the audience. Without it, the film would crumble.
Peter Travers, Rolling Stone
Justice League does more right than wrong.
Brian Truitt, USA Today
The film is the definition of an adequate high-spirited studio lark: no more, no less. If fans get excited about it, that may mostly be because they’re excited about getting excited. Yet the movie is no cheat.
Owen Glieberman, Variety
Justice League has some good moments and some bad ones, but it ultimately ekes out just enough entertainment value to warrant a look-see. ... ultimately just an adequate adventure flick.
Jim Vejvoda, IGN
The joints show, and the cuts are sometimes awkward ... but what’s left after the cutting is fun and engaging enough, and it’s all anchored by terrific lead performances. There were even times when (gasp) it moved me.
Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice
"Justice League" is a seriously satisfying superhero movie, one that, rife with lines like "the stench of your fear is making my soldiers hungry," actually feels like the earnest comic books of our squandered youth.
Kenneth Turan, The Los Angeles Times
As a pure ride, “Justice League” nicely panders to the lowest common denominator of moviegoing expectations.
Eric Kohn, Indiewire
Through all the setbacks, uncertainties, reshoots, shake-ups, and drama, it seemed unlikely that Justice League would wind up anything other than a complete mess. And yet, here we are: Justice League is a pretty good movie.
Mike Rogeau, Gamespot
Justice League is the DC team-up you’ve been waiting for. I had so much fun from beginning to end. The expansion of DC mythology will make fans go nuts. Superman’s return will make you really happy.
Nate Brail, Heroic Hollywood
“Justice League” zips along, has some laughs – primarily delivered by Ezra Miller’s Flash, who works a little cowardice and ADHD into his interpretation of an enthusiastic teen hero – and a few character interactions that work on more intriguing terms than “Your mom’s named Martha, too?”
Bob Strauss, Orange County Register
There are enough positives that “Justice League” shouldn't be dismissed as Flash over substance. It’s just that with the rich history of these iconic heroes on the printed page, the film should have felt more… super.
Ethan Sacks, The Daily News
Justice League is rough, uneven, and downright ugly at times, but stripping away those serious flaws reveals a near-perfect take on heroic icons, a step forward for the DCEU, and a promise of greatness to come.
Conner Schwerdtfeger, CinemaBlend
The heroes we’ve been waiting for have arrived.
Brandon Davis, Comicbook.com
Justice League is like a two-hour live-action superhero cartoon made for kids as well as adults.
Mark Hughes, Forbes
... it’s better than you may expect, a mostly tolerable movie made occasionally enjoyable by a few lively performances, one good fight sequence, and a solid punchline or two.
Allison Shoemaker, Consequence of Sound
The pacing feels incredibly rushed at the beginning and we don’t get a great sense of any of our new characters ... There’s also an emphasis on cheesier and hokier moments that, especially following BvS, don’t gel all that well. But, when you realize this movie is the franchise trying to embrace the hopeful side of these heroes, and do literal justice to all of these characters, it becomes more forgivable.
Kyle Anderson, Nerdist
Well … it’s not awful. That’s a victory of some sort.
Joshua Starnes, ComingSoon.net