What’s the critical consensus on Justice League?
Potential ticket buyers will have to wait until the D.C. film’s opening day to find out.
First, Warner Bros. is embargoing critic reviews until 2:50 a.m. Wednesday morning, leaving just one full day between reviews going live and the film opening Thursday evening. Usually, studios lift review embargoes a week or more before a film opens (for example, Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok embargo lifted Oct. 19 and the film opened in North America on Nov. 3).
But critic aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes is making an interesting move on top of this — intentionally delaying its reveal of the film’s aggregate critic score until 12:01 a.m. on Thursday. The reason, the site says, is because they want to make an event of unveiling the score on their new “See It/Skip It” show on Facebook. This delaying move has been the subject of conspiracy theories before (with Justice League studio Warner Bros. owning a minority stake in Rotten Tomatoes’ parent company).
Regardless of motive, between the moves by Warner Bros. and Rotten Tomatoes, a major Hollywood tentpole film will rather unusually not have a RT score until it opens wide — which is interesting coming after months of debate over the influence of the site’s scores, and a rocky history between D.C.’s movie titles and critics.
Also unusual is the lack of press blitz by the Justice League creative team and cast. Some members of the cast and producers are doing very few, if any, interviews (Ben Affleck having a friendly chat with Jimmy Kimmel on Monday being a rare exception). While director Zack Synder — who suffered a family tragedy during filmmaking — has declined to be interviewed for the film. Joss Whedon, who stepped in for Synder to do reshoots, isn’t doing press either, nor are the other film’s producers.
While rival Marvel has found critical success with its superhero blockbusters — the aforementioned Thor: Ragnarok earned a 93 percent rating, while summer hits Spider-Man: Homecoming (92 percent) and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (82 percent) also benefited from strong reviews — the DC films have mostly struggled with reviewers. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which established Ben Affleck’s Batman and Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman, received a 27 percent rating last year, and famously led its producer Brett Ratner to declare that Rotten Tomatoes represented “the destruction of our business” to EW. The studio’s Suicide Squad film, which also featured Affleck’s Batman and Ezra Miller’s The Flash in cameo appearances, fared even worse, with a 26 percent rating. (Both films grossed north of $745 million worldwide.)
This year, however, Warner Bros. scored a total superhero coup with Wonder Woman. The Gadot-starring blockbuster scored a 92 percent rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes.
At least some early critic tweets have gone out about Justice League, giving an initial impression of the film. Those can be read here.
Justice League, with Affleck, Gadot, Miller, Henry Cavill’s Superman, Ray Fisher’s Cyborg, and Jason Momoa’s Aquaman, is out Friday.