• by Wes Singleton

Justice League, C-

Rated PG-13, 119 minutes

Just when your faith was restored in DC Comics after last summer's fun and well-done "Wonder Woman" comes the new Zack Snyder-helmed "Justice League," a muddled, rushed mess of a film that's only marginally better than last year's dreadful "Batman v Superman" only because it shows a little promise by introducing a few new characters. This one's not the worst, but it sure is a big disappointment.

Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman's (Henry Cavill) selfless act, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) enlists newfound ally Diana Prince (Gal Gadot, still a badass Wonder Woman) to face an even greater threat. Together, Batman and Wonder Woman work quickly to recruit a team to stand against this newly awakened enemy. Despite the formation of an unprecedented league of heroes -- Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and the Flash (Ezra Miller) -- it may be too late to save the planet from an assault of catastrophic proportions.

There's a brief scene at the beginning of "Justice League" with a homeless man sitting on the city streets holding a sign that says "I Tried." The same could be said for the film itself: it's a $300 million mess of a movie with one of the silliest plots of recent memory, even for a superhero film, that seems a thin excuse to gather these superheroes together. It's directed with flashy zeal by Snyder and co-written by "Avengers" Joss Whedon and "Argo's" Oscar-winning writer Chris Temo, but their script isn't strong to save the film, but in turn, really hurts it.

The silly plotting, lack of a truly memorable villain (Ciaran Hinds' Steppenwolf is meh at best) and mediocre, busy visuals also hurt it considerably, though there are a few flashes of fun, namely due Gadot's Wonder Woman, who continues to prove to be the best of the lot, along with Jason Momoa's Aquaman, Fisher's terrific Cyborg and Ezra Miller's sarcastic Flash. Unfortunately, the weakest links in the League continue to be with its two central characters: Cavill's lackluster Superman, who's a supporting player here, and Affleck's vacuous, bland Batman, begging the question, is it too late to recast?

Without some of the fun interplay the cast provides and setting up some future movies, "Justice League" would be terrible in a "BvS" or "Suicide Squad" sort of way and a total waste of time, which it comes awfully close to here. The DC Comics films had a brief fun at greatness with "Wonder Woman," but "Justice League" is no match for that film's gravitas and heft. Most important, as much as I hate to say it, Batman and Superman would benefit with stronger actors.

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