Positive Early ‘Justice League’ Screenings Suggest that the DCEU’s Hard Times Are Finally Behind It

It’s a hard time to be a DC fan right now.  Despite the fleeting high from the one good movie in the company’s shared cinematic universe — Wonder Woman — there isn’t much to celebrate.

Say what you will about Man of Steel‘s level of quality, but it completely missed the point of being a Superman movie.  Batman v Superman was a shattering disappointment for even the most die-hard DC fans and Suicide Squad was somehow markedly worse.  And with every fresh announcement coming out of parent company Warner Bros, the hope of DC somehow turning this mess around seems increasingly unlikely.

Beyond the well-publicized problems that have plagued Justice League‘s production, DC is clearly unsure of what direction they want to take the character.  The upcoming Flashpoint — based on a time-traveling storyline that rebooted the company’s comic line in 2011 — is increasingly looking like the company’s attempt to restart the entire franchise: an image only furthered by their aggressive courting of Back to the Future helmsman Robert Zemeckis to direct.  They are also starting production on a number of “non-canonical” DC movies — each a universe unto itself — with the promise of three (or more) different actors playing the Joker in different movies released roughly around the same time.

At this point, most people have just written Justice League off as another dud to endure before Warner Bros finally gets the formula right with the next one.  Such doom saying might be premature, however, at least if the latest cut of the movie is anything to go by.

While one Warner Bros executive called an earlier cut of the film “unwatchable” — eventually leading to extensive reshoots to fix its multitudinous failings — Batman-News.com, which got an opportunity to speak to audience members who sat in on the latest screening of the film, paints a much brighter outlook for the upcoming blockbuster.  The three people that the news outlet spoke to evidently “loved it,” with at least one person going so far as to call it “epic.”  Another person, who evidently didn’t like either Batman v Superman nor Suicide Squad, allegedly loved it.

Now, working for a publication so hyper-focused on DC properties, take this with however large a dose of salt that you require.  This extensive (not to mention expensive) of reshoots this close to the film’s deadline, by a second director who was brought on when Snyder found himself unable to continue his post-production duties, isn’t very reassuring.  The fact that these reshoots are meant to fix such basic things as tone and pacing — not to mention overhauling characters, fixing plot points and removing tie-ins to a now-canceled sequel — does even less to instill confidence in the project.

Still, at this point I will happily take whatever good news I can get.  If DC can pull this movie off, all the better for the rest of us.

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