The Reviews are in — “Justice League” kind of “Meh”

just2You know the bar’s been lowered by a genre, a franchise and a studio’s difficulties in a genre when “Justice League” gets a lot “Well, not BAD for Warner Brothers” reviews.

What promises to be a “Wonder Woman” sized blockbuster for a studio and comic book universe (DC) starved for a chunk of the Marvel Movie Money premiered to a lot of grade-on-the-curve shrug reviews. On Metacritic. 

A 51 is a passing grade, sort of. But that reflects a lot of folks saying, “Well, OK. Sure. Whatever.” Variety and the LA Times swoon, most everybody else? Shrug city.

The jokes are there, they just needed more of them. The effects are great. The story? Villain? Generic, been there, seen that. Silly, to boot.

Warners imposed a 2:50am Eastern embargo on reviews, promising one of those “Da Vinci Code” “everybody’s review posts at the same time” situations for a movie with a lot riding on it.

Of course, you can’t see the legions of reviews posted in the wee hours of the morning on Rotten Tomatoes, which is (perhaps understandably) trying to expand its business by no longer just aggregating critics’ reviews, but creating its own critics and putting them on video (more ad bucks) and sometime Thursday “unveiling” the RT number (always less subtle, less “accurate” than Metacritic). That’s not cricket, of course, punishing those of us who hustle and have a readership for the sake of their “anointing” two young and telegenic nobodies of color as America’s movie authorities.

This is what critics posting there see when wondering why they waited up into 3am to post a review.

“Dear Reviewer, the Tomatometer score for this movie/TV show will populate on RT on Thursday morning. Please submit your review as you would normally, but please note it will not immediately be displayed on the site. Thank you and please let us know if you have questions! RT Staff”

It’s not exactly ethical that they’re promoting their show by withholding others’ reviews on a site where those reviews are typically aggregated. That’s not the bargain readers, or reviewers, strike with aggregators.

A bit like Fox deciding to run its own car on the NASCAR circuit, and starting the race 10 minutes earlier with only their car running, and covering that as the actual event.

But they’ll  figure this out. The Internet can be a meritocracy, and plucking and promoting their own “critics” and forcing film fans to watch them on video may not go over the way they think.

And MRQE is a little slow jumping into RT’s intentional “You can only see our reviewers” handicap. Do the math, guys. Here’s your chance. Stay up late with the rest of us.

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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