– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Justice League’s embargo lift date has been set to Wednesday, November 15 2:50 AM. This means that the studio is allowing reviews to go up roughly one day and 16 hours prior to the film’s release into theaters. Actually, when taking Thursday screenings into account, it’s even less.

We all know what this usually means. A late embargo lift means that the studio has no confidence in the film. It means they think critics will hate it, and are virtually doing everything they can do to sell as many tickets as possible before those bad reviews hit audiences. So, consider this case, open and shut. Justice League must suck, right?

Maybe. But maybe not.

Warner Bros. and DC Films have kind of a love-hate relationship with critics. Hell, let’s be real, they have kind of an antagonistic relationship with critics. With the exception of Wonder Woman, all of their films have received a “rotten” rating on Rotten Tomatoes, meaning that the majority of critics disliked the film.

It’s very clear that their films tend to be polarizing. While there are plenty of people who consider Man of Steel a modern classic, there are an equal number of people who lament what they feel is a misuse of the character. I’m one of the few who not just enjoy, but LOVE Man of Steel and Batman v Superman (the Ultimate Edition), and to me, what this shows is not that Warner Bros. has no faith in the film, but that they don’t trust critics to understand their film.

I get the impression that the studio was truly baffled by the overwhelmingly negative response to Batman v Superman, and as such, don’t really get what critics want from these superhero movies. With the stakes so high for Justice League, they think that it’s probably best not to take any chances and keep the embargo lift as far back as humanly possible.

That being said, there is one hole in this theory: Wonder Woman. Early screenings made it clear that Wonder Woman was a crowd-pleaser, and as such, the studio allowed social media responses over two weeks prior to the film’s release. The fact that social media responses aren’t even allowed yet may not bode well for Justice League.

It is worth noting that Wonder Woman’s initial embargo was slated for the Wednesday before its release, but was moved up to Monday literally the weekend before release.

So what does this mean? I’d keep an eye out to see if they end up pushing up the embargo lift. If they do that, then it’s a good sign that the film is being received well. If not, while I wouldn’t say that means the film as garbage (at least not to me), I would say it is a bit of a red flag.

All in all, this isn’t a comforting move from Warner Bros., no matter how you slice it.

Justice League hits theaters on November 17, 2017.

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SOURCE: Mashable

  • Mark

    Could it be that, rather than not understanding the DC films, the critics understood them perfectly and simply didn’t like them?

    • AmiRami

      Exactly. Its WB that doesn’t understand its own characters. Batman doesn’t kill (to that extent anyways). Superman is a character of hope not an emo alien who doesn’t trust humanity. And FFS Lex Luthor is not a Mark Zuckaberg tipe with daddy issues who pisses in glass jars. What is not to understand about the hate here?

      • Jerry Nice

        Or they give creative freedom to certain writers & directors? Sometimes this works perfectly (Nolan) & sometimes it’s divisive (Snyder).

        • AmiRami

          Thats part of the problem IMO. YOu can’t have an effective director driven universe if the team up movies come first and dictate the canon of these characters.

          WW worked because Patty Jenkins chose to ignore the statement in BvS of Diana leaving man’s world for a century.

          And now WB is stuck by only being able to have director driven movies like Joker if they exist outside of the DCEU.

    • Smerdyakov

      Wonder Woman got by because of what it was rather than how good it was. As a feminist icon they presented her well. But WW was loaded with the same cornball dialogue that infests most DC movies written by idiot men and not savvy feminists. Come on fess up, couldn’t you predict just about every line that was coming before they said it?

      • Jerry Nice

        Everyone I spoke to about WW actually really liked it. It’s a great story & Gal nails the role.

        Are you saying cornball dialogue doesn’t exist in the Marvel universe? Spiderman Homecoming is on the line…

        • Smerdyakov

          I rate things without worrying if something else was equally bad. I’m a liberal.

          • Tonk99

            No, you’re a dickhead.

      • Tonk99

        “Idiot men and not savvy feminists”

        Congratulations. You win ‘Most Fuck-witted Comment of the Day’.

        • Smerdyakov

          Did you see the movie and the credit’s list?

          • Tonk99

            Yeah. Saw it twice. But I didn’t waste my time watching the closing credits minutia and metally compiling a sexist SJW list.

          • Jason Tyler

            nope, you’re too busy hating on a movie franchise, LOTR, that was universally praised BY EVERYONE, including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts.

            You’ve lost all credibility

          • Tonk99

            Errr… I’m part of ‘everyone’. I’m not praising it therefor I think it’s you whose credibility is lost. Correction, its not lost as you never had any to start with.

          • Jason Tyler

            you wouldnt know a good movie if you watched it 100 times. Trash

          • Tonk99

            Oh, you got me! Bravo! Look out everyone, Tyler’s in da house. Gonna fuck all you up!

          • Jason Tyler

            You’re just another dumb millennial who hates things just to hate things, when in reality there isn’t anything better by comparison. You offer nothing, you’re trash

          • Tonk99

            Ha! Millennial. I’ll guarantee you I’ve been around a little longer than you have, noob. Once again, you’re just a kid resorting to Ad Hominem comments without providing anything to actually support your argument. Like most ACTUAL Millennial snowflakes, the idea of someone having an opinion contrary to yours frightens the shit outta you and shatters your world view. And FYI, there’s plenty of things I like, plenty I gush over. Just so happens the LOTR and Hobbit movies aren’t one of ‘em. Now, are you okay with that? Or do you need to go sit in your safe space for a little while?

          • Smerdyakov

            Come on. Without comparison. Did you really think that movie didn’t have some awful damn dialog. Couldn’t you predict every other line. And in the end didn’t it contradict it’s own premise? Or are you someone who doesn’t care about quality and just likes to call people names.

          • Tonk99

            I only call people names when they’ve gone beyond the point of no return stupidity by using words like ‘idiot men’ and ‘savvy feminists’. Those kind of comments invite ridicule. If you piss into the wind, expect to get wet.

          • Smerdyakov

            But you still can’t defend the writing in the movie. Because you don’t even care about that. All you’re doing is participating in the knee jerk anti-feminism of angry white guys. Get a girlfriend.

          • Tonk99

            So because I like a movie about a female superhero, directed by a female I’m being anti-feminist? You haven’t cited one example of this so-called and predictable bad dialogue you keep bullshitting about.
            So quit the whole virtue signalling, SJW routine as its getting boring. And I don’t need a girlfriend, genius: I’m happily married with two awesome kids.

          • Smerdyakov

            I’m no Social Justice Warrior, merely a nerd with opinions much like yourself. Actually I thought Patty Jenkins did a fine job directing that movie, despite how cliche and full of plot holes the script was. But then why shouldn’t a female be able to direct a big budget blockbuster? People act like a dog suddenly learned to talk. There’s no reason to act so amazed just because she’s a woman.

            I wish someone would explain to me what “virtue signaling” is. If you say “I went to church this Sunday”, Is that virtue signaling? If you say you’re happily married is that VS? If Louis CK whips it out and starts masturbating, is that “Vice signaling.” Seems to me that the only people who virtue rubs the wrong way are those without it.

    • Bryan Stroup

      Yeah, the whole “it’s just too deep man” excuses have been old for a while now. The main reason pretty much all of the non Nolan DC films have been blasted by critics is because…wait for it…they were garbage, all spectacle and zero substance so far. Even Wonder Woman fits that description too. The only reason it was a critical darling was because a) it wasn’t as dark and “serious” as the other DC films (it had *some* humor) and b) the lead was a woman. Make the lead a man and the film average score drops 30%.

  • David E

    When was Thor’s embargo lifted like a month before?

    • Deathstroke936

      A couple of days before release… It was released earlier in foreign markets…

  • Jerry Nice

    I also loved MoS & BvS (UE) – I also really liked WW.

    I think Marvel had such a strong (and significant) head start on owning the comic book movie market for years that everyone (critics included) expects a certain feel to these movies…Namely, more jokes & positive outlook by the time the credits hit.

    If a movie is darker than what Marvel puts out, people will complain – it’s an uncomfortable feeling when someone goes in with a certain level of expectations & they’re not met. Unfortunately, comic book movies seem to only get “lighter” in tone nowadays – “Thor,” “Guardians,” etc. so us ever getting back to a Nolan-like cinematic experience seems like a long shot (though I hope I’m wrong).

    I wonder how Batman Forever would be received by critics in 2017? Maybe even Batman & Robin! Haha.

    • Ryan Johnson

      Logan wasn’t full of jokes. All people expect are good movies, regardless of tone. BvS and Suicide Squad were not good movies. Wonder Woman was. Pretty simple.

      • Well said, I agree. Deadpool, Logan, Captain America: Civil War, Wonder Woman were all solid films that respected the source material but focused on telling good, entertaining stories.

  • Diktator

    Wonder Woman got by because of what it was rather than how good it was. As a feminist icon they presented her well. But WW was loaded with the same cornball dialogue that infests most DC movies written by idiot men and not savvy feminists. Come on fess up, couldn’t you predict just about every line that was coming before they said it?

    • Jerry Nice

      Wow, dual post from the same user with a different user name.

      Or, someone who works at LRM to push the negative DCEU dialogue that is so present on this site?

      • You did read the part where the editor in chief said he loves MoD and BvS right?

        I liked MoS, I did not like BvS. We all have differing views, even in friend circle we are still debating BvS to this day and very polarised.

        • Jerry Nice

          Part of me thinks that if BvS truly sucked, it wouldn’t still be such a hot topic. I do think the UE is far superior (even though Lex blows for me), but overall I do think it’s a movie that will age well.

          • Not for me, UE was superior but I still dislike so much of what we got.

      • Joseph Jammer Medina

        We occasionally get these weird double posts under different user names. We’re still trying to figure out why. And no, we’re not trying to push any narrative.

        • Jerry Nice

          I was joking (i.e. pushing a narrative), even though the comments here seem way more anti-DC anything than I’m used to. It’s just odd because around other sites, people don’t feel so strongly negative towards DC as they seem to do here (for whatever reason).

          • Tonk99

            What bugs me is that EVERY article on this site about DCEU opens with a paragraph about how MoS and BvS were polarising and critically pummelled. We get it. Move on.

          • Joseph Jammer Medina

            Yeah, but every article is someone’s first. It’s important to help give context for those who don’t keep up on a daily basis.

        • Tonk99

          I think you’re intentionally trying to push the narrative that you’re not trying to push a narrative.

  • David Zaldivar

    Trailers suck, movie sucks as simple as that

    • Storymark

      Yeah – I can think of plenty of bad movies that had good trailers – but its pretty rare when a legitimately good movie can’t assemble a compelling trailer.

      • AmiRami

        I was not at all a fan of Man of Steel despite loving the trailers for it.

  • Storymark

    The “critics don’t understand it” defense. Also used for BvS and Fant4stick.


    They didn’t hold the embargo on WW, because they knew it was a good movie. And the movies that got bad reviews – were not very good. Its not hard to see the parallels.

    • Joseph Jammer Medina

      Wonder Woman’s embargo lift was originally around the same time as Justice League until the weekend before. Maybe they’ll do the same thing here and push it earlier?

      • Storymark

        Maybe they’ll lift it a touch earlier, but WW ended up with a 14 day window – so they would have had to have lifted it last weekend to mirror that.

        • Joseph Jammer Medina

          If I recall correctly, that was a social media lift. So you could give your impressions on social media early, but not full reviews. But your point is taken, social media reviews still aren’t a thing for JL yet.

  • Aaron James

    I’m one of the…I guess many who can’t understand how anyone could like MoS or BvS without willfully deluding themselves as to their quality. They’re both astoundingly bad films.

    And I walked into MoS so excited. The trailers for that movie made it look like the Superman adaptation I’d been dreaming of my whole life. The actual film, though…

    I was so disappointed with MoS that I refused to pay to see BvS at cinemas. When I did watch it, I watched the Ultimate Edition, because I wanted to let it put its best foot forward. It was still an ugly, ungodly abomination of a film. I haven’t seen the theatrical version, but I can’t see how trimming the film down would make it any worse.

    • I concur. MoS and BvS were slogs with gigantic plot holes. To expect Justice League to suddenly be a breezy, comedic, fun movie seems dubious on its face. I hope I’m wrong, but I don’t see Snyder changing who he is overnight.

    • Shoaib Naqvi

      Believe it or not, the theatrical version was MUCH worse. The ultimate edition, at least made sense (most of the time). The theatrical version was just a bunch of seperate scenes bonded together with little to no connection between them. Both versions sucked, but theatrical version will probably be studied in film studies classes in the upcoming years. That’s how bad it was

      • Saranac

        But that shouldn’t be the marketing: Come to the movies and see a crappier version of the film, BUT if you wait 3 months for DVD or download, we’ll give you a GREAT movie!!!

        Just make and release the GOOD version first….

    • Alric the Red

      I thought Man of Steel was an amazing movie, and it’s my favorite superhero movie to date. I liked BvS almost as much. This is how I want my superhero movies made. Of course, I was already an adult when that corny Superman: The Movie was released, and I was cringing at how silly it was.

  • Kronx

    There’s a level of story sophistication missing from the trailers. They’ve focused on super heroes cracking jokes and punching stuff with some vague references to story, etc.

    I don’t know that that’s really a bad thing though. Either they’re holding a lot of cards to their chest to maintain surprise for audiences or this is an epic turd. This is a rare case where I believe the former to be true.

    We all know some of the main elements of the story, and they aren’t in the trailers. It just kind of looks like there aren’t any other people in the film but the heroes. And I’m sure that’s not the case either.

    I keep thinking of that episode of the Office where they can’t decide if Hillary Swank is hot or not. This film may be the Hillary Swank of the DCU.

    • Deathstroke936

      Oscar winner..???

  • Deathstroke936

    The Wall Street Journal claims the budget to be 300 million and it gets published right away. Same source (WSJ) claims that the screenings for JL are as high as Wonder Woman … but that isn’t as interesting as DC does not lift embargo… (something wrong no matter how you slice it…)

    But then again, why would a movie wait so long to lift the embargo like “It” did…??? Could the fact the the movie promotion itself has kept in secrecy a few plot issues during the whole campaign…

    Holding back as long as they can, to bolster excitement tickets about a certain comeback or a ….???

    Nah… it must be that the film is terrible… not at all like preventing the same critics or bloggers that ruined the whole Thor movie before I saw it…

  • Victor Roa

    Any advantage WB needs it’s gonna take, since Disney is going twist theater’s arms for Star Wars, remember 2 years ago when Tarantino screamed about theater usage during the Force Awakens for his 80 MM print of Hateful Eight? It’s still a busy as fuck season, we still have oscar bait films, childrens films, and even a cool Ebenezer Scrooge film with Christopher Pumber on the same week.

  • Mad Barchetta

    Given the history, I’m inclined to think this is WB/DC trying to hide bad reviews until the last minute. They’ve shown a tendency to be poor decision-makers and very nervous and unsure how to handle their properties in the DCEU. At least, if I wanted to place bets, that’s where my money would go as far as guessing at an explanation for their behavior.

    I’d really like to think it’s not the case at and they have a really good, if not great, movie on their hands. As I am pretty much guaranteed to be paying $45+ to take my two kids to see it, I certainly hope it’s going to be worth my money. Another turd like BvS or SS (not one of the fans…and I am a VERY forgiving viewer…seriously – Snyder is kind enough to cut down the recap of Batman’s origins to a few brief images, and then is cruel enough to slow them all down to 1/8 speed so they take just as long as the other recaps but in agonizing super-slo-mo!) and they will be hard-pressed to get my money again in the future. At the very least, we know this will be the last film with Snyder’s finger prints on it.

  • Marquis de Sade

    So Joseph, when do you get to see it? – Later this week, or Monday or Tuesday next week?

    • Joseph Jammer Medina

      I see it Tuesday next week. But to be fair, I see 80 percent of movies the Monday or Tuesday before.

  • Fredo

    I know everyone keeps saying that we should give some slack and not take characters too literal. That this is the Directors vision of the characters. If that is the case than come up with your own characters! Do not use established, iconic characters to sell tickets to the fans and interpret them in your own way,
    Superman should be a wonderfully optimistic, small town guy with unbelievable powers. That is why Christopher Reeve was so popular. He’s not moody and dark. He should almost be as naive and optimistic as Captain America is in MEU.

  • ultrontrain

    Yeah, honestly, I think there’s only two ways to take this news: either there’s a massive twist they don’t want spoiled, or “Justice League” will end up laying another egg for DC. With the franchise’s track record, I have a feeling it’s the latter.

    We all know Superman will come back and be involved, so that’s no real twist. And the storyline is very straightforward, heroes coming together to fight a big bad villain. The movie seems to have gone through a lot of behind-the-scenes trouble and was rushed out right after BvS. What DC did with BvS was hated, and so a bunch of changes were most likely made to “Justice League” on the fly. And with a runtime that’s just about 2 hours, introducing all those characters and subplots may cause it to come across as very forced and jumbled.

    I could see this getting a RT rating not much better than BvS, with only certain elements getting praise.

  • Alejo Contreras

    Maybe avoiding spoilers????

    • AmiRami

      Doubtful. I mean the movie’s biggest reveal is something we have known is going to happen since before the movie even went into production.

      • Alejo Contreras

        Maybe, maybe not… SUPERMAN IS DEAD GOD DAMMIT!!
        But again… Green lanterns, another batman, so many things around this movie…

        • AmiRami

          ya I guess GL or MM could be big spoilers.

        • Saranac

          He’s WHAT!!!!!!! I didn’t see the Batman Vs. Superman!

          • Alejo Contreras

            Dead and NEVER coming back.

          • Saranac

            NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! – for full effect imagine me dressed as Darth Vader in a darkened room with “spacey type” stuff around me.

Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.