You simply can’t be disappointed when you know the movie will be awful. It’s like going to a Michael Bay movie; it’s a car accident that you just can’t look away from, as captivating as it is tragic. There is an expectation of a big budget dumpster fire with each DC Comic endeavor, which is why “Wonder Woman” was such a refreshing experience this past summer. Somebody call Christopher Nolan, stat!

Picking up where the abysmal “Batman v Superman” left off, we find ourselves in a world devoid of Superman’s integrity and symbolic goodness. The globe is mourning in their own ways, and Gotham, Metropolis and all the other megalopolises are fearful of an attack by something sinister and ominous.

Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) senses this as well, and attempts to assemble his team. Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Flash (Ezra Miller), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) all see the value in working together as the formidable Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) is bent on the destruction of the Earth with the help of his insectile parademons. As they face off, they quickly realize that they need something stronger to defeat him, and you can guess where this goes from there.

Written by Joss Whedon (“Toy Story,” “Avengers”) and Chris Terrio (“Argo,” “Batman v Superman”), the film seems an awful lot like a joke. A cartoon episode with a $300 million budget and absolutely no intention of telling any sort of lasting story. The one-liners zing, the comic relief (Flash) is ineffective, Wonder Woman is eye candy and Aquaman is a gruff surfer dude who can fly? Batman is getting too old for this stuff, and the only character with any depth is Cyborg, but he’s not given sufficient explanation in the first place. My favorite part is actually the inevitable appearance of he who shall not be named for spoiler’s sake (Henry Cavill), and he definitely upstages everyone else in the film. He finally gets his cinematic due in terms of his unstoppable speed, strength, heat vision, icy cold breath and indestructible façade. Wait, did I just spoil something?

Director Zak Snyder, who has a monogamous relationship with Warner Bros. and perhaps more influence over the DC universe than he should, left the project abruptly after a family tragedy, and Joss Whedon was ushered in to finish shooting and handle post-production. This gave me hope for something that might bring out some of the positive characteristics of each of the players and lighten the mood of the story, but it did not. I don’t see his contributions very clearly.

The post-credit scene offers a sliver of hope for the future of the DC universe, but I for one am not optimistic. “Wonder Woman 2” is in jeopardy with Gal Gadot’s holdout over Brett Ratner’s shady past, and 2018’s “Aquaman” has no hope if Momoa’s character is involved (he is). We need one of two things; fresh meat or a dark side. My feeling is that the dark side is where the potential lies.

Basically, I felt like I was watching two hours of movie previews on an endless loop. The dialogue had no continuity, the narrative had no complexity or emotion, and the Justice League themselves had no discernable cohesion. Even the bad guy himself was cliché and boring. The film lacked purpose. I can see this as a bridge to further things, but I hope that includes a less caffeinated approach to the next several films. Personally, I’d like to see an exploration of more characters and see which ones stick; Martian Manhunter, Hawkman and Hawkgirl, give Green Lantern another shot, and would someone please give Robin a little love? I’m glad to see Cyborg in the mix, but my hunch is that they felt a need to add some diversity with the otherwise all-white team. The “boo-ya” at the end was a tad unnecessary.

What they should have done, besides asking for my input before creating this monstrosity, was introduce each of the characters in their standalone films prior to dropping the Justice League on us. It’s just too much too soon. The franchise will make money either way, but let’s be honest, DC is no Marvel. They can gauge the individual characters’ popularity and choose their team that way. Because frankly, people will go to superhero films regardless.

It wasn’t all bad. Familiar blends of musical scores, fantastic visual effects and the hope of something better in the future. Always the hope of something better in the future. Screenwriting guys, invest in your screenwriting.