Review: Zack Snyder’s Justice League

After years of waiting, the Snyder Cut is finally here (and it doesn’t disappoint)

Warner Bros | Photo Courtesy
Zack Snyder delivers on his original vision for “Justice League”

In 2017, fans of superhero films went out to see the big ensemble movie from the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) “Justice League.” Finally, we would get to see DC Comics’ most iconic heroes’ team up on the big screen in glorious fashion. However, what we received was far from glorious.

Originally director Zack Snyder, who had headlined the DCEU up until this point, was set to direct “Justice League.” He filmed the majority of the movie but had to step away due to family tragedy, so Warner Bros brought in Joss Whedon, who had worked on “The Avengers” to finish up the film.

Joss Whedon proceeded to reshoot most of what Snyder had filmed and recut it into the infamous theatrical version we got in 2017. The film was disjointed, lacked character arcs, had a lackluster plot, and was just a mess. It did however create many memes.

Soon after an internet campaign began called #Releasethesnydercut. It was an endless fight; you couldn’t watch a new DC film trailer without the comments being flooded with requests for the Snyder cut. Some of the stars even joined in.

Then in 2020 at the launch of HBO Max Warner Bros confirmed that the Snyder Cut was coming and was going to be an HBO Max original. It was going to be four hours of nonstop superhero goodness with Snyder’s original vision, fans have rejoiced.

After years of petitioning, DC finally delivered the Snyder Cut, and it was nothing like the theatrical version.

So many elements have been changed and altered. For starters, many of the characters have clear motivations and character arcs, a vital piece of a movie that for some reason was lacking in the 2017 version.

The villain Steppenwolf is still a boring CGI character but now he is working for the infamous Darkseid. The weapons he is trying to collect, the Motherboxes, are more than just boxes with weird names. We learn the backstory of them and why they are needed.

Ray Fisher gets much more screen time as Cyborg than he did in the original version, he was cast to the side and was barely a character in that one. Here he gets a full arc and is probably the most compelling character in the film.

Ezra Miller also gets more time as the Flash, and while he is not as memorable as Grant Gustin’s Flash from the CW he is still a lot of fun. He gets to crack jokes and has some pretty funny scenes. He also has one of the best scenes in the climax of the film.

Gal Gadot continues to shine as Wonder Woman. Her character remains pretty much the same in this version with some added scenes.

Ben Affleck returns as Bruce Wayne and most of his scenes are the same. Jason Momoa comes back as Aquaman and he is as great as ever.

Of course, Henry Cavill also returns as Superman, hopefully not for the last time. He gets some added scenes and there is no bad CGI hiding a mustache this time.

The film itself is better-paced, goes a lot more in-depth into the story, and is a lot more fun. However, it is far from perfect.

The problems plaguing Zack Snyder’s Justice League are the same problems that have cropped up in every early DCEU film. The pacing is a little off, there are some weird scenes in weird places and the film tries to do too much. It felt like it wanted to set up sequels that may never come instead of just focusing on telling its own story.

The film is four hours long, so you have to devote a lot of time to it. It did not need to be four hours; they could have cut some of the scenes out. It is nicely broken up into chapters which provide nice spots to pause and take a nap or run to the bathroom.

For some reason Snyder insisted on releasing it in a 4:3 aspect ratio, meaning there are large black bars on both sides. It could have been a way to cut CGI costs or just to look more creative than it was. You tend not to notice it after a while though.

Snyder also overuses slow motion, but he does that in every film he makes. It is cool in some scenes but when it happens in every other scene it just becomes too much.

There is also a lot of sequel baiting for sequels that may never come. There is an especially long scene at the end of the film that feels like it is ripped directly out of the sequel and feels really out of place.

If you want jokes or lightheartedness in your superhero films then this is not for you. The film tends to be super serious, to the point that it forgets superhero movies should also be fun. There are some funny scenes involving Flash and Aquaman but for the most part, it is a very grim film.

The soundtrack however is as amazing as always. Especially Wonder Woman’s theme, it will get stuck in your head because it plays every time, she does anything onscreen.

The Zack Snyder cut is so much better than the 2017 version, but it still suffers many problems. If you felt hurt or betrayed by the 2017 version, then you should give this one a shot.

If you are a fan of superhero films in general, then you should check it out also. It is not perfect but being able to see a director fulfill his vision without studio interference is great to see, and it has some great superhero action.

Time will tell if “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” changes the future of the DCEU at all. Already a new internet campaign #Restorethesnyderverse has begun. Based on how long it took for the Snyder cut to come out, we should see the SnyderVerse return as early as 2025.

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