Zack Snyder’s Justice League
review by Bobby Blakey
When Zack Snyder took on the DC Cinematic Universe with his 2013 film Man of Steel. While met with mixed reviews it kicked off his vision for the franchise and I for one enjoyed it. This led into the highly anticipated films Batman v Superman in 2016 and Justice League in 2017. Sadly due to a family tragedy Snyder had to step away from Justice League before finishing the film and Joss Wheddon stepped in to complete it. It was clear from the trailers that something was different and sadly the movie did not live up to the hype for most.
For years there was rumors of a Snyder cut of the film that was almost a completely different vision as well as much longer. When it was announced that the long rumored version of Justice League starring Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Mamoa, Ray Fisher, Amy Adams, Jeremy Irons, J.K. Simmons, Diane Lane and Ciaran Hinds did exist and the trailer dropped fans collectively lost their minds. Now it is finally making its debut on HBO MAX in all its four hour glory. Could Snyder’s full vision of this film be what fans had hoped for so many years or will it fail to give them justice they deserve?
I want to start by saying I don’t hate the original film like most. It has many, many issues but getting to see these characters together was still a treat for me. After stepping into this one and freshly re-watching the other version only an hour in and it was already a better and more complete film. The four hour run time may seem long, but it is so well used to flesh out the characters and just make the story work so much better. This is essentially the same exact story, but don’t let that worry you because it works to perfection. This time that Snyder has finally gotten to tell his story gives everyone time to develop alongside the threat to the world and in turn makes you invest deeper in them all. I have seen some complain about the length and yes it is long, but I never felt bored or fatigued watching it and could easily sit through it again.
It was originally said that Cyborg was a bigger part of the film and as we all know was essentially shoved to the side in the original version of the film.
Here he is front and center and his pain and struggle is made all the more real instead of just being treated like he is just whining all the time. I still hate his visual look, but get what they were going for. I am more partial to the original look in the comic and I know it would fully translate to what they do with the character now. The rest of them all have their troubles and issues and it is fleshed out really well yet still leaves enough to learn for future adventures of them in their own films. Snyder shot about 80 percent of the film to my knowledge so there are a lot of the original scenes here, but with the stuff that was cut and newly shot added back in. It is truly baffling to why so much was cut out that was needed for this story to work.
Thanks to Aquaman and the Wonder Woman films we have already gotten more meat from those characters and even more so here, but its seeing Flash and Batman/Alfred dynamic that helps makes this feel complete. The exchanges between Affleck’s Wayne and Irons’ Alfred make me all the more sad that the Batman solo film never came to pass, but at least we get to see more of that here. Much like in the other version Miller’s Flash steals every scene he is in bringing not only the humor to the film but also a light hearted personality that has me more looking forward to the Flash film.
Even Steppenwolf has a bigger role and backstory that makes him a more menacing villain complete with a much better visual overhaul. Part of making him a bigger threat came from making those he was beating feel like a bigger threat as well. The Amazons, Mera and everyone else that initially takes him on have a much better showing in the action this time around in my opinion with the few added additions. The bigger connection of Steppenwolf to the world of DeSaad and Darkseid also makes him feel like more than a one dimensional character and the promise of more to come.
There isn’t nearly as much overall new footage as I thought and more of the unused stuff added back in which it sorely needed. In Batman v Superman we got some of the peaks into that possible dark future that is further played out here with some great sequences that are some of the best of the film. Almost the entire last hour of the film is action packed and offers up a completely different ending that is so much better complete with some iconic shots of our heroes in action and standing in their classic poses that will no doubt make any fan smile. This is not just a movie, this is an experience that fully delivers the Justice League movie we had hoped for.
The added action, cameos, sequences and depth to me just made this a better movie and angry we didn’t get this in the first place. Long movies are not an issue when it gives the audience what it wants. There will be some that will still hate it because it’s Snyder, already made up their mind or legitimately just not enjoy it but I am not one of them. I loved every minute of this cut and really wish we could get it back on track especially since this one ends on a cliffhanger. While it seems unlikely I am all for Warner Bros getting back on track with this version of their cinematic universe especially with so many new things introduced.
Decide for yourself and check out Zack Snyder’s Justice League streaming now exclusively on HBO MAX.