Zack Snyder's Justice League Movie Review (Spoiler Free)
An absolute epic, similar to the likes of Lord of the Rings. This is how Justice League should have been released in theatres in 2017!
Genre: Action, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
Director: Zack Snyder
Cast: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Henry Cavill, Ciarán Hinds, Amy Adams, Joe Morton, J.K. Simmons, Jeremy Irons, Connie Nielsen, Willem Dafoe, Diane Lane & Harry Lennix.
Run Time: 242 min.
US Release: 18 March 2021 (HBO Max)
UK Release: 18 March 2021 (NOW TV)
German Release: 18 March 2021 (Sky Ticket)
I’ll be the first to admit that I had rose-coloured glasses on when I left the screening room for Justice League. I had waited for so long, to finally see a live-action version of the DC superhero team, I simply ignored everything that was wrong, even giving it a positive review the upcoming day. The longer I had to think about it, though, the more I started to notice its blatant issues, yet never felt the need to revisit it. That is until I obtained the blu-ray and watched it with friends, who hadn’t seen the movie since then. It was there, I finally had to admit to myself, that Joss Whedon’s recut was an absolute disgrace!
At the same time, the internet began a movement with the hashtag #releasethesnydercut. Word was floating around that Snyder’s version was accomplished to 80 per cent, prior to leaving the project due to his daughter's tragic demise. Many expressed interest in seeing his version of the project, referring to it as “The Synder Cut”. Warner tried to bury the rumours, but even the stars of the films started to support the movement, confirming that there was a finished copy of Snyders's version of the superhero blockbuster. Finally, in 2020, Warner Bros. moved ahead, giving Zack Snyder additional funds to finish his vision.
With Superman’s ultimate sacrifice awakening the Mother Boxes, the disgraced Steppenwolf travels to Earth, to find the three devices and regain Darkseid’s favour. While mean, inspired by Superman’s selfless act and with the whole world in danger, Bruce Wayne sets his path on finding more Metahumans, to protect the planet. With the help of Diana Prince, Bruce finds Barry Allen a.k.a. The Flash, Victor Stone - a Cyborg, as well as Atlantean Arthur Curry. But are they enough to stand against their new enemy and his army of Parademons?
This might be Snyder’s most ambitious flick to date! With a mammoth runtime of four hours, he set out to create the comic book equivalent of Jackon’s cinematic tale of Middle Earth, a graphic novel epic for fans of the source material! More impressive, however, is that he managed what he set out to do because it never felt boring! Yes, the ending did drag a little and could have been cut by 10 minutes, yet it was interesting to see what Snyder could have (maybe still can) offer to the extend-cinematic world of DC.
The narrative is engulfed in a mystic, fantasy-like atmosphere, intertwined with futuristic sci-fi visions. It also sees the return of the director’s grittier tone, which was very welcomed! That said, it also contains a fair amount of humour - not the infantile spoofs that Whedon had stitched together, this is a more subtle comedy that fits perfectly with the overall story. Then there is the fact, that it builds on what Snyder had already delivered with Man of Steel and BvS, as well as deepening the characterisation of new heroes entering the screen.
The dialogues are infinitely better than the childish garbage that was delivered by Whedon! Gone is the out-of-character humour from Bruce Wayne and the pointless comments of Barry Allen. These are replaced with more organic and dramatic conversations.
Just as in the cinematic cut, the main characters constructing the League, are all brilliantly portrayed. Affleck still gives that grounded performance as Bruce Wayne (Batman), while the forced romantic relationship with Diana Prince, a.k.a Wonder Woman, has been exchanged with a professional one, making more sense. Gal Gadot is once again terrific as the Amazonian princess, plus has a much more significant role in bringing the team together.
Out of the newbies, it is Fisher’s portrayal of Victor Stone (Cyborg), that finally obtains the backstory we were teased with, back in 2017. Audiences obtain a much better understanding of who Stone is, just like getting a deeper look into the conflict with his father. Ezra Miller's Barry Allen (Flash), was corrected. Yes, he still is quirky but not a stupid goofball anymore! His character also has a pivotal role in the final act.
Aquaman, portrayed by Jason Momoa, has been given a richer background plot. Instead of being simply the “bad boy” of the group, he is depicted as having a more depressive mentality, due to his heritage, which in turn pushed him to lead a hermit life. He is also the voice of reason in the group, trying to convince Bruce of a mistake he is about to make.
The villain Steppenwolf, still voiced by veteran actor Ciaran Hinds, has also been given a background that cements his motivation for attacking Earth. He has fallen out of favour with Darkseid and is doing this to amend his past betrayal.
Snyder released the blockbuster in a 4:3 Imax aspect ratio, giving us the full-frame version of this legendary superhero ensemble! The action scenes are better helmed, adding an urgency that creates tension. The colour was desaturated again, though it suits the atmosphere of the overall narrative incredibly good! Finally, the lighting in this movie is breathtaking, something I never thought I’d say, but here we are! This was filmed to feel like an epos!
The CGI has been polished up, although it still has segments where one can see that an object or character was computer generated. That said, the villain’s design is a thousand times better than what audiences obtained from Joss Whedon. The characters that are rendered on computers, though not absolutely perfect, at least feel real!
Junkie XL was brought back, to resume his work for Justice League, as he was replaced by Danny Elfman after Synder’s departure. The soundtrack underlines the fantasy and science fiction facets of the flick, with fully electronic themes plus pure orchestral sounds.
Verdict: It is baffling to see how much of the plot was left in the cutting room. However, it is even more infuriating to see, how Whedon had perverted Zack Synder’s movie. The theatrical version of Justice League is a real dumpster fire, especially after witnessing the Snyder Cut! The endgame might be the same, however, this is not only the superior version of the superhero blockbuster, it is also a completely different film! Yes, Snyder did add additional shots to his vision, yet they are all fantastic! The four-hour runtime is barely felt, as the stakes are constantly set anew. That plus we get to see full, fleshed-out stories for each member of the team. Fisher, Mamoa, as well as Miller, get their fair share of runtime, to explore their characters’ motivations, while Affleck, Gadot and Cavill’s personas are further explored. The cinematography, colours and music are all superb. This is a comic book epic that we’ll never receive again. It is also the definitive version for me to watch. A 9.0 out of 10!
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