Zack Snyder’s Justice League

It is here.

After years of squabbling and online trolling, the fans of Zack Snyder have helped accomplish it. The infamous “Snyder Cut” has arrived on HBO Max after WB approached Snyder to complete his vision of what should have been in the 2017 Justice League movie that he had started but had to leave before it was completed. Snyder tragically had to leave the project when his daughter passed away.

WB had brought in Joss Whedon to finish the project and he wound up doing a lot of re-filming and re-editing, taking Zack Snyder’s ideas and repurposing them. The Justice League (2017) was a failure and cast members and fans were calling for the release of the Snyder cut. Some did not believe that this mythical “Snyder cut” actually existed. But, as I said earlier, it is here.

We will get this out of the way immediately. Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a better movie than the Justice League (2017). Period. It can not be debated. Of course, it is double in time (4 hours compared to 2) and there is no sign of the CGI-killing Superman mustache so that has to be considered a vast improvement right there.

The story in this new version is considerably more coherent and it is easier to follow. Many of the scenes that appeared in both films make more sense here than they did in the previous movie. The characters get a considerable amount more time and it helps them tremendously.

In particular, Ray Fisher, who played Victor Stone (aka Cyborg), had an amazingly different film role here. Fisher was one of the earliest and loudest voices about releasing this film and how unhappy he was with Joss Whedon, and you can absolutely see why. Victor Stone is way better here than he was in the previous version. He was wasted away in that film, but here, you can see the relevance and the importance of Cyborg. His story with his father Silas (Joe Morton) was so improved here (although it is a typical father-son estranged story). It worked much better and provided some important emotional beats later in the film.

Ezra Miller’s Flash though felt a little creepy considering the situation Miller found himself in a year or so ago. The memory of his choking that girl, whether it was real or not, did play on my opinion of this character. Flash did get some funny lines, but he felt off to me.

It is a four hour movie and, I will be honest, the first hour or so dragged for me. There was a lot of set up and I am usually in favor of such things, but it just did not move with the flow that I would have hoped. Perhaps it is the downtrodden tone that seems to cover much of Zack Snyder’s DC films. However, I think the film really picked up and I found myself really engaged in the third act battle with Steppenwolf.

Let’s talk about Steppenwolf. In the 2017 film, he was the single biggest problem I had with the movie. Every time he was on screen I could not see anything but a failed and sloppy CGI character. The CGI felt unfinished and just constantly distracting. Here, Steppenwolf is much better. I would even go as far as to say, he was watchable. The face on Steppenwolf was still a problem, but it did not become a huge issue and I found it acceptable.

However, this film had too many moments of CGI that were poorly rendered. Especially the CGI used to create Darkseid. Darkseid did not make a lot of appearances (considerably less than I had thought he was going to) and I did not like the look of the character. Cyborg too had several moments, though fewer overall, of CGI issues. When the super hero genre has a character such as Thanos, the CGI for the big bad guys need to be stepped up.

Though some of the characters had some iffy CGI, the backgrounds and the settings were consistently beautiful and was extremely artistic. Though, in my opinion, it could have used some brightness here and there, for what was here, the art was gorgeous.

A couple of other problems I had fall under the realm of SPOILERS so be aware. First, there was the weirdest cameo in the middle of the movie that was revisited at the very end. I am not sure why they felt the need to include this character. Secondly, I found the “futurescape” dream that Bruce (Ben Affleck) had where Superman is evil and Darkseid has taken over Earth, was a silly and unnecessary tag on to the film simply to get the Joker (Jared Leto) into the movie and to show Flash in his outfit from Batman v. Superman (when he appeared to Bruce in another dream). This was just a waste of time and it goes nowhere. END OF SPOILERS.

I did not like the use of the Amazons this time. It felt different than the first film, which I thought was one of the better moments. Here it just did not work for me. I also was not a huge fan of the exposition drop of the past battle with Darkseid and the “age of heroes.”

The best part of the film is still the cast and their interactions with each other. We did lose that great scene with Aquaman and the magic lasso, but there was so much more there that it balanced out. Zack Snyder’s Justice League was better than I thought it was going to be and I enjoyed the overall film.

3.8 stars

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