Zack Snyder’s Justice League Review: A Visually Compelling Drag Of A Director’s Cut

Source: WarnerMedia

Many of the online reviews for Zack Snyder’s Justice League, or The Snyder Cut, have mentioned that the reviewer is surprised that the new version of the film is so different from the theatrical version that was released in 2017. Even if Snyder’s version was just tacking on extra footage the film is still over four hours long; that’s twice as long as the theatrical version.

However, The Snyder Cut is mostly a very different film in comparison. Bruce Wayne recruiting Aquaman and Flash is mostly the same.

Superman’s resurrection and fight with the other Justice League members and Bruce getting Clark’s childhood home back near the end of the film are all similar. But everything else is almost an entirely different experience.

This four hour cut of the film is basically a redemption arc for Cyborg. Cyborg is a major player here and feels crucial when it comes to operating the Mother Boxes. You feel sorrow for the character as he comes to terms with nearly his entire body no longer being human and realizing that he’s not alone.

You will also be reminded rather quickly that this is an R-rated film. The rating is likely due to blood and violence, but there are also three F-bombs in the film; one from a random goon near the beginning of the film, one from Cyborg that is absolutely earned given his situation, and one from Batman as he confronts Joker.

Violence in the film is littered with blood, a severed hand, impalement, and a beheading.

Image property of Warner Bros. Pictures/HBO Max.

The Snyder Cut is broken up into six parts and an epilogue. It leaves off on a cliffhanger that is more of a slight tease of what could have been.

Originally, Justice League was going to be the beginning of a trilogy and there are seeds planted for the following two sequels. There are new hero debuts and villainous cameos that feel empty since they obviously don’t really go anywhere.

The Knightmare sequence involving Jared Leto’s return as The Joker is at the very end of the film. It teases a world where Lois Lane has died and Superman is now evil.

A few of the Justice League have died while some surprising new characters, good and bad, are now working with Batman to try and stop Superman. It’s an alternate world that could have been expanded and improved upon in future films.

Image property of Warner Bros. Pictures/HBO Max.

The issue with The Snyder Cut is that if this version was edited down to a more reasonable length it probably would have been more enjoyable and coherent than the theatrical version is.

But as a four hour experience, The Snyder Cut is bloated and it feels like a chore to get through. It’s a moodier and bleaker version of the film that likely won’t make or break your already established opinion of a clunky superhero film.

The film isn’t going to change your mind about whether you like Zack Snyder as a filmmaker or not. Snyder’s career began as a music video director, so much of his filmmaking in lengthier and director’s cut versions of his films always feel like elongated music videos due to their excessive music use.

If you’re sick of Snyder’s use of slow motion, then be prepared to be annoyed for four hours straight.

Image property of Warner Bros. Pictures/HBO Max.

That doesn’t mean The Snyder Cut doesn’t improve upon the theatrical version in any capacity. The villains are killer. Steppenwolf is insanely cool as he slaughters Amazons, tosses horses around like they’re nothing, and has intricate battle armor that looks to cost insane amounts of money even when he’s standing still.

You crave more Darkseid, as well. The character’s arrival is imminent and yet The Snyder Cut only scratches the surface of what he is capable of.

According to online reports, most of the additional budget for the new version of Justice League was spent on new visual effects and it shows. The computer generated sequences are leaps and bounds more impressive and memorable here.

Perhaps most noteworthy of all is that they didn’t have to edit out any troublesome mustaches in this cut, which automatically makes for a less distracting experience overall.

Image property of Warner Bros. Pictures/HBO Max.

Zack Snyder refused to be paid for this version of the film in order to keep creative control. What follows isn’t something that was confirmed anywhere and is mostly a working theory, but it seems as if most view The Snyder Cut as a love letter to the fans and Zack Snyder’s swan song for the superhero genre. The film is absolutely that, but it seems to have a deeper meaning.

The film was finished without Snyder because of his daughter’s tragic passing. Snyder completing his version of the film is a tribute to her and it shows in the film. You can feel the absence of Superman throughout and hope seems to be lost.

Lois being unable to return to work and her extreme mourning, the inability to move on with her life, feels like Zack Snyder put a piece of himself in the character.

The symbol that Superman is, what he stands for, and the way that life is protected and safe while he’s around seems to signify Snyder’s daughter Autumn or at least how he felt about her in general as a father.

Image property of Warner Bros. Pictures/HBO Max.

The miserable aspect of Snyder’s cut of the film is that Lois finally seems to get to a point where she’s able to move on. She’s left the house; she’s out in the world, and she’s about to go to work in the first time in forever.

You can tell by the look on her face that she misses Clark, but she’s accepted that he’s gone. She can love him and enjoy life even though he’s no longer around. The minute she turns around to take that first step towards the rest of her life, he comes back from the dead. Even though Superman has no control over his revival, it feels selfish. Lois never has time to breathe on her own.

The Verdict

Zack Snyder’s version of Justice League feels like too much of a good thing. He has creative control here, but its execution is this fan devoted emptiness with no real destination in mind. The superhero film is a slow three hour slog to its final fourth hour where all of its best and most entertaining action sequences lie. Cyborg redeems himself as a character, but everyone else fails to really establish their own identity. At least Aquaman gets to surf on a Parademon during a free fall though, right? Justice League is now darker, more adult, and longer with better special effects. Whether it’s a worthwhile experience that can be viewed in one sitting is something each and every viewer will have to decide for him or herself.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is now streaming on HBO Max.

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