Fans have finally gotten the chance to see director Zack Snyder’s cut of “Justice League,” which was highly-anticipated when it premiered in 2017. Surprisingly, Snyder was able to breathe new life into a story we’d already seen four years ago.
The reason this film has gotten the chance for a second release is that Snyder left after filming most of the four-hourlong superhero movie due to the death of his daughter and longstanding control Warner Bros. held over the film. He was replaced with Joss Whedon, director of Marvel’s “The Avengers,” who then reshot and cut Snyder’s film in half. The final product that Whedon produced was poorly received by fans as important aspects of the story was lost while pointless scenes were added in.
The film, split between six chapters or parts, is the story of Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) gathering up a team of superheroes featuring Aquaman (Jason Mamoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and The Flash (Ezra Miller) to battle against Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) as he seeks to destroy Earth in the name of villain Darkseid.
Cinematography: Snyder has always been a visual director and it’s evident in this film. It is prominent towards the end, where the camera pans around the heroes and the city as dawn slowly creeps up.
Comic Relief: This movie is the perfect example of why the comic relief character is important. With four hours of our heroes fighting to save Earth, Ezra Miller as The Flash brought some levity and light in this otherwise bleak story.
Roles: By the end of the film, the role that these five main characters carry is defined, which is not an easy task for any movie to handle. Not to mention that these characters, especially Flash and Cyborg, are fleshed out with understandable motivations. It’s a stark contrast to Whedon’s cut, where some of the characters aren’t necessary there for the story but rather because it’s a Justice League movie.
Visual Effects: Visual effects remain a problem in both cuts of the film. A lot of the CGI around characters is obvious, especially with Cyborg, whose armor doesn’t move the right way when he is talking. The film also relies too much on slow-mo, especially in the beginning. This is somewhat forgivable for The Flash, because it’s necessary to understand and show his powers, but Snyder also uses it frequently with Wonder Woman and the others to the point where it gets old and annoying after a while.
Soundtrack: The film unfortunately suffers from a lackluster soundtrack. Many of the themes aren’t memorable or add to the story in any way, which is sad because this movie deserves to have a memorable song attached to it like “The Avengers.” The only one you can remember by the time the movie is over is Wonder Woman’s revised theme and that’s because they use the vocals seemingly every time she’s in battle.
Worth a Mention:
Length: While this point is neither a pro or a con, the length of the movie has to be mentioned. The four-hour runtime is going to be intimidating for some casual viewers, myself included. It doesn’t seem necessary for this kind of a movie to be that long. But, most scenes are included for a reason, and ones that don’t have importance, even if trimmed down, probably wouldn’t end up dropping the runtime down by any noticeable amount. It does also make it easier that this movie is split into parts, allowing people to pause and go back whenever they’re ready to watch the rest.
Script: The dialogue for this film had some high and low points. There are some really good lines and I especially liked when Ezra Miller would talk to his dad about where his life is at.
It makes me happy that the fans that fought hard to make Warner Bros. release this movie seem to be satisfied with the Snyder cut as well as casual fans. On the surface level, there isn’t much of a difference between the 2017 version and this, but it is crazy to see how many differences there are between the two. It is evident how much more care and heart one received than the other.
Ultimately, the biggest compliment I can give this movie is that in an oversaturated market with 10 plus years of Marvel movies and other media, Snyder gave this one a different identity than the one we’ve come to expect from superhero movies. It borrows elements from Marvel movies, but it still hits differently by the end of the film compared to “The Avengers.”
Rating: Raise Your Expectations