RELEASED: March 18th 2021
DISTRIBUTED BY: HBO Max
DIRECTED BY: Zack Snyder
WRITTEN BY: Zack Snyder, Chris Terrio & Will Beall
PRODUCED BY: Deborah Snyder & Charles Roven
MUSIC BY: Tom Holkenborg
STARRING: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Willem Dafoe, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, J. K. Simmons, Cirián Hinds, Zheng Kai, Amber Heard, Joe Morton, Karen Bryson, Kiersey Clemons, Joe Manganiello, Peter Guinness, Ray Porter, Harry Lennix & Jared Leto
REVIEW: After a long, tumultuous road, the ‘Snyder Cut’ finally sees the light of day, allowing fans to see Zack Snyder’s vision for the World’s Greatest Superheroes realised.
The journey here has had many ups and downs, with people’s opinions on the films of the ‘Snyderverse’ varying greatly.
Personally, I loved Man of Steel but was not keen on Batman v Superman. When I initially watched Justice League, I appreciated it for what it was and enjoyed the change of pace, but on subsequent rewatches, found it lacking.
Fortunately, I don’t think that will be the case with this new directors cut of the film, which takes the time and care to tell the story of the Justice League’s formation properly.
While it is essentially the same story, Zack Snyder’s Justice League doubles the runtime of its theatrical predecessor, fleshing out the characters and giving the necessary context to scenes that the other cut lacked. From actually hashing out what Steppenwolf’s deal is, to depicting Cyborg’s emotional story in full, the final product justifies the long and hard-fought campaign to have it released.
With different, extended dialogue, alternate camerawork and visual effects, in many ways this feels like a whole new beast of a film.
Gone are Whedon’s goofy humour and quips, replaced with character beats and interactions that feel true to the story we’ve seen so far. Jokes are amusing without breaking the flow of the narrative, and dialogue is more revealing and focused (no digressions about brunch to be found here!).
The action is also more visceral, with the hits landing harder and the choreography more dazzling. The return of Snyder’s distinct visual style makes the proceedings feel a lot more epic, as the film is filled with beautiful shots and fascinating new looks into things we’ve seen before. I’m not in love with all of the designs in this universe, but the way they’re framed and shot here makes it easy to be won over.
The expansion of this world’s mythology is also interesting, and having Steppenwolf interact with fellow New Gods like Desaad and Darkseid really helps sell the threat that the Justice League face, even though the conflict still plays out similarly to the theatrical version.
Also, Ray Porter’s Darkseid sounds and looks awesome.
It isn’t all perfect of course, there is the occasional bit of off CGI, the character of Barry Allen takes a while to find his footing, and the world of Aquaman/Atlantis feels… off, especially in the aftermath of Aquaman‘s release (for instance, Mera now has a British accent, for some reason, and characters still create air bubbles to speak to one another).
Bar a few cool exceptions, the lengthy score is also mostly forgettable (or when it comes to Wonder Woman’s new theme, a tad annoying).
I also found the ending to be a bit tacked on (because it very much is). The narrative comes to a close, and then we’re given extra bits of footage that don’t really feel in line with the rest of the movie, the famous Knightmare sequence standing out most of all.
I don’t think it had a place in BvS, and I don’t think it has a place now, but I realise that, along with the hyped inclusion of a certain superhero cameo, it’s a chance for Zack to give something extra to his fans, in the event that this is the end of the story, and I respect that (even if I think they both lessen the quality of said story slightly).
Fortunately, these problems are quickly lost in the hefty four-hour run time, which can distract you from any issues you may have with a load of things you’ll enjoy.
Overall, the film stands as something of a redemption of Snyder’s DC series, and while I’m not sure I’m ready to see another five years of #RestoreTheSnyderVerse or even the proposed stories for JL 2 and 3, I still stand by the fact that I would like to see more from these iterations of these characters and whatever the future holds for them.
Thanks for reading! Will you be watching the Snyder Cut, and if you have, what did you think? Let me know in the comments below!
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