Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021) movie review
Zack Snyder’s Justice League, or the “Snyder Cut” as it is widely known, it a reedited version of the film Justice League released in 2017. For those of you who don’t know, director Zach Snyder had to step away from the project due to a personal tragedy. The producers over at Warner Bros. brought in director Joss Whedon to finish up the project to keep it on its release schedule. However he ended up adding massive reshoots and releasing a very different film that completely bombed at the box office. Since then, people have been calling for Zach Snyder’s original cut of the film, as most of the initial filming for that vision was already completed. Now, thanks to HBO Max, we have a completed version of that film as it would have been. And while you may be thinking, “Yeah that just sounds like a director’s cut to me!” It is very much not. Okay I guess literally speaking it is, but this isn’t your run-of-the-mill additional footage cut…
Now I’m assuming you don’t need a story recap, as this film did come out a few years ago. That said, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is such a unique thing that I will absolutely be holding it in mind for several of our Best of 2021 lists… Okay okay I know- let’s talk about the movie already! Well to be honest, I thought it was pretty great! And I didn’t expect to. Not only did I not like Justice League (2017), but I haven’t really liked much of the DCEU so far. That said, this is my second favorite entry. It is worth watching? Absolutely. heck it’s worth watching just to say you’ve seen it. It’s a landmark that this got made. But also, can we get that Trank cut of Fant4stic (2015) now?
Look I don’t even know where to begin. Runtime. Runtime is a good place to start! So the Snyder Cut is four hours long. For a modern movie, that is LONG. But I totally get it. This is the only chance to see this film complete, and cutting it down would defeat the purpose. That said, if this were the version sent to theaters, it would be cut down to a brisk 3 hours, 20 minutes at best. There is trimming to be had! Some it fine, some is weird, and some drags the film on for that extra four minutes they shot for this cut. And guess what? What’s easily the worst scene in the film. Honestly the only reason I didn’t give this film the rating I wanted to is because it lands on its feet! And then keeps going. And going. Aaaaand one scene too far.
That said, we watched the entire film in one sitting, with only a quick break to get more snacks. And the chapter structure does really help the pacing there! You can split it up or take it all in one viewing, much like any classic film or the extended Lord of the Rings films. And you know what, this movie is REALLY engaging! It might be because we’ve already seen a worse version of it, but the core changes to the film add alot that really pads the bloated runtime in a surprisingly effective way. A ton more drama and character development to keep it genuinely compelling? Check. A significantly more competent story structure? Check. Hands down better action sequences and a finale that doesn’t just rush to the end? Check. Sure there are a few weird moments here and there that work against the pacing, but for the most part this four hour movie feels much more worth it than the two hour version.
I also never thought I would miss things like desaturation or an upper lip, but sure enough! Gosh the color in the original film is terrible, while this film rolls off the previous two films in the Man of Steel (2013) trilogy perfectly! And you know what, this feels very much like a trilogy, as Batman v Superman (2016) picks up during Man of Steel, and this does something very similar. Also as much as I love Danny Elfman, his score did NOT fit the original film. Tom Holkenborg however picks up where he and Zimmer left off and delivers a heavy dose of intensity fitting of a Snyder film. It’s not perfect, and the vocals that acompanies Wonder Woman in every single scene drove me insane! But it’s better! Alot better.
Obviously the performances are great, and if this is a sendoff for these characters, they’ve made it a great one! And this cut gives alot more screentime to Ray Fisher’s Cyborg and Ezra Miller’s Flash, both of whom kinda make this film! Cyborg is super OP, but he’s also the heart and soul of this film. Honestly my biggest takeaway is that I don’t think I can ever watch the original again BECAUSE of the importance of this character. And speaking of characters, 2017’s blandest CGI baddie Steppenwolf gets much more to his character! That said he is brought back alongside a similarly bland villain, but hey one out of two good villains isn’t bad!
I might have much more to say about this film, but if I start down that spoiler-filled path, I may never stop writing. The takeaway is that not only is this film astoundingly better, but it is a really solid movie that manages to make be both very happy for its existence and very sad that it’s probably the last for these actors. I don’t know- maybe it’ll be popular enough for Warner Bros. to consider just getting it together! But in the meantime, we’ll always have the Snyder Cut… So it’s flawed for sure. But it’s a good kind of flawed. Here you take the bad with the good because, well, that’s the only way we were going to get this movie! Sure there could easily be a more polished version of Justice League, but that’s a past reality that can never come to be. For now, we have the Snyder Cut. And you know what, it’s pretty darn good. 7/10. (Seriously without that stupid scene right at the end, this would have been an EASY 8/20 for me. But I can’t stand a FOUR HOUR MOVIE leaving a bad taste in my mouth. It’s like a fantastic buffet with a terrible dessert.)
So the Snyder Cut? Did you watch it yet? What did you think? And what do you think the future of the DCEU should be? Be sure to leave a like or a comment below and let us know! And if you liked this review and you want to read more like it, let us know in the comments what we should talk about next!
-review by Ryan Prince