The theatrical version of Justice League was a hot mess both in front of the cameras and behind-the-scenes. From terrible visual effects to an atrocious story, Justice League was loathed by critics and casual moviegoers alike. However, the much-discussed road to the film’s theatrical release was even worse. Zack Snyder parted ways with Warner Bros. after a tragedy struck his family during the production of the DC Films project, with Warner Bros. hiring Joss Whedon to complete it. Whedon ended up tweaking a huge chunk of the film and the final result reminded me of my first viewing of Bloodshot. I hated Bloodshot.
Now, If you were to ask me if I would be writing this review three years ago, I’d probably laugh in your face. I didn’t think the Snyder Cut existed and couldn’t even fathom it ever seeing the light of day. After a few years of fans pleading for the director to be able to release his finished cut of Justice League, HBO Max gave Zack Snyder a $70 million budget and free rein to deliver the film he originally intended. I recently got the chance to see Zack Snyder’s Justice League cut and I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is amazing. The film is a perfect finale to the trilogy that kicked off with 2013’s Man of Steel. Every wrong that was done by Joss Whedon was made right with the director’s cut, which boasts a massive four-hour runtime. The film is so good that it makes you wonder why studio executives deemed it “unwatchable” and replaced Snyder with Whedon. Immediately after you click play on Zack Snyder’s Justice League it becomes painfully obvious how different it is from the theatrical cut. This version of the film pretty has much the same story as the theatrical cut, but it is told differently, giving a fresh experience for fans to enjoy. Snyder separates the film in seven chapters, including an Epilogue that features the new (but out-of-place) Knightmare sequence. We also get to see Batman and Wonder Woman assemble the Justice League the way Snyder intended.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League features some really good performances. Ben Affleck is back as Bruce Wayne/Batman and the version of the character we get is drastically different from his theatrical cut counterpart. His portrayal is very similar to his appearance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and Affleck works really well when interacting with the team, especially Gal Gadot’s Diana Prince. Diana is a force of nature and proves herself as the most badass Justice League member when she suits up as Wonder Woman. The actress had some of the best moments in the film and you’re definitely going to want to see her go toe-to-toe with Steppenwolf as her action sequences are absolutely fantastic. The film features the rebirth of Henry Cavill’s Superman and all of the cringeworthy moments from Joss Whedon’s Justice League have been removed. Here, Cavill is comfortable in the role and you can tell every time he’s on screen.
Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher and Ezra Miller were also done a major disservice with the theatrical cut of Justice League. The theatrical version of the film got rid of some very important moments that set up their future in the DC Extended Universe and the Snyder Cut restores them. Ray Fisher‘s Cyborg is truly the heart of the Snyder Cut. Fisher starts out a bit emotional but rightfully so. Victor Stone’s entire world was changed after becoming Cyborg, something that would make anyone emotional, and Fisher kills it. Meanwhile, Miller gets to finally show off his Flash chops, delving into the insane world of the Speed Force. Miller is quirky, hilarious and makes the role of Barry Allen his own. Momoa was great in the theatrical cut of Justice League so it’s safe to say that he gets even better here. His role is totally expanded and we get to see how Snyder wanted to set up his Aquaman solo film.
Justice League features some amazing heroes teaming up, but they have to face a dire threat that comes in the form of Steppenwolf and Darkseid. Serving as the main villain, Steppenwolf is totally different this time around. This version of Steppenwolf has a new look and a better backstory. He’s also absolutely brutal. There’s a scene in the film that has one of the goriest moments I’ve ever seen in a live-action superhero project. Darkseid didn’t make it into the theatrical cut of Justice League, stripping away Steppenwolf’s motivations. In the Zack Snyder Cut, Steppenwolf is on a mission to collect the three Mother Boxes to make amends with Darkseid after failing him on numerous occasions. Ciaran Hinds voices Steppenwolf and the cadences and tones in his voice make the villain more frightening than ever. While the film features the DCEU debut of Darkseid, the franchise’s equivalent to Thanos, he isn’t in the film that much. However, Darkseid has a major presence throughout and I think that DC fans will be excited to see him in the Snyder Cut when it premieres on HBO Max. I know I’m excited to watch the film again.
Overall Thoughts: Zack Snyder’s Justice League is everything you want it to be and then some. The film perfectly restores Zack Snyder’ vision of the DC Extended Universe and makes you wonder what could have happened if Warner Bros. let the director finish what he started. The film has some choice language, so it isn’t exactly for kids, but it’s something that any adult DC fan can enjoy. I honestly can’t believe how good Justice League actually is.
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