IN SHORT - ZACK SNYDER'S JUSTICE LEAGUE
Finally, Justice League has been released in Zack Snyder's image. Its a mammoth 4-hour epic and we finally get to see it as it was intended.
The Snyder's cut packs a strong punch obliterating Whedon's colour coded offering of mediocrity. It's consistent in its dark tone, has pleasant pacing and compelling stories to keep you invested. Such was my commitment to the Snyder Cut the film’s 4-hour duration flew at lightspeed.
The leads are great in the respective roles. Everyone gets their moment in the sun and all the characters are far more fleshed out here than in the theatrical release. Ray Fisher’s Cyborg is the standout here as opposed to Whedon's version that didn't expand on the character's internal struggle with the power he's been given. Also, the father-son dynamic is believable between Fisher and Joe Morton’s character Silas Stone. It's almost criminal to believe that Whedon chose to omit these scenes, leading Fisher to speak his mind regarding Whedon’s haphazard directing and ability to work with his actors.
Steppenwolf looking far more impressive is given far more screen time to flesh out his character. This time having a clear motive, whereas previously he only ever had a few lines to state what his intentions were. Whedon's version of the antagonist has him as a powerful subservient lackey. Snyder breathes new life into Steppenwolf giving the moments of villainy the character deserves. Mercilessly interrogating scientists and Atlantians to uncover the location of the powerful Mother Boxes.
His presence in this film invokes a genuine sense of fear and has you convinced that the impending danger the Earth faces is real.
The movie does meander, but the slight deviation didn’t hinder my enjoyment. For what many consider to be slow unnecessary scenes are what gives this film its depth. Had WB allowed Snyder to finish his film I believe these scenes would still have been included, but purely for the sake of character development. It's also devoid of humour though it makes several attempts through Ezra Miller’s Flash to add some comic relief.
The original plan was to make this version episodic, over 4 chapters, each with a runtime of 60 minutes. Not only would that have helped HBO Max on a subscription basis but the buzz surrounding the film would’ve lasted a lot longer. I for one I’m grateful that it's been released in its entirety. It gives the film a sense of adventure in the same vein as Marvel’s Infinity War and Endgame.
That being said, the movie is already divided into chapters so it's entirely up to you if you wish to watch this film in an episodic fashion as you would an HBO series or in its entirety.
Whilst The Snyder Cut is a vast improvement on the original, it may have created a rod for its own back. This is Snyder's vision, but it feels stand-alone from anything else the DCEU has offered despite having connections to other movies based in the same universe. Justice League will undoubtedly spawn a sequel, but for the sake of continuity, Cavill and Affleck must remain. Far too many conflicting reports regarding their futures playing these iconic characters. You also have Ezra Miller involved in an incident in Iceland, during the lockdown. Judging from the backlash the incident could’ve easily derailed his career, but it looks as if all has been forgiven and The Flash movie (which Affleck is rumoured to appear) will go full steam ahead with production.
This is why Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios (under Disney’s banner) is light years ahead with its IP. Granted they’ve had more time to establish themselves as an industry powerhouse, but the consistency and success speaks for itself.
WB wants to replicate Marvel’s success but the fact the Snyder Cut exists suggests they aren’t clear on what direction they’re going in. Fans are grateful Snyder was able to make his film and the film's critical reception has been good, but where do they go from here?