Director: Zack Snyder
Starring: Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Willem Dafoe, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons
Before I get started with this review of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, I would like to make it clear that this is a SPOILER-FREE review.
I think the best word to describe Zack Snyder’s Justice League is redemption.
Whilst watching this four-hour-long monolith of a movie, I kept on thinking that this movie was all about redemption.
Not only redemption for Zack Snyder, but redemption for all the members of Justice League too, and the actors that play them.
There’s been so many articles and videos dedicated to what went on behind the scenes that resulted in Snyder leaving the project to begin with and Warner Bros. bringing in Joss Whedon to bring it all together.
What I can safely say after watching Snyder’s cut of the film is that this makes Whedon’s 2017 movie look dreadful.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is all about redemption… just not for Joss Whedon
OK, there’s not much reason to go over the film’s plot, because the plot is the same as the 2017 film that I’m sure most of you have seen already.
So, I won’t go over the full plot save to say that Superman has died and Batman is trying to bring a team of superheroes together to face an unknown threat.
That’s all you need really, and maybe the plot is the first thing I should mention in this review.
Back in 2017, I distinctly remember thinking that the plot of Justice League was a mess.
Well, this time around, four-hours after having watched Zack Snyder’s version, I can inform you that the plot is completely coherent.
Yep. This superhero movie makes perfect sense, and I would argue that it’s actually really well-paced despite its slightly extensive length
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is long… but is it too long…?
Yes, this is a long movie. I mean, finding four hours to fit this movie in isn’t easy.
That said, with us pretty much being stuck inside these days, this movie might be seen as a bit of a blessing.
At least it’s filling in four hours we might have otherwise spent just staring through the window thinking of the days when we didn’t even know what a coronavirus was.
What I would say is that this film actually warrants its run time because it allows for so much more character development and I feel that the story required it.
I know this might sound like crazy talk, but even when the four hours were coming to an end, I kept on thinking that I would happily watch another hour of this film (don’t tell my wife that).
The fact that the movie was split into six parts and an epilogue also really helped.
It made them feel like chapters or episodes, and I think that helped a lot with the film’s pacing.
At no point did I feel bored or was begging for the film to end.
Now, I can’t say the same thing with Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and even Man Of Steel to a certain extent.
Studio interference might be the problem with the DCEU – not Zack Snyder
I felt like those movies dragged, and maybe it was because of studio interference.
Perhaps if we learn anything from Zack Snyder’s Justice League it’s that directors and filmmakers kind of know what they’re doing.
If a filmmaker says their film needs to be four hours long, then maybe let them make it four hours long.
When you cut down a movie, what you tend to cut is the character and plot development.
Without that, the movie could feel rushed and characters’ decisions and actions might not make sense.
I think that was the case with Joss Whedon’s Justice League (or ‘Josstice League‘).
That movie was 120 minutes long, which isn’t even half of Snyder’s film’s runtime.
Snyder’s movie clocks in at 242 minutes.
Imagine trying to cut out more than half of your film’s runtime?
It’s impossible. The film would make no sense, and it kind of didn’t.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League looks so much better
I know I said that I wouldn’t mention key plot points in this review, and I won’t.
However, what I will say is that the real heart of this movie is Ray Fisher’s Cyborg, and it was many of his scenes that were cut from the Whedon version.
Therefore, the 2017 movie didn’t have its heart.
Snyder’s film brings back the heart and I have to say that Fisher’s performance is excellent in this film.
I would say that all the performances are brilliant, from the core Justice League that is.
There are some iffy acting moments and some rather odd decisions they took for some of the characters.
I still think that Ezra Miller’s Flash is slightly too annoying.
He’s a fish out of water character, which I get, but it’s a bit too on the nose for me.
However, I do have to mention Amber Heard’s turn in this film, which I found to be very distracting, and not in a good way.
For some reason, in all her scenes, she puts on a terrible English accent which I cannot for the life of me understand why they did that.
She doesn’t have that accent in Aquaman, and it really took me out of the movie.
I also had some issues with Jared Leto’s performance as the Joker, but I won’t go into too many details on that point.
I will say that he’s a lot better in this movie than he was in Suicide Squad.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a huge success
I’m going to be honest, going into this film, I really wasn’t expecting to like it, but I really did.
Yes, it’s long. Yes, it’s a silly superhero movie.
But, it gave me everything I could have ever asked for from a Justice League film and more.
It gave me a team I wanted to root for. It gave me a good villain in Steppenwolf (who’s so much better in this movie by the way).
The film also gave me a tantalising look at Darkseid, and I am desperate to see more from him in a sequel (hopefully).
This film feels like it’s been made by someone who not only loves the source material and the comic book movie genre but also cinema.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League feels like it could be a movie that Martin Scorsese would go and watch and say, “You know what, that wasn’t half bad”.
It’s not like your usual Marvel movie fair, and that’s what is so good about it.
Snyder’s Justice League is giving us something different
We need something different in the comic book movie genre.
It doesn’t all have to be like how Marvel Studios does it.
It can be different. Superheroes can be compared to Gods (which is something Snyder loves to do).
OK, it has its problems. There were one too many slow-motion scenes for me, and also a few too many Leonard Cohen-type songs.
However, I loved it. I loved every second of the film, and I really didn’t expect to.
Please, bear in mind that this is coming from someone who really didn’t care for Man Of Steel, Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and especially not Suicide Squad.
Interestingly enough, this film felt a lot more like Watchmen to me – which I believe to be one of Snyder’s best films – both in style and in tone.
Sometimes filmmakers do know best
I think a good way to look at it is if you were to watch the entirety of WandaVision and then Zack Snyder’s Justice League, which one would you feel more rewarded by?
They both have similar themes. They’re both in the comic book movie genre, and they both end with big battles.
However, I can’t help but think that I was more satisfied by Justice League.
I genuinely want to see more from that world, and I felt slightly indifferent after finishing WandaVision.
So, yes. I would say that Zack Snyder’s Justice League is actually a huge success.
It goes a long way in demonstrating that sometimes the filmmaker does know best, and not the movie studios.
I suppose I have to end this review by saying #RestoreTheSnyderVerse.
Never thought I’d ever say that!
Special thanks to James Simon for helping me put my thoughts in order for this review.
What do you make of this review?
Have you watched Zack Snyder’s Justice League?
If so, let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
What do you make of this story? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages! And if you enjoy listening to film podcasts, why not check out our podcasts, Small Screen Stories and Small Screen Film Club wherever you get your podcasts!