To expand upon my quick thoughts in the video, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is the director’s cut of the 2017 superhero film Justice League made for HBO Max. It presents the story of the formation of the titular superhero team as director Zack Snyder had intended it before he left the production without any of the footage shot by Joss Whedon. The story follows Batman and Wonder Woman after the events of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice as they attempt to recruit other heroes to save the world from the catastrophic threat of Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons after the death of Earth’s greatest hero, Superman. The film stars Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Henry Cavill, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, Ciarán Hinds, Joe Morton, Harry Lennix, Jared Leto, Joe Manganiello, Ray Porter, Peter Guinness, Amber Heard, J. K. Simmons, Zheng Kai, Connie Nielsen, Diane Lane, and Kiersey Clemons.
To start this is a superior film to the version released in 2017. I still don’t understand why Warner Bros. didn’t stick with Zack’s original story. The plan he had for bringing these characters together plays out better in this version. The pacing is overall better, but some scenes do feel like they drag on (more on that later). There is however a point to this. Zack may never direct another film in the DCEU so he is practically dumping all of his footage into this one project. The extended length however works for a streaming service such as HBO Max. The film is broken up into chapters to give viewers perfect times to stop and take a break so that they can return to watch more later. If this was released theatrically, I would understand trimming it down to maybe 3 hours (which I think is the perfect length for this film), but honestly it didn’t even feel like a 4-hour movie! Most of the extra footage is there to flesh out the new characters and their backstories.
The characters who get the most additional storylines in this cut are Steppenwolf and Victor Stone/Cyborg. You actually understand why Steppenwolf is invading Earth and why he is an outcast on Apokalips. His plan makes more sense with how he can locate the mother boxes and what these items have the power to do. With Victor we get to understand more of who this character was before his accident and how he came to be the cyborg he is today. We also get to see what his powers can really do in terms of interacting with computers and other technology. There is also more interaction between Arthur, Mera and Vulko as well as a scene where Barry meets Iris. Barry is also more adept at using his powers than shown in the theatrical cut.
The cinematography is beautiful as expected with a Zack Snyder film. There are wide ranging shots showing off the entire landscape of where the characters are the really gives the viewer a sense of location and scale. The action sequences in this film are a bit longer giving the audience time to thoroughly enjoy what’s going on in front of them. Fitting perfectly within the 1.33:1 aspect ratio. Some of these sequences can be brutal which in addition to the two f-words lends to the R rating. Needless to say, this version could just as easily be edited down to PG-13 if they ever wanted to release it that way. Most of the CGI is groundbreakingly beautiful, but there are some parts where it is noticeably weak (more on that later).
As with most films there are a few negatives. I didn’t enjoy Junkie XL’s score as much as I’d hoped. I feel what made the scores of Man of Steel and Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice so great were the involvement of Hans Zimmer. Wonder Woman’s new theme for instance is not as great as the one used in the characters original introduction. A few scenes do drag on unnecessarily long that could have been cut down and some of the slomo sequences weren’t needed. Back to the CGI, it is clear that Zack (with his limited budget) needed to choose which scenes to put more money into and I think he made the right choice. Darkseid, Desaad, and Steppenwolf look phenomenal while a certain surprise character and some of the creatures in the Knightmare timeline look less polished.
To end on a good note, I need this storyline completed asap! Every character was fully fleshed out with more than enough seeds placed for future solo films! I could watch an entire movie set in the Knightmare timeline. Give me more of Jared Leto’s Joker because his back and forth with Batman was perfect! Speaking of which, I need the Ben Affleck Batman movie like yesterday and I need the Joe Manganiello Deathstroke movie last week! I give Zack Snyder’s Justice League an Excellent 9.7/10. The Snyder Cut is just a better-quality film than the theatrical release (which I no longer consider canon). At most it’s an alternate timeline the Flash created. It would be a grave mistake for Warner Bros. not to continue from the elements presented in this film. Please restore the SnyderVerse!