Before You Watch: ‘Zack Snyder’s Justice League’

The Snyder Cut is the fifth film released in the DCEU and the original film Snyder intended to create before he left the production after his daughter’s passing. Control was handed over to Josh Whedon, writer-director of Marvel’s “Avengers” (2012) and “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” (2015).

The synopsis, according to IMDB, is: “Determined to ensure Superman’s ultimate sacrifice was not in vain, Bruce Wayne aligns forces with Diana Prince with plans to recruit a team of metahumans to protect the world from an approaching threat of catastrophic proportions.”

With a four-hour duration and availability only on HBO Max, does this movie live up to its hype?

The movie astronomically exceeded the theatrical film released in 2017 and demonstrates what happens when a director is allowed the time and funds to create their vision. From its longer run time, fleshed out character development, beautiful cinematography, excellent direction, outstanding cast performances and IMAX aspect ratio, the Snyder Cut was an exciting experience from start to finish.

Scenes from the 2017 film are present in the cut but offered time to expand upon and originally directed to show the evolution of characters’ dynamics, emotions and qualities. Cyborg, the Flash and Aquaman received this treatment in contrast to their 2017 characterization, while Wonder Woman and Batman are burdened with leadership. Whedon’s forced humor, character alteration and poorly developed storytelling are cleared away, which gives an organic atmosphere.

However, for all the film does, there are some drawbacks to the Snyder Cut. First, the movie is long, and while it is a strength for the director to play out their story, the audience definitely feels the toll. Some scenes drag – particularly with Amy Adam’s Lois Lane – and critics suggest the film should have been split into the proposed hour mini-series. Second, certain CGI scenes are a bit awkward with the characters’ actions as well as portions of Steppenwolf or the Parademons. The CGI does hold up throughout the film to create some beautiful shots but could distract viewers.

Overall, the Snyder Cut was a massive improvement that perfectly captured Snyder’s original vision he intended and set up films that are – or were – planned to be released. Although its duration might scare some audiences and digital scenes distract people, I would recommend audiences split the film into parts to enjoy this epic experience. Justice was finally served for “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” and fulfilled the promises made to fans long ago.

Final Score: four out of five jalapeños!

This film was monumental and historical to witness, especially since this was a five-year movement started by DC fans and advocated on behalf of the director. After the tragedy from the Snyder family and distorted 2017 film, consumer demands were convincing enough to get Warner Bros. executives to reconsider the Snyder Cut’s potentiality. Moreover, Snyder briefed executives about his story and audience’s anticipation. It is important to note the toxic nature some DC fans took when promoting the film, like harassing Warner Bros. and AT&T just to get their points across.

The original scenes, characterizations and settings demonstrated how Whedon unfaithfully rewrote Snyder’s original script. Cyborg, played by Ray Fischer, received a greater and more tragic arc through his struggling relationship with his father and internal battle between being human or machine.            

Ezra Miller’s Flash garners immediate love for his quirky personality and sympathy as he was pushed to the limit to save his teammates. Aquaman, played by Jason Mamoa, is set up as a prodigal son of Atlantis who rejects his royal responsibility to remain a hero for a fishing village. Steppenwolf, the main antagonist, is humanized as a failure from his planet who collects the Mother Boxes to receive redemption from his master, Darkseid. Henry Cavill’s Superman does not have a CGI-removed mustache as in the original film and is not a crutch the Justice League relies on to solve the film’s problem. Wonder Woman and Batman, played by Gal Gadot and Ben Affleck respectively, are characterized as the pillars of the team and recruit the others to selflessly save the planet.

After three years since the theatrical release, I would like to applaud Snyder and the crew for the passion put into the film. Thank you.