Movie Reviews

Review: ZACK SNYDER’S JUSTICE LEAGUE Is Long, Flawed, But Still Good

In ZACK SNYDER’S JUSTICE LEAGUE, determined to ensure Superman’s (Henry Cavill) ultimate sacrifice was not in vain, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) aligns forces with Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) with plans to recruit a team of metahumans to protect the world from an approaching threat of catastrophic proportions. The task proves more difficult than Bruce imagined, as each of the recruits must face the demons of their own pasts to transcend that which has held them back, allowing them to come together, finally forming an unprecedented league of heroes. Now united, Batman (Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and The Flash (Ezra Miller) may be too late to save the planet from Steppenwolf, DeSaad and Darkseid and their dreadful intentions.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League Trailer:

Zack Snyder’s Justice League Review:

The Good:

Director Zack Snyder did what he does best when it came to both the action and visuals. The special effects are stunning and rather hard to turn away from when on display. A number of moments like The Flash’s scenes or the gigantic battles really pop with the bright colors clashing against the darker settings. I think this praise can also be applied to the CGI used in the film. I can’t say that it was always the best, but if we’re comparing it to the theatrical version, this was a significant improvement. Having the darker colored tones in the film was a great way to hide some of the imperfections of the CGI, and that was accomplished here.

One of the best highlights of the Zack Snyder’s Justice League can be found in the huge battles in the film. Every single fight was like an extravaganza of special effects. The Amazons have some amazing scenes in the opening of the film and the battle from the past with the world vs Darkseid was even better. The latter battle did have some Lord of the Ring vibes to it but, even so, it was a pretty cool moment. Comic fans will appreciate the cameos from familiar DC heroes or entities. I should also mention the final fight was carried out nicely. I thought Steppenwolf posed as a formidable challenge to the heroes throughout the entire film. His faceoff with them in the final battle was nothing short of brutal.

Another positive for the Snyder Cut is the additional backstory for some of the characters. Thanks to a more consistent tone, much of the drama associated with the characters can be realized a bit more. The additional stories helped to provide better context as to what these heroes are all about. While the Flash and Aquaman get a bit more shine in this, the major heart of the film is indeed Cyborg. It’s a shame that Ray Fisher had so many of his scenes cut out of the previous Justice League, because these new scenes in the Snyder cut did his character justice. Not only did they make his character more relatable, but this film demonstrated why he was such a valuable member of the team.

The Bad:

The first and most obvious issue with this film is probably in that 4 hour run time. The primary reason is because there are a number of instances where scenes could have been cut short or completely removed altogether. For instance, it’s rather unnecessary to have some creepy weird girl singing about Aquaman as she sniffs his sweater. We already know that the local towns people adore him and hold him to high level. You have scenes like this that I believe add more fat to this film that could be easily trimmed out without compromising Snyder’s vision. While one could argue that these elements contribute to his goal, the old saying of “more is not always better” can also refute that.

Another issue with this film is the writing. For the most part, the story works and we do know the intentions and goal that Snyder was aiming for. However, the path to get there is rather bumpy. I’ll ignore some of the more cheesy superhero lines that a character like Deadpool would poke fun at. I’d argue that you have a bit of another “Martha moment” with the supposed connection of the mother boxes to Superman. Beyond that, you’ll have scenes that simply don’t mesh well, and feel like they are shoehorned in for other reasons. For example, one of the major nightmare scenes feels as though it was placed just to highlight a certain villain rather than actually adding something substantial to the story. Stuff like this contributes to my previous point about how some scenes in this film could’ve easily been deleted.

When it came to the characters, there were only two that I had minor problems with. I previously mentioned that the visuals in this movie were really good, but none of that made up for how terrible Flash looks while running. No amount of crazy lightning and slow motion was going to help. Seriously…it’s wack and he looks goofy as hell. I’m also a bit thrown off with the depiction of Superman in the final scenes of the film. You had a moment of sheer cockiness that almost made him look more like a bully than a hero. Does it work in isolation for this one fight to get fans hyped up? Sure. Yet, when you look at all the work put into making him almost a gentle giant, Christ-like figure ever  since Man of Steel, it felt like a departure from all that invested character development.

Speaking of slow motion, Snyder went a bit overboard with it here. The issue here is that it’s just an overplayed technique that begins to lose its effect the more frequently it’s used. Don’t get me wrong. I think slow motion works very well in many of the speedster scenes. It makes sense to slow down the visuals for a moment in the action that normally would be too hard for the normal eye to follow. In this case, we’ve got a number of moments where the slow motion effect over dramatizes moments. I mean do we really need to see Aquaman walking in slow motion to drink his whisky? Do we really need a whole flashback of a football game in slow motion? Do the superheroes really have to be in slow motion to do their superhero hero poses and stare off into the sky? It just comes off a bit corny at this stage in the comic book movie game.

The Verdict:

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is the unfiltered work of a filmmaker’s vision for the world to see. It’s also an example of what happens when big ideas go completely unchecked. There’s typically little reason for any movie to be four hours long in duration. Can it work in some occasions? Sure. However, other factors come into play like the story, subject matter, and more importantly, the person telling the story. While Snyder’s a fantastic visual story teller, his grand ideas sometimes become a bit exhaustive and this film was no exception.

You can approach this version of Justice League in a similar way as Batman V Superman: Ultimate Edition. The same way the ultimate edition expanded the narrative and told a slightly more cohesive story than the theatrical release, the Snyder Cut accomplishes the same feat with Justice League. The major difference is that the gap between the theatrical cut and this Snyder Cut is much wider because the previous Justice League movie was doctored under an entirely different director (and significantly less footage).

It’s practically impossible not to compare this to the previous theatrical release of Justice League by Joss Whedon. In an ideal world, we should forget about that one, and judge Snyder’s version. (I’d actually recommend NOT revisiting the previous Justice League for that very reason.) To be honest, it almost feels unfair to compare the two because the previous movie was just that bad in hindsight.

Nevertheless, I do believe that the Snyder Cut is worth the watch. It’s makes a big difference to be able to watch this the comfort of your own home. You also don’t have to watch the entire film in one sitting. It’s is broken up into six chapters, so you can plan to watch it at your own leisure. I’ll admit, unless you’re a hardcore fan of Snyder, that long runtime does affect the rewatchability of the film. If you loved Man of Steel and Batman V Superman, then you’re in store for a treat with more characters and spectacle. Either way, feel free to give Zack Snyder’s Justice League a watch on HBO Max.

Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: Chris Terrio (screenplay by), Zack Snyder
Stars: Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Ezra Miller
Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be available on HBO Max Thursday March 18, 2021.  Be sure to follow E-Man’s Movie Reviews on Facebook, Subscribe on YouTube, or follow me on Twitter/IG @EmansReviews for even more movie news and reviews!

  • Acting - 7/10
  • Cinematography - 8/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 6/10
  • Setting/Theme - 8/10
  • Buyability - 8/10
  • Rewatchability - 5/10
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