Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)

"I don’t care how many demons he’s fought in how many hells. He’s never fought us, not us united.""I don’t care how many demons he’s fought in how many hells. He’s never fought us, not us united."

“I don’t care how many demons he’s fought in how many hells. He’s never fought us, not us united.”

What a difference a vision makes. What a difference a vision makes with studio interference when they bring in an entirely different director with a completely different style and energy that affects the entirety of the cast and crew. What may work for one studio won’t necessarily work for the next. Marvel and DC will never put out the same content in both style and tone, it’s a fever dream that the fandom must accept and learn to enjoy all the glorious content that is created. This is the golden age of comic book movies and shows. Since 2013 with Man of Steel, DC and Warner Bros have been playing “catch up” to the unfathomable success of the MCU. Again, what may work for Marvel with more comedy and a lighter family friendly tone, isn’t going to work for DC with their darker in nature storylines and their denser characters. 

At this point, we all know the stories surrounding the theatrical version of Justice League. Director Zack Snyder upon nearly completing his film had to step down due to the terrible loss of his daughter. Warner decided to bring in Avengers & Avengers: Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon to rewrite the script to add more comedy and lighthearted dialogue. In doing so, the entire film’s tone changed, and the result is an utter disappointment to the fans, to Zack Snyder and to the greatest superheroes every created-on page and screen.  In the time since the release of 2017’s theatrical version of Justice League a lot of controversy has been released about the treatment of certain cast members by the studio and their stand in director.

Enter… the fans. Social media has exploded with the now famous hashtag #releasethesnydercut throughout all platforms. Unrelenting and hyper supportive to see the directors cut (an enigma that was thought to have existed in its entirety but in reality, needed more work), the fans petitioned to bring Zack Snyder’s Justice League back from the dead into existence. By the graces and powers that be – mostly HBO Max trying to plant their flag in the streaming wars, Zack Snyder’s original vision for his Justice League finally came out. 

“I’m not broken. And I’m not alone.”

Not much is different between the theatrical cut and Zack Snyder’s cut as far as the bones of the movie. It’s essentially the same movie but, the differences between the two are palpable. For one, much of the theatrical version is what Zack shot – it was just edited and stripped down to almost a fraction of his true vision. From the very first scenes what sets off the events of this film all begins with the death of Superman (Henry Cavill). His screams activate the mother boxes alerting all invaders to Earth.  The story is the same – Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) leads an army of Parademons to unite the three mother boxes thus creating the unity. It’s DC’s version of the Infinity Saga – it doesn’t really matter.  

Faced with guilt, Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) goes on to recruit the other members of the Justice League along with Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot). 

The difference here is now we understand Steppenwolf’s purpose and motivation for this mission. He has clearly made mistakes he is desperate to atone for where his master Darkseid (Ray Porter) doesn’t believe he will succeed. In the theatrical cut, Steppenwolf is just a mindless soldier with no purpose and Darkseid had zero presence. The Snyder Cut instantly gives more depth to the villains than Joss Whedon did previously. Just look at the character design, this new Steppenwolf is more appealing and more badass than his previous iteration.

It’s difficult to not compare the two versions to each other but its almost necessary. The same can be said about Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice and the Ultimate edition. The Ultimate Edition is far superior to the theatrical that fills in the gaps and plot holes (to a point). Every scene in The Snyder Cut is different in some way while the scene is structured in the same way. More so to that The Snyder Cut expands on characters that had zero depth in the theatrical cut. 

“How do you know your team’s strong enough? If you can’t bring down the charging bull, then don’t wave the red cape at it.”

Acting as the heart and soul of Zack Snyder’s Justice League is Victor Stone/Cyborg (Ray Fisher). He’s given a true fleshed out and developed origin story that is non-existent in the theatrical version. This is his movie – his story is powerful, tragic and filled with inspiration. The care that is put into his character is leagues beyond what was given to him in 2017. What we get with The Snyder Cut is a more focused approach to this character and his heartbreaking relationships with his father Silas Stone (Joe Morton) and mother Elinore Stone (Karen Bryson).

Due to Warner and DC’s attempt to catch up to the MCU, The Snyder Cut serves as the origin story for three of its Justice League members – Cyborg, Barry Allen/The Flash (Ezra Miller), & Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa). This is where the DCEU has failed mostly. A team up film like this or Avengers shouldn’t have their heroes origin stories told among the larger looming battle. Granted, Avengers introduced two new characters, but their origins are spread out among the 23 films.  

Just like Cyborg, the Flash is vastly improved in The Snyder Cut. Serving as the comedic character, this time the humor in his dialogue feels more natural and organic than in the theatrical cut. He has a purpose in this film – not just pushing a family of four beyond the city limits (thank goodness that Russian family wasn’t Snyder). 

 If The Snyder Cut can be described in one word, that word is ambitious. It’s four hours long – an hour longer than Avengers: Endgame and a half hour longer than The Irishman. With the length that it is, the pacing is nearly perfect. There are certain scenes that could have been cut to bring the timing down below 3 and a half including the Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg) and Deathstroke (Joe Manganiello) conversation that is setting up a movie that’s no longer happening. The Barry saves Iris West (Kiersey Clemons) is easily predictable that doesn’t add to the Flash’s developed character that we get later on. 

It’s no secret Zack Snyder’s favorite storytelling tool is slow-motion in his action sequences. He creates these visual powerhouses that you can’t help but be in awe of. It’s frankly overused in The Snyder Cut. Every moment has some sort of slow-motion involved – we get it Zack not everything needs Slow-motion, and it could have cut down the run time even further. Some scenes need that slow-motion especially with Flash and their glorious scenes. 

Coming away from The Snyder Cut one question begs to be asked. Why? Why did Warner create this chaos that led to this moment? Couldn’t they just not bring in Joss, have the theatrical cut be the same but edited differently to keep the characters that were necessary to the story in the actual story. What purpose did this serve? It served the fans because we get to bask in its glory but why was all of this necessary? It’s truly baffling if you really think about it. Every character is better in Snyder’s vision. Every character has more sincere moments both individually and with each other. It’s hard to believe that the Batman and Flash conversation about saving one person wasn’t Snyder’s – what a powerful moment between two people that doesn’t happen in this version. 

I loved every minute in Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the only Justice League movie that exists in not only my mind but in a lot of people’s. Snyder delivered on his promise – to give us his true vision even if the point is moot and the story won’t continue. If anything is true, Snyder loves these characters, and he understands them more then we could possibly imagine. Calling back to Man of Steel, giving us the black suit (minus the long hair), this is the Superman and Justice League we all deserved. 4 out of 5. 

So, tell me, have you seen The Snyder Cut and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think. 

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is directed by Zack Snyder is Rated R and has a 74% on Rotten Tomatoes. Zack Snyder’s Justice League was released on March 18, 2021 and has a runtime of 4 hours and 2 minutes. Zack Snyder’s Justice League can be streamed on HBO Max.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: