Updated: March 24, 2021 1:48:30 pm
Zack Snyder’s Justice League cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, and Ezra Miller, Amy Adams, Ciarán Hinds, Ray Porter, Jeremy Irons
Zack Snyder’s Justice League director: Zack Snyder
Zack Snyder’s Justice League rating: Four stars.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a superhero epic of gargantuan proportions that involves godlike invaders from outer space fighting godlike heroes in the battle for the earth, but also pauses to reflect on human emotions, loss, and redemption.
Many have said this already, and let this scribe reiterate, Snyder Cut is without question vastly superior to the bland corporate Frankenstein’s monster that we got in 2017. The reason is, despite a huge scale and set pieces, the film never forgets to give a personal touch to its superheroes. Apart from the DC trinity of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman, rest of the Justice League members got a short shrift in the original.
In Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Cyborg, Aquaman and the Flash don’t feel like afterthoughts that are just there to complete the team. They are fleshed-out and fully developed, thanks to footage that did not make it to the theatrical version, allowing more investment into the characters and story.
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But in defence of Joss Whedon, who had the thankless job of reshooting and doing VFX of a majority of the movie in only a few months, it took more than 4 hours of footage for Snyder to make a Justice League movie that did not feel it was Avengers-lite.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is set after Batman v Superman. The Last Son of Krypton is dead after sacrificing himself in the battle against Doomsday in Batman v Superman’s third act. Batman, again believing there is some good in humanity, creates Justice League by finding and recruiting metahumans (DC’s in-universe term for superheroes). He believes there is an impending threat to the world, which he has seen that in his dreams (read the Knightmare sequence in Batman v Superman).
And thus, Justice League is born. Steppenwolf, looking very different with some sort of sentient armour jutted with spikes, arrives, and the whole shebang with the Mother Boxes begins. Even Darkseid shows up a couple of times, and it will be breathtaking for fans to see the iconic Lord of Apokolips finally being portrayed in live-action.
Even together, the League looks as if it will be easily overpowered by Steppenwolf and his parademons. So the need of Superman’s resurrection. He is resurrected and basically Hulks out on the whole team, overpowering them with ridiculous ease. It is similar to the theatrical cut, minus the forced comedic elements and, mercifully, that horrifying upper lip of Henry Cavill.
It all ends in a big finale, in which Superman shows up just when all looks lost. As already said above, the plot outline is largely the same. The film just feels more coherent.
Sadly, a few things remain unchanged. Steppenwolf is still not a very compelling villain, despite this version giving him a small backstory. The design of the character is also questionable. In comics, Steppenwolf is a very human-looking character with a French beard. What was the need of plastering him over with a CGI layer that makes him look more comical than threatening? It is also a complete waste of an actor of Ciarán Hinds’ calibre.
Darkseid’s design and voice makes him look a much better villain of the two, even though he is there only to observe his uncle and minion Steppenwolf’s invasion of the earth. The use of CGI on him makes more sense as its appearance in the movie is pretty close to the comics version. His eyes burn with hatred, but also intelligence. We will most likely not see the conclusion to his arc, but having this Darkseid squaring off against the League would have been a dream come true for DC fans.
Amazons still wear bikini-armour in battle, leaving their torsos without any protection. Their costumes were clearly designed keeping the male gaze in mind, and it is a massive step backwards from how they were outfitted in Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman movies.
The banter and chemistry among Justice League members is still strictly fine, and often yawn-inducing. Whedon did that better, if not anything else. The pace also suffers at times, and the runtime, if you are curious, is punishing. It is divided into chapters, and that helped. Snyder’s love for slow-motion, which he uses even when it adds nothing to the visual experience, does not help. CGI is much better, but can look a bit off every now and then.
All that aside, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a comicbook fan’s dream come true. Despite Snyder’s indulgences, its visuals, splendour, scale make it a worthwhile Justice League story. As a 300 million dollar dramatisation of the Super Friends cartoon? There are worse ways to spend time.
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