2017’s Justice League was a massive disappointment.
The widespread critical disaster of the film and the behind-the-scenes drama came to light on social media and from interviews of the cast of Justice League. This sparked the #releasethesnydercut campaign that was also supported by Zack Snyder himself and the talent. In early 2020, Zack Snyder announced that his version of Justice League would be coming to HBOMax in 2021.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League has a runtime of four hours. In those four hours, there is a lot to take in and digest. What Zack Snyder’s Justice League greatly improves on over the 2017 film, is the fleshed-out stories that made you care more of the characters. You have a sense of feel and urgency to see how Batman (Ben Affleck) formed The Justice League this time around and how it greatly affected everyone else. Speaking of Batman, in the 2017 film, he was produced like a Marvel character. On Zack Snyder’s Justice League, all of what made me roll my eyes about Ben Affleck as Batman disappeared. It was a much more believable performance than how it was produced the last time.
I also like that there were several layers added to crafting the stories of Cyborg (Ray Fisher), Flash (Ezra Miller), and even Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds). Speaking of Steppenwolf, his entire look now compared to 2017’s Justice League is a great change. Also, Steppenwolf’s motivations are better understood now since he is working under Darkseid (Ray Porter).
Remember when the 2017 film gave Steppenwolf a backstory? Forget that ever happened because, on Zack Snyder’s Justice League, the backstory scene is heavily focused on Darkseid and the true reason for the three mother boxes’ existence. Those ten minutes are worth seeing over the three minutes of backstory on the original cut. Kudos to Zack Snyder for making Steppenwolf a better villain this time over the original. Steppenwolf also got a better death that made me forget about his 2017 Justice League’s death.
The new scenes that enhanced everyone’s backstory are welcomed as they give enough time for the viewer to want them to see the formation of the Justice League. More so especially of Cyborg and Flash as they are treated as a bigger deal than the original film. They are both no longer treated as side characters pushed aside as the two of them got a large spotlight with the added scenes. Cyborg’s added backstory is tragic and by the time the film is halfway through the sixth part, I was rooting for Cyborg during the climactic battle. Superman (Henry Cavill) is not the one-dimensional superhero that he was on the 2017 film and I like the change and approach of the character development of Superman as well.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is divided into seven parts with the last being the epilogue. The four hours seemed like a daunting task to sit through at a first glance. But it went by quickly for me. If Zack Snyder’s Justice League was released as an episodic series, I would have been totally fine with it as each part finishes and starts at the right time to anticipate the next part. The ending of Zack Snyder’s Justice League also opens the door to a future Batman film starring Ben Affleck.
There are a few nitpicks that I have to address. These did not ruin my viewing experience, but they are some that I picked up on while watching Zack Snyder’s Justice League. The number of slow-motion sequences that happened during this film took me out of the moment several times. I get it, it has to look good especially for a number of Flash’s scenes. But I feel that it is not warranted for almost all of the characters. I was thinking if I was watching Justice League or The Matrix.
Darkseid appears on Zack Snyder’s Justice League several times. I do however wish that he had an encounter with the Justice League other than the climactic battle. There is room for this to happen as it is implied that it will happen in a future DCEU film. My final nitpick, is Joker’s (Jared Leto) appearance. I was wondering the entire time when he would appear. Joker appears in the epilogue and it is going to disappoint you when you realize what happens after his appearance. But his talk with Batman was good and it even made Batman drop an “F” bomb towards Joker. I now believe that Joker’s appearance should have not been revealed in the trailer weeks ago as it should have been a surprise to viewers and fans. But Joker under Snyder’s vision has potential!
With those nitpicks aside, I really love Zack Snyder’s Justice League. This is the version of Justice League I would watch on a normal basis if I wanted to. The four-year wait is totally worth it and the 2017 film can finally be erased from my memory. Zack Snyder’s Justice League is an epic story of art that will stand the test of time years from now. This is the version of Justice League to be remembered and to be cherished!