Score : 80 / 100
Watchable Minutes: I think the entire 4 hr run time is worth watching for the pure spectacle of it all. It’s a neat piece of moviemaking and social history that’s worth a watch, at least once. Maybe split it into two viewings.
Trailer Comparison : There were so many trailers for this movie, I can’t decide which one to compare it to. They all match their respective versions, but the Snyder Cut version is the best.
Movie or Film : Even though Warner Bros. came around and allowed Zack Snyder to come back and finish his creative vision, this is still a movie. There’s no overarching message here to dissect.
- Run time : 4 hrs 2 minutes
- Studio : Warner Brothers
- Director : Zack Snyder
- Where to Watch : HBO Max
Not long after the events of Batman V. Superman, an ancient power has awoken. Three devices of ancient and extraterrestrial origin reside on Earth, with the power to create and destroy the fabric of the universe. Seeking to return to his masters favor, Steppenwolf arrives on Earth to claim his prize. While Steppenwolf wreaks havoc across the lands of myth and men, Bruce Wayne struggles to recruit the mightiest defenders of Earth to turn the tide of the coming battle.
I don’t think that I can review this version of Justice League in my typical format. There’s a lot to unpack here so I’ll cover that first and then I’ll share my thoughts about this version of the movie.
First off, Zack Snyder has a divisive filmography, there’s nothing to debate about that. He’s done movies like 300 and Man of Steel, which I thoroughly enjoyed. Then he’s done movies like Batman v. Superman : Dawn of Justice and Sucker Punch, which I thoroughly did not enjoy. There’s plenty of reasons to love or hate him as a director, but I think what makes a Snyder project redeemable is that he really cares about the source material and tries to make something that people will enjoy. Because of that, I’m willing to give any project he works on a fair shot. I feel like that’s where a lot of the good will towards the Snyder Cut comes from. Back in 2017, Snyder’s family suffered the loss of a child and he wasn’t able to continue working on the post production for Justice League. Totally understandable, and I applaud Snyder for leaving to take care of his family and himself.
This is pure speculation, but I think that about halfway through production is where things started to go wrong for the theatrical release of Justice League. Warner Bros. and DC have a terrible track record with live action comic book adaptations. The studio probably caught some of the dailies and started to panic about another potential box office bomb. Meanwhile, Marvel had just completed three of their best movies yet : Spider-Man Homecoming, Thor Ragnarok, and Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2. This should have been a wake up call to Warner Bros. and it sort of was, but it just started a chain reaction of poor decisions. So what were they going to do? Sit back and let a proven director work while offering support and resources? Of course not! Their first idea was to hamstring Snyder into a shorter run time. Their second bright idea was to bring in the guy who directed The Avengers to add some of that “Marvel Magic” in reshoots and other creative aspects.
What Warner Bros. fails to understand to this day, is that the Marvel movies work because they are the product of the many people who work on them and they all have a genuine respect for the source material. The directors are allowed to be creative and play in their own sandbox for the movie. Wonder Woman started to trend in the right direction, but fell off a cliff after WW84. They think that because they bring in a big name director, that ought to be enough. But they have to set up the director for success by allowing their vision to be fulfilled and by staying out of their way. Studio interference is nothing new and for a studio as old as they are, you’d think they’d get it by now. Maybe with the success of this new version, they’ll get the hint. I think I’ve done enough rambling in this drama recap. Let’s move on to my thoughts about the Snyder Cut.
The first thing you see when you watch the Snyder Cut is that it is presented in 4:3 aspect ratio. That’s a big “meh” from me. I have a 58″ tv in my living room and would have preferred the typical wide screen format. The color tones looked different too, more in line with a typical Snyder movie with greys and greens mixed throughout. While not my favorite presentation for a movie, it was more what I was expecting and very clearly more in line with Snyder’s original vision.
As for what was included in the run time, I didn’t care enough about this movie to painstakingly write down all the differences for this post. If you want that, I’m sure Buzzfeed already has a clickbait video on Snapchat Discover you can watch. There’s too much material to sift through and I wanted to share something that’s a little more relaxed and easy to follow. My overall thoughts about the movie was that for every questionable scene in the original, Snyder either repackaged it or added two better scenes. There was a lot of effort put into righting the wrongs done to Ray Fisher’s Cyborg. He was allowed to be human again, instead of just a bit character to move the plot along. Martian Manhunter made a couple appearances, which was cool to see as I’ve been a longtime fan since I first saw him on the Cartoon Network animated Justice League series (Now if they can just get Hawkgirl and a good Green Lantern they’ll be all set).
There were a lot of other things added to fill in the gaps and make a more cohesive movie, which brought the overall score up. The obvious one to talk about is Darkseid. As a fan of the late 90s Superman animated series, I enjoyed Darkseid being on the big screen. He seemed to be well thought out with his limited screen time. It certainly left me wanting more Justice League at the end of the movie. Beyond Darkseid, I really liked the new score from Junkie XL. It felt angry and badass at all the right moments, which fit in nicely with this R rated Justice League. It needed to be angry and I think it fit the bill well.
As for what I did not like, I still don’t understand the Knightmare epilogue. Which Earth are we on? Why is Batman running around with Deathstroke and the Joker? Why did Superman suddenly abandon his morals after the unspoken death of Lois Lane? Why are they still trying to make Jared Leto and Amber Heard happen? I want them out of this franchise for good. Just pretend they don’t exist or pull a Rhodey from Marvel. I don’t care, but I’m sick of seeing both of them. Lastly, I want to know why they ended the movie with Batfleck meeting up with Martian Manhunter in his pajamas. He could have been doing something else, or asleep at the batcomputer in his suit. That happens often enough in the comics, so why not here? It just seemed a little lazy to me.
Overall, I’m still fascinated by the whole event that is the Snyder Cut and want to learn more about the production hell, but I don’t know if I ever will. I would have given the original Justice League a paltry 41/100 if I had been reviewing movies way back in 2017. I feel that all the polish and care that went into the Snyder Cut has really turned me around on the movie and I feel comfortable awarding it a healthy 80/100. It just feels like a better movie and I want Zack Snyder to come back and make a follow up. He’s earned my respect for keeping his integrity and making his version a reality. It’s a comic book movie, so just turn your brain off and enjoy.
If you like this, check out :
- Man of Steel
- The Flashpoint Paradox
- Justice League : Doom