“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” finally realizes Zack Snyder’s vision and gives fans the epic DC team-up movie they’ve been drooling for.
For those who don’t know the backstory, there was a ton of behind-the-scenes turmoil on the 2017 film “Justice League.” The director, Snyder, constantly clashed with the studio and eventually walked away after a family tragedy.
Joss Whedon (“The Avengers”) then stepped in and essentially reshot half of the movie to meet a few studio mandates: a runtime of fewer than two hours and a boatload of jokes. However, after the huge online movement #ReleasetheSnyderCut, Warner Brothers allowed Snyder to finish and release his version of the movie.
As a huge fan of “Batman v. Superman” and “Man of Steel,” I was devastated walking out of the theater back in 2017. Whedon’s reshot “Justice League” butchered everything I loved about those films. It threw all the character development out the window in favor of shoving a series of awful jokes down the audience’s throat.
“Justice League” so badly wanted to capture the magic of “The Avengers,” but forgot what made that movie good: an actual coherent plot, amazing action set-pieces, and most importantly, likable, deep characters. “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” instead of trying to clone Marvel, delivers a character-focused, fantasy epic on the scale of “The Lord of the Rings.”
For better or for worse, it’s a behemoth of a movie. The film has roughly eight main characters to juggle, and it’s also the longest movie I’ve ever seen with a runtime of four hours and two minutes. As a result, the pacing can be pretty uneven.
However, this runtime honestly flew by and was well utilized to make me actually care about the plot and the characters. There were definitely some moments that dragged and others that could have been cut, but after such a long wait, I enjoyed every extra second I got to spend in this world with these heroes.
Ben Affleck just might be my favorite onscreen Batman, and this movie got him right. In “Batman v. Superman,” he began as a vengeful, cruel Batman who teetered on the edge of criminality. Superman’s sacrifice changed him and showed him the hero he should be.
This film continues that fantastic arc after Whedon tossed it aside and turned him into a joke. Ben Affleck’s performance is also noticeably better, as he seemed pretty checked-out in the reshot scenes. His dynamic and relationship with Alfred is one of my favorite parts of the whole series.
The Flash and Cyborg are fleshed out much better too. In the original, Cyborg was as bland as they come. Here, he actually gets an emotional character arc, and his complicated relationship with his father is at the forefront of the narrative. The Flash gets the chance to be a hero and not just a walking punchline. He still has a goofy, awkward charm, but now he’s not always the butt of the joke.
The action scenes are also leagues better. There are some fist-pumping team-up shots and a flash-back battle ripped straight from the prologue of “The Fellowship of the Ring.” Snyder has always had a flair for action and has helmed some all-time great scenes (i.e. the warehouse fight in “Batman v. Superman” and all of “300”). While his use of slow-motion can be a bit much at times, it added an epic feel that was sorely lacking in the 2017 film.
Despite a few minor complaints, I’m just so happy this movie exists. Its message of working together despite your differences is very relevant. I also just love these characters, and it’s great to see them done justice. Snyder clearly has a love for them too, and I hope he can continue to make films in this universe.