Film Review: <em> Zack Snyder's Justice League </em>
Mar 29 2021

Film Review: Zack Snyder's Justice League

By: David Vicari

Zack Snyder's Justice League is the director's cut of 2017's compromised Justice League. During the original post production of the DC Comics adaptation, Snyder, the film's original director, left the production due to a family tragedy. Filmmaker Joss Whedon (Marvel's The Avengers, Serenity) came aboard to complete the movie. He handled rewrites and reshoots that were designed to lighten the brooding mood of the film with humor and also comply to the wishes of the studio, Warner Bros., to pare the movie down to a snug two-hours.

Now, we have Snyder's four-hour version that, yes, is an improvement, but is also an overindulgent mess. The basic plot between the two versions is the same. Supervillain Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciarán Hinds) comes to Earth to collect the three Mother Boxes, which, when brought together, have to power to destroy worlds. To foil Steppenwolf's plan, Batman/Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) decides to put together a team of superheroes. On his short list is Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher), and The Flash (Ezra Miller). He would love to have Superman (Henry Cavill) on his "Justice League," but the Man of Steal is dead...or so it appears.

So what is good about the "Snyder Cut?" First, the action scenes are allowed to breathe, making scenes like the Amazons attempting to save their Mother Box or the underground sequence with the Nightcrawler very exciting. The character of Cyborg is fleshed out and makes more sense. The same can be said about Steppenwolf, who also has a better design in this version.

What doesn't work? Too many little Easter eggs for fans and hints for sequels. The newly shot epilogue isn't needed and really feels out of place. It's ineffectual and all it does is pad the already oppressive running time. Then there are those annoying and self-indulgent scenes where Snyder has a song playing with lyrics that are so on the nose of what is happening on screen, like the dumb Flash introduction where he saves a girl from a car crash. Also, some of these introduction scenes for certain characters have no follow-up.

Still, the movie does entertain, even at four hours. So I recommend Zack Snyder's Justice League, but with reservations.

Zack Snyder's Justice League is now streaming exclusively on HBO Max.

** ½ (out of four)

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