“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” Offers Some Improvements – Movie Review
After years of waiting, Zack Snyder’s Justice League has been finally released for the masses. And while I doubt it will make someone (who already wasn’t into it) fall in love with the Snyderverse, at least it’s safe to say the Snyder Cut is better than Whedon’s Josstice League (which, when you think about it, isn’t much of a compliment because the bar was low).
Whether you’re a fan of the Snyderverse or not, I think many of us can agree that the drama accompanying Warner Bros’ Justice League is quite intriguing. The way fans from around the world believed in the existence of the Snyder Cut and finally urged TBTB to release it on HBO Max is a Hollywood story I want someone to make a documentary out of.
While the release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League can be looked at as a business decision to drive more paying subscribers to HBO Max, the important point is that the fans got what they wanted. Whether the studio will continue with the Snyderverse is another question. One that I’m interested in learning the answer to.
As for those who rolled their eyes at the absurdity of fans wanting another version released of the critically-panned multi-million dollar superhero film, I remember how many of them said the Snyder Cut wouldn’t be any different than Whedon’s 2017 version. According to said people, it was just going to be a longer version of the same movie, right?
Well, frankly, I have to agree.
Yes, certain story beats were different, but the overall narrative was quite similar. We still got Batman wanting to form a team of superpowered beings to stand against Darkseid’s invasion by preventing the Mother Boxes from being used. We still got Batman deciding to revive Superman. It is the same movie.
However, the differences were in the editing of certain scenes and Snyder being able to allow a handful of scenes to breathe more in his 4-hour long version. Now, the latest version of Justice League did feature Snyder’s obsession with slow-motion sequences. As a movie editor, I would have cut a handful of those moments to shorten the running time, but oh well.
One of the things I liked in Snyder’s version included Cyborg’s character arc. Actor Ray Fisher hasn’t been shy when it comes to calling out how he was treated by TBTB. And having watched the film, I can see where he’s coming from. Cyborg can be defined as the “heart” of Snyder’s Justice League. That’s why seeing a lot of his arc cut from Whedon’s version (along with the exclusion of certain other PoC characters) does come across as suspicious.
Another thing I liked was Diana’s treatment. Whedon’s version got a lot of criticism for giving Diana butt-shots and that unnecessary scene where Flash face-planted into her chest. Snyder’s Wonder Woman came across a lot better. She protected humanity with compassion while also exuding strength as a formidable warrior.
I loved the scene where she killed the terrorists willing to blow up a handful of buildings. Diana realized you can’t be sensible when dealing with such people. They had to be taken off the board to ensure everyone’s safety. The same held true with how the Justice League handled Steppenwolf during the finale. Diana sliced his head off and I cheered. This is the Wonder Woman I want to see more of on the big screen.
Now, if only Warner Bros. can grow brave enough to display Diana’s queer sexuality during major live-action films. The heteronormative romantic love being a major part of the Synderverse can be a bit too much when one of the main team members happens to be a queer woman who has been around for a very long time.
Coming back to the plot, I think the Justice League being more vicious against villains didn’t gel well with Bruce’s behavior. At this point, there’s no reason for the Joker to be alive in the Snyderverse. And as I have said before, Batman’s unwillingness to permanently take down the Joker (especially in the comics) does place some responsibility on Bruce’s shoulders whenever the Joker kills more people.
As for what I didn’t like, Flash moving a strand of Iris’s hair away from her face (without her knowing) was weird even though I think in Snyder’s mind it was supposed to be romantic. The Iris rescue scene also went on for a bit too long. Also, having Barry reverse time felt like a cop-out. If you’re going to give us dark and gritty, then fully commit to giving us dark and gritty.
Fans wanting more Superman might be disappointed. He didn’t appear until the final arc of the narrative. He did wear the black suit, but it was just a color change to make him appear cool instead of it being a suit meant to help Clark heal (as shown in the comics).
Coming to Aquaman… he was okay.
Furthermore, the CG and color correction won’t be for everyone. It’s clear that this isn’t a new movie. Some of the CG used on Cyborg and other fake beings really stood out, and not in a good way.
Now, a big thing in the Snyderverse is the way these superheroes are supposed to come across as Mythical Gods (with their flaws and all) of the modern age. I’m not a fan of that take at all. Diana’s supposed to be the only Goddess or Goddess-adjacent person on the main team and making everyone a “God” takes away from that.
Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing against Superman being considered a God-like being due to how freaking powerful he is. However, Synder being persistent about including religious imagery and story beats in his narrative can get a bit jarring. Especially when they come across as stylistic choices for the big screen instead of something deeper that warrants exploration.
But then again, that’s what the Snyderverse is supposed to be, as made evident by Man of Steel and Batman v Superman. It’s not for everyone. And I guess that’s okay even if it limits the project’s audience. Snyder’s clearly making superhero movies for a particular niche. But his style does present a risk for Warner Bros. due to the Snyderverse projects requiring many millions of dollars to be created. That’s why I’m interested in seeing if and how the Snyderverse will continue.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League was made available on HBO Max on March 18, 2021. Even if you aren’t into the story being told, I would implore you to fast-forward and check out the action-sequences, especially the ones involving Diana.
Feel free to share your thoughts with us.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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1 thought on ““Zack Snyder’s Justice League” Offers Some Improvements – Movie Review”
Thanks for that nuanced review. I thought I was the only one who thought along these lines. I’ve been seeing mostly glowing reviews and ecstatic fan reactors.
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