Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Review.

In writing this first draft, this critic is assuming he is putting up an archive review of Batman V Superman, theatrical cat first. The following might invalidate this critical opinion in the eyes of certain readers. Snyder is one of the worst filmmakers working today. No judgement on him as a person (he might be the loveliest figure on the planet) However, his film making aesthetic grinds this viewers gears in a way that’s only topped by the worst of Michael Bay. Snyder has the sensibility of what a 12-year-old considers “cool” and “edgy”. He is capable of putting together a visually arresting image. This is almost always hampered by his brand of embarrassingly try hard nihilism. The studio/ theatrical cut of Justice League is not particularly good. However, given the choice between it and watching B V S again the Frankenstein together theatrical version of the follow-up winds every single time. Nevertheless, there was a certain morbid fascination in seeing what type of monstrosity Snyder would cook up given the chance to complete his vision. Thus on a Friday afternoon, this critic sat down to take in all four hours of this assumed train wreck. From the moment it was announced the new cut already had a predefined spot on his worst of 2021 list. Was it that bad?

Honestly, yes and no. This might seem shocking given the opening paragraph. As the massively overlong experience progressed, this viewer quickly realised that there was probably a decent director cut somewhere in here. This review would still be negative. It’s unlikely to have got the critical acclaim or box office receipts Warner Bros would have wanted. That said it would have pleased Snyders fans and giving him the chance to execute something like his original vision in a more digestible package. Critically this hypothetical cut would be roughly 160-180 minutes long. That’s sad because Snyder knows his fans will buy anything he’s selling (even if he spoon-fed it to them) audiences get this four-hour behemoth. The whole thing feels desperately in need of an editor. Every scene goes on at least 30 seconds too long. This tends to fall into one of two categories. Dialogue sequences that just don’t know when to cutaway. Secondly, Snyders trademark abuse of slow motion and characters posing on things.

The new cut will please the devotees of this take on the DC universe. It also showcases why the Snyder aesthetic is so ripe for parody. the first comparison that came to this critics mind was the Twilight franchise. Admirers will highlight Ray Fisher’s expanded role as Cyborg as being stand out. He has more to do here than he did in the theatrical cut. However, he is still hampered by Chris Terrio’s awful screenplay with baked in exposition and Snyders trademark edgelord tendencies. Fisher has a certain line delivery around the 90-minute mark. Some existing supporters will hold up as a moment of defiance compared to the relatively friendly nature of the MCU. It was honestly the biggest laugh this critic got in any film so far this year. He doesn’t see it being beaten. It’s a hugely embarrassing moment. This crystallises the aesthetic of Snyder at his worst. Here’s the NSFW clip.

This alternative cut is definitively more in line with the filmmakers original intentions. It also showcases how flawed the intentions were, to begin with. In comparing the two cuts the studio version is not that different structurally from the Snyder edition. It just goes on much longer. It takes 90 minutes for any semblance of the plot to rear its head and 2 1/2 hours before Superman is actively resurrected. He’s now in the fan pandering black suit because of course, he is. In another case of Snyder knowing he can weaponize his fandom, the major additions including excruciating sequel bait in an epilogue that feels entirely redundant. However one feels about Jared Letos Joker was there any real reason to have him appear beyond the creative team knowing it would generate headlines. Not to mention hearing Ben Afflecks Batman exclaim that he will “f….ing kill him” is one of the most awkward moments in recent cinema. Not to mention the final reveal of this universes Martian Manhunter revealing himself to Affleck’s Batman. This feels like it exists solely because Snyder is petty enough to end his 4-hour slog on a cliff-hanger, for no reason other than because he can.

Except for the rage-inducing sequel bait of the epilogue, this critic was much more indifferent to the Snyder Cut than he’d like to be. It does offer a more cohesive fan-pleasing experience more in line with the filmmaker’s original vision. Personal dislike of that creative vision is irrelevant in some ways. That doesn’t mean the piece is excluded from some level of objective criticism. The whole thing feels massively indulgent. It could have been cut down by at least an hour if an objective editor was brought in to oversee This project office the purest shot of Zack Snyder available in film making form. All with his tendencies firmly intact. Nothing here is quite as bad as the worst of Batman V Superman. Mostly the experience of sitting through the entire thing is just boring. This viewer will take that over excruciating any day of the week.

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