6 Thoughts on Zack Snyder’s Justice League
We are finally living in a post-Snyder Cut world. Zack Snyder’s Justice League has arrived on HBO and we have all experienced it. I sat down with a buddy of mine and marathoned all four hours in one sitting, because that’s how I roll. I saw it just because it’s a thing to see. I am no #releasetheSnyderCut guy. I think Man of Steel is terrible, and I have grown to dislike Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice more and more. So don’t read this expecting some fawning praise for Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
Movie Rating: 7/10 – Good.
I enjoyed the theatrical cut of Justice League well enough, at least upon seeing it in theaters. I haven’t had any interest in that film since. And I have had no desire to see Zack Snyder get another crack at it. I don’t think he’s a good fit for DC superhero movies. I’m not a hater. I very much adore 300 and Watchmen. I just haven’t enjoyed his take on Superman and the gang. And I never cared for the bullies that kicked off the #releasetheSnyderCut movement. I view this actual Snyder Cut as Warner Bros. grasping at straws to have some kind of draw to HBO Max.
But I watched Zack Snyder’s Justice League. I enjoyed it. It’s fine. And now I’m glad it’s behind me. Join me after the jump for my thoughts on the beast of a film. Expect FULL SPOILERS for the movie.
6. It’s the same damn movie, just more pretentious
I am probably a bit of a philistine when it comes to moviemaking. I don’t really put much weight in cinematography. I rarely notice scores. The aspect ratio wasn’t a factor. I’m a guy who focuses on story and characters. And to that end, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is the same movie as the theatrical cut. This is still a story where gray blob Steppenwolf gathers 3 macguffins over the course of several CGI fights and then gets punched by a resurrected Superman. Having four hours to better flesh out the characters does not make for a better movie. It can make for a more enjoyable movie — and I am grading this one a tad higher than the theatrical cut — but this is still the same movie. This is still the best Snyder could come up with for the first big screen Justice League movie.
I don’t care about his epic three-act plan for Justice League sequels. I don’t care about his vision. And I don’t care about all of his big screen posturing. The stuff that worked for 300 does not translate as well to Justice League, in my opinion. I’m not blown away by “epic” sweeping shots. I’m not driven to tears by slow ballads played over Aquaman walking into the water. I’m not in awe of all the Christ allegories for Superman.
To quote Nick Mason from the Weekly Planet podcast: “They shouldn’t have spent $400 million and two tries on this to get it mostly right, but it’s too long.”
All over the internet, I see everybody praising this version as better because of the pacing and the fleshed out stories. Yeah, because again, it’s four hours long, made with the benefit of hindsight! Zack Snyder’s Justice League is not the movie that he and Warner Bros would have put in theaters in 2017 had he stayed on. This is an overindulgent pet project that’s all style and little substance. There’s definitely a 2 to 3 hour cut of the film that could be made out of this, and it would be fine as well. But this isn’t a masterpiece. This isn’t a shifting of the superhero genre. This is just Justice League, but longer and more fleshed out.
5. I still don’t care about Cyborg; I care a bit more about Steppenwolf
I am not going to get into the big internet fight that is actor Ray Fisher’s beef with Warner Bros. I’m here to talk about the movie. Everybody on the internet is up in arms on Fisher’s behalf after seeing the Snyder Cut. They say he got burned by the theatrical cut…and yeah, he did. A lot of his storyline was cut. But this four hour movie was never going to be the theatrical cut. And if you’re going to cut a Justice League movie down to two hours then you definitely cut out the storyline of the least interesting member of the team. You don’t sacrifice screen time of the characters people know and love in order to give more screen time to Cyborg. You don’t sacrifice time with Jason Momoa’s Aquaman in order to give Cyborg more time to brood.
That sucks for Ray Fisher’s career, but I stand by that being the choice to make. I don’t see why people think Cyborg’s storyline is so great. It’s pretty basic. He’s bummed that he got turned into a robot cyber-god, but then he realizes it’s totally cool to be a robot cyber-god. That’s his arc. And it took the needless sacrifice of his father to accomplish it. I don’t see how he’s considered the heart of the movie. He’s the least interesting of the bunch.
On the other hand, I liked the changes in Steppenwolf. I still think he was the absolute wrong choice for villain for this movie. He’s still just a gray blob of a monster. But at least this longer version gave him some motivation, making him a sad little puppy dog just trying to make papa Darkseid happy. That was nice. And I suppose I liked his new look, though I have no memory of how it compares to his original look. New Steppenwolf worked for me.
4. Black costume Superman is a dumb choice
I know that Superman wore a black version of his costume when he was resurrected in the comics, but it’s a dumb choice for the movie version of Superman. Call me a purist, but Superman’s bright red and blue costume is iconic for a reason. And it definitely worked as such in the theatrical cut. I think giving him a black costume was a really dumb choice in the Snyder Cut. There’s a whole scene where Superman walks through his weird wardrobe and settles on this outfit. Which means he had to actively choose that he was going to wear a black version this time. Why would Superman make that choice? Why would he continue with that choice in the epilogue? It’s a dumb look for Superman and signifies nothing beyond “black looks cool”.
3. The only new thing I really liked was that Flash bit in the climax
The only thing added to this film that I actually perked up and enjoyed was the big Flash moment in the finale. The good guys have failed, the world is exploding, but the Flash psyches himself up and starts running fast enough to turn back time and save the day. It’s not a new or original thing to happen. It’s how the first Superman movie ended, among plenty of other films and stories. But Ezra Miller’s personal pep talk was fun. I liked that the average dude had to step up and save the day. That part was good. And it was set up earlier in the movie when Barry discussed going so fast that he’d warp time. That was solid moviemaking set up and pay off.
2. The moviemaking possibilities are interesting
I am a fan of YouTube movie critic Chris Stuckmann, who enjoyed the Snyder Cut. There was one thing his review said that has really made me think: what might this movie mean for the future of filmmaking? Essentially, between the pandemic and streaming services, what is it going to look like making movies going forward? Movies are 2 hours long for a lot of reasons, but some of the major ones are people’s attention spans and the need to fit in more showings during movie theater business hours. Now that theaters are not king anymore, and now that streaming services allow you to watch a film in the comfort of your own home, complete with a pause button…what could this mean for filmmakers? Might they be more inclined to make 4-hour movies? Or even 3-hour movies? The Irishman was a beast at 3 hours and it was really good, going straight to Netflix. And people have been willing to sit down and watch this 4-hour Justice League.
So if nothing else, I am interested to see if this whole concept takes off in the future. It ties in a bit with all the Marvel Studios TV shows. Marvel was never going to make a Vision and Scarlet Witch movie…but they made a TV show and it was the talk of the town for more than a month. What else could the future hold?
Let this be the end of it. No more Zack Snyder making DC superhero movies. I like most of the actors. I’m more than happy for more Jason Momoa as Aquaman and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman. I’m sure an Ezra Miller Flash movie will be fine. Margot Robbie as Harley Quinn works as well. The spin-offs should be fine. But I am 100% in favor of new everything else. The Batman with Robert Pattinson looks great. They’re supposedly working on a new Superman. Hopefully James Gunn turns the Suicide Squad into a fun new franchise. The Rock is supposedly making the Black Adam movie as we speak.
DC superhero movies seem to be in a fine place. Let us not backtrack. Let Zack Snyder’s Justice League be the end of all that nonsense.
Posted on March 24, 2021, in Batman, DC, Lists of Six!, Movies, Reviews, Superman and tagged Aquaman, Cyborg, Darkseid, Flash, HBO, HBO Max, Justice League, Snyder Cut, Wonder Woman, Zack Snyder, Zack Snyder's Justice League. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.