Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021) Movie Review

details
Title: Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
Rated: R.
Director: Zack Snyder.
Story: Zack Snyder, Chris Terrio & Will Beall.
Screenplay: Chris Terrio.
Release Date: 2021.
Runtime:  242 min.
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Fantasy.
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, and many more!
Extra Budget to complete: $70 million.
My Overall Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Thoughts on the theatrical cut:
Justice League (2017).

thoughts

In the midst of production, the 2017 movie of Justice League saw its director Zack Snyder stepping down from his role following the tragic loss of his daughter. This led Warner Bros. Pictures to hire director Joss Whedon (The Avengers, Avengers: Age of Ultron) to be brought in as an uncredited director to complete the movie, severely altering the original director’s vision and its length to abide by Warner Bros. Pictures demands. Upon becoming a major box-office failure, it forced the heads at Warner Bros. Pictures to change the future of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU), but determined fans around the world petitioned through social media for a #SnyderCut that would allow Zack Snyder’s intended vision of his Justice League to become public. It was only in May 2020 that HBO Max and Warner Bros. officially announced that the #SnyderCut will see the light of day in 2021.

What is Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021) about? Following Superman’s ultimate sacrifice for mankind, Bruce Wayne seeks out powerful metahumans spread across the world to join forces against an imminent alien war. With a dreadful premonition that the end of the world is near, his hopes of giving the world a chance to survive now resides in Diana Prince (Wonder Woman), Barry Allen (The Flash), Arthur Curry (Aquaman) and Victor Stone (Cyborg). While his ability to recruit these special beings remains riddled with obstacles beyond his control, a terrifying servant of Darkseid known as Steppenwolf answers to the call of hidden Mother Boxes’ on Earth in an attempt to form the Unity, a catastrophic event that would enslave the inhabitants of Earth and replicate their hellish world of Apokolips.

cyborg, gif, and justice league image | Cyborg, Justice league artwork,  Cyborg dc comics

Having myself enjoyed the theatrical cut for its accessible and entertaining nature, I will not deny that director Joss Whedon’s alterations could easily be observed by its unprofessional attempt to simulate Marvel’s much more humourous, vibrant, and family-friendly qualities. My thirst for the #SnyderCut was exponentially amplified with each viewing, wishing that we’d someday see what the man behind Watchmen and 300 would have wanted for these legendary DC superheroes. Having now seen the full extent of his cinematographic vision of the Justice League, I can confidently proclaim that it is a far superior oeuvre than what was originally released in theaters that severely harmed the reputation of DC movies for the general audience.

Does that mean that the #SnyderCut is a masterpiece? No. Those who found the theatrical cut flawed, riddled with narrative issues, and sloppy in its editing will likely note similar issues in this latest version, notwithstanding its ludicrous length that will have some digging their nails into their skins. However, even those who disliked the theatrical cut will have to admit and bear witness to a completely different movie that offers a much more fleshed out cast—giving Batman, The Flash, and Cyborg a chance to embrace their original characterization with actual motivations and traits—and a cohesive story that captures far more logic and raison d’être than its predecessor.

If that wasn’t enough, the added complexity to Steppenwolf’s character, on top of his visual redesign, and the introduction of the legendary intergalactic supervillain Darkseid—originally excluded in his entirety—makes this a movie worth every second of your time, especially for fans of the vast and formidable DC mythology and lore. While a lot of sequences are slow-motion shots, they add to the movie an epic and poetic tone that reminds us that Zack Snyder’s vision of the Justice League is that of a world where Gods walk among men. He also sprinkles the movie with countless additional scenes, mostly through CGI, that offers fans the chance to witness exciting DC characters that could’ve played crucial roles in a sequel.

The Flash (Justice League) - gif | Justice league trailer, Justice league,  Justice league pictures

Beyond the extensive CGI intervention, the #SnyderCut also greatly benefited from composer Tom Holkenborg’s (also known as Junkie XL) score. Strategically utilized during key action sequences, his music adds an extra layer of mythological resonance to these heroes’ plight. Mix in the extra slow-motion sequences and you have Zack Snyder’s recipe of cinematic poetry to accentuate his divine conception of these DC heroes. The slightly more muted and far-less colour-corrected cinematography also successfully reminds the viewer of the bleakness of this world and the catastrophe that they face. A special note should also go to the 4:3 aspect ratio utilized for this movie, allowing it to fully respect Zack Snyder’s cinematic vision for the Justice League.

While there are no plans to #RestoretheSnyderVerse for the time being, the tiny optimist within me would like to believe that Warner Bros. might try to give fans the originally-planned sequel to complete the Justice League story-arc. Unfortunately, fans will have to place all their bets in the upcoming The Flash movie to give the DCEU the much needed rebirth for the future of these DC live-action superheroes. While DC’s cinematic slate is still filled with blockbuster sequels, some currently unrelated to the DCEU, it wouldn’t be too farfetched to assume that Warner Bros. might have learned from their past mistakes and will continue to support creative ideas within the DC Comics franchise that will keep fans delighted.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021) is an epic cinematic redemption presenting a superhero tale of resilience, determination, and unity.


EXHIBITA
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is available on HBO Max as of today.

Have you read any Justice League comics?
Have you seen Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)? Will you? What did you think about it?
Share your thoughts with me!

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45 comments

  • “digging their nails into their skins” you know me too well, Lashaan! 😉
    Great review, but I think I’ll take your word for it and not watch that extended version anytime soon 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • While I would love to argue with you about how different the #SnyderCut is and how much better it is to the mess that the theatrical cut was thanks to Joss Whedon/Warner Bros. Pictures, I also know you’re very likely to see many flaws in this new version. I just wish that your experience for the Justice League movie wasn’t ONLY the #WhedonCut hahahah

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah, maybe I’ll give it a try one day… While ironing… Or knitting… 😜 Snyder’s penchant for bombastic might be even more grating for me than Whedon’s inaptitude, though…But I’m very happy that you enjoyed this so much, Lashaan!

        Liked by 1 person

  • Interesting. It would appear we’re looking at a Blade Runner situation here given that this cut seems to be much better received than the original version. Wonder if we can do the same for The Last Jedi?

    Liked by 1 person

    • I don’t think it’ll ever happen with TLJ but this isn’t the first time Warner Bros. Pictures caved in and gave fans a longer/original cut in the past for their DC superhero movies too. I’m just glad they did so for the #SnyderCut considering how much different it is to the theatrical cut. I just know I officially antagonize Joss Whedon forever after what he has done… 😛

      Liked by 1 person

  • Once this hits bluray, I’m buying it! The directors cut of BVS convinced me that the studios haven’t a clue to what they are doing and will sacrifice the movie in the name of ticking off checkboxes. After Man of Steel and BVS, I was not ok with the “humor” that Whedon tried to interject into the theatrical.

    We’ll see if I can sit through 4 hours though 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • You will be incredibly outraged by how much Whedon changed Snyder’s vision of the Justice League. The #SnyderCut is a whole other beast and they really killed the DCEU plans that Snyder had (which would’ve given us JL2 and JL3). I do hope you get the chance to see this version. Even Superman, bro… They did him dirty in the theatrical version…

      Liked by 1 person

  • Awesome review my friend, we are pretty much on the same page given we both actually enjoyed the theatrical version far more than most! There’s no doubt thought that this version is more authentic and superior on the whole…I didn’t have a problem with the 4 hour running time but I do think a tighter 3 hour version could have been more accessible.

    Seeing Snyder’s cut now leaves me befuddled as to why Joss Whedon reshot so much of the Clark/Superman scenes…they were pretty much perfection and didn’t need touching and could have spared the embarrassment of the CGI Cavill moustache removal! Cyborg is greatly enhanced and that finale with the Flash using time travel to save the day was powerful and emotional!

    This is bound to foster debate for a long time to come…unless this drives a significant HBO Max subscriptions and home video sales I doubt the thought of any sort of continuation will even be entertained by the studio bosses…I’d love to at least see things touched upon in The Flash. Who knows?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Absolutely. I think he definitely went all out to make sure that fans knew that his plans for these heroes were completely different from what the theatrical cut gave us. I’m just glad we got to see every single possible scene that he envisioned for Justice League, necessary or not, especially if there are no plans for the time being to make a sequel…

      I was quite outraged by what Whedon did after seeing the #SnyderCut… Just looking at how he killed Cyborg’s character made me lose my mind. There’s no logic to all he cut out and reconfigured to his taste!

      Right? The Flash movie has a lot on its shoulders now. With recent casting news and whatnot, I do think they’re going in the right direction. Remains to be seen if they can make it all work cohesively or if it’ll feel like a rushed attempt to fix the DCEU…

      Liked by 1 person

      • To be honest, I can’t say I’m mad at Whedon for the theatrical cut. Setting aside the behind the scenes controversies, he was saddled with studio demands for a two hour run time and unfortunately that meant slimming down character arcs – I think we can see that Flash and Aquaman also lost a lot in the theatrical version. I was actually gutted that Joe Morton dies in the Snyder Cut, whereas he survives in Whedon’s version. Controversially, I think there are a few small things from the theatrical cut that I miss in the Snyder Cut (“save ONE”!).

        I would’ve been interested to see Snyder’s three hour cut which was likely intended for the theatrical release.

        Looking forward to seeing the Flash take shape although I’m distressed by the recent quotes from Michael Keaton where it seems he might be too busy to do the film….nooooooooooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

        Liked by 1 person

  • Sky Cinema aired this movie a couple of nights ago and I recorded it – there was no way I would be able to stand in front of the TV for more than 4 hours! 😀 – planning for a comfortable afternoon viewing. Then I saw author John Scalzi’s essentially “meh” post and my enthusiasm cooled a little, so your post just rekindled it, particularly where you speak of the musical score: a good portion of my music library comes from soundtracks, so I’m eager to see – or rather hear – what this BIG movie has to offer…
    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m really glad to hear your interest in this, Maddalena! If you have already seen the theatrical cut before, rest assured that this movie offers a whole different story and that it remains much more cohesive. I won’t promise that the story will stick with you in the end but it’s definitely not a bad one, clearly showing that the director had big plans for these heroes and villains. The score is huge and almost essential to every scene too! Thanks for reading my thoughts, Maddalena! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • Still no news about a release date for Japan, (or China). I think we are the only two countries that can’t (legally) watch it yet. I want to see it, especially after hearing the positive reactions. Time will tell.

    Liked by 1 person

  • Before I read this, I didn’t know what the story was between the different releases and now it makes total sense. So, thanks for that Lashaan. I have only caught about the first 30 minutes of it and really liked it for it’s flaws and perfections.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I hope you got or will get around to completing it if you ever feel inclined to, my friend! It is truly different from the theatrical cut and shows how Zack Snyder had a plan and that the theatrical cut didn’t represent anything he wanted for the Justice League!

      Liked by 1 person

  • All right, I will give it a chance 🙂 Not sure when, though, I want to do it in one sitting, and it’s quite long…

    Liked by 1 person

  • And now Lashaan I sincerely hope that we’ll be able to watch it on TV here as the movie theaters are still closed!

    Liked by 1 person

  • Interesting. I wasn’t familiar with any of the history of either version of this film. It’s always unfortunate when someone’s unable to finish what they started but the higher ups bring in another to do it, even if that other is talented in their own right. It’s just so often a recipe for disaster. As you know, these aren’t among my favorite comic characters, so I don’t know whether I’ll see this. And you’ve got to be kidding me, 4 hours?!?!?! Granted, if you have a large epic story to tell you either break it into sequels as most movies do or you pack it all together into a monster, as Bollywood often does (and I’ve loved most of what I’ve watched from there). I wouldn’t look forward to sitting through 4 hours of movie, but I’d also hate waiting a year or more for part 2 to come out, so I can understand their decision. And I did enjoy the preview and your review, so maybe…. just maybe…. if it ever gets distributed beyond HBO Max. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yep. I find it sad in someway. After all, I consider directors, and everyone else working on a movie, as artists. And you don’t mess with an artists’ work. While I’m glad that they HAD to bring in someone else to finish it, especially when they were so close to the finish line. This movie saw the producers meddle with the director’s work enormously and then another director came in and COMPLETELY changed the movie’s story while cutting out A LOT of key character development/world-building element… Now that’s insane. At least this #SnyderCut proves how this movie is far superior to the box office bomb that was initially dropped. It probably even saved Zack Snyder’s reputation too.

      As for the length, I’m totally with you hahahah It’s a fragile terrain. I personally don’t mind extra long movies although time is always an issue, especially when you don’t even get to spend those 4 hours in a movie theater to get the full experience. Then again, this movie initially had 2 sequels planned out (which makes the cliffhanger in the #SnyderCut much deadlier for all us fans). I’d be curious to see what you’d think of it if you ever do check it out. Of course, you’d also have to watch Man of Steel and then Batman v Superman to better understand how things built up to Justice League.

      As always, thanks for reading, Todd! Hope you’re doing well! 😀

      Like

  • Unfortunately, for me, I’ve not read the comics before…and I don’t have 4 hours to spare for the movie *sob* BUT…I’m glad you enjoyed this! And if I have the chance, I might watch the movie simply because of your review and the preview looks good too!

    Liked by 1 person

  • I have yet to see the Snyder Cut and I’ve only seen the theatrical cut once. However, I love that the Snyder Cut actually delivered on its promise and I’m so relieved to see that the Snyder Cut gives us a better insight into our characters. The Snyder Cut just seems to have a cleaner and more cohesive narrative, one that really does justice to this superhero group, even if I do have to plan an entire day out just to fit in these 4 hours haha.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you remember anything about the theatrical cut, you’ll be mind-blown by what the #SnyderCut offers us. It’s a whole different movie that really is much more cohesive, much more self-explanatory in its ideas and direction. You’d think that Joss Whedon purposely sabotaged the original movie.

      As for the length. The movie is split into 6 parts with an epilogue. You can always try and split your viewing according to that so that you don’t struggle to find 4 full hours to sit and watch! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  • Lol at “digging their nails into their skins”. That was my friend’s reaction to seeing it. I’d given up on the DC movies a long time ago, but I know so many people who liked this #SynderCut that I’m actually considering to watch it.

    Liked by 1 person

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