Zack Snyder's Justice League Movie Review: Surprisingly coherent, definitely fun

Poster of Zack Snyder's Justice League

Zack Snyder's Justice League is a beast of a movie that, despite its lingering flaws, is leagues better than its theatrical release.

Basically the Lord of the Rings Extended Edition for DCEU fans, the Snyder Cut is the same story as 2017's Justice League (directed by Joss Whedon after a lot of behind-the-scenes drama) but turned up to Snyder's 11. Surprisingly, what we got is a marked improvement over the clusterfuck that was!

Steppenwolf from Zack Snyder's Justice League

At 4 hours, it's the longest DCEU film, but it doesn't feel that way. The story moves in a logical, steady pace despite all the plot points shoe-horned into it. The runtime also necessitated the course corrections for Zack Snyder's vision. Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) in particular felt like a totally different character from the theatrical cut. No longer the pasty CGI man who creepily coos to the Mother Boxes for comfort, Zack Snyder's Steppenwolf is a frightening sight with his armor literally full of blades and whose very presence is filled with menace and hate.

The extra runtime also gave Steppenwolf some much needed backstory, his motivation for collecting the Mother Boxes making enough sense that you *gasp* empathize with him and get scared should he ever succeed.

Because that means Darkseid is coming.

Darkseid from Zack Snyder's Justice League

It blows my mind that Snyder's original plan for Justice League involved Darkseid, perennial nemesis of the League. But in the Snyder Cut, it sort of works. Darkseid looms over the film like a dark veil, and in a way it makes sense why the League wanted to resurrect Superman.

However, Darkseid's threat is more tell than show, with every scene he's in amounting to nothing more than posturing, feeling more like an Easter egg for hardcore DC fans than a foretelling of things to come for the general audience. Then again, the Snyder Cut is not canon, so the point is moot.

Image of the Justice League from Zack Snyder's Justice League

I'm glad to see that Snyder actually made the League feel like an actual team than a random assortment of superdudes. They plan, they strategize, they pull their share of the weight compared to the sloppy League of Whedon's cut. Everyone gets an epic moment that works towards their goal, and I'm pleasantly surprised that Chris Terrio and Snyder had it in them to make a superhero team feel, well, super.

Cyborg from Zack Snyder's Justice League

The heart of Zack Snyder's Justice League isn't Batman. It's not even Superman. It's Ray Fisher's Cyborg, who finally gets his scenes rescued from the cutting room floor and restored to its rightful glory. The entire story hinges on Cyborg's journey from self-hate to superhero that it's maddening to imagine why Warner Bros. decided these were the scenes needed to be cut instead of Whedon's cringey additions.

But be warned: this is Zack Snyder's pure, unbridled vision, for better or for worse. The same Snyderisms that put me off in his earlier DCEU outings are in full display here. Scenes are padded with so much slow-mo or excruciatingly long zoom-ins on faces. The movie often grinds to a halt to turn into a music video as characters emote over a Snyder pet song playing in the background for no reason. Even after all these years, Snyder thinks slow-mo equals drama. You could trim the film down to 3 hours with some tight edits alone.

In the end, what we got was a surprisingly coherent and fun version of Justice League that blows the original out of the water and into obscurity. Zack Snyder's Justice League is now the definitive version, for what it's worth. Fans of DC's cinematic universe will consider this a masterpiece. And you know what? I won't be inclined to argue.

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

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  1. This movie was surprisingly solid. I’m glad we finally got it.

    1. Welcome to the blog, Dude! Yep, this was a long time coming and I'm glad it was as good as it was!