I’m sadly old enough to remember a time when you’d get made fun of for liking super hero related media. Now that Super Hero films make up 75% of the fucking industry, I’m sure all those high school jocks really feel stupid about shoving nerds in lockers for reading Superman comics now that nerdom is such a cultural zeitgeist that super hero films reliably make enough money to solve all of earth’s problems. After the lukewarm at best reception of Justice League in 2017, it was only a matter of time before the incessant screams of the internet were heard and Zack Snyder was allowed to finish his vision after Joss Whedon took over to finish the movie in his stead. But is the Snyder cut any better than the theatrical release of the movie?
Right off the bat, the Snyder cut is definitely much more coherent. This was a given since the original film feels like exactly what it is; a Zack Snyder joint reproposed as a Joss Whedon film. The film is infinitely more visually appealing as well, because despite the shit I might have given to Zack Snyder over the years, he’s a good visual filmmaker. The film also benefits from not wanting to completely throw out the continuity built up from “Man of Steel” and “Batman V Superman.” And so, the characters feel way more consistent. Unfortunately, that might as well be the entire review. There’s not really much else to say because it’s basically 90% the same movie with a few differences between scenes and some cut content, as well as a new scene that adds absolutely nothing to the overall story.
I’ll always believe that artists should be allowed to see out their own vision with minimal interference from corporate entities, but Zack Snyder’s Justice League shows both sides of the coin, because it really could have done with somebody telling him to cut some of these scenes out. I’m not sure why a film about people in silly costumes CGI punching each other needs to have a longer run time than “2001: A Space Odyssey” but here we are. Most of the new content doesn’t really add much to the story, and in most cases, is actively bad. Frankly, if somebody on set had “forgotten” the slow-motion camera for a few days of shooting, this movie would be about 2 hours long considering how much fucking slow motion is in the damn thing. The only new stuff I really enjoyed was the added origin story for Cyborg, I quite liked that, because it’s the only part of the film that actually spends time building up some of the characters and generating some feelings other than being numb from watching yet another boring CGI clusterfuck of a fight scene.
There’s an emotional coldness that comes standard with Snyder flicks that permeates this film as well. Maybe it’s the writers he choses to write his scripts that don’t understand how to develop these characters without dedicating an hour of screen time to them, or maybe it’s the fact that Snyder himself is the directorial equivalent of a kid mashing a bunch of his action figures together and just doesn’t bother telling a good story. One of my biggest complaints about BvS was that there are numerous scenes of either horribly blatant exposition, or characters talking about stuff that doesn’t advance the plot any way, and a lot of this made its way into JL as well. There’s a throwaway line at one point in the movie about how there aren’t any Green Lanterns around to save earth from the villains, which is kind of their whole point for existing. What, are they on lunch break and told everyone who’s trying to get them to do their job to suck on a popsicle stick as they eat their meal consisting of last night’s leftovers from a plastic container while pointing to a sign saying “Back in 1 hour?” For most people, this wouldn’t be a sticking point, but for me, it shows how little thought goes into the actual plots of movies like this.
In addition to all this, I don’t think the cast is really up for it. Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot are phoning it in (Or maybe Gadot is trying her hardest, I honestly can’t tell.) Mamoa as Aquaman isn’t given anything to do but be a muscular dude bro. Ezra Miller as Flash is often just obnoxious and not at all funny. Ciarán Hinds is good as Steppenwolf, but isn’t given much to work with, and unfortunately, he’s lending his voice to a CGI abomination that looks like a PS3 cutscene (No offense to the PS3 which is actually quite a lovely console.) That’s not to speak of Jared Leto’s Joker which is still very much like nails on a chalk board. There’s not a lot for me to go on here, because it’s mostly the same movie with a few sequences rearranged and added, and none of them necessarily fix any of the core issues with the film, especially given that it ends on a cliff hanger that will no doubt cause the internet to scream unremittingly until they bully WB into inevitably making the sequel.
The Snyder cut is undoubtedly the better of the two versions, but at 4 hours of run time, it’s also long-winded and hardly worth the time investment unless you’re just really entertained by flashy, but ultimately empty spectacle. Zack Snyder’s version of the Justice League just doesn’t add enough to really make me change my opinion on the film, nor does it take enough risks that it becomes an absolute train wreck like “Batman V Superman.” In conclusion, the only good part about this movie was Gal Gadot’s thighs.