Zack Snyder’s Justice League (2021)

zack snyders justice league poster 2021 movie
8.5 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 8/10
Visuals: 9/10

Better version, more character development

Too long, probably would have been cut-up if Snyder had finished the film in 2017

Movie Info

Movie Name: Zack Snyder’s Justice League

Studio: Atlas Entertainment/DC Entertainment

Genre(s): Comic Book/Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi/Fantasy

Release Date(s): March 18, 2021

MPAA Rating: R

zack snyders justice league cast team russia

Back together for the first time…sort of…

Superman (Henry Cavill) is dead…and his death has awaken something.  Three Mother Boxes have been stored around the world and are kept under protection.  Now, the Mother Boxes are waking up and Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds) has come to Earth in an attempt to win the favor of his master Darkseid (Ray Porter).  Earth only hope could be if Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) can assemble a team to protect it.  Seeking out Aquaman (Jason Momoa), the Flash (Ezra Miller), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher), time is running out and the Earth is threatened.  The thing that Darkseid is seeking could be on Earth…Darkseid is!

Directed by Zack Snyder, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a DC Comics superhero film.  The movie is a recut of the Justice League film which Snyder almost completed before the passing of his daughter.  Joss Whedon was brought in to finish Justice League and Justice League was seen as a critical failure by both critics and fans.  After an online push from fans, the “Snyder Cut” was completed and was released on HBO Max on March 18, 2021 to positive reviews.

zack snyders justice league ray fisher cyborg

Trust me…I know what it is liked to be gutted

I was on the boat of not hating Justice League.  It wasn’t great, but I didn’t think it was as bad as people painted it.  I also recall how many people (probably some of the same who heralded the Snyder Cut) really were critical of Snyder’s Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Watchmen…before they gained cult followings.  With a runtime of 4 hours, Zack Snyder’s Justice League gets a lot right but also still has some misses.

The movie does a much better job fleshing out the characters.  The studio wanted the first cut of Justice League to be much shorter and a lot of the characters’ backstories were cut…particularly Flash and Cyborg.  They were pretty flat characters in the original cut and this movie gives them more dimension particularly Ray Fisher’s Cyborg (he is much better…but honestly Cyborg hasn’t ever been a favorite character).  It all wraps around much better to the final showdown with Steppenwolf and sets up future movies and spin-off titles.  That has been one of the DC Extended Universe’s biggest weaknesses when compared to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

zack snyders justice league superman vs steppenwolf

Steppenwolf, I advise you to stay down

As a result, the actors in the story come off much better in this cut.  Ben Affleck’s Batman feels plotting and actually rather optimistic.  Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman feels different than the Wonder Woman of her solo films, but her character is also in another place in this film.  Ray Fisher called out Whedon publicly and his actions paid off  because it showed that he was right about having a character that was trashed by the editing.  Even Jason Momoa and Ezra Miller who were enjoyable in the original version were elevated in this cut.  Henry Cavill’s Superman doesn’t show up until late in the film (as originally planned) and he too gets into the battle in a better means.  Amy Adams, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, Diane Lane, J.K. Simmons, Connie Nielsen, Joe Manganiello, and Amber Heard all appear in the film.  The film adds Jared Leto’s Suicide Squad Joker, Zheng Kai as the Atom Ryan Choi, Kiersey Clemons as Iris West, and Henry Lennix as J’onn J’onzz.  The movie called back some actors for reshoots.

The tone of the film is entirely different than Whedon’s film which plays more like his Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV series or like his Avengers film.  It is darker and R-Rated, but it still feels like a comic book movie.  Many of the visuals from the final movie are in this cut, but it feels that there are padded scenes with a lot of unnecessary slow motion and music.  The first portion of the movie is heavily loaded with this.  The aspect ratio of the film is in standard version because Snyder originally intended it for the IMAX screens.

zack snyders justice league darkseid granny goodness desaad

I can’t wait to see what Darkseid, DeSaad, and Granny Goodness have cooked up next…oh…wait…nevermind

It is that sense that I actually sympathize a bit with Whedon.  If Snyder had stuck with the film, it feels like much of what was cut under Whedon would have been cut under Snyder as well to reach the desired runtime…but Whedon’s actions off camera negate most of the sympathy he gets from me.  I don’t feel that Snyder’s vision for the film would have ever reached the screen as it did here.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is an improvement and shows what the DC Universe can be.  It is bold and big…but it is a bit too big.  Originally when the movie was revealed to be released, there was talk of the movie being a serialized story with four parts…I actually think that it would have worked better (or at least as two two-hour movies).  What will come from the Zack Snyder version is unknown, but the hype and reception could reinvigorate the DCEU…we can hope (but hopefully the Russian peasants won’t return for a sequel).

Related Links:

Justice League (2017)

Batman v Superman:  The Dawn of Justice (2016)

Man of Steel (2013)

Wonder Woman (2017)

Aquaman (2018)

Suicide Squad (2016)

Birds of Prey or the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn (2020)

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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