Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a film that I didn’t think would ever see the light of day. After the atrocious reaction to Batman V Superman and the hacking of Justice League I thought Warner Bros would just move on to find success in their solo films, such as with Wonder Woman and Aquaman. There’s even a new Batman right around the corner. When they announced that the infamous Snyder cut was going to be released on HBO MAX I was a little shocked, but to be honest I didn’t care that much.
Too much time had passed and living in the UK I had a feeling that it would be something that we wouldn’t get straight away. I thought the original Justice League was just OK. Nothing spectacular but not horrendous. I liked Batman V Superman a lot when I first saw it, but even so did not follow the fan campaign to release Snyder’s Justice League very closely. I’m glad it’s finally available and happy that it was released in the UK on the same day as the USA. It’s a testament to allowing directors and writers free reign over their films and not letting test audiences and fan reactions influence the final product.
The film picks up pretty much where Batman V Superman ends. Superman is dead and Bruce Wayne is getting a team together to stop an unknown enemy. Joining Batman on his team is Wonder Woman, and the ‘meta humans’ that were hinted at in the last film, Cyborg, Aquaman and The Flash. Steppenwolf has been called by Luthor at the end of BvS, and knowing that there is no Superman on Earth arrives to find the Mother Boxes.
Overall the plot is very similar to the original version. There are some alterations and the running time is around double the length, but the major plot points are still there. There isn’t any twists that you wouldn’t see coming if you’ve seen the original. Which isn’t to say that this version isn’t worth watching. The extended run time definitely gives the back story and plot points a lot more time to breath and the film works a lot better. There is also a hell of a lot less crappy one-liners that were just flat out not funny. It’s more cohesive and works well as a solid superhero film.
The length is probably the biggest sticking point for me. It is very long and in places it feels it. I’m glad that we are finally seeing the original version in full, and without compromise, but that doesn’t mean it’s perfect. By two hours in, it does feel like it takes it toll a little. While the film picks up enough to not make it feel like a chore, maybe it should have been released like a mini-series as was announced last year. It would have probably worked better to pace it out. I also think if Cyborg got he’s own origin film, then a lot of the build up could have been done there, rather than pile it all into Justice League. I will say this though, it may be one of the longest films I’ve ever seen, but I wasn’t at any point tempted to give it a break or stop. I did enjoy my time with it, it’s just that four hours is a very long time.
CGI is all over the place, some of it looks amazing while other parts look awful. I imagine this is down to the production taking place around half a decade apart and the lower budget to finish off Snyder’s original version. It’s not horrendous or too distracting, but it is noticeable and something that I think would look bad on a big screen, rather than on TV.
The ending though is more than worth the four hour run time. The half hour epilogue sets up the sequels perfectly, building on Batman’s nightmare vision from Batman v Superman. It’s very dark and twisted and an interesting direction to take the characters in. Something I would expect from a limited series run of comics rather than a massive blockbuster. While the film does drag on, the last half hour gives it a pump of adrenaline that left me excited while the credits rolled.
I liked it a lot more then the Whedon version and I hope there is a sequel. It would be a real shame not to see the end of the story that Snyder and co. have started. I have a feeling that it won’t ever get made as DC and Warner Bros move on to a younger Batman and the recently announced Superman re-boot.
One last thing that I liked was during the credits it gave space to mention the the Fourth World was created by Jack Kirby. Such an amazing series and hopefully more people will learn about the magic that is Jack Kirby and seek out the Fourth World stories.
Thanks, for reading and until next time,