Zack Snyder’s Justice League
“I don’t care how many demons he’s fought in how many hells. He’s never fought us. Not us united.”
Hallelujah. It is here, but before talking about Zack Snyder’s Justice League we first need to talk about the origin of the Snyder Cut.
After the ordinary critics for “Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice” in 2016, the trust from Warner Bros. in Zack Snyder was damaged. Alongside a tragedy in his family, Zack Snyder left “Justice League” because he didn’t had the energy to get up against Warner further. After the death of his daughter Autumn, he wanted to concentrate on supporting his family with the grief. Joss Whedon, the director of “Marvel’s The Avengers” then took over the project and created not just a whole other film but also a completely different Justice League. With the release of his version in 2017, the fans had to come to terms with a tragedy too. The meanwhile called Josstice League cut out important character moments and background of Cyborg and Flash, made Batman into the “Joker” and also delivered some of the worst special effects in the history of Blockbusters.
Since then, fans all over the world have started to share the hashtag #ReleaseTheSnyderCut. Along the way after many DC films, the chance of getting to see Zack Snyder’s original vision for the future of the DC-Extended Universe passed away. However, it was at this moment, when all hope had faded, that Zack Snyder himself announced “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is happening. According to Warner, he got $70 million for finishing his cut and the special effects needed. Furthermore, Snyder was told not to film any new material. He did it anyway, in his own yard. One scene, for that even some cast members like Ben Affleck and Jared Leto returned.
More to the circumstances around the origin of the Snyder Cut can be found in the Vanity Fair article “Justice League: The Shocking, Exhilarating, Heartbreaking True Story of #TheSnyderCut”.
“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is a film for fans, in particular fans of the DCEU, the universe Snyder created. I’d consider myself such a fan, although I never anticipated in the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut -movement. I have watched the Snyder Cut two times by now and I can say that I wouldn’t wanna watch it in one row. Both times I split the 4-hour long epos into two 2 hour films, due to the long run time and the fact that the film needs half of it to build up some tension. Fortunately, Zack Snyder structured the film into six chapters and one epilog. This gives us a possibility to watch it as a series which especially not hardcore fans should consider.
Snyder’s Justice League members benefit from the gained run time and added scenes. In particular Flash and Cyborg, whereby Ray Fisher’s character finally gets the main role he was supposed to have in the first place. Cyborg now makes up the heart of the film. We get to know his backstory and his connection to the Mother Boxes. Even his changing relationship with his father made it into the film.
“The Mother Boxes will be found and united. No protectors here. No Lanterns. No Kryptonian. This world will fall, like all the others.”
On the other side, Steppenwolf gets a new motive and becomes a slightly better villain. Nevertheless, the film could have been cut down to a 3-hour version, which would probably feel more tight and rounded. He wouldn’t even have to cut out important character moments or newly added scenes because the film contains 10% of slow-motion, as well as cool but unnecessary scenes like a second Aquaman introduction. Although I know that slow-motion is one of Snyder’s typically used stylistic devices, this film has way too much of it.
Another point I see critical in the Snyder Cut is the soundtrack. Again produced by Junkie XL, the soundtrack is sometimes over the top and especially Aquaman’s theme feels a little unfitting. In addition to that, I’d like to name Wonder Woman’s new theme which does sound great but is used every single time she shows up in a fight sequence. Therefore the themes of Aquaman and Wonder Woman become a little annoying over the length of the film.
Even though Zack Snyder got $70 million, they don’t seem to be enough for all the special effects which vary from scene to scene in their quality. Most of them, in particular, those involving Steppenwolf look fantastic. Still, there are notably special effects that could’ve needed improvement. After addressing all those negative aspects of the film I’d like to make clear that I really enjoyed it. I had the most fun, remarkably in the last quarter of the plot. Sadly, I can’t talk much about that without spoilers. Hence, I will talk about that in the following spoiler-part of my review of “Zack Snyder’s Justice League”.
“I have a second chance and I’m not gonna waste it.”
“He has the power to take out the entire human race and if we believe there is even a one percent chance that he is our enemy, we have to take it as an absolute certainty!”
With these words and a nightmare, Batman once vindicated his fight against Superman. This nightmare showed him a world where Superman was debauched by Darkseid, the nemesis of the Justice League. “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” widened this nightmare. We are shown why Superman turns evil, because of the death of the love of his life, Lois Lane. A death that could have been prevented by Batman but wasn’t. For that reason, Superman is after him in the nightmare sequence of “Batman v Superman Dawn of Justice”. Both nightmare scenes from the Snyder Cut count among my favourites of the entire film. The music, the imagery, everything is epic, desperate and fits together at the same time.
“I will stride across their bones and bask in the glory of Anti-Life. And all of existence shall be mine.”
Darkseid…the main villain of the Justice League finally gets his appearance in Snyder’s version. A villain who easily casts everyone in the scene aside just through his deep voice and strong presence. Steppenwolf, who betrayed him once wants to return back at his side. Therefore he owns him thousands and thousands of conquered worlds, which Steppenwolf reshapes to Darkseid’s dominion with the help of the technology of the Mother Boxes. On earth, he also discovers the location of the Anti-Life Equation, a source of unlimited power. A chase that would have happened in Justice League 2 & 3.
Besides, the Snyder Cut introduces new superheroes like the Martian Manhunter or Atom, which unfortunately don’t do much more except for being present. Though, another more or less new character gets a scene, the Joker. Jared Leto’s Joker in the last scene of the film is completely different from the weird damaged version in “Suicide Squad” and much better, darker and creepier. This one scene lets me wish for more of Leto’s interpretation of the clown prince of Gotham, even more than from Joaquin Phoenix’s.
“How many can die in your arms before you grow numb to death?”
One of the other new heroes is Flash, who receives a beautiful new scene that expands his powers beyond time and gives the final fight another touch and more tension. As well as Wonder Woman cutting off Steppenwolf’s head, a scene I looked forward to since I heard of it years ago. His head flying through the dimension portal right before Darkseid’s feet with him looking through it onto earth’s mightiest heroes was just overwhelming.
All these highlights let me excuse most of the miserable parts of Zack Snyder’s too-long version of Justice League. Wrapping up, it’s a film for fans and I’d even go this far as to say only for fans. The Snyder Cut is obviously not a good film itself but it doesn’t want to be. The fans demanded Snyder’s entire vision and they got it. A second chance not only for Superman but for the DCEU too. After watching it two times, I still can’t wait to see the “Justice is Grey” black and white version of the film which contains another ending scene with the Joker. I want more, the fans want more, Darkseid wants more. Therefore: “Ready the armada. We will use the old ways.” #RestoreTheSnyderVerse