SCREENCRUNCH: But the hype was kind of a bit much
If you watched the 2017 “Justice League,” then you are probably among those who were disappointed at just how much of a rip-off it was of the then soaring “Avengers” franchise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. That really isn’t surprising because it was Joss Whedon who put the finishing touches to the film.
A couple of years later, and after clamor from both fans and the film’s actors, the nearly-legendary Snyder Cut finally saw the light. And it didn’t disappoint—well, save for a few editing and post-prod kinks here and there.
Here’s our take on the four-hour long version of the “Justice League,” just as Zack Snyder had intended it to be.
What we liked
Hmmm, where do we begin in enumerating the things we like about Snyder’s JL? The most obvious improvement from its first commercial release is the more in-depth coverage of each of the hero’s backstories, save maybe for Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) and Batman (Ben Affleck), who both served as the links to their fellow supers.
Cyborg (Ray Fisher) finally gets the origin story airtime he deserves. There’s now a more human side to the half-mechanical hero, which every DC fan is familiar with, of course. His dad, Silas Stone (Joe Morton), also gets more screen time and a nobler role than just being a genius-scientist-confused-father.
Ezra Miller’s Flash also gets humanized a bit, with the quick introduction of Iris West. He still provides the occasional comic relief in what is otherwise a broodier, darker, more serious “Justice League.”
Aquaman (Jason Momoa) has more drama, this time, and audiences are made to understand his reluctance with defending Atlantis (and the world) and teaming up with his land-based counterparts.
Superman (Henry Cavill) gets several minutes of endearing moments with his Earth-mom Martha and the love of his life Lois, too. So that’s something.
And Alfred Pennyworth (Jeremy Irons) becomes more lovable in this version, too, more than in his appearance in the 2016 film “Batman vs. Superman.” He’s just more human, too, engaging in witty banter with some characters and “teaching” Diana how to make tea—because he’s British and why not, really?
Then there are the villains. Steppenwolf (voiced by Ciarán Hinds) is meaner in this one, with a better backstory than just wanting to take over the world on behalf of his master Darkseid (voiced by Ray Porter). Speaking of the film’s big baddie, Darkseid’s battle with Earth’s ancient defenders—the old gods, the Amazons, the Atlantians, that lone Lantern, and the ordinary folk—gets a major improvement in the Snyder Cut.
Another interesting scene is the Knightmare sequence, where Jared Leto’s Joker gets a bit of a redemption from angry fans. He did well, guys, he did well.
What we didn’t like so much
The film, with all its four-hour glory, is a slowburn. That’s really fine and is a considerable improvement from the 2017 theatrical version. But it’s not without its drawbacks.
For one, the music didn’t feel quite right in many points of the film—save maybe for every time that iconic “Wonder Woman” theme plays. The “chanting voices” theme for each of the scenes an Amazon appears is tiring, for example. It feels like you’re watching a concert of the Celtic Woman.
Speaking of prolonged moments, the drama scene for Aquaman is just too dragging. It feels too much of a fan service, having Jason Momoa walk on that plank, shirtless, while a not-so-endearing song plays in the background.
Then there are the not-so-refined CGI moments in some scenes, which clearly is an effect of having post-production for the film rushed.
And air pockets underwater so Atlantians could talk? Really? C’mon, guys.
So for all the hype, was “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” worth it? Yes, but mostly because fans have been itching to see it. After you do see it, you will probably feel good about how you spent those four hours. Oh, and please don’t compare it with the MCU.
But really, you might also think, “That’s it?” Sadly, yes. That’s it. Those who haven’t seen the film yet, don’t start it thinking it’s going to be something more than a very long superhero movie. It is, after all, just that.
We give “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” a four out of five.