Zack Snyder’s Justice League | An Honest Review

Justice League

Watching Zack Snyder’s Justice League sure is a strange experience. It’s fresh, but it’s definitely not new. It’s like hearing a story you know from someone you’ve never heard tell it before. Familiar, but different. Half the time you spend sinking back into it, the other half you’re wondering if that character or this storyline was in the original version. 

The big question is: is it better than the Joss Whedon cut? Maybe. I enjoyed it more, but it’s also hard to judge since it’s impossible to view this without seeing it through the lens of the original. I can say that I found the action scenes to be tighter and more exciting. The effects were more polished (especially the villain Steppenwolf, who gets a spiffy new look to his armor). And it’s more cohesive. No surprise there since the man who started the project now gets to finish it.

Don’t get me wrong – there’s still a lot of problems. Many continue from the Whedon mix, like the clunky, uninteresting plot about “mother-boxes” scorching the earth and turning the survivors into “para-demons.”  Decades of comic book material to draw from and that’s the best they could do? Marvel did a similar thing with Thanos and his infinity stones, but they did it much better. I get the feeling the problems here have nothing to do with the fact Marvel beat them out of the gate, either. If nothing else the movie reinforces the obvious: that creative people should dictate movies, not suits. Warner’s Bros.’ experiment to make an Avengers type movie before introducing said Avengers in their own solo movies is a failure. That’s partly because Justice League has way too much going on. And that’s all Snyder’s doing. In addition to introducing the League, there’s the aforementioned plot about gathering mother-boxes to destroy the earth, as well as the resurrection of Superman. How Zack Snyder expected to get this thing in under 3 hours is beyond me. Here, his version runs just over 4. If he eased up on the constant slo-mo, maybe, just maybe he could have brought that down about twenty minutes.

Also Check Out: Deborah Snyder Addresses Zack Snyder’s Justice League and Future Precedence for DC Films [Exclusive Interview]

Slo-no or not, it’s hard to sit through Zack Snyder’s Justice League in one sitting. The cinematography is a big reason for that. If I had to watch this movie in the theater, I’m not sure my retinas could have taken it. The constant harsh, washed out lighting and bleak landscapes is the equivalent of staring into a fluorescent lightbulb for several hours. The entire picture is gloomy, sterile and cold. Maybe Snyder forgot this wasn’t just a Batman movie and that it’s okay not to be overcast with sunlight streaming through all the time.

If you’re expecting a cinematic game changer, prepare to be disappointed. The dialogue is still bad, the acting still stunted – with the exception of Ezra Miller, who seems to be the only one having any fun while everyone else mopes around. I get that the world is in danger, but is it that hard for anyone else to crack a smile? I’m not looking for wacky antics, but a little levity would have been nice. Maybe something between the Whedon cut and the Snyder version? I suppose it’s too late to ask for a second remix. 

As it stands now, too often the seriousness with which Zack Snyder’s Justice League conducts itself comes across as corny. It plays like an attempt at an Oscar film for superheroes. It doesn’t help that the big bad behind the curtain calls himself “Darkseid” or that the characters talk about the second coming of the golden age of heroes without so much as a wisecrack. 

The second biggest question is: is it worth it? Yes and no. Yes, because the “what if“ question has been answered. We now know the blame for this movie’s failures, for once, don’t rest solely on Whedon. And, no, because it’s painful to see so much money spent on yet another nail in the DCEU’s coffin. 

If Warner Bros. was smart, they would use the upcoming Flash movie (which is said to involve time travel and multiverses) and wipe the whole slate clean.

On the positive side, it was nice to see a mob of Twitter warriors come together to champion creation, not cancellation. For that reason alone, the movie is worth supporting. 

You can watch Zack Snyder’s Justice League on HBO Max now.

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