Did I see the same movie as everybody else?
The 2017 Justice League has been, ever since I first (and last) saw it, one of the worst comic-book movies ever made to me, which is funny cause I don’t even like Zack Snyder’s previous contributions to the DCEU. Yet, Joss Whedon’s attempt of piecing together Snyder’s story in a way to please the timid studio in which undertook the project in its inception was such a pathetic effort at recapturing the light-hearted magic he had exemplified in The Avengers that I actually felt pity for Zack, having his name embedded under a lifeless movie when it’s vividly not entirely his.
This four-hour Snyder Cut though, it ain’t it. For me, at least.
It is admittedly better though. To be precise even, it’s THRICE as… if not, FOUR TIMES better than whatever that atrocity we got four years ago was. Character arcs (while still at an amateur level of writing) are a tad more earned than before thanks to the cut’s inclusion of needed continuities, plus the movie looks comparatively less ugly with it’s reduction of both green screen and Whedon’s excessive color tones. The newly integrated blood and gore due to the introduction of its R-rating in this was a LOT gnarlier than what the Batman v Superman: The Ultimate Cut offered us too. Moreover, there’s at least a sense of stakes this time around to some extent. Ummm… DeSaad’s character design looked kinda sick, as well? But, that’s about it. At its core, the uninteresting save-the-world tale of loosely connected heroes is still present to me, except there’s like more action and tone and filler and untimely music and *sigh* potential and… stuff.
Suddenly extra drab villains, extra dream/flashback sequences, and extra misery-porn qualifies as an excuse to draw out a very straightforward plot into an unnecessary four-hours of teetering. Not really the A, but the B to C in this cut is precisely the same as before — apart from its clumsily tacked on epilogue. Yet, integrated between the three marks is this insufferable elongation that made me wonder throughout why Snyder is so hellbent on exaggerating such a redundant motif as “the sacrifices heroes and their bystanders must make to accomplish greatness” with a predictable trial and error process. This movie is like 10% dramatic slow-mo spectacle (often used when unnecessary), 30% Lord of the Rings MEGA-BETA action sequences, 20% a generically developed Cyborg arc which could easily be summed up in the sentence “parent lame so kid suffer but kid forgive cause parent realizes he’s a dick in the end”, and 40% the script’s infamously insipid expositional dialogue used to explain a simple “bad guys are coming so we need to stop them or else we’ll regret it for not trying.” The funnier thing is one of the sole complaints that fans had about the original was Whedon’s humiliating comedy, yet this cut keeps a handful of the jokes from the original cut in and has even some new ones that are almost as painfully ineffective as before; although, the amount of them isn’t nearly as overbearing as it was in Whedon’s version.
I could go on more, but I’m a little beat as you can see. I’m happy Snyder got the version he wanted to make made — honestly artistic ambitions can stomp on most studio ambitions any day; this movie literally being superior to the original is evidence of that — but at the same time that doesn’t mean I have to indulge in his film just because it’s his vision. I only indulge in the s**t I like, and this is far from it. Bad movie. Has its moments, but a bad movie nonetheless. Carry on DCEU, or maybe not, idk; you’re literally 1 for 9 now. Yikes.
To leave this review on a brighter note though, I will indulge in the practice of reconstructing past studio failures on streaming devices to preserve the artistic vision that was meddled with. I may not indulge in the movie itself as a work of art, but I will indulge in its existence and its inspiration to encourage more companies and creators to do the same. In some cases, these hardcore Snyder fans may have just unintentionally discovered a remedy to counteract the over-saturation of studio control.
“Justice League: The Snyder Cut” is now available to stream on HBO Max.