Zack Snyder Cut of ‘Justice League’, Spoiler Free Review
Zack Snyder cut of Justice League has finally arrived. Fans have been calling for its release since 2017 and HBO Max along with Warner Brothers have answered. Overall, the film has been received much more positively than its theatrical cut. Rotten Tomatoes has The Snyder Cut sitting at 75% for critics and an impressive 97% for audiences. This is compared to the 40% and 71% respectively that the theatrical version scored.
Overall, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a better movie. Characters are more fleshed out. The action beats are better. The tone is more consistent as well, with most of the camp and levity trimmed away. With that said however, there are a few things that just don’t work in this film. Whether that is a product of the existing universe or a misunderstanding of the source material remains unclear.
What works in the Snyder Cut?
The Snyder Cut clocking in at just over four hours. This gives ample time for the story to flesh out the characters. No where is that more evident than with Cyborg who had almost been relegated to a cameo appearance in the theatrical cut. The Snyder Cut dives deeper into Cyborg’s backstory and gives you the sense of anguish and pain Victor Stone feels. Ray Fisher does a tremendous job portraying a broken man trying to understand the new and terrifying circumstances he has found himself in.
Additionally, The Flash gets a bit more screen time as well. Early on we get the addition of a deleted scene featuring Iris West. Ezra Miller’s performance as the speedster is hit and miss in parts, but he does a good job on the whole playing the awkward “kid” of the group.
Batman, Aquaman and Wonder Woman remain largely unchanged from the theatrical version. Following the criticism of the theatrical version, it would make sense to leave these three more or less alone being one of the stronger elements of the original.
Violence is the answer
With all that said however, nothing works better than having this movie carry and R rating. DC as a whole lends itself well to more adult content. The action and dialogue are several notches above anything in the MCU currently. That said, the violence in the Snyder Cut isn’t anything too over the top or grotesque. In certain parts the action is reminiscent of Alan Moore’s work on Batman and Watchmen.
What doesn’t it the mark in the Snyder Cut?
We haven’t had anything quite like the Snyder Cut since Richard Donner’s Superman II. Not only did parts of the film have to be reshot and altered, they were able to get it done during a global pandemic. The sheer fact that it was released at all is amazing, or a testament to how desperate HBO Max is to gain subscribers.
With all that said, at several points in the movie, it becomes quite clear that this film did not have the complete budget of a Hollywood blockbuster. The CGI in spots is very spotty and several of the action sequences look just a little “rubbery”. While the scenes in question are not as bad as say 2003’s ‘Hulk’, several shots have a strange computerized sheen to them.
Take Cyborg for example. When he is on screen, there are points where his design and rendered face falls into the uncanny valley. It isn’t anything that ruins the performance but it is something that take the viewer out of the film for a brief moment.
With everything that the Snyder Cut had going against it, picking on the CGI feels like a low blow but does merit note.
Where the Snyder Cut seriously struggles however is setting itself apart from the theatrical version. Leading up to the films release, fans were presented with trailers promising something much different than what we had already seen. What we get in the Snyder Cut however is just more of the same, just longer. From the villain to the action set pieces, the plot remains largely unchanged from its 2017 release. That’s not to say the story isn’t good, it’s just that not much has changed.
The the end of the day…
If you have HBO Max, The Snyder Cut is already available for you to watch. It’s up to each individual fan to decide what they want out of the film. For some people it may tick every box and live up to all of their expectations. Others who may have their sights set a bit too high, the Snyder Cut may be a bit of a let down.