To say Justice League (2017) isn’t without issue is being kind.
I too found a kindness in my review for the original release. Something about respecting the entire crew who worked on it, is reason I try to avoid being overladen with critique. Of course, we’ve later discovered that the Director who took over the film made it a hellscape, while Snyder experienced his own battles with it before his return.
As a rabid fanbase grew while watching the MCU go from strength to strength, DC continued to flail which saw these fans demand the Snyder cut. At the time this seemed all but a dream, until a global pandemic, a new streaming service, and a fanbase goaded by Snyder became the Unity which saw the film reborn.
PART 1: $70 million dollars later.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League came to life with support from WB investing into what would become an exclusive feature for the new HBO Max service. While the likes of 2018’s Aquaman had decent success, with a formula more akin to Wonder Woman than Snyder’s work, it was 2019’s darker take on JOKER which set the fanbase into overdrive. Darkness worked for DC. It $1 billion dollars worked. Reinforcing the ideology that Snyder’s version of the Justice League is the story that should be told, it all came to fruition within a flash.
PART 2: Two hundred and Forty Three minutes of your time.
With the majority of information coming from Snyder’s Vero account, and later verified accounts on Instagram and Twitter, Snyder confirmed he had his film cannisters for Justice League. Seemingly labelled with a runtime of 214 minutes, this would later balloon to 243 minutes total.
Setting the fanbase alight, the general public were surprised. I mean, they even had trouble reconciling Avengers: EndGame’s 3 hours runtime! But there’s no need to worry. In a culture of binge, and companies figuring out ways to engage audiences, it can take merit in 2 things; The 4 hours actually goes by really easily. And it’s in 6 parts, should you want to come and go at your leisure.
PART 3: The Brightest Dark
Visual imagery is a big part of Snyder’s following. He has an eye for action and bombast. I noted that Wonder Woman, and in-turn 2017’s Justice League, became the antithesis to this; Brightly colored and hyper-saturated to counter the oft-commented on “I CAN’T SEE ANYTHING” films created by Snyder.
Yet this film flips that on its head. Somehow it just LOOKS better than the 2017 cut. It’s obvious to see a lot of that budget was likely sunk into Steppenwolf, but there’s a tonne of improvements all around. Better color grading, lighting, and more new scenes to fill the time all help. While there are drops in quality, maybe due to footage on-hand, it makes for a visual spectacle equivocal to Snyder’s earlier works. And yes, they somehow reversed the eye-searing reds and pinks of the final battle, into a simple nighttime throwdown.
Oh, and the 1.33:1 ratio isn’t that bad.
PART 4: Context Is Key
It’s safe to say Moustache Gate wasn’t the only victim of 2017. I also called it a “potato mash of a story” in my original review, which makes it clear it was a “we tried our best” attempt at salvaging the film. Given room to breathe, and time to set up motivations, it’s a clearer picture of how all of Snyder’s films culminated at this point. While some liberties in continuity don’t hand over to now existing franchise films, it’s a better look at a team who knew nothing about one another, coming together.
Cause I don’t know about you, but I just…didn’t really believe the convenience of how they became pals in the first.
PART 5: Big Hero 6
Yes, everyone remembers Diana’s big hero moment, when she saves hostages from terrorists in the originals introduction. That actually takes place a little bit into the film, and the trailer reveal only sells it slightly. While she does straight up murder dudes, there’s more to the scene filling in the why’s. And the grace of WW84‘s style of fighting is blown out the window, giving way to sheer speed and strength.
And she’s not the only one.
Batman gets a large amount of action, putting the final nail in the coffin of just how good BATFleck was. My boy, The Flash, actually shows a wider array of just what he can do, and Aquaman somehow has better moments in this than his own film. The battle with Superman is markedly improved, thanks to the aforementioned context and removal of moustache gate. And it’s true Cyborg not only becomes the heart of the film, but also gets to do so much more.
PART 6: So what next?
Fleshed out context and better visuals leads to less conflict in tone, which only benefits the film. Further supplemented by the return of Junkie XL’s EXCELLENT soundtrack, it all forms a feature that is indeed Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Whether what we got is the feature it could have been, the fetid cravings of the fans will be satisfied.
If you haven’t caught the gag, I spaced out this review like the film.
6 parts. 1 epilogue.
I don’t think I was a huge detractor of the announcement, rather more amused by its inception. Seeing the result as something I was compelled by, has left me with a sense of pride for what Snyder produced. It may include the same nuances he’s well known for, but it also has an emotional sense which differs to his former works.
But also there’s totally swears and killing.
If you’ve been waiting, then the bell rings for you. Ding dong.
A wholly better film than the original, Zack Snyder's Justice League is the fleshed out version, freed from the context and tonal issues of the original.
Trusting in what it is as a film, and how it presents itself, sees the Justice League come together the only way they know how; With a tonne of heavy-hitters, over the top visuals, and a world-ending big bad who is actually big and bad.
ZACK SNYDER’s JUSTICE LEAGUE is now playing on Sky Go and NEON NZ.
There’s no secret ending, so you can stop the credits.