Finally, after all the hoopla and hype, the long-clamored-for #SnyderCut of Justice League has been released on HBO Max. After all the complaining and campaigning to #ReleaseTheSnyderCut, we now have the epic 4-hour version of Zack Snyder’s vision.
Does Zack Snyder’s Justice League do, uh, justice to all the hype and right all the wrongs of the derided original theatrical release?
Our two cents on the matter: the #SnyderCut is a case of “more, but kinda.”
Despite trailers teasing a new villain, more characters, and intriguing apocalyptic scenes, what we actually get is a lot (LOT, LOOOOTTTTT) more context. The main narrative beats follow the general flow of the original release but is now more fleshed out. So, this is not a radically different movie, but in some ways, it is. It turns out that the theatrically-released Josh Whedon version, while derided, wasn’t a radical departure from Snyder’s storyline but just much more condensed and quippy, resulting in a disjointed, unevenly-toned film.
Speaking of the film’s tone, Snyder’s dark and gritty approach to DC Comics’ superheroes returns. It really underscores how Snyder sees them – godlike, towering above us all. The jokes and quips Whedon included been excised; but also because Snyder said he’d only use what he shot. Tonally, the film is now rated R, compared to the PG-13 rating of previous film – but that basically amounts to two instances of the f-word being said by a couple of characters and a little more Synder-esque blood and gore. In fact, the entire four-hour run is actually made from footage Snyder shot before his departure, except for the new extended epilogue – which is a cliffhanger designed to tease what might have been.
This is a little annoying because, despite the epic run time, Zack Snyder’s Justice League doesn’t conclude its narrative. However, it’s important to realize that this is because, for Snyder, Justice League was always just the mid-point for what he envisioned to be a five-part film franchise – preceded by Man Of Steel and Batman v Superman, and followed by two more films. In an interview with Vanity Fair, Snyder said, “When I made the film originally, it was part of a five-part trilogy. There were two more episodes of the Justice League to be shot.”
So, all in all, we’d say that Zack Snyder’s Justice League is ultimately “more, but kinda” – more context, more serious, and teased a “more to come” (that will never come). However, it also kinda stays the same in many ways and is, ultimately, an indulgent Director’s Cut that’s four hours long. It’s an improvement and not a bad way to spend the time, but may not ultimately do justice to the power of the fan movement that led to this moment.