“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” Review: The Definitive Version of “Justice League”

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Jon Yelenic, Staff Writer

Zack Synder’s cut of 2017’s “Justice League,” is violent, not the least bit subtle and is a fair improvement over the original that’s sure to satisfy DC fans.

With its four-hour runtime, it is Snyder’s most self-indulgent as well as most enjoyable film by far in recent memory

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Left: Cyborg, Flash, Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman in “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” Image Credit: HBO Max

The film picked up right where 2016’s  “Batman v Superman,” left off. Superman (Henry Cavill) is dead following his battle with Doomsday.

Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) set out to assemble a squad of superheroes to defend Earth from an impending alien force led by Steppenwolf (Ciaran Hinds) and seek out a way to revive Superman.

Stellar Supporting Cast

Now despite a near-identical premise between the two versions, “Snyder’s Cut” still differs in its own way. One is that the supporting cast is given much more screen time allowing for the characters to feel more fleshed out.

You have Ezra Miller’s (Barry Allen) aka the Flash whose portrayal is particularly enjoyable. Allen’s comedic presence with Snyder’s dark and brooding universe allows for some much-needed levity.

He plays the part as a comedic relief when needed, but also delivers a compelling dramatic performance. Much more of his personal life is shown along with the pressures he faces at the Flash. 

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The Flash in “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” Image Credit: HBO Max

The odds are constantly stacked against Miller, but he will never back down. 

What adds even more dimension to the character is how he uses his smarts & speed to defy fate. Plus special effects surrounding him when he runs are among the most visually mesmerizing scenes in the movie.

One other character that is given more time to shine is Victor Stone (Ray Fisher) aka Cyborg along with a new arc.

Following an accident, Stone gets a high-tech cybernetic body. When he is first introduced Stones believes that he himself is a monster and his robotic appearance evokes fear from those who see him.

However, he slowly comes around to accepting this new reality and eases the pain by using his high-tech body to help others. Later on, Stone is offered the chance to return to his former body and to no longer be “broken” as the villain puts it.

“I’m not broken,” Stone responds and comes to realize that despite his cybernetic body he’s not any less human.

Cyborg in "Zack Snyder's Justice League" Image Credit: HBO Max
Cyborg in “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” Image Credit: HBO Max

Now aside from these two the rest of the cast do not receive as much background, but this isn’t much of a big deal.

Their screen time is still enjoyable thanks to solid writing that allows for their personalities to shine.  

You have engaging as well as heartwarming banter between Batman and Alfred (Jeremy Irons).

Wonder Woman’s gleeful smirk amid an intense fight which is very on-brand for the Warrior Princess. 

Strangely though, Superman (Henry Cavill) who is the focus of Snyder’s DC movies isn’t given much screen time to allow for character development paired with writing that gives off a lackluster. Amongst the six main characters, Superman is allotted the least amount of screen time. And when he is present he does either of the following two things: Talk to Lois Lane (Amy Adams) or fight bad guys.

Before Superman’s entrance, the film is at its best but loses all tension once he shows up.  

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Superman in “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” Image Credit: HBO Max

Awe-inspiring Visuals

Snyder’s added a nice touch to the film with its visuals which led to incredible action sequences.

Early in the film, Wonder Woman halts a hostage situation at a bank.

Wonder Woman moves with incredible speed along with crushing weight behind each of her punches which drives home the point that she is in a whole other league than her opponents. 

You also have Mera (Amber Heard) who at a point is taking on Steppenwolf on the ocean floor. In this scene, the Atlantean princess took creative liberty with her power to control water. Mera bends water to create an air bubble around Steppenwolf which forces him to fall as gravity takes effect. She even tries to drain the water out of Steppenwolf’s body to dehydrate him. 

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Left: Aquaman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg in “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” Image Credit: HBO

Slight Disappointments

The film relies on its visuals to allow for a more impactful story to follow, but not enough.

Throughout the film, there is a lot of redundant dialogue that reiterates previously mentioned information.

The dialogue feels needlessly edgy at times like in one scene where Batman drops the “f-bomb” while threatening to kill a character becomes unintentionally hilarious.

And so, this redundancy and forced nature of the dialogue weakens parts of the film due to the scenes not trusting their visuals.

The themes as well become quite obtrusive with being too in-your-face. Snyder uses Superman as a parallel for Jesus Christ which started in “Man of Steel” and is being more openly used than before. The film isn’t the least bit subtle about this and goes to great lengths to ensure the viewers understand this.

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Darkseid (Ray Porter) in “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” Image Credit: HBO Max

The same can’t be said about its lore however which expects those watching to understand what is happening.

Plenty of jargon gets thrown around such as Mother Boxes, the Unity, the Anti-Life Equation, etc…

Fans of DC Comics might be able to follow the lore, but newcomers might become either lost or confused.

And despite the lengthy runtime, it does a poor job at utilizing it to its advantage.

Final Thoughts

“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” might run for four hours, but will surprisingly speed by. There is a lot to take in though between the main six heroes, much-needed worldbuilding, Steppenwolf and side characters. So, be sure to pay attention or if the runtime still feels too intimidating don’t worry!

The movie is divided into six parts allowing for segmented viewing which allows for breather room in between. 

Overall, for better or worse the movie exhibits Zack Snyder’s best-known qualities in their purest forms. It’s overindulgent, violent, pretentious and flashy. And the infectiously charming personality of the main cast, character building and exciting action sequences are all sure to entertain fans of DC Comics.

To watch “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” Click Here to check it out over on HBO Max.