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Zack Snyder’s Justice League review: Can the director’s cut improve upon the original?

Zack Snyder's Justice League review
Aquaman, Flash and Cyborg in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Pic credit: Warner Bros.

There has been a lot of curiosity about what Zack Snyder’s Justice League would look like when he finally got a chance to release it his way.

Snyder had already led into this movie with Man of Steel and Batman V Superman and was a producer with a heavy hand in Suicide Squad and Wonder Woman. Justice League was supposed to be his chance to bring the biggest heroes of the DCEU together.

However, tragedy struck when Snyder’s daughter died, and he had to step away from the project. Warner Bros hired Joss Whedon, who came in and conducted some major reshoots and remade the movie in his image.

What resulted was a movie that had two visions, and it never felt cohesive in the end. Now, Snyder has a chance to release it in his sole vision, and the question is whether it ended up better or worse than the theatrical version.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League review

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is better than the theatrical version in many ways. This is due to the fact that it has one vision from start to end, and this movie seems much more cohesive than the theatrical version.

The bad news is that it is way too long, could have used some serious tightening of its scenes, and seemed to take itself way too seriously at many points in the movie. While it is better than the original, it is bloated and full of excess, the same arguments that people had about Batman V Superman.

Zack Snyder had a lot to do in Justice League because Warner Bros. chose to rush to the team-up movie rather than setting up the characters. This meant introducing three brand-new characters in Aquaman, Cyborg, and Flash since none of them had a chance to shine in their own movies before this.

For Aquaman, there was almost nothing. It was also one of the first times that Zack Snyder overindulged. In the original Justice League movie, Bruce Wayne went to enlist Aquaman but left empty handed.

The same thing happened here, but the scene was lengthened with the people of the village singing a song in honor of Aquaman, with one woman, in particular, worshipping the hero. It was a strange scene and one of many that Snyder seemed to like to sprinkle through his movie to make his heroes seem more godlike.

However, Snyder also added a scene with Vulko (Willem Defoe) and Mera (Amber Heard) meeting up with Aquaman to discuss the Mother Box that Atlantis protected. It explained why he went there. In the theatrical movie, he just happened upon the attack.

Those scenes are where Zack Snyder’s Justice League thrives over the theatrical movie. The original release had the story move from one scene to the next, and often it was just like moving parts. Snyder gives reasons for what happens and creates moments and scenes where it makes sense, rather than just leaving viewers thinking they missed something.

Flash got his own introduction and the reveal of him saving Iris West from an accident. There are several moments in Zack Snyder’s Justice League where he shows how powerful and important Flash is. In the original movie, he was comic relief much of the time, but he was very important here.

However, the best improvement was that of Ray Fisher’s Cyborg. In Zack Snyder’s Justice League, Cyborg is arguably the most important character in the story. Snyder brings back the relationship between Vic Stone and his dad, the loss of his mother, the extent of his powers, and why he is the only way that the Justice League can beat Darkseid.

There is also an extended scene in the middle of the movie that is a thrill to watch. In the original Justice League, there was a quick flashback to the heroes of Earth banding together to beat Darkseid. That scene is played out here and shows how they beat him, and it is proof that Snyder knows how to shoot a massive action scene.

What makes Zack Snyder’s Justice League a marked improvement over the theatrical release is that this movie builds to the inevitable end battle with Steppenwolf and doesn’t just connect dots to get there. This is a cohesive and complete movie and is a sign that losing Snyder hurt the original movie.

There is no way that Zack Snyder could have gotten a four-hour superhero movie into theaters, but it does prove that he had a vision of what this world should look like.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League wrap-up

Zack Snyder’s Justice League is not a perfect movie.

It is too long and has the signs of Zack Snyder’s excess. It has scenes that needed tightening and some that could have remained on the cutting room floor altogether.

The movie also has way too many disjointed moments, such as when a character says a clever one-liner before they attack that seems stilted and awkward when edited together.

However, the improvement of Cyborg’s character and the vision of these heroes trying to save the world by working together makes this the preferred Justice League movie.

Zack Snyder’s Justice League arrives on HBO Max on March 17.

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