Zack Snyder's Justice League
Zack Snyder's Justice League (also known as Justice League: The Snyder Cut) is a 2021 superhero action movie based on various characters by DC Comics and the director's cut of the 2017 theatrical version. The film was released on March 18, 2021 exclusively on HBO Max.
Determined to ensure that Superman's sacrifice against Doomsday was not in vain, Bruce Wayne joins forces with Diana Prince and plans to recruit a team of metahumans that will protect the world from an approaching threat of catastrophic proportions constituted by Steppenwolf, Darkseid and their army of Parademons.
Why It's Done Justice
- After 3 years of fighting, Zack Snyder's cut of Justice League (the Snyder Cut) was finally released thanks to the efforts of fans around the world, and it's a LARGE improvement over the theatrical version.
- To give you a good idea of just how anticipated the Snyder Cut's release was, even Marvel fans participated in the fight.
- It does closely connect Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice unlike the theatrical one.
- Excellent score by Tom Holkenborg (AKA Junkie XL), which is a major improvement over Danny Elfman's score from the theatrical cut.
- Hans Zimmer's "Flight" from Man of Steel makes a return in the film, also recomposed by Holkenborg.
- The Flash's character has been heavily reworked, and Cyborg is finally given a proper backstory.
- This gives both characters their shining moments in the movie, most notably Flash tapping to the Speed Force and reversing time at the exact moment the Unity fully synchronizes and Cyborg accepting who he is before he fully separates the Mother Boxes.
- Zack Snyder also described Cyborg's depiction as "the heart of the movie"... and it definitely shows.
- Darkseid finally makes his first full appearance in a live-action movie.
- Ray Porter makes Darkseid sound scary and intimidating at the same time.
- Steppenwolf has been redesigned and his characterization is also heavily improved, going from being a "generic doomsday villain" to a legitimately intimidating figure with a surprisingly sympathetic motivation of trying to prove to Darkseid and DeSaad that he's still worthy of their service, which is similar to Thanos's motivation in Avengers: Infinity War.
- Furthermore, in the theatrical cut, Steppenwolf suffers a mental breakdown after his axe is destroyed and gets devoured by his own Parademons. Here, he goes berserk and tries to kill the entire Justice League with his bare hands despite being clearly outmatched.
- Steppenwolf has no desire to destroy the world in this version. All he wants is to return home and prove that he's still worthy enough to be one of Darkseid's followers.
- Much of the CGI has been heavily improved upon, and it looks absolutely fantastic.
- The slow-motion scenes are well done.
- Amazing cinematography.
- Outstanding sound design.
- Despite being 242 minutes (4 hours and 2 minutes), it is really well-paced.
- While Superman's character development is shown a bit in the theatrical cut, this cut gives more time for his character development to grow slowly.
- Everyone in the Justice League has had their characterizations improved from the theatrical cut (with a notable mention in WIR #3), as they now put more effort and determination into their goal. Most notably, the team now actively tries to stop Steppenwolf from getting the final Mother Box, as opposed to leaving it completely unguarded in the theatrical cut.
- This also makes Superman no longer an extremely overpowered character who makes everyone else in the League look useless, which was a massive problem in the theatrical cut.
- Unlike Snyder's previous movies supposed to be dark and gloomy, the tone changed into a heartwarming one and there are some lighthearted moments like the scene when after the duel between Wonder Woman and a terrorist, she said to a little girl with a dialogue
- "Are you okay, princess?"
- "Am I going to be like you someday?"
- "You can be anything you want to be."
- Likewise, Batman gets massive character development throughout the film, going from being a merciless killing machine to a gentler hero that is more faithful to and in line with his comic book counterpart.
- A lot of the stuff from the Joss Whedon reshoots, such as unnecessary jokes, Superman's creepy CGI mouth and the entire subplot with the Russian family, have been completely removed so that the movie can focus on Snyder's original vision.
- The reddish-orange hue in the theatrical cut has also been reverted to the original dark blue sky that was seen in the first trailer.
- Bruce Wayne doesn't feel like a clone of Tony Stark anymore since he doesn't make pointless jokes.
- Jared Leto's Joker makes an appearance in the "Knightmare" sequence, and his performance is so much better than his portrayal in Suicide Squad, managing to be legitimately creepy and having some decent chemistry with Batman.
- Jesse Eisenberg has also improved from his performance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, even if it's still hit-or-miss (see BQ #5 for more detail).
- The acting as a whole is greatly improved from the original, especially from Ray Fisher as Cyborg who gives a lot more emotion and nuance to the character now.
- Great lines, such as:
- "And make no mistake I will fucking kill you."
- "The Anti-Life has been found, Desaad, and we will stop at nothing to possess it. Ready the armada. We will use the old ways."
- "Not. Impressed."
- "I'm not broken... and I'm not alone."
- "I don't care how many demons he's fought in how many hells. He's never fought us. Not us united."
- Silas's last message to Victor is incredibly bittersweet and heartwarming.
- While Superman's black suit is a recolor of his 2016 suit due to Warner Bros. forcing Snyder to use the suit during filming in 2016, it's faithful to the comics due to being part of Superman's character arc after the Death and Return of Superman story arc.
- The Martian Manhunter and Ryan Choi also make appearances in the film.
- Amazing action sequences that are heavily improved from the theatrical cut.
- It manages to balance out its dark tone with levity incredibly well, unlike its predecessor.
- On that topic, the film meshes tragedy, comedy, superhero action and thrills to near-perfection.
- The scenes that were in Batman V Superman that were added only for future sequels actually appear in this movie unlike the original version, such as Flash going back through time to warn Bruce Wayne.
- The ending is very satisfying and it leaves a sense of hopefulness for the audience.
- The message "For Autumn" before the ending credits is heartwarming, and the use of the song "Hallelujah" (a cover by Allison Crowe) during said credits only makes it even more emotionally satisfying, proving that all Snyder's fans fought for was totally worth it.
- Just like in many Snyder films, 10% of the movie is filled with slow-motion sequences, although the slow motion is still well-done as mentioned above.
- Additionally, the camera format is 4:3, which can be distracting, though it can be justified considering what the film's experience tries to convey.
- Though it is understandable that the film is needed to be 4 hours mainly because some characters like the Flash and Cyborg didn't get their own film, The story can be a bit overloaded.
- While much of the CGI is good as mentioned above, some of it is barely (or not even at all) improved from the theatrical cut, likely due to animators being forced to work from home due to the pandemic.
- As mentioned in WIR #19, Superman's black suit is just a recolor of his 2016 suit, though once again, it was due to Warner Bros. vetoing the black suit during filming in 2016.
- Some of the performances could still use some work:
- Jesse Eisenberg's portrayal of Lex Luthor is still not that great (as said before), though it's certainly better than his performance in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.
- Sometimes, the soundtrack (while a massive improvement over the Whedon Cut) doesn't fit the specific scene. For example, Wonder Woman's theme plays almost every time she appears in a frame, which can get quite distracting and annoying after a while.
- Iris West was "racebended" in this film.
- There are some scenes with product placements, they're not much but it feels cheap since some of them are in scenes that were in the original movie but didn't have product placement such as the "I'm rich!" scene.
- Some of the scenes still kept the quote from the previous version like the infamous "Ka'el, no!" by Wonder Woman as well as the scene were Batman tells Flash "I'm rich!" when the latter asks what his superpower is (though it can be interpreted as him just being sarcastic).
Zack Snyder's Justice League has received generally positive reviews from critics, with praise aimed toward Snyder's direction and the improved characterization, though the four-hour runtime received some criticism.
On review aggregator, Rotten Tomatoes, 71% of 263 critics have given the film a positive review, with an average rating of 6.8/10. The site's critics consensus reads "Zack Snyder's Justice League lives up to its title with a sprawling cut that expands to fit the director's vision – and should satisfy the fans who willed it into existence".
According to Metacritic, which calculated a weighted average score of 54 out of 100 based on 45 critics, the film received "mixed or average reviews". The scores of the film are higher on both sites than what the 2017 film received (40% and 45, respectively).
On the other hand, the film received overwhelming acclaim from audiences, going on par with the likes of Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame and The Dark Knight, with the audience scores on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic being 95% and 9.0, respectively.
In IMDb, the film has an 8.1/10 score, making it rank at #6 on its "Top 10 Best Superhero Movies" list.
Robbie Collin of The Telegraph awarded the film a full five stars, writing that "the unwatchable 2017 comic-book calamity has been refashioned into one of the most spectacular superhero movies ever made".
- A black-and-white version of this film exists, titled "Justice is Gray".
- A fan theory suggests that, when the Flash reversed time, he went into another universe where he met the Arrowverse version of himself during the Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event.
- Jared Leto appears for the second time as the Joker, making him the first actor to play the Joker twice.
Dawn of the Dead - 300 - Watchmen - Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole - Sucker Punch - Man of Steel - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Ultimate Edition) - Justice League* - Zack Snyder's Justice League - Army of the Dead
*: Snyder was the director of Justice League during principal photography, but was replaced by Joss Whedon during post-production. Snyder retained directorial credit for the finished film, though reports have indicated Whedon reshot a significant portion of the film. Snyder later edited a director's cut of the film, removing all of Whedon's footage and restoring his own footage that was deleted in the theatrical release. Snyder also shot four to five minutes of additional footage in late 2020 for his cut, released as Zack Snyder's Justice League.