“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” is an enhanced and expanded version of 2017’s “Justice League.” Even though the 2017 film was a cinematic failure, heavily criticized by both critics and audiences alike, Snyder’s 2021 director’s cut was surprisingly good.
Warner Bros. spent $70 million to complete the visual effects, soundtrack, editing, and new scenes for the extended version of 2017’s box-office train wreck of a film.
It was released as an HBO Max original March 18.
The film features a star-studded cast, which includes Ben Affleck as Batman, Henry Cavill as Superman, and Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman.
After a superhero’s supposed death triggered the Mother Boxes – DC’s version of the infinity stones – reactivation, Steppenwolf – a supervillain of epic proportions – came down to Earth in order to find the now-activated boxes. Upon retrieval of a Mother Box from Themyscira – Wonder Woman’s birthplace – Queen Hippolyta, Wonder Woman’s mother, attempted to warn her daughter of Steppenwolf’s plans.
Once she received the message, Wonder Woman notified Batman about the attack. Together, they recruited a team of superheroes to protect the world from Steppenwolf and his minions.
Snyder is no newcomer to violent, dark superhero movies – and this film was no exception.
Due to the R-rating, Snyder was able to incorporate sequences of bloody violence and strong language into his director’s cut. Although “Justice League” was originally rated PG-13, the graphic R-rated content vastly improved the film.
Thanks to the absurd blood sprays and gritty – yet occasionally humorous – atmosphere, the movie benefitted from being over the top. Whereas, the 2017 version felt constrained, in terms of what it could show on-screen, due to its younger demographic.
The film’s extended duration also provided crucial scenes, which were cut from the theatrical version, due to either their graphic nature or length. These restored scenes were quite beneficial to the overall storyline, since they expanded on the character dynamics and added no major plot holes.
In particular, the director’s cut provided full storylines and character development for Cyborg and The Flash – while eliminating some excess material from the original film.
Along with the R-rating and improved character growth, the special effects were dramatically upgraded as well. Due to the dark color palette, the FX looked more realistic, rather than cartoonish.
In addition, “Justice League’s” usage of slow-motion shots added to the entertainment. While many people are not in favor of a film’s usage of slowed-down action, Snyder used them when necessary.
Despite the film’s dramatic improvements over its theatrical cut, “Justice League” has a few shortcomings.
While the film always kept me engaged, it was hard to sit through for an extended period of time. After all, the film clocked in at a whopping four hours and two minutes.
And even though the movie was broken down into six separate parts, each chapter was around 40 minutes long. Due to this, a few scenes seemed overly drawn out – particularly during the first two chapters.
Along with the film’s extended duration, “Justice League” dragged out for another 30 minutes after the supposed ending. Unlike most superhero films, the movie seemed to have two conclusions, rather than one.
Instead of having a disjointed storyline and near-nonexistent character development, the director’s cut of “Justice League” improved on the original film in almost every single way. As opposed to tacking on extra scenes to expand the runtime, it is clear that Snyder wanted to restore his original vision.
While the DC extended universe has had its ups and downs, there is no denying that Snyder’s “Justice League” stands out as one of the best – if not the best – films in the DCEU.
Through the improved CGI, cinematography, and R-rated goriness, Snyder reclaimed his director’s vision. Even though it’s not geared toward kids, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” finally offered the much-needed light to a bloated genre of superheroes.
After all, not all superhero films have to appeal to everyone.
B+ – Snyder is “the Godfather” of superhero films.