A few weeks ago, we finally got to see the long awaited Zack Snyder’s Justice League also known as “The Snyder Cut” and boy it was some movie. After watching it, I wonder that why did Warner Bros. had to go to Joss Whedon to complete this movie in the first place. They hardly had any major projects planned out after 2017. I feel that this movie is the most iconic movie ever in the Detective Comics Extended Universe (DCEU). So, here’s my review for the Snyder Cut.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Director: Zack Snyder
Writers: Zack Snyder, Chris Terrio, Will Beall,
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, Ezra Miller, Willem Dafoe, Jesse Eisenberg, Jeremy Irons, J.K. Simmons, Ciaran Hinds, Amber Heard
Music: Junkie XL
Budget: $70 million USD (for the reshoots + $275 million USD for the previous version)
Genre: Action, Adventure, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Synopsis: The death of Superman gives rise to a new enemy who wants the destruction of Earth. The enemy is so strong that all the heroes of the Earth must come together to defeat him. But even together, they’re not as strong as the man of steel alone. Even with him on his side, the heroes must see the dark side of their defeat.
First things first, Snyder Cut uses the 1.66:1 aspect ratio rather than the usual 16:9. Snyder’s explanation for this is that 1.66:1 aspect ratio covers more detail than the later.
“Superheroes tend to be, as figures, they tend to be less horizontal. Maybe Superman when he’s flying. But when he’s standing, he’s more of a vertical. Everything is composed and shot that way, and a lot of the restoration is sort of trying to put that back. Put these big squares back. … It’s a completely different aesthetic. It’s just got a different quality and one that is unusual. No one’s doing that.”
However, me being old school would have loved the movie would have covered the entire screen of my laptop.
The movie starts with the death of Superman in Batman vs Superman – Dawn of Justice. The DC logo unveiling into its climax scene is just a visual treat. It also shows the peculiar pattern of Zack Snyder who has now synced three of his movies perfectly. Also, it was a strong start as the Kryptonian’s death activates the main elements of this movie known as the mystery boxes. The opening scene sets the tone for the entire movie as it straightaway gets to the point of a dark and strong negative element in the movie. It also explains the post credit scene of Dawn of Justice
Just after that we see Bruce Wayne on a mission to gather a team and Diana saving people. Steppenwolf’s arrival is shown right in the first chapter which makes sense as he soon gets on a quest to find the rest of the mystery boxes. Diana finding the ancient sculpting of Darkseid in the caves sends chills down the spine. This adds to the dark and grim effect of the movie.
Now, one of the best things about this movie is how Snyder explains each and every thing starting from the great battle which took place in the past. That entire scene not only is a visual treat for the eye but also gives a brief history of the characters of DC. The battle scene takes its time and explains the reason as to why the movie takes place. The narration by Wonder Woman as the battle reaches the end is also wonderful and adds to the grandeur of the battle. The explanation for parademons is also satisfactory unlike the previous version. Full points to Snyder here. He took many things from the comics and presented it in a way that made sense to the fans.
Cyborg, Wonder Woman and Flash are used properly by Zack Snyder throughout the entire film. I always wanted to see the scene of Barry Allen and Iris West, even in 2017 Justice League because that was already shot by Snyder and Whedon removed it which made no sense. There’s extensive use of slow motion throughout the movie and that just shows how much time and effort Zack Snyder took and invested in this project.
The middle sequence consists an insight into the characters of Flash and Cyborg. I’ve explained this later in this post. It’s surprising that Aquaman just like Batman is just a supporting character here. Maybe, because Aquaman released just a year after the Justice League. So, Snyder already knew that Aquaman was getting an explanation unlike the former two.
Martian Manhunter’s appearance was a moment of awe for me. I wonder what else will his character offer later. The movie is long and requires patience for the plot to unfold itself. It’s only until Part 5, that the movie got me one the edge of my seat. But it contains action scenes distributed throughout the movie which kept me wanting to get to the end. It’s surprising that it contained a lot more detail than I expected.
The climax is pretty long, full of action, effects and emotions. Snyder managed to put powerful action sequences in the climax. The time travel scene of Flash has got to be an iconic moment in the DCEU and I hope we get to see more of this in the future project.
Also, there are two post credit scenes. The first is the one which we’ve already seen after the previous Justice League. I think that scene hardly makes any sense now that Ben Affleck won’t be returning as Batman. But the last one, the scene we see as Batman’s vision is the one DC should be placing all its bets. Jared Leto’s joker was better than Suicide Squad here but still not great. That maybe because of the little screen time he had. If somehow, DC and WB are able to recreate that scene in the future Justice League movies then they’ll have achieved a milestone.
Here’s a more detailed breakdown of THE SNYDER CUT:
This movie being longer than most of the usual ones gives the chance for characters to develop over time. Snyder has used all his characters properly. Like already mentioned above, I found the characters of Wonder Woman, Cyborg and Flash being more explored here.
The reasons for doing this are obvious. As already seen, Cyborg has the vision where we see Wonder Woman dead. And as per the post credit scene, Flash and Cyborg are the ones who make till the end even when Darkseid succeeds in fulfilling his mission. As per one interview of Snyder, Cyborg is the one which opens a window for Flash to do the time travel. Hence, his character was better explained.
Flash’s character in this movie was more of a mature one rather than the clumsy version we got to see in Joss Whedon’s Justice League. Snyder showed Barry Allen doing time travel from his first appearance itself which also brings out the necessity of the situation. The down side of doing so is only one as per me. There wasn’t a solo movie for Flash and viewers who haven’t watched CW’s Flash aren’t fully aware of his powers until this point. So, it would have made more sense if there had been a solo movie of Flash first. But here, WB is to blame rather than Snyder.
Batman here is more of a supporting character whose sole focus is to bring together Justice League which defines the point of the whole movie. His character isn’t much explored because if Zack Snyder ever made future Justice League movies, Ben Affleck’s Batman was supposed to die which also means that his character would have gotten the chance to develop later.
One thing is for sure and that is Snyder knows to use Wonder Woman far better than Petty Jenkins. The Wonder Woman in Snyder Cut is the one which I wanted to see in Wonder Woman : 1984. That’s because she’s more fierce here and never gets overpowered by emotions. She knows her jobs and gets it done. Right from the beginning till the end, Diana remains in action.
The other thing which I realized is that Snyder Cut teases the character of Superman right from the beginning when he dies. Then, in the middle all the heroes discuss how powerful Superman is and how badly they need him. Then there’s the superb battle scene after Kal-El is back from the dead. All of this hype is justified in the end where we finally Superman at his best. Then he’s teased again in the end in Batman’s dream where Superman seems to be under the control of Darkseid. This makes me hyped for the future of DC.
The Snyder Cut also justifies Steppenwolf. The previous Justice League weakened Steppenwolf as he gets defeated easily in the end. How does a character get defeated easily by just six people if he was the one who once raged a war and it took The Amazons, The Atlanteans, Zeus and Ares to defeat him? I mean I get that he had an army but still the climax didn’t make any sense. But here, Snyder has clearly shown Darkseid as the one who raged the war and Steppenwolf as a mere soldier. Now, his defeat makes sense.
At first, I thought Darkseid will only be there for a maximum of two scenes in the movie but Snyder decided otherwise. We see Darkseid seen on screen multiple times and with a handful of dialogues. This move was also well thought of as this provided a bit of insight of the character a bit and at the same time creating a hype about what he’ll do in the future projects.
The sound effects used throughout the Snyder Cut for fight scenes are on point. Snyder’s love for soft or classical music can be seen even in the movie as was in the trailer. The ancient lamentation music played several times for Wonder Woman is weird. I wish it could have been her original music all the time or something else. But definitely not ancient lamentation as it didn’t make any sense.. I also feel that the movie did lack some good background music.
Snyder Cut excelled in this department only because of Zack Snyder. He used the proper filters which suits the DC’s universe. DC unlike Marvel is supposed to have the contrast of colors on the darker side. Hence, this movie has black, white and greyish filters rather than the colorful ones. Snyder loves black color and hence the use of black color contrast is done properly.
The extensive use of slow motion enables the viewers to have amazing visuals of the characters. Note that Snyder shot only the post credit scene for this version of the movie.
In this review, right from the beginning it’s everything about the direction. The future of DC movies is not as great as that of its opposition. WB has only a couple of movies planned. So basically, there’s was nothing in this version for Zack Snyder. He mainly did this movie for the fans. In addition to this, as of now, he has no projects of DC in hand. Despite of all this, Snyder did his best and gave a masterpiece, one that DC and WB badly needed.
Apart from that, Zack Snyder wanted to show John Stewart’s Green Lantern in place of Martian Manhunter. But the studio said that they had plans for Green Lantern and hence Snyder settled for the later. So despite what we already saw in the Snyder Cut, I think the studios didn’t let Snyder do what he really wanted.
So from what Snyder did, he managed to erase the bad memories of the previous version and replace it with all the good ones of his version. Basically, he provided everything DCEU’s world needs.
The script was very well written according to me. An impactful beginning giving strong vibes right with doses of action in every part. There are parts where the script is weak. The story overall takes time to build. But then unfolds amazingly giving glimpses of the future right after the middle sequence (Cyborg’s Vision) and then into climax. The climax was well written leaving content for future projects. The surprising and shocking scene is obviously the post credit scene (Batman’s Vision) which is going to keep me interested in the next Justice League if it ever happens.
All the effects in Snyder Cut were on point. The filters used by Zack Snyder brought out the effects on the mother boxes beautifully. The work for the battle scene to replace Steppenwolf by Darkseid was also done amazingly and that added a new life to the movie.
Also, the characters of Steppenwolf, DeSaad and Darkseid were made through the combination of motion capture and animation all of which were good to watch.
The Snyder Cut is definitely the most iconic movie in the DCEU. Had it been an hour shorter and released on big screen, it surely would have ruled over a million more hearts. It’s hard to watch it in one-go but is worth watching and a must watch for fans.