Snyder’s Justice League is visually stunning, action packed and delivers fans Justice!
After waiting nearly four years the SNYDERCUT has finally dropped on HBO MAX and was well worth the wait as fans are calling it one of the best DCEU films yet. Director Zack Snyder’s glorious vision was finally brought to life in this reimagining of the 2017 botched film. The Snydercut gives us new footage, completely different storylines, new characters and an entirely different third act.
At this point most people are aware of the tragic death of Snyder’s daughter, the behind the scenes drama of the theatrical release, Snyders’ departure due to creative differences and Joss Whedon’s (Avengers) disappointing take- over. Although not perfect, Snyder fixed a lot of the flaws of the theatrical release and gave us a much stronger, enjoyable and cohesive film. The Syndercut is essentially an extended version of Justice League with new footage that tied up all the loose ends, cut out all the cheesy and sexiest JOSStice scenes, improved the horrific CGI, and primarily made all of our beloved heroes much more captivating and GODLIKE!
I loved the extra storylines and the stronger interactions between the cast. There was a good balance between the dark grittiness we’re used to as well as some humor. It felt like pages directly from a comic book and DC Animated were literally brought to life. The opening sequence gave us so much stronger introductions; with a glimpse of Lex with the mother boxes, Mera in Atlantis, the Amazons, and Bruce attempting to recruit Aquaman which leads to chapter one.
So what changed?
The film was divided into six chapters and an epilogue, and it was roughly four hours long. Yes, this is way too long for a theatrical release, but watching from the comfort of your own home and in sections this was actually a genius move. Snyder was giving us a glimpse into what could’ve been and successfully gave fans an entire DC Universe with the third installment of his DCU films. SnyderCut not only gave us more Themyscira, but Darkseid, Zeus, Ares and even a Green Lantern in a more prominent flashback scene with the allied Amazons, Men, and Atlantenans. The theatrical release was a mere 2 hours cutting out well everything important for the film to have successfully progressed. WB should know by now that fans will sit and watch three hours of a good movie (LOTR, The Dark Knight Trilogy, Watchmen) so why cut short one of the biggest team ups in DC history?
JL takes place months after the events of BvS, and Batman seeks out other heroes to form a team of allies to take on Steppenwolf; an alien invader who plans on conquering the world. With Wonder Woman’s help Bruce Wayne enlists Cyborg, Aquaman, and the Flash to help take on this menacing threat, but this time there’s more!
Snyders decision to include more scenes with the Amazons, Atlanteans, Cyborg’s parents, Barry and Iris West, Darkseid, Ryan Choi (Atom) and Star Labs made a drastic difference. The character development was far superior in this cut as each scene was completely necessary for the overall flow of the movie. Snyder not only makes each villain a more imminent threat, but every hero more likeable and powerful in their own respect.
Although Steppenwolf is still the main villain, he now reports to an even bigger boss, major DC Villain Darkseid. The decision to include Darkseid, and to flesh out Steppenwolf was a drastic improvement for the movie. In the Josstice version a major issue was that Steppenwolf was such a weak villain that he didn’t even warrant the assembling of the JL. Now everything makes a lot more sense. Not only did Steppenwolf’s look and armor drastically improve, but we now learn that his intentions are to get back into the good graces of Darkseid, ruler of the planet Apokolips. Steppenwolf has a lot more camera time, has a much clearer objective and even has a very brutal beheading scene. Steppenwolf also uses a mind-controlling weapon that taps into the subconscious digging up information, these parasites that attach themselves to victims faces are a major nod to DC supervillain Starro the Conqueror.
Darkseid makes his DCU debut in this version and he’s much more intimidating than Steppenwolf and would be DCs equal to Marvel’s Thanos, it’s about time. Snyder gives us just enough Darkseid to tease us with an appearance to set up what would have been two sequels. This makes perfect sense as Darkseid would send in parademons and minions before his arrival on earth after being informed the Anti- Life Equation has been found. The movie does a good job of explaining why he is after the Motherboxes now, after all this time, because Superman is not a threat.
Gods Among Us:
Snyder successfully shows us that not all our heroes are human but that they are Gods and extremely powerful beings. With the same injustice tone of Man of Steel, Snyder once again gives us Godlike heroes as he delves more into the mythology, giving viewers a much better understanding of each character and their history. He lets each character play to their strengths, everyone is fleshed out and he shows actual teamwork.
In Snyder’s JL he really lets Cyborg (Ray Fisher) shine, essentially being the heart of the movie. Cyborg is central to the plot as he is in possession of the third and final mother box. Cyborg ends up playing a much more integral role, especially learning that his technology derives from the same powers of the Mother Boxes; it makes sense for him to have more screen time.
Snyders version does a better job of balancing Victor’s self- loathing and internal struggle as he starts to understand his technology and machine- like powers. Including the scene where Cyborg hacks the ATM and gives the mother money showed Victor’s human side and added depth to his very “emo” portrayal. Snyder also shows the audience a lot more of Cyborg’s tragic story by including his mother. Cyborg’s father, Doctor Silas Stone also had a much more notable role, especially the key scene when locking himself to track the heat signature. These extra scenes and more Star labs really made a difference. Ryan Choi (Atom) is really more important than you think. Snyder also included more Star labs security, the national guard, and the JL actually had to have a plan to infiltrate.
Gal Gadot continued to amaze us with her onscreen portrayal of Diana Prince/ Wonder Woman. She was just as badass, graceful, and powerful as her solo flick and BvS appearance. Snyder gives us a much stronger and likeable WW. She is a leader, a god, a warrior, and not there as just eye candy or a sex object as Whedon depicted. There are no up the skirt camera angles, no crude Aquaman remarks or objectifying moments. The Josstice movie objectified Diana, Lois, and the Amazons with his portrayal of women, Snyder gives them so much more depth. You can see the difference in respect for the characters and take them more seriously. Also notable Wonder Woman is more of a badass in her opening sequence than the entirety of WW84.
Snydercut also gives us a much more likeable and crucial Barry Allen. The Flash (Ezra Miller) still gives us a playful and wisecracking Barry Allen lightening the tone, but he is the hero in this film as he has to break his own rule and manipulate time in order to reverse the destruction. Snyder gives Barry a chance to actually shine being the fastest man alive. He is not as weak and cowardly, and we actually see Flash reversing time. Snyder also gives us really great stand- out moments like Barry saving Iris, when his shoes break and the slow motion emotional moments.
Even Aquaman was more fleshed out, (Jason Momoa) as he was involved more than just being there to disagree with everyone or flirt with WW. Synder took out the stupid Lasso of truth scene and gave Aquaman better material to work with. We now see Vulko, Aquaman’s mentor, in some important scenes establishing Arthur’s relationship with his fellow Atlanteans. We have a more clear understanding of Arthur’s first introduction to Mera, and mention of King Orm setting up “Aquaman.” A small but very noteworthy adjustment is the way Atlanteans speak underwater. (Not Amber Heard’s horrible English accent which came out of nowhere, even though Dafoe had no accent) but the speech bubbles. To speak with her Atlantean subordinates, Mera creates an air bubble to facilitate human speech. Although this was dropped in Wan’s Aquaman film, this was really cool to see Snyder capture this little detail of how they community in human speech. Outside the bubble Atlanteans typically speak like dolphins using clicks, whistles and noises.
Although this time Batman took more of a back seat giving other members more screen time, Bruce becomes more of a leader. We get a better, more serious non-cheesy Bruce Wayne/ Batman. Batfleck (Ben Affeck) returns this time with no unnecessary quips that Batman would never say. We have a more witty Alfred, cool bat tech that is actually explained and showcased and a better team up overall. His focus is to bring back Superman and do whatever is necessary to protect Earth. The Knightmare scene also makes everything so much clearer in BvsS as well.
Superman is back and we get the black suit, nod to Death of Superman ! Henry Cavill is back donning the all- black Kryptonian suit, black cape and silver S, which WB decided against for the theatrical release. Superman’s return makes so much more sense with the imminent threat of Darkseid, and the more understandable attempt of the team to bring him back from the dead. One of the biggest differences is Superman’s return in the fight against Steppenwolf. Instead of trying to “talk it out” and going on about “truth and justice” blah blah, Superman swoops in and saves Cyborg from Steppenwolf’s attack. Superman proves he is the Man of Steel when taking no damage from Steppenwolf’s ax. This version also fixed the infamous atrocious Clark stash. Lois Lane (Amy Adams) also makes a lot more sense in this film as she is grieving most of the film and it actually explains why she is at the monument at the opportune time to stop Superman from lasering the JL because she’s there to grieve daily.
Aside from a much more cohesive narrative tied together with stronger character development and interactions there are some other noteworthy stand- outs. We got some cool Easter eggs like the green lantern corp, Granny Goodness and Big Barda. Instead of post- credit scenes we also get about twenty minutes of an epilogue which gives viewers a glimpse into what would’ve been the sequels to the Snyder verse.
Although I think this was way too long it was cool to see what else Synder would’ve had in store for us. We take a trip back to Lex Luthor’s yacht where he meets Deathstroke (this would’ve been the solo Batman film). It was awesome to see more Deathstroke but this scene should’ve remained the same as the original post credit. There was also the post- Apokolips scene continued from BvsS with the Earth waste-land where we see a return of the Joker! Another awesome scene tying into future movies with a team up of Batman, Deathstroke, Mera Cyborg and the Flash. This scene also felt too drawn out and Joker felt a little forced, but it was still great to see Leto get his shot. Another awesome cameo was Martian Manhunter, but where the hell have you been? General Sanwick has been around since Man of Steel why choose to get involved now?
What didn’t work? (minor)
DC still relies too heavily on CGI, although there has been much improvement since the mustache catastrophe, the way DC shoots is very dark and can appear cheap. They could have lightened the 300 tone a bit. Marvel has a much more definitive style that looks more realistic, for some reason DC can’t get their CGI right. Yes, Steppenwolf looked better, and if you could get past Mera’s horrible accent her hair also looked so much better and natural.
Aside from the CGI, and being too lengthy, there was some wonky music. There was a much better score with Superman, The Flash and WW but Aquaman’s scenes were so cringy I almost fast forwarded. The lingering musical interludes and cringy lady smelling Aquaman’s clothes and people begging Arthur could have been cut. Cutting down the Aquaman scenes, some of the slow motion, the epilogue and some Lois could have brought us closer to 3 hours.
8.5 Fun, Action- packed, visually stunning, brilliant story-telling
The Snydercut left me with that good theater excitement when you walk out of a movie and want to watch it again. Most of us haven’t felt that since Endgame. Snyder gave fans magic, this was a huge win for fans of the DCU. Watching the Snydercut and the BvsS Extended cut will change your whole mindset. The Snyder cut not only restored the Justice League but it also makes BvsS a better movie. If the studios stopped interfering and let Snyder complete his vision Justice League would’ve been the DCU’s Goldmine comparable to Marvels’ Endgame.
**Personal complaints: ***For me two things that bother me with the Snyder verse are that he killed the wrong Robin. Snyder decided to kill Dick Grayson (Nightwing) instead of Jason Todd.
The other is that I can’t stand Jesse Eisenberg’s winy portrayal of Lex Luthor. Otherwise I love the Snyderverse and wish we could see more.