Finally, Zack Snyder’s Justice League. The response has been wildly varied between those who perhaps loved it more than reason because it validates their faith in pushing for the director’s vision and those who severely hated it because they either hated the first one or hates DC in general and only are fans of Marvel thus needing this to fail to validate their bias to Marvel.
I’m unsurprisingly in the middle. Honestly I didn’t hate the first one but I did give it a C- and while I may not have always liked how these characters are presented in the Synderverse, I’ve always appreciated the guts it took to have an alternative vision and presenting it confidently to the public. The story and vision were always intriguing enough for me to commit to as it was different from Marvel’s (which I’m a huge fan of btw) and I felt that DC (and especially WB) didn’t need to chase after them. It seems that the theatrical cut sought to do that and it blew up in their face. So the fans demanded better and for the third time in recent memory (Sonic and Deadpool were the others) the studio relented and gave them want they wanted.
So here we are with the Zack cut and to me it was a severe upgrade to the theatrical one. To the point where the Whedon cut should have e never been released. The original concept was for this to be two movies at least so I didn’t balk at the four hour runtime and because it was released on HBO Max it made it easy to digest in bits as opposed to being trapped in a theater for four hours. Oddly enough….it still went by quicker in my mind than the Whedon Cut. I think part of the reason why goes to a question I heard a lot since it’s release: Four Hours? Did Zack cut ANYTHING?? Lol!
Yes. Yes he did. He cut a lot of scenes from the Whedon cut that had no context to the story and left people with questions after the movie. The first scene with Batman was cut. Good because we had no context on how he knew what he knew. He cut the Russian family. It had no bearing on the story other than giving the heroes more to do and not giving proper weight to the problem at hand. Plus given Steppenwolf’s objective nobody in that town would have survived long enough for any help to arrive. These are just a couple of examples but him cutting a number of cringeworthy joke scenes and dialogue were also welcome. The Batman/Diana friction was deleted and the attraction is now only hinted at. Addition by subtraction.
As far as what was added, context and character development were the primary things. Scenes that gave some characters more substance and scenes that would have made the first movie make more sense. Flash is still the comic relief and if you enjoyed that you won’t be disappointed. He is more a key to the league’s success this time with great uses of his powers. Aquaman gets some of his lighter bits cut for more scenes that set up his solo movie a bit better and gives him better motivation for his actions in Justice League. Still, it’s clear that this was supposed to be Cyborg’s movie. It’s the one thing every critic agrees on. Cyborg’s story is the glue of the story and yes, everyone from the big wigs at WB to Joss Whedon owe Ray Fisher who delivers big time in the role. They also owe every movie goer who spent money to see this in the theater because they were robbed of a much better story. Steppenwolf is enhanced in his storyline which makes a lot more sense now with the introduction of other characters.
Now the cons…..Synder can be overly dramatic in his presentations. An over reliance on slow motion scenes suck a bit of the energy out of the overall project. The common insult is that the movie would still be two hours without them. Other issues include his gambles on this universe still being extended. If this happens then I will put this in the pro column but while it was nice to see Ryan Choi introduced I know he won’t be seen again. Then Martian Manhunter…who has been around since Man Of Steel decides to stay hidden for the whole movie? At least Wong in Avengers showed up in the last battle….not after it.
At the end of the day this is a vastly improved if flawed upgrade on Justice League. I still don’t know if it would have made it to two movies in the theaters but it was a much better and palatable ride.
That’s just my thoughts on the subject! For a more engaging discussion on the subject, head on over to Retreon Presents: Edge Of Nerd on Facebook!