Here we are again, back at it, reviewing a movie I already reviewed back in 2017. A movie I called in my review a clusterfuck. And that pretty much sums up that version of Justice League. A giant clusterfuck.
It was this hodgepodge of two completely different directors with two completely different visions.
Here was that review: https://writetoreel.com/justice-leag…ings-take-time
So I guess you could say I was not looking forward to reviewing this now 4 hour cut of the film.
But I know for many fans this has been long awaited, long demanded, finally a cut of the film that Snyder envisioned.
Re-shot technically is what it should be called, as it seems about 90% of the original was tossed out the window and the rest was re-shot. It was honestly really interesting to see just how much was originally Snyder’s footage and how much was Joss Whedon’s.
Not like it was hard, it was all pretty obvious to tell who did what. Every time The Flash cracked a joke or Batman said something snarky, yup, that’s Joss Whedon all right.
That’s one thing that was surgically removed from this, the humor. I think, if I had to make a guess the studio might have given Joss Whedon notes, hoping to give it more of an Avangers feel.
But here is the thing, Man of Steel, Batman v Superman are not jokey Marvel movies. I shat on DC and Zack Snyder in the past, as I’m someone who hated Man of Steel.
However, I say this very humbly, I see Snyder’s vision now. I get why everything was so dark and glower. Man of Steel, BvS, Justice League, it was all leading up to one thing. Injustice.
If you don’t know, Injustice is the story of Joker killing Lois Lane, causing Superman to basically lose his goddamn mind and go on a killing spree. It had superheroes dying left and right, good guys teaming up with the bad guys… which is exactly what you get at the end credits of Snyder’s cut of Justice League.
And it kind of did another interesting thing, it made Jared Leto’s Joker actually memorable and not a laughingstock like he was in Suicide Squad.
That’s right, they brought the Joker back, teaming up with Batman to help kill Superman in an apocalyptic future. He actually looks good as the Joker here, the tattoos are gone, hair and makeup were pretty spot on… even has that weirdo laugh down.
You know he was pissed when the Joker movie didn’t involve him, not to mention went on to win Best Actor at the Oscars, so of course he’d jump at the opportunity to reprise the role most likely one last time.
Speaking of Suicide Squad, in my last review for Justice League I also found myself puzzled by the what seemed to be a catchup game to what Marvel was doing. However if I were to be so bold, I think they actually had a gameplan here.
Would a Batman solo film with Affleck been better than Suicide Squad to introduce Joker and Harley Quinn? Sure, maybe, I honestly don’t know if that would have been the right vehicle for that.
Think back at every film before this, it adds up. I can see the vision they were going for, the path they were headed down… It all connects. Superman has always been our main villain.
Knowing that, and seeing how Superman is in the Joss Whedon version at the end, it completely throws that idea out the window.
Sure, he does finally kind of resemble the Superman we have always known. But that isn’t the Superman Snyder envisioned.
It also kind of makes sense as to why he’d whip out Doomsday in only the second movie. Superman needed to die. Should there have been another Superman movie before BvS? Possibly, but that’s basically what Batman v Superman was anyways.
I can’t believe I’m actually defending Zack Snyder’s vision for the DC cinematic universe. It would have been drastically different than anything Marvel was giving us, which is what their goal was.
And for the studio to back Snyder and his let’s face it, crazy and most likely hard sell vision for their cinematic universe should be applauded.
I almost forgot how much attention to detail he spent with the Watchman movie, especially if you got the ultimate cut.
It was a labor of love, which is exactly what Justice League was to him. The guy didn’t even get paid to do these reshoots, that’s how much he wanted to see his full vision realized. Even if that meant showing the film in a 4:3 aspect ratio.
People have tried to explain that part to me, but I’m still lost. He wanted an iMax experience… when everyone is only watching this movie on their TVs? Huh?
It wasn’t filmed that way, so why are you presenting it that way again? I have no idea what the point was here.
He also really wanted this thing in black and white, too. Thankfully they had to put their foot down and limit that to just the trailers. Technically I guess he did get his way as this cut of the film is visually much more darker like the previous films. So much so, the color is almost nonexistent.
Unlike Whedon’s version where they seemed to brighten up the saturation, giving the film some happier tones.
Snyder’s cut of Justice League is far from a perfect film, with the loads of scenes where characters just stand around, giving exposition dialogue, most likely having no clue what they are even saying.
In Gal Gadot’s case that was pretty much a given. Almost every line I kept thinking, you have no idea what you’re saying, do you? You’re just reading lines off a page.
So of course she’s the one who gets the voice over dialogue narrating some important backstory stuff to explain what the Mother Boxes are.
Another issue I had with the original theatrical cut was how bad the CGI looked. It almost felt unfinished at times.
Things this time did seem better, most importantly the way Steppenwolf looked and acted. His design is way cooler looking, with his body covered in this moving metal armor with a mind of its own.
But that isn’t to say the CGI was perfect all around, as it seemed almost laughable in some shots during the giant keep away game the amazons were doing with Steppenwolf when he came for their Mother Box.
In my previous review for the film, I started calling the Mother Boxes, Mommy Boxes, so I think I’ll bring that back for old time sake.
Some of the horse CGI animations were laugh out loud bad. It was only for a couple of shots, but man was it funny to see.
Another addition to this cut of the film that I think helped it drastically was the inclusion of Darkseid.
Darkseid is basically the Thanos of the DC cinematic universe. I can’t really remember how much of him was even in the theatrical cut of the film or even if he was in it at all.
He’s pretty damn important to the story, so cutting him out honestly made no sense. But then again, they also cut out most of Cyborg’s backstory as well, which was absolutely crucial to the plot.
That might be the contributing factor as to why the plot to the theatrical cut of this film made no goddamn sense whatsoever.
It was never clear as to why Steppenwolf wanted these three mommy boxes, what they did or what would happen if he got all of them together.
Now, there’s a bit more info as Cyborg, who has a much bigger part. Who was essentially created by one of the alien boxes, giving him a deeper connection to them, so obviously you’d want to cut all that out of the theatrical cut.
He can dive into the boxes and communicate with them, and with the help of The Flash, as if he builds up enough speed force, he can project this powerful electric shock, kind of jump starting the boxes.
That’s kind of the only reason The Flash is in this, that’s his main goal most of the time, to use his speed to jumpstart these boxes.
They also use him to explore a bit of time travel. Time travel was only hinted at… well, maybe not hinted at as you get a whole ass dream sequence in Batman V Superman of leather duster Batman in an apocalyptic hellscape.
His comic relief status has also been toned down a bit. No more scenes of him falling on top of Wonder Woman and freaking out about it. A lot of his funny remarks and one liners have been cut.
He is still there as comic relief, pairing him up with Aquaman who is the straight man to his funny man.
With the addition of Darkseid, we also get something called the Anti-Life Equation. They managed to explain what the mother boxes were for, but then they toss in this new thing that completely confused the hell out of me.
To simplify things, I guess it’s just something Darkseid can use to transform all life on a planet into his army of flying mantis bug people.
I’m not the biggest DC comic fan, so all this was lost on me.
One major change is the exclusion of the Russian family living in a radiated zone. From what I remember, they seemed to be written in, just to give Superman something to do while the others fight Steppenwolf.
If it was just Superman, he’d end it in a heartbeat, so we gotta get him out of the picture for a while while our characters struggle!
In this cut of the film, Flash is back at it again, building up enough speed to jolt the now combined mommy boxes.
But he fails to make it in time, causing everyone to die.
But The Flash manages to go back in time, making sure he gets there to give Cyborg enough juice to help separate the boxes, closing the portal to Darkseid’s planet.
It’s actually a really exciting sequence.
So guess let’s get into the ending. Or I should say endings, plural as there are several.
The first ending is the end credit sequence we got in the Whedon theatrical cut. With Luthor escaping prison and meeting with Deathstroke.
Second ending is Martian Manhunter showing up to Batman’s house to say hello.
The third ending is the introduction of what this whole thing has been about. Injustice.
We are back in that apocalyptic future where leather duster Batman is trying to keep out of the sight of Darkseid’s mantis bug people.
Accompanying him is adult Flash in a much cooler suit, Cyborg, Aquaman’s lady friend, Deathstroke and last but not least, the Joker.
The film ends on a cliffhanger, our heroes surrounded by Darkseid’s minions and an evil Superman.
It has such a fantastic setup to a movie that will never ever be made. Half the cast is no longer playing those characters, WB has already moved on to a new Batman… the hits keep coming.
It’s just something that we will never see, so of course that means start a new online campaign to badger studio execs to make it happen. #restorethesnyderverse
I was dreading this movie, but ended up being enlightened. I couldn’t ask for a better outcome. So for me, this film gets an astounding SEE IT!
Next week I’ll be back with Godzilla vs. Kong!!!
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