Zack Snyder’s Justice League

Zack Snyder's is being reviewed as an independent entity from the theatrical cut. For my original thoughts, you can check out my original review from November 2017.

A little background, for the uninformed: In May 2017, while his Justice League film was beginning post-production, Zack Snyder decided to step down as director, following the tragic death of his daughter Autumn. Joss Whedon ended up taking over the production and ended making quite a few changes from Snyder's original vision, through both editing and reshoots, which ended up being not well-received by fans, who immediately began campaigning for the release of Zack Snyder's version of the film, with the “Snyder Cut” reaching mythical status. After years of speculation, it was finally announced that Zack Snyder would finish his version of Justice League, which has been released as an epic 4 hr 2 min film on the HBO Max streaming service (or Crave here in Canada).

The basic story of Zack Snyder's Justice League remains the same: As the world recovers from the death of Superman (), a new threat arises in the form of the invading Steppenwolf (), who comes to Earth looking for the Mother Boxes, which will allow him to summon his master Darkseid (Ray Porter) to arrive on Earth and take over the planet. Batman () and Wonder Woman () decide the locate the other heroes on the planet to help them fight this new threat. This includes geeky Barry Allen (), aka The Flash, Atlantian warrior Arthur Curry (), aka Aquaman, and the cybernetically reconstructed Victor Stone (), aka Cyborg.

Other than the fact that Zack Snyder's Justice League is twice the length of the theatrical cut, you do come to realize the scope of the changes Joss Whedon made to the project when he took over. Some of the elements that are restored in this new cut of the film is an extended backstory for Ray Fisher as Cyborg, with his father Silas Stone (Joe Morton) having a much more major role to play in the story. Also, Zack Synder's Justice League really makes sure to emphasize that the film's antagonist Steppenwolf is merely the first stage of an imminent invasion by the true Thanos-level threat that is Darkseid. There are also some cosmetic changes, such as a square 1.33:1 aspect ratio, which was intended to be shown on IMAX screens, a more consistent colour scheme, the restoration of the original score by Junkie XL and the reincarnated Superman wearing a black-coloured costume.

Admittedly, Zack Snyder's Justice League is ultimately the same basic film as the theatrical cut, though it's closer to the director's vision. The film is also a bit of a time capsule setting up films that we may never end up seeing, not only a Justice League sequel but also a solo film of Ben Affleck's Batman, which eventually morphed into the upcoming stand-alone film The Batman. There are also a couple of throwaway cameos, most notably returning as his version of the Joker, previously seen in Suicide Squad, which was one of the few new scenes Zack Snyder shot for this cut.

While ultimately little more than fan service, Zack Snyder's Justice League is still a marked improvement from the cut that hit theatres back in 2017.

Zack Snyder's Justice League is now streaming in the United States on HBO Max and in Canada on Crave

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

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