So after much wailing and gnashing of teeth from an element of DC movie fans, Zack Snyder finally gets to release his vision of the Justice League after Joss Whedon was rolled in after Snyder suffered an unfortunate death in the family during the making of the film. What we have here is the bones of the original film, which was terrible and it’s had it’s overhaul and the resulting makeover has added 2 hours of extra viewing time. With not much to show for it, unless your are a dyed in the wool DC comic book fan. For those that just want to watch a superhero movie with Batman and Superman in it, they are probably going to struggle with it more than the original due to the gargantuan run time. Dances With Wolves for Superheroes this isn’t although it does have Kevin Costner in it (abiet briefly via a photo).
The story still revolves around after the death of Superman (Henry Cavill), Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) hunting down various heroes to form a elite band that can protect the world from all kind of interplanetary invasions. Meanwhile Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds – Voice) is on the hunt for three Tesseract… Infinity Ston… Mother Boxes, that will when combined bring Thanos… Darkseid (Ray Porter – Voice) to earth which result in it’s destruction as the intergalactic being lays waste to all in it’s path.
Let’s be honest here, the film is still terrible. Like a version of the Avengers with all the fun, emotion and all around excitement stripped out, Snyder’s version of the Justice League while a slight improvement on the original with better character arc development and the addition of a few scenes and characters. It’s really mutton dressed up as lamb with a bum numbing run time.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League Main problem is the fact he has tried to do in 4 hours what Kevin Feige took several movies to do and that is establish a group of characters and back stories so you are invested in the mission that has been built up. Not just dumped on screen, hoping that the fan base will pick up the slack. Batman and Superman had several films and most people will have watched one of them. Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) appeared in BvS the predecessor to ZSJL and had a TV show from the 80s. Flash (Ezra Miller) had a TV series, that bears no resemblance whatsoever to the character that we watch throughout this movie. Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) were new at this point. So you are expected to pick up the slack with an addition of two villains that had previously never been mentioned barring a hologram at the end of BvS with Lex Luthor (Jesse Eisenberg).
So for the casual viewer this is an absolute slog. Of the new additions the Cyborg back story is actually is the best part of proceedings with Fisher being the best thing for the duration. Jeremy Irons’ Alfred is also great. But the Oedipal complex that brings the entirety of the DCEU down is here in numbers once more, with everything from ‘Mother’ Boxes to all the characters barring Wonder Woman having parental issues. Even Steppenwolf has a ‘Daddy never loved me’ moment. It’s really jarring and very much lazy writing with everyone’s character having the same problem that spurns them on.
Also the additions bring us a Lord of The Rings-esque back story about the boxes, complete with King Leonidas (300) with plasma beams coming out of his arms, you almost feel like you are watching Ready Player One when DeSaad (Peter Guinness -Voice) turns up to tell off Steppenwolf for being a bit useless. (For the casual fan this will be their reference point. Not that the avatar is the other way around). Then you have the cut scene (Headshot & Lex Luthor on a boat talking about him assainating Bruce Wayne/Batman) from the end of the previous version of Justice League added into the film, before a strange epilogue occurs where Deadshot is working alongside Batman, with The Joker (Jared Leto), Mera (Amber Heard) in a nightmarish vision. This is the scene that most DC fans have been waiting for and to be brutally honest, it’s not worth it. Leto mumbles for a bit Affleck looks all broody, they make references to the deaths of Harley Quinn and Robin and thats about it. Oh and Let does his weird Joker laugh to make it look like he’s really the best version of the Joker, which he isn’t. He doesn’t come close to Mark Hamill’s animated version or Heath Ledger’s Oscar inning incarnation. Finally the other biggest addition is Martian Manhunter who appears for a few minutes, barely explains who he is or what he’s doing there before disappearing again.
Addtionally The Black Superman suit isn’t explained (Why he decides to wear it) and Arthur Curry/Aquaman’s story while straigtened out still doesn’t marry up with the Aquaman film that followed it. It’s all these complexities that make it a fans only secret club, which while Marvel did the same, at least they gave you a entry pass.
Then there’s the decision to put the film into 4:3 and chapterize it, so it feels like you are watching a TV special. Very bizarre and again takes you out of the big film feel. It’s almost as if Snyder was having a tantrum with Whedon’s version of his film and just to really make a point even changed the ratio.
Joss Whedon copped a lot of the flack for the failure of the first version of the movie, maybe correctly in some parts such as the now removed scenes including the families in the town story, where Steppenwolf builds his evil lair, the ridiculous Flash vs. Superman race etc. However, this doesn’t belie the fact that Justice League simply isn’t a very good movie. So while he recieves much of the blame of what came before, it, for the most part is still the main bones of what Snyder had started to create.
So after all the hype, unless the idea of adding an extra two hours of what amounts to not a lot or you are a huge DC fan Zack Snyder’s Justice League promises much but delivers nothing over all. There are those DC fans who are almost Trumpian in their blinkered-ness for this film which is a form of the Emperors New Clothes. Snyder clearly is no Feige and unfortunately ZSJL simply doesn’t impress it’s problems are still legion and when compared to the Avengers, which it will be whether you like it or not, is still the poor unwanted child sitting in the corner.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is now availble to watch exclusively on NOW