I absolutely hated 2017’s Justice League and I did not have high hopes for Zack Snyder’s Justice League. I was pleasantly surprised to see that everything I absolutely hated about 2017’s Justice League was all Joss Whedon. Overall, Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a far superior movie.
The film is cohesive and coherent with fantastic fight scenes that were either previously completely cut or inexplicably shortened for no reason. The weak and underdressed Wonder Woman was replaced with a fierce, formidable, statuesque superhero.
Snyder split the 4 hour film into 6 chapters, plus an Epilogue, as well as a 9 minute intro sequence where we are reminded that Superman is currently deceased. We are also brought up to speed of the location of the 3 Mother Boxes and how they have mysteriously awoken at the exact moment of Superman’s demise. The intro sets the stage for the entire film and already, in those short 9 minutes, it’s obvious this is much better storytelling.
Part 1: DON’T COUNT ON IT, BATMAN
I like this extended version of the scene where Batman (Ben Affleck) beseeches Aquaman to join his group of warriors. Whedon cut Aquaman (Jason Momoa) down to a dude-bro who basically grunted his dialogue and Snyder gave him more depth and complexity.
I also enjoy the haunting singing of the Icelandic women at the shore’s edge seamlessly fading into Martha Kent (Diane Lane) packing up her belongings and leaving the Kent’s family farmhouse.
The humor of watching one of the women sniff Momoa’s sweater was not lost on me.
The film takes a lull, dripping along at a snail’s pace just before the incredible Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot) bank scene. Whedon cut this entire elaborately choreographed action sequence down to almost nothing whereas Snyder released the incredible fight scene in its entirety which displayed all of Wonder Woman’s abilities and strength. Zach Snyder produced a Wonder Woman better than any Wonder Woman in any other previous film, including Wonder Woman 1984.
The briefcase scene alone blew anything Patty Jenkins or Joss Whedon have ever done with Wonder Woman. From the Bank scene we go directly to Themyscira where the Amazonions have to fight Steppenwolf and his army to protect one of the three boxes.
Part 2: THE AGE OF HEROES
Steppenwolf’s CGI is fantastic, however most of his scenes with his army have a video game cutscene feel to them, which is appealing to a gamer, but might not be appealing to all audiences.
The scenes in this chapter are informative, but way too slow. Diana (Gadot) tells the story of the boxes to Bruce Wayne (Affleck) and the CGI heavy scenes are very well done and the story is very well told, but as a whole, this chapter flows way too slowly.
Part 3: BELOVED MOTHER, BELOVED SON
Another slow-motion scene, this time with Ezra Miller as Barry Allen/Flash, but it’s actually pretty epic. After making flirty eyes at Kiersey Clemons, Allen hastily makes it to a job interview, late and witnesses a truck barreling out of control, causing an accident with Clemons, where she would fly to her death, if not for Allen’s ability to almost stop time.
The slow motion-scene illustrates the Flash’s high speed abilities as he effortlessly plucks her out of the air and gently places her on the pavement, takes a moment to give her a smile, before he rockets back to the job interview as if he was there the whole time.
My only critique is that it’s a bit creepy that he takes advantage of the situation to sweep a piece of hair from her face with his hand before saving her life.
We’re also introduced to Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and his excessively long back story sequence. As much as I appreciate the additional footage, Cyborg himself is a little over the top. This version of Cyborg is a human head on a robot body. Instead of only some of his body replaced with cybernetics, his entire body has been replaced.
This chapter is a great way to illustrate these two particular heroes before Diana approaches Cyborg and Wayne approaches Allen to request the two join their team. Both heroes are so much better than they were in the 2017 Justice League.
While Aquaman is still refusing to take his role as king of Atlantis, Steppenwolf attacks the Atlanteans and even though Aquaman gives a pretty valiant fight, Steppenwolf manages to take the second box.
Whether or not he plans to join the other heroes is unknown at this time, after a completely unnecessary scene between Momoa and Amber Heard as Mera. She only reiterates what Willem Dafoe already communicated in his role as Vulko.
Part 4: CHANGE MACHINE
Cyborg, Flash, Batman, and Wonder Woman fight against Steppenwolf and his minions in another epic battle sequence in a tunnel. After Steppenwolf ruptures the tunnel and consequently floods it, Aquaman announces his intent to join the team by controlling the water and saving the lives of the other 4.
Aquaman, Batman, Flash, Cyborg, and Wonder Woman decide that there is no way to defeat Steppenwolf without Superman and cook up the idea of raising him from the dead.
Part 5: ALL THE KING’S HORSES
The team digs up Superman and breaks into S.T.A.R. technologies to gain access to the spaceship to wake him up. The ship itself warns against this action and in the moments before the sequence begins, the heroes argue amongst themselves whether or not they should abort.
Cyborg links with the ship and goes into his own dream sequence which shows him their demise once Steppenwolf gets the last box, opening the portal which brings Darkseid to Earth. He witnesses each and every one of their deaths. There are way too many dream sequences in this movie.
The plan is successful and Superman has risen from the dead, however he lost his memory, because he was dead, and he ends up battling the other 5. He only gains control of himself when Lois Lane (Amy Adams) shows up and he promptly flies the two of them home to the Kent’s family farmhouse.
The fight scene is one of the very few scenes Whedon chose to keep in the 2017 version, but Snyders is better and more full.
Of course, their big plan kind of blows up in their faces when Steppenwolf comes to take the last remaining box and after Cyborg and his dad (Joe Morton) JUST shared a moment with each other, he perishes in front of his son, when he marks the box for the heroes to find.
Part 6: SOMETHING DARKER
While hero #7, Superman slowly gets his memories back through the aid of his beloved Lois Lane, the other 6 retreat to Batman’s lair where they come up with their plan to allow Cyborg to link with the boxes and tear them apart in order to save the world.
Superman’s mom (Diane Lane) joins Lois and Clark at the Kent family farm and it seems Clark has regained his memory and tells his mom that he wants to find out why the other heroes woke him from the dead.
In the Steppenwolf cutscene, the 3 boxes fuse together and the Atlanteans, the Amazonians, and Alfred (Jeremy Irons) all seem to be aware that something in the universe has changed.
When the 6 heroes work together they seem like they may be able to beat Seppenwolf themselves and prevent Darkseid from destroying the planet, however after several minutes it’s apparent they need Superman and in true Superman fashion, he swoops in just in the nick of time and makes it possible for Cyborg to separate the boxes.
The movie should have ended there, when the 7 of them stood there looking out in true hero fashion. It would have been the perfect ending.
Epilogue: A FATHER TWICE OVER
I could have lived without the epilogue. After an already ridiculously long movie, the epilogue feels a bit tortuous. The new scenes are extraneous and unnecessary. Snyder sandwiched in a Martian Manhunter (Harry Lennix) scene earlier in the film in order to make the scene between him and Batman make sense. There really was no reason to add in these additional scenes in an already excessively long film.
Perhaps the most annoying part of the Epilogue was not only yet ANOTHER dream sequence, but also the fact that we were all trolled by Zack Snyder when he released a trailer with Joker saying, “We live in a society” when he never actually said it in the film. The Batman dream sequence was also extraneous and unnecessary. It had nothing to do with anything in the movie other than the fact that Bruce talked about his “premonitions” and everyone else seemed to have a dream sequence or their own flashback stories.
The only redeeming part of the epilogue was where Alfred, Diana, and Bruce look at the property where the Justice League will meet.
I’m not a die hard Snyder fan, hell I’m not even a fan! But this movie is way more cohesive and coherent. Wonder Woman isn’t some half naked piece of eye candy, she’s a badass superhero. The Flash isn’t some geeky moronic comedic relief, he is a necessary part of the team.
Whedon’s grunting dude bro Aquaman actually had coherent lines and an actual storyline and Snyder actually gave him depth and complexity. I wasn’t 100% thrilled with Cyborg, but I love that he got his own extra storyline after the abuse he sustained at the hands of Whedon.
This film just made me angry at WB and solidified my disdain for Whedon.
Rating: Zack Snyder’s Justice League is a REEL SEE
Joia DaVida reports on the entertainment industry in both Chicago and Los Angeles.