Movie: Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Platform: HBO Max
Release Date: 18/03/2021
Cast: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa
Director: Zack Snyder
Rating: 3.5/5 (3.5 out of 5 Stars)
The release of the Snyder Cut of the Justice League is an unprecedented achievement and only goes on to show the power of the audiences and how far it can be accentuated by the backing of social media. Justice League was a film that was panned by critics and bombed at the Box Office. To even imagine a studio like Warner Brothers investing more money into a film like that to bring out another version of the film that was all about the extra things that its director, Zack Snyder, wanted to do with its different characters and story elements was unimaginable. The film is four hours long and there was no way it could have released in theatres with that kind of runtime. Even the Avengers: Endgame was only about 3 hours long.
Hence, one has to thank the lack of big summer blockbusters (because of the Covid -19 pandemic), the meteoric rise in profitability of the OTT platform and how it catered to a whole new audience, the celebrity backing of the project and the unimaginable craze and push of the moviegoers for a film like this to see the light of the day. That in many ways made it imperative for Zack Snyder to ensure that his vision was one worthy of the fanfare and craze that it generated. If he failed, the audiences would never trust his cinema ever again.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League tells us nearly the exact same story that the original Justice League did but its treatment, character development, stupendous and physical action, and what it sets up the DC Universe for makes it a whole new film. I just loved the approach that Zack Snyder took to it and it just went on to show that he had a cohesive, elaborate and passionate story to tell but couldn’t because his personal tragedies pushed him out of the film that was then helmed by Joss Whedon who made it into highlights of the grand vision that Snyder had for the story. By doing that, Whedon transformed the film into a lifeless, soulless packaged product that looked pretty but didn’t in any way make any connections with the audiences.
The very first difference that I noticed in the film was the changed beginning that clearly defines why the mother boxes — the McGuffin that the story is all about — suddenly woke up and called out to Steppenwolf. Joss Whedon completely forgot to set up this simple yet extremely important precursor to the chain of events that the film was all set to be about. Steppenwolf was one of my biggest complaints from the previous film, as the character was substandard both in terms of the writing and the CGI. Snyder fixes both these aspects in this film. We finally understand why he is after the mother boxes and the fact that he is merely an enforcer doing an all-powerful being’s will. He is, in fact, under debt to pay him back 50,000 worlds. This makes for a much more effective back story than what we got the last time around. I loved how the new armor of Steppenwolf looks and the added layers of nuances to his expression. The improvement in character development makes him a fearsome adversary.
The extended runtime does major service to character development and none of the characters gain as much from it as the character of Victor Stone aka Cyborg played by Ray Fisher. We finally get to see how he transformed from a university student to the most potent weapon that the Justice League had against Steppenwolf. We also get a lot more background of his relationship with his father that we evidently felt was under duress in the previous film but didn’t know why. Here we get their entire back story and their relationship is rendered in a much more heartfelt manner culminating in one of the only tragedies of the film. Ezra Miller remains the same character but he is given a different introductory sequence that works better than that of the previous film. He is the funny bone of the team and remains so. I loved how they changed the ending of the film to have the same end result but took a different approach to it making Flash an extremely important part of the whole gig. This immensely improved the overall impact of Miller’s character on the whole story.
Wonder Woman remains the same but her action sequences are rendered a lot more graphic and physical. I particularly loved the first action sequence with the group of reactionary terrorists where we see her hit guys so hard that they end up as stains on walls. This was difficult to achieve in a film that was going for a PG-13 rating. However, in an OTT film, the director and the action choreographer were allowed to let their imagination run wild. This fact remains particularly true for every action sequence in this version of the film. Every fight is a lot more physical with splashes of blood thrown in to add a much-needed gravity to what was unfolding on-screen. The audience was informed that even the noble heroes were not just incapacitating the villains but were actually murdering them. This feeling loomed large on the action sequences and added to its gruesome impact.
It was surprising to note that the film doesn’t have a single sequence that doesn’t add up to the story that it sets out to tell. A sequence between Martha and Lois that I felt was unnecessary ended up being one of the biggest surprises of the film and introduced a character that would have evoked shock and surprise in theaters. I loved how Snyder ignored what will become of the DC universe and made the film in a way as though he was setting up future films. The nightmare sequence from Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice makes up the last 20 minutes of the film and is integral to the film. It goes on to set up future films that we now feel might never happen. The Joker sequence is the only bit that though unnecessary is still somehow forced onto the tale. He has a telling bearing on Batman’s psyche going by what he has made him endure and it is no surprise that he makes an appearance in his worst nightmare. On the flipside, the film does have a few bits here and there where the visual effects feel tacky.
I loved Zack Snyder’s Justice Leagueand I am confident that it will be the same for any fan who has been waiting for this film with bated breath. With its success, it might just open up doors for some of those films that the film teased in its story and that might just rescue the DC universe from the rut that it has been laying in for a few years now. For Now, this will be a film that can be enjoyed multiple times and for varied reasons.