Ok, let’s have a very real talk about Snyder’s Justice League, shall we?
The Justice League band together once again in Snyder’s Cut
Since the much-anticipated release of Snyder Cut’s Justice League hit screens last week the reviews have just been pouring in and hey, who could blame you if popped on a pair of shades to read them? After all, they have, for the most part, been simply glowing. Eye-wateringly dazzling with praise and if 240 minutes wasn’t enough the DC fan base has been calling for a sequel! A sequel. I can hardly believe it. No seriously, I can’t for a single second believe or absorb anymore positivity without feeling as though I am trapped in some version of WandaVision, Chaos Magic being used to enforce one vision, one belief on the world and that is Snyder Cut good, Snyder Cut very, very good. I know I mixing superhero universes here but forgive me I’m shaken. Though (according to this article by Insider) a sequel is extremely unlikely it doesn’t negate the very real fact that the world has been mesmerised by the Snyder Cut and I’m sorry but I’m just not drinking the Kool-Aid. Despite being hopelessly optimistic that it would, at the very least, been an improvement on its predecessor, the film didn’t live up to expectations on a number of levels.
However, before we delve further into the four-hour long flick, let’s first look retrospectively at director Joss Whedon’s interpretation of Zack Snyder’s vision. I think we can all agree that the 2017 rendition of the Justice League was pretty average. The plot was mish-mashed, irrelevant scenes were imbedded for the sake of action-packed pizazz (Wonder Woman and the bomb-wielding terrorist anyone) and please don’t even start on the problematic nature of Superman’s CGI moustache removal. The jokes more pfft than popped, Steppenwolf was the most one dimensional, inconsequential villain and the journey from conflict to unison between our at-odds heroes seemed a little hastily forced. Too much was going on leaving the viewers to play connect the dots – and sometimes those dots just refused to fall in line.
Fast forward four years and Snyder drops, what can only be explained as a thrilling trailer for his version of the movie.
The build-up was intense, the villains, formidable, making the hero’s determination even more compelling and most importantly the story seemed far more cohesive. Action-packed glory wrapped up nice and neat in a coherent bow, that’s what we were promised. Needless to say, I, like many, was excited. Where, then, did it all go wrong? Or maybe the question should be, where then did my view take a starkly different turn from the masses who devoured this movie like those post-pandemic restaurant meals we’ve been dreaming of? This is of course, just my humble opinion but let me attempt to explain why I think Snyder’s version failed to impress.
First of all, four hours. Four hours?? Snyder is not the first to have taken us on a long cinematic ride. The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition was just as lengthy, as was Martin Scorsese’s award-winning crime drama The Irishman. The length is not necessarily the problem, sorry to take it there but I would have happily watched Marvel’s Avengers Infinity War and Endgame back-to-back without so much of a bathroom break. The issue is content. It you’re going to demand four hours of our time, especially as most have the attention span of a gnat these days, we have to salivate over each scene. Salivate I did not. It felt more like Snyder got out the dustpan and brush, swept everything up off the cutting floor and churned it back into 2021 rendition. I thought the opportunity to explore the backstories of the characters may have added more depth to the original. Instead, it took and already disjointed movie (thanks to the individual stories that didn’t quite link) and pushed the narrative further and further away from the core plot.
Snyder’s Cut has left some Justice League fans craving a Cyborg solo movie
While it was nice to discover that Cyborg had a deeper, richer backstory, his origin tale felt better reserved for a solo film as opposed here and now when there was already so much going on. I did however find the explanation of Steppenwolf’s motivations slotted nicely into the new version, giving him more of a complex characterisation. It’s a shame the execution of it turned our fearsome demon into a bit of a whiny kiss-ass.
The pace of the movie was also irksome. The first two hours felt like a tedious set up to Steppenwolf’s master plan with Bruce Wayne in the plot-background trying to rally the troops. It’s ages before we get to some real, purposeful action – and no Wonder Woman and terrorist does not count (why did that scene – as brilliant as it was to watch – survive the edits? It had no bearing on the story whatsoever). Nor does Flash saving the random hot girl: And Speaking of irrelevant scenes could someone please explain why the Martian Manhunter popped up for a heart-to-heart with Lois Lane under the guise of Martha Kent only to disappear again until the epilogue? Even then his presence was just as confusing as the whole epilogue itself.
I know, I sound like a Debbie downer but there were some plus points to be enjoyed. The Amazonian fight scene in the first quarter was sensational and Steppenwolf met a much worthier and more entertaining demise the second time round. However, overall, the movie felt flabby and disjointed leaving me with an equally flat feeling as it’s 2017 counterpart.