Zack Snyder’s Justice League, or otherwise known to fans as “The Snyder Cut” is the actual Justice League movie we should have gotten in theaters in 2017. What we got instead was an abomination and Frankenstein film now known as “Josstice League”. Looking back, there were some noticeable shots from that movie – and the way they bastardized certain characters – was a dead giveaway that that wasn’t Snyder’s baby. I remember back in 2018 starting to believe in a Snyder cut of the Justice League movie. I even mentioned it in a podcast, and got on the hype train since then to #ReleaseTheSnyderCut and here we are, it’s finally here, and it’s a masterpiece. Albeit the long runtime, the film is divided into six chapters and an epilogue.
The film begins with the scream heard round the world. It starts off during the Doomsday fight scene in Batman v Superman as I had predicted it would. When I saw BvS, it began during the Zod fight in Metropolis but from the perspective of Bruce Wayne, I predicted Snyder’s Justice League would start off during BvS but from the perspective of the citizens or from Lois. I was somewhat right, but this was an even superior introduction. It starts off with a “bang”. Doomsday stabs Superman and he lets out a scream that is echoed throughout the city – nay, the world, and the Mother Boxes have woken. From the very first scene, the movie caught my curiosity. The first chapter is about Bruce trying to recruit the other members while establishing more story with the Amazonians. Wonder Woman takes on the terrorists in a very warrior-like way is when the film caught my attention. Afterwards, we’re on Themyscira as Steppenwolf arrives to Earth. This fight sequence is slightly different. There’s a bit more slow motion shots, longer fight scene, and a lot bloodier as well.
Chapters Two & Three
In this chapter, it’s more about establishing the history of the Mother Boxes and the fight between the old Gods, Amazonians, Atlanteans, and Men against Uxas and his army. It also gives more backstory and characterization to heroes like Aquaman and Silas Stone, but the thing that stands out the most in the second chapter was the battle. It was longer than the old one, and also much bloodier as well. We saw more characters and the big difference was that they were fighting against Uxas in this version.
In chapter three, it primarily focuses on two central League characters; The Flash and Cyborg. We see a bit more of Barry’s backstory and is fleshed out more in this version, but the one who shines even more is Cyborg. We get to explore Victor’s backstory and what happened to him and his mother. Dr. Silas Stone provides an in-depth backstory for Cyborg’s character and all that he can do, along with a very touching scene of Cyborg helping a struggling single mother out. Overall, the third chapter really shines a lot, and one of the reasons for it is because of Cyborg and Flash.
This chapter’s a bit shorter than the previous one, but it finally shows the League coming together. The Gotham Harbor sequence is shown here and in a different way than the theatrical cut. For one, it’s longer, and the second thing is that it actually shows a team effort of some sort. The main heroes here are Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Cyborg. Aquaman appears later on, but the team of four take on Steppenwolf and the parademons. Each character shines here, and there are no terrible lines nor is any character put down for the sake of humor. Wonder Woman takes on Steppenwolf while Flash and Cyborg save the hostages, and Batman takes on some parademons. Batman actually being Batman is really fantastic. He takes on parademons one-on-one while Flash actually does combat and is much more than someone who just “pushes people and runs away.” Aquaman helps near the end when the water breaks through and holds it off while the team try to escape. That’s the one thing that I love about this movie. Each character shines and they work as an actual team.
This chapter is pretty much all about resurrecting Superman. It starts off with the League having a plan, and it’s more thorough than before. There’s also more extra scenes such as Cyborg having a vision of the Knightmare future. The League also speaks with one another more so than before, thus giving each character more of a personality and depth. We also get a different version of the Superman VS League fight. In this one, I feel that Superman wasn’t making the rest of the League look useless, but you could see Superman try to hold back against everyone except for Wonder Woman – who he gave an excruciating headbutt to. We also got a glimpse of the Speed Force when Flash touched the Mother Box in order to revive Superman. It ends with Superman recognizing Lois Lane, so he calms down and they fly to the Kent farm. I absolutely loved the Superman VS League fight in this one. Batman definitely looked a lot tougher and didn’t say any foolish lines in this one. By the end, Silas sacrifices himself to mark the Mother Box so the League can know where Steppenwolf is, so they can team up to take Steppenwolf down.
Chapter Six & Epilogue
This is the final chapter for the film, but not the end. It mainly takes place in the ghost town of Pozharnov. The League has a plan to take down Steppenwolf without Superman’s aide, and the entire climax of the League VS Steppenwolf ft. parademons was glorious. Each member had their own role in the plan, y’know, like a team? Superman was there to save the day, but he wasn’t an ex machina and did everything by himself. Each member shines on their own in their special way. Batman lures parademons away, Cyborg tries to difuse the Mother Boxes while Wonder Woman and Aquaman distract Steppenwolf as Flash is running in circles to generate that electrical charge to aide Cyborg in dismantling the Mother Boxes. Superman swoops in as Steppenwolf is about to crush Cyborg, and saves Cyborg from being hit. Superman, Wonder Woman, and Aquaman both take on Steppenwolf, but it appears too late. The Mother Boxes united and we see Darkseid and get a glimpse of Apokalips and Granny Goodness. It looks like the end, but Flash breaks his one rule and goes into the Speed Force to reverse time and aides the League and Cyborg into dismantling the Mother Boxes. Wonder Woman gives the final blow and decapitates Steppenwolf.
To me, that was all a team effort. It literally felt like an actual Justice League movie and not Superman ft. Justice League. Like I said, every member shined throughout this entire film, and some more than others. The final battle was a vast improvement over the theatrical cut, and one of the largest differences was that there was no red sky and tons more action and heart. It ends with each member of the League dealing with the aftermath and Silas Stone narrating to Victor to rise above as each League member is shown to improve. The final scene of the movie ends with a tease of the Knightmare world. We finally see the DCEU Batman and Joker on screen together, conversing. It was such an awesome scene to see with heroes and villains together in an Injustice-like world. Snyder had shot this scene and the one where Martian Manhunter talks to Bruce after HBO Max greenlit the release of his cut of Justice League.
As I stated earlier, one of the best things about the film were the characters, specifically the Justice League members. We get to see more of them fleshed out and given backstory and depth. Batman was handled like a champ here. His cheesy jokes and cringe attitude were gone. This was once again a more serious take on the Dark Knight. He was shown to go up against parademons on his own. He was no longer an embarrassment. Wonder Woman is shown to be a badass warrior here, but also a hero. The terrorist scene is expanded a bit here as we get to see her approach and talk to one of the girls and the girl says “Can I be like you someday?” and Wonder Woman replies “You can be anything you want to be” with a smile. Flash is still the comic relief character, but now he isn’t just someone who “pushes people and runs away”. He actually goes into combat and has a grasp on using his powers. It was so cute seeing Barry go to a job interview and bumping into Iris West and immediately falling in love. His slow motion scene wasn’t as epic as the Quicksilver scenes of X-Men, but that’s because it wasn’t meant to be like that. It’s a more touching, personal “Quicksilver” scene.
Barry shines with his power and is well aware of the speed force. He actually does combat in the movie and saves a lot of lives. After all, he did save the entire world by reversing time when the Mother Boxes fused together near the end of the film. That scene was so beautiful and emotional. Seeing Flash run while saying his “One of the best of the best” line was so heartwarming, especially with the music in the background. Aquaman was, well, more of the same. He had a bit more depth, sure, but I felt that he was the only character that wasn’t meddled enough in the theatrical cut. One thing is that he is shown to care for his newfound friends. He’s more of a team player here, but his arc is overall most of the same. Next up is Superman. I loved the scene when he goes to the Fortress and both Jor-El and Johnathan Kent’s voices are heard in the background as Superman is ready to gear up and take his “first” flight again. That scene with both his fathers talking to him was absolutely beautiful. Especially with his theme song playing in the background. I feel that this version of Justice League redeemed Superman and made him more of a beacon of hope and a symbol for truth, justice, and the American way.
There was actually more minority representation in Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Ryan Choi aka The Atom, who was disregarded in the 2017 version, and Silas Stone having an even larger role in this movie and being there during crucial points in the film. He was the one who helped the League track the Mother Box after sacrificing himself to do so. Martian Manhunter portrayed by Harry Lennix also makes an appearance and solidifies more POC in superhero roles. One of the most crucial changes was Cyborg. His entire arc was cut out of the theatrical version, and in this one he’s the heart of the film. We get to see his life before and after the accident. He gets in trouble at school for hacking into their system to change his friend’s grades because she was struggling, and Victor gave her all passing grades. It was shown to us so we could see that even before Victor became Cyborg, he had a heart of gold. I still think about that scene with the struggling single mom and how Victor helped her out. It’s an equivalent as if Cyborg were to pull someone from a burning building. Saving the day in a different way. Also, every sexist shot of Wonder Woman was also cut out. This film pretty much cuts out all problematic shots of the theatrical version and replaces them with a more story driven, empowering approach. Cyborg throughout the movie is broken, but by the end he realizes that he has a new lease on life and shouts that he’s not broken, and he’s also not alone.
Overall, for me, Zack Snyder’s Justice League isn’t a good movie… it’s a great movie! Not only a great superhero movie, but a great movie in general. The only negative thing I would have to say about this piece of cinema is the music that comes on whenever Wonder Woman does anything. I sort of like the music, but I feel that they were overdoing it. That’s probably my only complain about the film. I didn’t feel like it was four hours long. It honestly felt shorter than that. That’s how much I was hooked on this movie. It had solid performances by everyone, not only the main cast but also the side characters. It definitely was a vast improvement over the theatrical release, and you could tell this was Snyder’s movie with the slow motion sequences. Not that that’s necessarily a bad thing, that is his trademark after all, and it made sense to include a lot of slow motion scenes when The Flash appeared. Steppenwolf was also a lot more menacing in this version, and he had a more clear motive for his conquering of the world. I’s a shame that WB doesn’t want to conclude Snyder’s five film arc, but who knows. We never thought we’d be here watching the actual Snyder Cut, yet here we are.
Final score: 5/5