SPOILER ALERT : Please be advised that the following review contains several spoilers about the movie
I never expected to spend my Saturday evening watching a four-hour-long movie. And yet, a few days after Zack Snyder’s cut of the Justice League released on HBO Max, I couldn’t help but wonder how different it was from the original movie, which was an absolute stinker of a film.
So I sat down and watched all four hours of the absolute leviathan of a movie, and boy was I surprised at the disparities between my experience and the rave reviews that were pouring in, praising the Snyder’s cut as a godsend.
Zack Snyder’s cut of the Justice League is undoubtedly much better than the original version, but then again, I’d probably enjoy water torture more than watching any more of Joss Whedon’s Justice League.
Here are just some of the reasons why Zack Snyder’s Justice League falls short and makes for a, at best, average film.
If you’re wondering how exactly Snyder managed to make a four-hour-long movie, there’s one word that explains it: slow motion. Every action scene included so much unnecessary slow motion that actually worked counter-intuitively. Instead of making the fighting scenes more intricate and enjoyable, it just washed away any sense of an adrenaline rush or feeling of excitement that the viewer had.
In fact, IGN actually calculated the total time in the movie that slow-motion footage was used and found that it was a staggering 24 minutes long, meaning that 10% of the entire movie was in slow motion. It goes to show that the movie isn’t four hours long because it’s just so jam-packed with beautiful cinema, but rather because Snyder has no understanding of creating an exciting and interesting story within the time constraints a movie should have.
At times I questioned Snyder’s sanity. In one of the first scenes, after Aquaman rejects Batman’s offer to join the Justice League, the movie cuts to local Icelandic people chanting some sort of folk song unprompted. The whole movie just seemed way too raw, like a weird dream Zack Snyder had one night and decided to turn into a night.
The character development was just so unbelievably wonky. They should have just called Snyder’s cut “The Cyborg movie” because it felt like every waking moment was spent developing his character to unbelievable depth. Every other character in the movie suffered because of it. I completely forgot that Aquaman was even in the movie, and Batman’s character was so hollow that it felt like he was only a cardboard cutout with a few lines of dialogue.
Aesthetically, the CGI just wasn’t good enough for a triple-A superhero blockbuster. The visual effects, from the aliens to the fight scenes, were oddly shiny and glossy, really ruining some of the action scenes. But this was expected. DC movies have fallen so far behind Marvel in recent years in terms of CGI, and the Snyder Cut only worsened the gap between the two.
The story is unnecessarily grim. In four hours, couldn’t someone add a little joke every once in a while? No one watches superhero movies because they’re looking for incredible character development, they want action and an exciting story, as well as a little fun.
I wasn’t a fan of the epilogue either. A ten minute clip at the end of the movie that gives a glimpse into the future of Snyder’s DC universe, it was only a small fraction of the actual movie. However, fans had no way of knowing this, and because snippets and pictures from the epilogue were featured heavily in the trailers that were released for the Snyder cut, viewers were baited into thinking that this new cut was completely different from the original justice league when in reality the two weren’t too different in content.
The ending was unbelievably anticlimactic though. I mean seriously, you sit through three and a half hours of exposition and character development and don’t get to see the justice league face off against Darkseid, instead, they just have a quite short fight against Steppenwolf, a villain who is rather tame and not necessarily very terror-inducing.
Ultimately, Zack Snyder’s ambitions with the DC universe were quite clear. He wanted to become the next Christopher Nolan, creating suspenseful superhero movies that were box office hits and at the same time critically acclaimed. Instead, he accomplished neither, making a subpar superhero flick that doesn’t offer a whole lot that the original Justice League doesn’t include.
So no, the Snyder Cut is not the next “Citizen Kane”, as many hardcore fans might try to make you think. They shouldn’t even be used in the same sentence. So while the Justice League makes for maybe an average movie, it’s ridiculously overrated.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League
Available on HBO Max
Directed by Zack Snyder
Starring Henry Cavill, Ben Affleck and Gal Gadot