I finally got around to watching the Snyder cut of Justice League. You see, I like super hero movies. But DC’s live action movies haven’t really been pulling their weight. The biggest mess was around the Justice League movie, which was filmed mostly by one person then put together by another person. It was all a horrible corporate-meddling mess. One that left us with a shitty Justice League movie that made even the worse animated movies flinch.
Now we have Zack Snyder’s Justice League. Which is a 4 hour movie as Zack Snyder, the original director, imagined it. Normally ‘uncut’ movies are pretty similar. But this movie was, well, very different.
Quick warning, there are some spoilers in this article. They’re kinda unavoidable though because you need them to compare the two versions.
Genuinely a better movie.
I mean, considering the original movie? That’s not saying much. But the Snyder Cut did have a lot going for it. And a lot of that was context. Many events in the original movie made pretty much no sense. For example, how did they get into Star Labs so easily? And why did no one stop them? A context scene of them setting off a quarantine alarm forcing everyone to evacuate and Cyborg’s dad covering for them. On the flip side though, some of the context seemed… flimsier or more forced. The explanation as to why they need Superman kinda changed to “because the motherbox told them to”. Which I guess makes more sense, but still seems flimsy.
More importantly though, Flash and Cyborg had some actual story to them. Their pasts were actually fleshed out and they had an actual role in the end of the movie. If anything, they ended up being the most important characters
There was still a lot of Superman dick-sucking though. He’s simply too fucking strong in the Justice League, to the point that he could have EASILY beaten Steppenwolf on his own.
It even had a pretty different ending.
This was a much bigger setup for Darkseid, to the point that we actually see Darkseid. I mean, the overall premise of the Snyder ending is the same as the original. There’s three macguffins that need to be merged into one to start the apocalypse. But in Snyder’s version, the plan makes a bit more sense. At least, the plans for the heroes makes sense. Use the speed force to charge Cyborg so he can digitally connect with the merging cubes and separate them. Everyone had a use in this plan. Well, mostly. Wonder Woman and Aquaman were mostly left as punching bags for Steppenwolf until Superman turned up. And Batman was on “general grunt killing” duty for big parts of the fight.
They even briefly teased at a “bad guy winning” scenario, which forced the Flash to go above and beyond, well, the speed of light. The movie however does end on the same happy note as the original, as well as the similar setup for a full Justice League.
Probably actually needed more time.
Problem is, at 4 hours long, it’s still not really enough to do everything that was needed. Despite getting backstories for everyone, things were still rather rushed. We had to cram in two backstories, a sub-plot with Superman coming back, all the exposition from the old gods and the backstory AND all the setup for extra movies. This should have been at least two movies on its own. Preferably four movies, so Flash and Cyborg have more time to shine.
As to where you split the movie? Well, with some tweaks, you can easily split the movie into two parts: the quest to resurrect Superman and the quest to stop Steppenwolf proper. The Avengers managed to pull this off very well with Infinity War and End Game. But DC don’t have to go the negative route or copy directly. Instead of resurrecting Superman to help the Justice League, it could have been a race to find the ‘cube of men’ and resurrect Superman before Steppenwolf did so himself. The plot could easily be tweaked with Steppenwolf/Darkseid believing that a resurrected and mind-controlled Kal-El would have been their secondary key to victory.
Paradoxically could also do with more trimming as well.
Despite the movie still not having enough time to do everything it wanted, there’s plenty that could have been trimmed. They probably could have saved 5-10 minutes on slow-motion alone. There are lots of scenes and bits and pieces that felt a tad drawn out. For example, this ship that Bruce had was mentioned repeatedly and constantly shown with him and Alfred working on it. Cyborg early on says “it’s an easy fix” and that should have been it.
Speaking of Cyborg, I loved his scenes, but his scenes should have been his own damn movie. It’s not like Cyborg (or the Flash) are unknown characters. EVERYONE watched Teen Titans. The scene in which Cyborg helps that lady at the cash machine, it was a bit long and drawn out. But it could have also been a montage of Cyborg helping people subtly.
The epilogue is one area they REALLY could have cut things down. We didn’t need that dream sequence at all. Not only did it not really fit, but it felt way too drawn out and, well, edgy. If you want to tease something like Injustice or Flashpoint Paradox, then you don’t need a 10 minute dialogue.
Plenty of other problems too.
The Snyder Cut was lacking in other ways as well. Superman was too powerful, everyone else felt kinda weak. Pacing was all over the place. Some scenes had weird additions that removed all sense of reason. We have a nice scene between Martha and Lois? Turns out Martha was the Martian Manhunter in disguise? What? You have Wonder Woman vaporizing a baddie (and causing as much damage as the baddie’s bomb, had it gone off) and some kid asking to be like her? It’s little things like that which were added for basically no reason. And they take you out of it.
And Batman just… didn’t feel like Batman. I think Ben Affleck is actually a REALLY good Bruce Wayne, he does the millionaire playboy thing well. But Batman’s scenes spend most of the time getting Batman beaten up. Or him stealing guns from Parademons and shooting them back.
Lastly, the music was… not memorable. Except for that same damn female choir music that came on LITERALLY ANY TIME WONDER WOMAN DID ANYTHING. Holy shit they recorded one piece of music and overused it to death.
Sadly we probably won’t ever see any more of it.
Overall, the Snyder Cut was better than the original movie. But it was still a mess that introduced and teased way too much. Too many things that we’ll probably never see in movie form. After all, a new Batman reboot is already in the works. We’re getting a variant on Suicide Squad. Half the cast from the existing movies aren’t signed on for more movies. It’s all going to get redone.
A shame, really. Because DC could have had a great cinematic universe, if they hadn’t rushed everything.