Nowhere nearly as brainlessly pointless as previous Snyder/DC movies
Easily an hour too long
Terrible scripting for the Knightmare scene
Incredibly odd pacing
So, to be clear, let’s not pretend that the 2017Justice League and the Snyder Cut are actually different movies. The Snyder Cut is visually more beautiful, and is longer… a lot longer, but is essentially the same movie (hence Snyder being credited as the sole director). After all, the majority of the footage from that version was still his.
Not to say that the Frankenstein-ian concoction was his fault, of course. Under the auspices of Kevin Tsujihara, certain DC movies were subject to a 2-hour limit, a curse that befell both Justice League and Suicide Squad. Though, of course, whether we will ever see an #AyerCut of Suicide Squad remains to be seen.
The importance in understanding that the 2017 and Snyder Cut versions are essentially the same in terms of story is the assistance in reduction of expectation. While the Snyder Cut certainly adds a lot of flair and style, the actual substance remains the same. It’s a continued celebration of Easter eggs and gratuitous throwing-through-walls action that we’ve gotten used to over Watchmen, Man of Steel, and Batman V Superman.
Not that that’s entirely a bad thing, though. Unfortunately, with little more than the aforementioned Easter eggs and some additional scenes (some of which were truly better off on the cutting room floor), the film ends up feeling bloated. By the third action piece, the slow-mo accompanying every jump by Wonder Woman (as well as the incessant throat-warbling soundtrack) becomes incredibly repetitive and grating. More of Aquaman’s angsty discussions in Atlantis was certainly not needed as well. And aside from fan service, both Iris West and Ryan Choi’s participation just feel unnecessary and drags out the movie longer than it should already have been.
That said, the extended sequences and emphasis on Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen actually enhances the character a fair bit. The somewhat controversial take on the character isn’t any more accurate than it was in 2017’s, but he is far more enjoyable. While the narrative was supposedly spun around Cyborg, it is the Flash who is truly the heart of the movie. If nothing else, Snyder’s Justice League should excite fans for the (hopefully) upcoming Flash film.
The other true star of the movie remains Ben Affleck. Affleck has been hands down the best live action depiction of the Dark Knight, and his take on Bruce Wayne especially remains unparalleled. Indeed, him and Jeremy Irons’ Alfred were just about the only watchable aspects of Batman V Superman. Thankfully, with the larger cast (and longer runtime) the dour mess that was BVS is easily forgettable, and is replaced with the dynamics of Justice League.
Unfortunately, the fact remains that much of this extended version feels like the 2017 cut just got padded out with footage written by fans on Reddit. While it is always cool to see characters make an appearance, it remains rather fan service-y and very little is done to actually add depth to the characters.
The biggest disappointment however, is the use of the “Knightmare” future. Having been easily the best part of BVS, the potential of an alternate future being explored in Justice League prior to the final act would have been an instant and superior departure from the 2017 cut. Unfortunately, the scene is presented as a glorified epilogue of sorts, and sadly features some of the worst scripting presented in the movie.
However, if it is the closure required by fans (and if it means the end of this run of DC films) then let it be. With only two actually good DC movies in existence thus far, it’ll be a pleasant experience to let go of the series initiated by the tone deaf Man of Steel, and move on.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League will be available on HBO GO from the 18th of March.