The Impossible Redemption, Realized (Zack Snyder’s Justice League Movie Review)
I could start this review with a cliche. I could compare this film to a phoenix rising from the ashes. But that’s not the point. We’ve all been broken this past year. We’ve overcome pain, loss, and the struggle of something that tried to weaken humanity. This movie, like all of us, was broken. It had to overcome all of the same things. And despite even the controversies that weigh on it, it still was finally brought to fruition. No longer broken is Zack Snyder’s Justice League.
The film opens with a completely different tone than the previous version of this movie. Immediately, we are in new territory. That is key. That shows what we had hoped, that there was an entirely different vision than what we were originally shown. Throughout the entire 4 hour run time, it is obvious that this is more than a cut and paste job. The original vision of what this film was meant to be has been repaired, and is beyond recognition. Like an expert repairing a tapestry, the stitches of the reshoots are unrecognizable as having been redone.
Comparing, as has been done prior to this review, the theatrical release to this version, you see the soul that was ripped from this production, restored. Snyder recrafts his original hope for these six heroes and makes them worth rooting for. He removes the unnecessary, and even appalling changes to the characters, and rebuilds the original moments for us to see.
While the darker tone of Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice rears its head once more, and ignoring the debate about whether it is good or necessary, what now follows that film is a more organic continuation of the story. The changes here build a stronger foundation of what could be either the beginning, or the end.
Seeing life being brought back to this movie was the most enjoyable. Battles don’t feel as rushed or cut up, characters don’t feel thrown away once we’re done with them. A whole character is brought back from being removed, and not only gives hope to one of the supporting characters, but also hints at a future we probably will never see.
Motivation and Conviction Restored:
One of the biggest and most frustrating pieces of the theatrical release of this film was its villain, Steppenwolf. Originally portrayed as a conqueror in his own right with barely any connection to what is supposed to be his true master, Steppenwolf was shown to be this cartoonish villain stereotype only trying to please a mother figure by purifying the earth. The film showed him being the one to wage war on the Amazons, Atlanteans, and heroes of old, but it didn’t feel right. Now after seeing Snyder’s true intent brought forth, we can understand this antagonist. Steppenwolf finds himself more in line with his comic book counterpart where he serves a threat that is the true end of all things. The omega. Because of this change, Steppenwolf doesn’t feel like a wannabe evil overlord trying to destroy the earth for himself. He is an exiled warrior attempting to return home at all cost. It shows desperation, and fear, rather than forced confidence, and his end, actually feels more worth the movie’s time rather than him just being carried off stage.
Victor Stone, it’s nice to finally meet you:
There has never been a standing ovation more earned when it comes to a comic book movie character than Ray Fisher’s Cyborg. Previously seen as just a bitter young man trapped in a hoodie due to what felt like budget constraints, Victor Stone is given life a third and fourth life here. From the flashbacks showing a charismatic young man who just wanted to see his father approve of him, to the loss he suffered, the change he underwent, and being willing to give it all when he has nothing left to live for. Zack Snyder goes to great lengths to right the wrongs when it comes to the character and give him a reason to go out swinging. Ray Fisher literally gave it his all and deserves to return again one day. It shows he was worthy of his own solo franchise if he had been given the chance. Because the original cut of this movie saw the underlying focus being on Bruce Wayne’s guilt over losing Superman. While that is still present, it no longer takes up an entire subplot that involves him and Wonder Woman having a forced romance. Snyder chooses to focus on not Batman, but Cyborg, his journey, and his stepping out into a new world worth fighting for.
The easiest way to explain how this movie is so drastically different than before, is that someone else does a more impactful monologue than Lois Lane, and Batman isn’t the primary focus of what’s going on. While the length is definitely a commitment, it’s something worth viewing. If you want to see the true vision for what could be done with these 6 characters, see this. If there’s even a chance that you never saw the theatrical version, see this. The easiest thing to do in today’s media landscape is to compare this movie to other films like what the Marvel Cinematic Universe has brought to the table. If you find it possible to ignore what has come before and just see it for what it is, you won’t be disappointed. Zack Snyder was forced to leave this movie broken. However, he returned and crafted what feels like a true comic book on screen worth viewing. A piece of history that is worthy of the actors that poured their hearts and souls into this film and finally get to see it at its truest potential.
Summary While not perfect, Zack Snyder's Justice League is a superior and truer piece of not only film history, but comic book history as well. Even if nothing develops from this release, it will nonetheless will be a product for fans and for those who believed in what Snyder could achieve.