WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD
It’s here everyone. Zack Snyder‘s Justice League movie is finally available to watch exclusively on HBO Max and it’s just over FOUR hours long!
The Snyder cut is broken down into six parts as well as a prologue and epilogue. You could very well choose to watch this as a miniseries or just go ahead and watch the full four hours all at once, but let me just say, four hours definitely feels like four hours.
If you remember the 2017 Justice League film, you’ll remember that Batman and Wonder Woman were primarily the centers of the cast and Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman, and even Superman felt like they were just kind of… there at times.
Snyder does a great job at splitting up the scenes. One hero isn’t a stand out in this film. Every single hero matters and it really shows. Cyborg especially has way more of a part and story in this cut than he did in the original. Barry Allen even has an extra scene to give you a little more insight on his backstory before he meets Batman, but it definitely didn’t feel like one hero was the sole base of the film.
The beginning of this film was hard to get through. Most of the first half was all from the 2017 film with a few short extra scenes thrown in and even then, I found myself pausing just to see if I had actually made a dent in the run time.
The length of the film isn’t surprising though. Zack wanted to present his original vision of the film and he did just that and a four hour runtime is unsurprising considering that Avengers: Endgame was a three hour movie. The Snyder Cut feels like two movies in one.
Furthermore, I applauded the decision to edit every scene that Joss Whedon filmed in the 2017 movie and replace them with Snyder’s reshoots. Snyder really nipped a lot of Whedon’s quips, jokes, and just everything that didn’t fit the tone of the film or make any sense to the characters.
The movie didn’t really pick up until two hours and thirty minutes in when Superman was brought back to life. The intensity of the movie really picked up shortly after that as it should’ve due to the nature of why they even had to try and bring him back in the first place. It was a smooth sailing ride after and it was a blast.
DC never disappoints with visuals or action. The action in this movie is extremely captivating and puts you on the edge of your seat. I would also like to give major props to Snyder for the new Steppenwolf design. He looked incredible compared to the original.
The Snyder Cut’s storytelling was just better overall and I loved that Steppenwolf was significantly more heinous in this movie. It was really hard to take him seriously in the original cut, but a lot of that had to do with his appearance.
The introduction of Darkseid and the “Anti-Life” equation really brought a next level threat to the story. Darkseid is a major villain in the DC comics and his goal is to prove the existence of the “Anti-Life” equation which is a formula that controls all free will… needless to say, The Justice League has their work cut out for them in future movies.
In the original cut, Steppenwolf’s motive was to merge the three mother boxes together and cause the entire planet to be transformed into the nightmarish hellscape of his homeworld. This sounds like a major threat and one should wonder, “how did Joss mess that up?”
What steered audiences away in the 2017 cut were the shenanigans that were happening while the Justice League were trying to stop Steppenwolf and save the world. There was too much humor in the final fight that made it harder to take anything seriously that was happening. What makes a villain a good villain is giving the audience the impression that their heroes could fail or even die. Joss Whedon didn’t deliver with any of that in the original.
In 2017 we were met with Jokes from The Flash and Aquaman, a lackluster arrival from Superman, a seemingly useless Cyborg, and Wonder Woman and Batman who were doing most of the work. There was also a random family of four that came out of no where that The Flash saved so… I guess he’s a hero?
Snyder corrected all of this by making Steppenwolf and the parademons more menacing, giving Barry Allen and Cyborg a pivotal part in saving the world, and nearly killing off our favorite heroes. It should be noted that pulling off a quality boss fight with several heroes isn’t the easiest task when you’re directing six of the biggest heroes in the world who are all beloved by superhero fans everywhere. This fight was spectacular and the best part of the movie.
One of the last scenes we see in the movie was a reimagining of Batman’s nightmare. A very different take on Bruce‘s post apocalyptic nightmare from the original cut. In the Snyder cut, Lois Lane is dead and Superman is destroying the world with Darkseid. My issue with this is that it happened at the very end of the film and felt more crowd pleasing than anything. Especially since Jared Leto returned as the Joker and Joe Manganiello returned as Deathstroke. It was still very enjoyable though.
The touching tribute to Zack Snyder’s daughter was very well done. If you’re not aware, Snyder’s daughter Autumn committed suicide during the filming of the 2017 Justice League movie leading him to leave the project of course, but the dedication as to why he wanted to come back and finish what he started for his late daughter is beyond admirable and he should be commended for that.
Overall I would give this movie a 8.5 out of 10. It’s long as hell, but once it gets going it’s hard not to love it. The extra scenes are all fantastic, the action is spectacular, the change of superman’s suit from traditional blue to black was great, the villains were taken more seriously, Cyborg had more of a role to play and Snyder really made him a very loveable character, Batman’s nightmare kicked ass, and of course, Batman meeting Martian Manhunter at the very end. It truly is a great movie.