Length: 242 minutes
If you’re looking at this review of Zack Snyder’s Justice League, scratching your head and muttering, “Wait, didn’t we already have one of these a few years back?” Don’t worry, you’re not going insane.
In the year of 2017 - and gosh that feels like such a long time ago now, doesn’t it? - a film called Justice League was released. Initially helmed by pectoral enthusiast Zack Snyder (300, Watchmen), it was handed over to recently-disgraced Joss Whedon (Avengers, Buffy the Vampire Slayer) when Snyder left to deal with a family tragedy.
Deadset, you could not find two more different artistic sensibilities than Zack and Joss. Snyder favours epic scope, booming scores and sweat-slicked God-like physiques battering one another, whereas Whedon’s all about quirk, quippy one-liners and surprising character deaths.
So, when Whedon was brought on to “finish” Justice League, it was really the studio’s attempt to make it more like Marvel. You know: very, very successful.
In the end, however, 2017’s Justice League was greeted with a shrug and a “meh”. It was an uneven, sporadically entertaining superhero flick that didn’t really live up to the potential of the premise. End of story, right?
Well, no. Because from the internet’s dark corners there came a muttering, people banging on about a mythical “Snyder Cut” that would deliver the version of Justice League he originally intended.
These voices got louder, and more annoying, and eventually the powers that be decided to throw some money at it (US$70 million, apparently) and the Snyder Cut became Zack Snyder’s Justice League and it’s here, on BINGE, and we’ve seen it! So, how is it?
Honestly, it’s not bad. Although that comes with some caveats.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League tells the story of how DC’s biggest heroes - Batman (Ben Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), The Flash (Ezra Miller) and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) - come together to fight off an alien threat in the form of Steppenwolf (Ciáran Hinds), who works for galactic big baddie, Darkseid (Ray Porter).
Chronologically, it takes place after the pouty grimdark orphan barney Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) and a big part of the story is about bringing Superman (Henry Cavill) back from the dead.
If all of that sounds like a lot, you’re not wrong. And while those plot points were rushed through in the 2017 version, this time around they have some space to breathe.
They should, too, because this movie is FOUR MOTHERBOXING HOURS LONG!
Ray Fisher’s Cyborg - an almost total non-event in the Whedon version - benefits most from the extra runtime, with a solid character arc and some great moments. Jason Momoa’s Aquaman is far less of a vacant-eyed dudebro and Ezra Miller’s Flash’s quips are toned right down, allowing the actor’s natural charm to shine through.
The villains, too, are significantly more effective this time around, even if Darkseid feels a bit like a two dollar shop Thanos.
It’s the action scenes, however, where Zack’s cut really shines, with every big battle featuring coherent, visceral action and genuinely exciting set pieces, even if some of the recently added CGI is a little on the shonky side.
Is Zack Snyder’s Justice League a masterpiece? Goodness me, no. It’s full of Snyder’s usual fashy/messianic excess and horniness for slow motion and about as subtle as a cricket bat to the goolies.
It is, however, indisputably the work of one man, for better and worse, instead of the studio mandated Frankenstein’s monster we got back in 2017.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League isn’t the second coming of cinema some of the more fevered online acolytes predicted. It runs an absurd 242 minutes long, which would be insane at the cinema, and it could have easily lost 42 of those minutes.
However, taken with bathroom and snack breaks on the couch and some like-minded mates, it’s a decently engaging watch with some top shelf action and a definite improvement over the last version we got.
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