Despite what nay-sayers have said, the “Snyder Cut” is real. It’s here, and it’s epic. What started out as a social media rallying cry for the release of Zack Snyder’s director’s cut of “Justice League,” turned into a beautiful masterpiece that has blown me away.
The theatrical version originally premiered in 2017 to critical reviews and low box office returns and seeminlgy suffered after Snyder, and his producer partner and wife Deborah, left post production after their daughter, Autumn, died by suicide. After the duo left the project, Marvel Alum Director Joss Whedon stepped in and completely remade the film.
“Zack Snyder’s Justice League” has traveled quite the journey in order to grace our selective screens. The film’s noble origins can be discovered at the roots, near the film’s proclamated “associate producers” –– the fans.
The movement to “#ReleaseTheSnyderCut” was also backed by fans collecting a surmountable ammount of donations for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP). An approximate $500,000 was reported raised last year in Autumn Snyder’s honor.
Going into this four-hour epic, I tried to remain as unbiased, analytical and totally critical as I possibly could. But, honestly, this film made me cry. I was teary eyed at the start and teary eyed at the end.
I’ve been a DC Comics fan for as long as I can remember. The world of the DC Extended Universe (DCEU) has expanded that admiration exponentially, but when the 2017 movie premiered, it felt stale. At first I thought the fault lied in the bad date I attended the premiere with, but that wasn’t the case.
The stagnancy came from a watered down storyline, shotty special effects and forced and inappropriate humor. I can proudly say that the “Snyder Cut” does not crack sexist jokes at Wonder Woman’s expense.
I attempted to accept the film but the theatrical release just felt… off. When I first learned that the given movie wasn’t the intended, I became ecstatic.
I was attending the University of Minnesota Duluth pursuing a degree in journalism when I first saw the original “Justice League,” and I was in the middle of decisively planning this real world iteration of the Daily Planet when I heard of the “Snyder Cut.” I was immediately on board, ready for the film we deserved. And after watching the cut, I feel revitalized.
Snyder paid respectful homage to traditional characters, in particular my girl Lois Lane, and my post-premiere emotions are still positively swirling. In a truly artistic reflection on today’s society, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” proved the negatives of division in a universe inhabited by supers.
In the film, the major villain Steppenwolf is infiltrating Earth for the Apokoliptic New God Darkseid. He believes the planet will be easily conquered due to the inhabitants being so divided, battling amongst themselves without protectors.
“This world is divided,” Steppenwolf said. “Too separate to be one. No protectors here. This world will fall. Like all the others. For Darkseid.”
This is where hope comes in. Divisions dissolve when unity matters most and that combined collective brought me to tears. Each League member brought a different gift to the team. In a world blighted by the loss of their hero of hope, all faith in life seemed fleeting.
Then, hope is resurrected and a team faces off against an enemy nearly unprepared. If you were a fan of the DC Animated Universe, of the comics or even “Super Friends,” you will definitely be a fan of this movie.
Haunted by his mistakes of the past, Ben Affleck’s Batman dedicates his resources into composing a team the likes the world has never seen before. He tracks down a list of “meta-humans” and, one by one, attempts to convince them to fight by his side. At first, it seems futile. But with the help of Diana, his efforts retain prodigious results.
Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman amazes me yet again with her compassionate heart and emblazoned warrior ways. Diana shines heroically as she empathizes with her teammates. She’s battle ready, emotionally complex and stands proudly as one of the founding members of the League. Without her, Bruce Wayne would’ve failed.
Ray Fisher’s Cyborg truly beats as the heart of the movie. This film, in a way, stands as Victor Stone’s origin story that emboldens him into becoming the hero we all know. Cyborg’s nature is filled to the brim with complex emotions shrouded by loss, love and loneliness. After befriending the other heroes, however, Victor feels less broken and more united. “I’m not broken, and I’m not alone.”
Racing into my heart, Ezra Miller’s Barry Allen is a fun loving, entirely charismatic character that caused me to fall in love and I’m OK with it. Every scene Flash was in resulted in a smile. The DCEU’s version of the character stands starkly apart from it’s The CW counterpart. He’s alone in life and still finds the poignancy of worth in living it.
Jason Momoa’s Aquaman proved his nobility through his capacity for good. His troubled, tumultuous past weighed on him, but instead of letting those negative emotions sink him to the depths of the sea, it brought him to the righteousness of his heritage. He was indeed a king the world needed.
Returning from the grave, Henry Cavill’s Superman resurrected hope into this fan’s heart. I honestly love Cavill so much and seeing him don the cape again was awe inspiring. His power for greatness, and potential for darkness, stands separate in comparison to the rest of Earth’s heroes. The universe literally wept when he died, and it trembled in admiration when he returned.
I feel compelled to mention Amy Adams as Lois Lane. As the Daily Planet, it’d be incongruous to not mention Lois. The respect given to this character is unfathomable. Zack Snyder is the only director in recent history that understands the notability of Lois Lane. He gets that she’s the key to everything. Her demand for accountability and equity is unmatched when compared to the League. Not only does she keep Clark grounded, but she holds the League accountable and their actions reflect this understanding. She is the key to everything. Snyder recognizing this makes me feel heard as a Lois Lane fanboy.
With elements derived from each inspiration of the past, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” stands on the foundations of the past with its individuality pointed towards the future. It was modern and realistic with a strong shroud of tragedy met with everyday humor. It was life.
It’s a strong, artistic expression that’s well rooted in the world of DC. It’s dark, realistic, full of humor and retrospective. It’s beautiful.
Even though this is the longest superhero film in history, I found myself wishing it wouldn’t end. This movie did my favorite characters justice –– an action that wouldn’t have been possible if the film was any shorter.
This world building enterprise is phenomenal. DC is traditionally compared to Marvel, and its cinematic universe is no exception. In recent history, the DCEU has seemingly fallen prey to its Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) counterpart’s reputation. However, after seeing “Zack Snyder’s Justice League,” I can safely say that DC has transcended past that comparison.
Rather than being a superhero action film with problem resolution at the end, “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” understands the war is not over simply because a single battle was won. It’s comparable to greek mythology sagas. In a way it ascends the comic book movie genre to an entirely new level never reached before.
I truly believe that this film will reignite the spark for a universe built from Snyder’s imaginative vision and strongly urge fans of the genre, curious viewers and everyone in between to watch this film and make their own assessment.
Restore the “Snyderverse” and bring back our heroes.
Warner Bros. Pictures and DC full-length Max Original feature film “Zack Snyder’s Justice League” will premiere on HBO Max on Thursday, March 18.
“In ZACK SNYDER’S JUSTICE LEAGUE, determined to ensure Superman’s (Henry Cavill) ultimate sacrifice was not in vain, Bruce Wayne (Ben Affleck) aligns forces with Diana Prince (Gal Gadot) with plans to recruit a team of metahumans to protect the world from an approaching threat of catastrophic proportions. The task proves more difficult than Bruce imagined, as each of the recruits must face the demons of their own pasts to transcend that which has held them back, allowing them to come together, finally forming an unprecedented league of heroes. Now united, Batman (Affleck), Wonder Woman (Gadot), Aquaman (Jason Momoa), Cyborg (Ray Fisher) and The Flash (Ezra Miller) may be too late to save the planet from Steppenwolf, DeSaad and Darkseid and their dreadful intentions.”