Zack Snyder’s Justice League fulfills a director’s vision

by Martin Serrano / Staff Reporter

Darkseid standing alongside New Gods DeSaad and Granny Goodness. Photo courtesy of WarnerMedia.

On Nov. 17, 2017, the “Justice League” movie was released in theaters. It was nothing like the film its trailers led DC fans to believe. Since then, lovers of the franchise united to create the #ReleaseTheSnyderCut movement in order to convince Warner Brothers that this DC movie should be given its proper vision back. After countless pleas from both fans and its director, Zack Snyder, the cut was announced on May 20, 2020, and has now been out on HBO Max since March 18, 2021. 

The story itself follows off the events of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, where Superman yells in pain and awakens the Mother Boxes found in Gotham City, Themyscira and Atlantis. These three Mother Boxes are later revealed to be ancient artifacts that would release an apocalypse on any given planet that Darkseid and his army strive to achieve. Knowing that Superman’s sacrifice awoke any impending threat to planet Earth, Bruce Wayne (Batman, played by Ben Affleck), with the help of Diana Prince (Wonderwoman, played by Gal Gadot), sets out to look for the metahumans he discovered in hopes of stopping the impending invasion. New God Steppenwolf (played by Ciarán Hinds) makes his way in obtaining the Mother Boxes in hopes of pleasing Darkseid’s life-long goal of transforming Earth into a new world for him to control. 

Steppenwolf, now with all three Mother Boxes, prepares to wipe out all life on Earth for Darkseid, but the League arrives and penetrates through his forces along with the help of Superman. Barry manages to save everyone before the Mother Boxes nearly kill everyone, and the League successfully defeats Steppenwolf. The day is saved, but the movie doesn’t end until Bruce awakens from another Knightmare and a visit from the Martian Manhunter. 

As you can tell from this film’s story, there is a lot that had to be unpacked; thankfully, the pacing for the film itself doesn’t suffer from it despite the initial four-hour-long duration. The progression feels natural, and the story doesn’t have any significantly unnecessary parts while allowing for the film to breathe better than with the original runtime. In between the major parts of the movie, there are great scenes that show where the characters were after the events of “Batman vs. Superman,” with plenty of great references to previous DC productions.

Another example is Diana not only getting into the action by saving an art museum from destruction, but also receiving a warning from her sisters regarding the return of the warmongers that her ancestors fought. Additional scenes like the Knightmare vision Cyborg witnesses as well as Lex Luthor’s meeting with Deathstroke, make for more than mere fan service necessities and are a sign of what’s to come with the future of the Justice League. It’s also great to have secondary characters like Silas Stone, Lois Lane, Ryan Choi and even the Martian Manhunter receive focus, especially with the first two playing pivotal roles with two more prominent characters in the movie (Cyborg and Superman, respectively). 

Speaking of characters, the cast itself was already large in the theatrical cut of “Justice League,” and it’s even bigger in the true vision. You have the actual Justice League, which consists of Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Cyborg and the revived Superman: every character has the right amount of focus, with Cyborg standing out the most due to his role as the soul of the film and even paralleling the backstory Superman had in “Man of Steel.” The secondary characters that were already in the theatrical cut featured Silas Stone, Lois Lane, Mera, Queen Hippolyta and Commissioner Gordon, but the return of General Swanwick and a new addition in the form of Ryan Choi further have roles to share with the rest of the film. The villains were much more prominent in this movie, with Steppenwolf now joined along with DeSaad, Darkseid and Granny Goddess. With the theatrical cut having just Steppenwolf involved, having him beg to return to Apokalips with his fellow New Gods completely changes how he was originally depicted.

What are the differences between this and the theatrical cut of Justice League? The total amount is larger than you’d think. It’s worth mentioning that this was the version that would have been made had it not been for Warner Brothers firing director Zack Snyder and using his daughter’s suicide to hide what happened behind the scenes. The studio then had Geoff Johns take over the movie, and with the help from Joss Whedon and those involved with the movie, the resulting product was a massive betrayal of quality for those that loved Man of Steel and Batman v. Superman. Fans were already aware of the compromised edits that Suicide Squad had in 2016, but this was an all-time low. 

The Snyder Cut shows a promising change for the better within the motion picture industry. So often are directors deprived of their creative freedoms due to poor editing choices, limited runtimes and troubles with distribution. “Justice League” failed its loyal DC fans, and Snyder worked hard to fix it — with a little help from HBO Max. Hopefully, this massive movie release will be a lesson in the importance of upholding a director’s voice, and in listening to fans, not just studio executives.

Rating: 10 out of 10 Torches

Categories: Feature

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