Zack Snyder's Justice League ★★★★

“None are taken back from the darkness. Not without giving one up in return.”

For nearly four years, Zack Snyder’s vision for the DC Universe remained a mystery. A mythic tale of epic proportions that it seemed would never be fully realised. Following a series of many of unfortunate events both for Warner Bros. and Snyder personally, the Justice League film that hit cinemas was a complete and utter train-wreck. Micromanaged by the studio and hobbled together by a last minute replacement, nothing about the piece stood on its own. Snyder’s vision was watered down to hell and any artistic intent offered up by Joss Whedon in the director’s chair was inherently compromised by having to pick up the pieces Snyder laid out. It proved a complete non-entity of an experience. 

Now, in 2021, Zack Snyder’s Justice League has finally been finished and is, indeed, an experience. 

You could not possibly say that Snyder’s epic contribution to the practically defunct DCEU is not a film that stands on its own. What I appreciate the most about the fabled Snydercut is how it, in some ways unintentionally, works as a final chapter. Together with Man of Steel and Batman v Superman, I think this forms a really neat conclusion to a trilogy. While there are a lot of things about this continuity that one might consider misguided and counterintuitive, I appreciate how it all comes together and does actually make some kind of sense. In retrospect, Justice League actually makes Batman v Superman a better film. A lot of the confusion about Bruce’s premonitions and the seemingly unfinished character journey Clark goes on do see some kind of closure here which I really like. By the end, the final conversation between Bruce and his new ally feels like a reasonably comfortable place to leave this story and universe behind forever. 

Thematically, this is a trilogy about hope. Characters understanding hope, having lapses in said faith and inspiring hope to others. As a single piece though, the strongest link of Justice League seems to be parenthood. All of the heroes do have something going on with the parents that informs their actions throughout the film which is a nice idea to bring to the fore, even with Steppenwolf who idolises Darkseid in the same way a child might a distant and cruel parent. 

Unquestionably, Snyder has an excellent visual eye and this film looks exceptional as a result. Nothing I have ever seen ever captures me in the way Zack Snyder’s films capture me. They just have such an atmosphere, aesthetic and aura that makes me want to keep coming back. It is no secret that Justice League is long. Four hours long. It is definitely a lot of time to have your attention hold but I actually do not feel like the pacing suffered especially hard. It is fascinating how much better paced this actually feels than the two-hour theatrical version which just moves at a breakneck pace. 

The action is great, the characters are great, the story is coherent and everything actually does come together to make an immersive and unparalleled cinematic, superhero experience. Zack Snyder’s Justice League is actually pretty good.

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