Geeks logo

Josstice Vs. Justice: The Long Road to Unity

A movie almost a decade in the making, Zack Snyder's Justice League has been one of the most interesting stories to watch unfold recently.

By Sam GamblePublished 2 years ago 8 min read

Never, in a million years, did I think I would be here, writing a review for 'The Snyder Cut'. Even more so, did I think that review would be largely positive.

'Zack Snyder's Justice League' dropped on Thursday to Now TV over here in the UK, and is a 4 hour director's cut of the 2017 film 'Justice League'. Speculation has been running rampant, pre-dating the start of this movie's existence.

Famously, Snyder had to step away from the project owing to family issues, and rather than delay the project, Warner Brothers opted to bring in Avengers directing alum Joss Whedon in to finish the project in post-production. A not uncommon move when a director steps away so close to the finish line.

Whedon, however, seemed to take a disliking to Snyder's original vision, and so extensively reshot the film, leading to some infamous CGI and poorly placed jokes, and an overall mess of a film that ended up pleasing very few people.

After the films release, Snyder was very public about the film that could have been. An epic tale that would be the start of a trilogy of Justice League films, paving the way for solo films, spin-offs, and concluding the trilogy that started for Snyder in Man of Steel. Concept art, rumors and cut content washed over the internet and so the hashtag 'Release the Snyder Cut' was born.

Fast forward three years later, and it's DC Fandome. A large-scale virtual event in which DC unveiled its master plan for, essentially, the next three years. Among the announcements were a collection of video games, a Flash movie, a Shazam sequel, a new trailer for the rebooted Batman. The Snyder Cut hype is still very much there, stoked by a public inquest led by one of the cast members into misconduct during the reshoots. The rest of the cast are sharing the hash tag now. Something must be happening. Maybe we'll get an unfinished look or a detailed explanation of what could have been. But they'll never actually make it. They won't stump up the cash, surely.

Then, it hits. Zack Snyder's Justice League is announced to be coming in March 2021. The internet goes wild, Snyder takes to the cloud to share image after image, make promise after promise about what we'll see.

Now, we're here. On Thursday 18th March, The Snyder Cut was released to the world. A four hour epic that massively expands the original film, and whilst it shares the same base story, has massively departed from the original. Or is this the original?

No, it's not the original, but it IS the intention. There's no denying that this is the quintessential version of this movie. Is it perfect? No, there are some flaws, as with everything, and I still feel there's one scene that the 2017 version actually holds superior to this version, but we'll get to that.

First of all, this movie is absolutely gorgeous. Snyder has always been accused of being a style-over-substance director, and his style is on full show here. Pretty much every single frame could stand as a painting or a panel from a comic, and there is some equally impressive CG set pieces that complete the look. However, you can't have a Zack Snyder film with slo-mo and, for me, this film leans sometimes a little too heavily or linger a little too long in the slo-mo. Four members of the Justice League are able to move much faster than humans can perceive, and so we need time as an audience to follow it. However, this can be done, as demonstrated with Wonder Woman's epic introduction in the bank heist, without an over-reliance on slow motion. Some of the CG is also a little dodgy, particularly towards the end of the film you can begin to tell what the 'additional material' is largely due to the CG and also due to one character having lost a fair bit of weight in the interim.

That brings me smoothly along to what everyone watching this is probably the most curious to see; the changes. This version is pretty much twice as long, so obviously there are scenes that are expanded, added, given different context and, pretty much universally, improved. Characters are given more backstory. They're given personal stakes, motivation, and reasons to be where they are. Where this is most notable is with the villain, Steppenwolf, and Cyborg.

I'll address Steppenwolf first. Other than given an incredibly spiky re-design, the villain is elevated and given probably the most development in the transition. Though mostly told through exposition, we learn that Steppenwolf is in a place of utter disgrace in the eyes of his overlord, Darkseid (finally seen!!). He's desperate to win back favour in the eyes of his master, and will go to any length, and fight any battle, to do so. Whilst Darkseid's motivations are still evil for the sake of evil at this point, I'm sure something would be established were this movie to get a sequel. But this movie is very much Steppenwolf as the villain, and he's all the more richer for it.

Next is Cyborg. Ray Fischer was robbed in the original version, in so many ways. What was before a relatively unemotional means-to-an-end of a character, is now the emotional core of the film. He's given so much heart, so much tragedy, and so much more understanding. If I had to pick a main character, it would be Cyborg. If you wanted to cut this movie down to a more cinema-friendly runtime, I would stick to Cyborg's POV. We get his origin, we get the mythology linked to the motherbox's, and we get a proper emotional through line. You don't put him off to the side to smash in a couple more jokes. It almost feels intentional to cut him out in retrospect. Intentional and spiteful, and it's well known at this point that Fischer didn't get along with Whedon and the higher-ups at Warner Brothers when the original came out. So, to now see what they cut out of his part, is absolutely criminal, and definitely works against the film.

The other characters are also expanded. Aquaman, whilst not a shining part of this movie, feels more included in this one. Wonder Woman is fabulous as always, Batman is a decent catalyst but still not the strongest Batman performance for me, and Ezra Miller as the Flash is still the comedic relief, but he's much more toned down.

The Flash is the centre of the only thing that I feel the 2017 version holds over this version. In the first confrontation with Steppenwolf, Barry has a line that states "I've never been in a fight before, I just push people" and is then told by Batman to focus on saving just one person. Which he does, and then he does it again, and again, until he's saved most of the people that needed saving. I felt this was a valuable teaching moment, and shows his inexperience and where his skillset lies. This is gone in the Snyder Cut, and while the action is overall better, this is the only thing I felt was 'missing'.

Whilst this movie, in my opinion, probably could lose half an hour off the runtime to speed up the opening a little bit, and a polish in the visual effects department, there's no arguing that this is not, in pretty much every aspect, a far more superior version of 'Justice League'. Does it sequel bait towards the end? Absolutely, especially for things that we'll likely never see, such as a solo Ben Affleck Batman film, a direct sequel, and other characters to spin further. That, in itself, is a let down, but it's also a testament to the quality of this film. Even films that have already come out, such as Aquaman, that are given more context and retroactively set up now. The fact that I want to see more is in itself a showcase of the jump in quality. It's night and day.

If you're a fan of DC, if you want to see more, give this film as much love as possible. The fans got this movie made, so maybe the fans will get the SnyderVerse reinstated into the DC extended universe.

Some could argue that the fans have become pretty toxic as a result of this movie, and that the mere existence of this is indicative of studio bowing to internet peer pressure. In light of this I want to make one thing clear. I don't think this movie would've been made without the pandemic, definitely not this quick. Without the pandemic, you don't get the Snyder Cut. But now that we have the Snyder Cut, I'm intrigued to see what happens next. DC has a chance during the lull before Marvel kicks off it's next big storyline to get in and establish some great characters and make some films and establish their own universe. Their counter to the Marvel behemoth of letting creators do their own thing.

That's the message of this. You can feel the love and passion that Snyder put into this emanating from every shot. Gorgeous cinematography, fantastic character development, and an overall cohesiveness render the previous version completely obsolete.


About the Creator

Sam Gamble

Film reviews, movie-making articles, and more. Follow a fanboy's journey in exploring pop culture and everything else around it.

Reader insights

Be the first to share your insights about this piece.

How does it work?

Add your insights


There are no comments for this story

Be the first to respond and start the conversation.

Sign in to comment

    Find us on social media

    Miscellaneous links

    • Explore
    • Contact
    • Privacy Policy
    • Terms of Use
    • Support

    © 2023 Creatd, Inc. All Rights Reserved.